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Dynamo hubs? (as of 2021)

Old 12-13-21, 07:16 AM
  #1  
zanq
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Dynamo hubs? (as of 2021)

I wasn't sure if this was best suited to the Commuting or Touring sub-forums, so thought I would ask here first. I'm considering a wheel build with a dynamo hub. I'm reading reviews but was hoping to get some real world feedback from the community. The bike is vintage Schwinn MTB set up like a Surly Long Haul Trucker (drop bars, 26" wheels) and these are a couple models I'm considering (any choice would be silver/polished):

https://www.sp-dynamo.com/series8-pv8

https://www.kasai-tech.com/fs-dynacoil-rb---qr.html

This would get laced to a 32h polished rim with polished spokes and nipples for a total vintage look. I'm open to other options; those 2 seem to get decent reviews and are economical. The Kasai hub that is field serviceable is interesting. Due to father & husband duties, my ability to ride tends to be sporadic and last minute. I also live in MI, so cold temps. at various times of the year do not help the health of batteries if I leave them on the bike. Having a lighting solution that doesn't require me to manage batteries is attractive. I've never owned a dynamo hub, so I'm wondering if that is the answer to my growing distaste for battery powered options...at least for this bike.

Thanks!
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Old 12-13-21, 07:42 AM
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A couple were doing a long distance tour: one had dynamo hubs, other an popular solar panel open on the rack as they rode. Conclusion: solar panel provided more energy.
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Old 12-13-21, 08:35 AM
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I've got "experienced" Shimano and Son dyno hubs, with about 40,000 and 20,000 miles on them. Haven't need to service either (knock on wood) so far.

Although I was a bike commuter until Covid, I developed a distaste for batteries similar to O.P.'s. Although I had a couple supplemental battery powered blinkies on each bike, the dyno lights were the ones I was pretty sure were working every night or morning.

Time to ride? No need to worry about whether or when the batteries were charged. Just go to the garage, pull out a bike, check the tires, and ride away!
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Old 12-13-21, 08:41 AM
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Tourist in MSN
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On this forum, there have been two documented cases of bearing problems in SP hubs. That is quite minimal, thus I think you can expect good life from SP. I own three SP hubs that I bought new, a few Shimano that I got used.

I described my light setup on my rando bike some months ago, that link is here:
https://www.bikeforums.net/electroni...b-charger.html

I chose fender mounting for my taillight, but if you have a rack, that is much simpler and easier to do quickly. Or, if no rack, B&M make a seatstay or seatpost version of their Secula taillight that is easy to mount with a zip tie.

I built up my third SP wheel last spring. I considered future proofing it by buying a thru axle version and the adapter for quick release, but the higher cost of that option made me wince a bit, thus went with the regular quick release. I found the best price on a disc brake version, that is what I used even though it was a rim brake bike.

How would you mount your headlight? Keep in mind that dyno powered headlights are often poorly sealed against water on the bottom or back, thus, you do not want to mount it where there is much tire spray if you do not have fenders.

Dynohubs do not include the skewer. I use a bolt on skewer on my dynohubs as a bit of extra theft protection, and I put a 5mm allen wrench with my spare tube in case I need to remove it. I typically have a small multitool when I ride, the extra allen wrench with teh spare tube is a redundancy.

I assume you already know this, but if not, almost all dyno powered lights do not flash. That is in part because lights do not flash in Germany and most dyno powered lights are designed to comply with German lighting law. So, if you want a taillight flasher, use battery light. I typically tour with battery powered taillights for that reason.

Have you considered which lights you would want? And where mounted?
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Old 12-13-21, 10:30 AM
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It gets no popularity I know, but there's only ONE dyno choice for me. SA XL-FDD dyno with DRUM brake. ZERO adjustments, little cleaning service and NO worries. It only costs around $120 and basically comes with FREE brakes that go 30,000 miles. Outlasting at least 3 disc pad sets or 5 rim pads. Rim brakes in winter are laughable anyway. The plug is rather dainty. I never noticed a speck of overheating either. Try that with a 160 mm disc.

Mine has black Dyad rims with 2.3/2.0 spokes and 700c x 36 mm tires. The first one I did 3 cross, not a good idea but still zero spokes broke. 2 cross is way better. After 8 years and 28,000 miles it still looks like new, just lost the alu shine. The elec side bearing went at 17,000 miles. Yah, it weighs twice as much, so what. My Edelux light has been on 100% of the time. What drag?? It has done over 45 mph several times. 2 tours on a 120 lb bike for 8,100 miles. I do dozens of day rides over 100 miles, longest was 133.6 miles with a SA XL-RD5w in 12.4 hours clock.

I love it so much, I've moved it to my new roadster and built a new wheel the same for my heavyweight tour bike. This bike came with deplorable roller brakes and a Nexus 7i.
PS >> I wouldn't get so called polished alu of anything. They tarnish in no time.



Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 12-19-21 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 12-13-21, 01:04 PM
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A dynamo setup is great for touring and especially nice for commuting. Between my wife and me, we've used Shimano, SP, and Son hubs. None have let us down after many tours and lots of general transportation in town. I don't think you'll regret spending the money once you get it set up.
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Old 12-13-21, 02:48 PM
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The only SP hub I've had any experience with is the switchable one that was taken off the market, so I don't really have anything of relevance to say about either hub that you're looking at. Speaking more generally to the experience of using dynamo hubs in cold weather, I lived in Boston for a few years and used a Shimano DH-3N80 and a Schmidt. Both were completely reliable in every temperature and weather condition. I've used both hubs for about eleven years now and briefly had an issue with the Shimano where the cone nuts were loose and the hub stopped delivering power to the contacts. I retightened the cone nuts and haven't had any issues since. The Schmidt has been a set-it-and-forget-it proposition from the start, as has a second Schmidt hub that I purchased a few years ago.
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Old 12-13-21, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Dynohubs do not include the skewer. I use a bolt on skewer on my dynohubs as a bit of extra theft protection, and I put a 5mm allen wrench with my spare tube in case I need to remove it. I typically have a small multitool when I ride, the extra allen wrench with teh spare tube is a redundancy.
FWIW, my Schmidt SON came with a bolt-on skewer. I think the idea was a little extra security for an expensive wheel. But since I've got a 5 mm hex wrench on my multi-tool, it's only a minor delay when fixing a flat.
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Old 12-13-21, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
FWIW, my Schmidt SON came with a bolt-on skewer. I think the idea was a little extra security for an expensive wheel. But since I've got a 5 mm hex wrench on my multi-tool, it's only a minor delay when fixing a flat.
I was unaware that Schmidt provided a skewer. My SP did not include one. My Shimano ones were used, so I got whatever the seller did not want to keep.

I usually have a multi-tool, but occasionally for a shorter ride I might not bother to bring one. Thus, the redundant allen wrench packed with the spare tube.
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Old 12-13-21, 05:33 PM
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I have an older SP that I use for commuting and touring. I have it wired directly to head and tail light without any pass through battery pack. I haven't had any issues with it, and I love not having to think about batteries. Only complaint is that I do think flashing rear lights are more visible to drivers than a steady red, but any light is better than nothing. Also, though it might be a placebo effect, I think I feel the drag when the lights are on, or rather I feel like there's a drop in drag if I switch the lights off, so I sometimes do that if there's plenty of daylight and I'm feeling tired. But usually I just leave them on all the time so I don't have to think about it.

One thing that's weird about dyamo hubs if you're not used to it is that they feel really notchy if you turn the axle slowly by hand because of the magnets. But if you spin them up to a decent speed with no electrical load, you'll see that the drag isn't very much.
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Old 12-13-21, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
It gets no popularity I know, but there's only ONE dyno choice for me. SA XL-FDD dyno with DRUM brake. ZERO adjustments, little cleaning service and NO worries. It only costs around $120 and basically comes with FREE brakes that go 30,000 miles. Outlasting at least 3 disc pad sets or 5 rim pads. Rim brakes in winter are laughable anyway. The plug is rather dainty. I never noticed a speck of overheating either. Try that with a 160 mm disc.

Mine has black Dyad rims with 2.3/2.0 spokes and 700c x 36 mm tires. The first one I did 3 cross, not a good idea but still zero spokes broke. 2 cross is way better. After 8 years and 28,000 miles it still looks like new, just lost the alu shine. The elec side bearing went at 17,000 miles. Yah, it weighs twice as much, so what. My Edelux has been on 100% of the time. What drag?? It has done over 45 mph several times. 2 tours on a 120 lb bike for 8,100 miles. I do dozens of day rides over 100 miles, longest was 133.6 miles with a SA XL-RD5w in 12.4 hours clock.

I've had a SP PV8 on one of my bikes for many years and like it very much. I'd certainly list that as my number 1 choice if I buy another. I've also used a Shimano dyno for a few years on a commuting bike, but have to say that I wasn't all that impressed. Like GamblerGORD53, I too have put many miles on Sturmey drum brake hubs (mine were the 70mm version though) and I would recommend them highly for an all weather commuting bike. They are a bit heavy, and the RD5w hub is a bit ornery, but they are incredibly reliable and a bargain at that.
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Old 12-13-21, 10:01 PM
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thanks for the info here.. Ive been thhinking if better option to the rechargable blinky on back and the headlamp. Seems like the idea of having the light available any time does it for me. Just the idea of just checking tires and ride. I want tour/commute more ,as I have gotten older. Not interested in miimilism and weight savings , more comfort /safety , and phone charging...😎
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Old 12-14-21, 05:51 AM
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I have SON dynamo and front and rear lights on several of my bikes. The USB port for feature for recharging my phone is a toss up. You need to be maintaining 10+ mph to reliably charge a cell phone.

The rest of the features range from great to awesome:

1. Charging a power brick - great. You do not need to maintain 10+mph to keep putting juice into the brick
2. Instant lights for front and back - awesome. This feature wins me over completely. No need to remember charging lights or replacing batteries. The lights turn on automatically at dusk or in a tunnel. Love it! Especially on multiday tours.
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Old 12-14-21, 11:26 AM
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I run a SON on my tourer with a kLite Bikepacker Ultra V2 widebeam 1300lm headlight and a kLite Qube rear flasher - good output, and I can't even notice the resistance in the hub.
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Old 12-15-21, 03:29 AM
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All three of my bikes have a SON dynamos and B&M lights
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Old 12-16-21, 02:37 PM
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I've been running a Sanyo H27/Panasonic dynamo hub purchased at soma fab shop for the princely sum of 22.00, combined with a B&M IQ-XS for the last 8 months or so (sporadically - I'm not a hard core every day no matter what commuter) and its been fantastic. Built the wheel myself, got a good price on the lights, and haven't looked back. I very much like not having to fiddle with batteries, and knowing my light will last as long as I will (I won't outride the battery life). I do use a battery powered blinky light on the rear. In fact, I like it so much that I'll be building another dynamo wheel using the same hub for my 2nd commuter bike over the Christmas break. This will power a SuperNova E3 Pure 3, so I'm interested to compare the two lights.....


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Old 12-16-21, 08:09 PM
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I have a couple of Sturmey-Archer Dynohub™️ fitted bikes - an HDS12 driving a B&M IQ-X and - oh! you want the vintage look?? - a 40+ year-old GH6 driving a B&M OneFive. The grab-and-go aspect is great, the illumination is dandy and they're my top choices for going on rides after dark.
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Old 12-19-21, 10:11 AM
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I've been running a Spin Up add on dynamo on my front wheel for the last several months. It has been very satisfactory.
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