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  1. #1
    RFC
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    Need advice from my C&V Colleagues re wheel building and dynamo hubs.

    I have not yet taken the plunge into dynamo lighting systems, but have a desire to give them a try.

    I have seen several prebuilt wheels with Shimano LX and Sanyo dynamos. How good are these hubs?

    I haven't yet taken up wheel building, but may do so for this project. What tools do I need besides a truing stand? And, just how difficult is wheel building?

    Thanks as always,

  2. #2
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    You'll receive all sorts of answers to this question.

    Nearly all modern dynamo hubs have the same output. The Sanyo is perfectly good enough for commuting and general use, but I'd go with something more expensive for a high zoot build. Personally, I use a Shimano 3N-80 and a VO switchable. I'll try a SON someday. I've built front wheels with the Sanyo H27 for both my mother and father.

    You need a decent spoke wrench (I use Park). A tension gauge is helpful, but the more wheels you build, the less you need one. I don't build wheels without a dishing tool. I recommend The Bicycle Wheel. Read it and have it handy as you lace the wheel. Take your time and you will be rewarded.
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  3. #3
    rhm
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    I've never had any dynamo hub go bad with the exception of a Shimano that I broke when I tried to service the bearings. I'm sure it would be fine if I hadn't mucked with it. I had been using it for maybe 8 years and well over 10,000 miles (9000 in its last three years).

    I've also never even heard of any dynamo hub going bad, with the exception of one or two Velo Orange ones. They weren't mine, though, so it's not my story to tell.

    What's the bike? If it's an old enough bike that an old steel Sturmey Archer dynohub would be appropriate, I'd say go with one of those. They are cool and funky and efficient and virtually indestructible. Otherwise I'd say go with something cheap. What the heck.
    I'm sure some hubs are more efficient than others, and some have better bearings than others, but I just can't bring myself to pay extra for perks like that.

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    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    I've also never even heard of any dynamo hub going bad, with the exception of one or two Velo Orange ones. They weren't mine, though, so it's not my story to tell.
    To be clear, I suspect you're referring to the Novatech hubs sold by lots of retailers, including Velo Orange.

    I don't see the point of using an old Sturmey Archer dynamo when a Sanyo H27 is $40, but that's just me.
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    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    I don't see the point of using an old Sturmey Archer dynamo when a Sanyo H27 is $40, but that's just me.
    An old SA 3 speed dynohub is pretty cool

  6. #6
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    An old SA 3 speed dynohub is pretty cool
    Very cool, but the OP is asking about front hubs I'm sure.
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  7. #7
    likes to ride an old bike
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    I second the good Colnel's suggestion to build your wheels yourself; it's lots of fun if you're not in a hurry and like learning new skills. Follow good directions and don't rush.

  8. #8
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    To be clear, I suspect you're referring to the Novatech hubs sold by lots of retailers, including Velo Orange.
    Ahh. Okay, thanks for the clarification!

    Quote Originally Posted by ColonelJLloyd View Post
    I don't see the point of using an old Sturmey Archer dynamo when a Sanyo H27 is $40, but that's just me.
    Well, first of all, I said "if ..." If what follows "if..." matters to you, then there's the point. None of my old Sturmey Archers cost $40, but I don't buy them because they're cheap, I buy the because they're cool, useful, and they suit the bikes I ride. I would not put a Sanyo on one of my English bikes from the 50's because it would look out of place there. For the same reason I wouldn't put a 50 year old dynohub on my commuter bike.

    Second, you seem to assume the Sanyo is better than a 50 year old Sturmey Archer dynohub. And maybe it is. I don't know about that.

  9. #9
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Second, you seem to assume the Sanyo is better than a 50 year old Sturmey Archer dynohub. And maybe it is. I don't know about that.
    I don't know either. But, yeah, I'd assume it's a better choice for a build that's not a 50s English bike if, for no other reason, that it's output is (modern) standard and more reliable. That last point is doubtless debatable too, but I've not read of modern dynamo failure or that they stop generating power (aside from the Novatech already discussed), but I can't say that for SA dynamos.
    Last edited by ColonelJLloyd; 01-02-12 at 02:01 PM.
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    the SA put out about half the amps that a Sanyo will. Not sure about the efficiency, but I can't see how the SA is better.

  11. #11
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    What would you folks recommend as a headlight for me? I have a Sanyo generator hub that a lovely fellow sent me as a gift. I don't care about period correctness. I want the most light. I'd like to spend $120 or less for the headlight. I want to blind the car drivers and light up the road. OK, I don't really want to blind anyone, but I want to cast a lot of light.

    Thanks.
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  12. #12
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    the SA put out about half the amps that a Sanyo will. Not sure about the efficiency, but I can't see how the SA is better.
    Yes, the old SA is said to be 1.8W, the modern ones are either 2.4W or 3.0W and the former are becoming rarer.

    I have heard of people using the SON20 hub because, being made for a smaller wheel, it produces less power than a SON28. Since LED's are more efficient the 3.0W is considered excessive. I don't know anything about it. But perhaps this reasoning gives the older (weaker) SA's an advantage?

  13. #13
    RFC
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    What would you folks recommend as a headlight for me? I have a Sanyo generator hub that a lovely fellow sent me as a gift. I don't care about period correctness. I want the most light. I'd like to spend $120 or less for the headlight. I want to blind the car drivers and light up the road. OK, I don't really want to blind anyone, but I want to cast a lot of light.

    Thanks.
    My issue exactly. I am presently using a Magicshine battery light that will burn your face off. It is as bright as a small motorcycle light and drivers do pay attention. It's great riding at night with that leve of "seeing" and "being seen" light.

  14. #14
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Does more power than the LEDs need hurt them? I really don't know, but as I understand it they're pretty robust little buggers.

    I use a Lumotech IQ Cyo R and installed one on my dad's bike as well. I'd say that's the best bang for the buck. There are two versions, one designated by the "R" and has two beams. I also have a pair of Schmidt E6 halogen lights. I like them a lot, but wouldn't recommend them as they have no stand light feature.

    Anything from Supernova or B&M will be a quality light too, but more expensive.
    Last edited by ColonelJLloyd; 01-02-12 at 02:48 PM.
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    Randomhead
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    because of the efficiency of LED lights, they no longer designate the SON20 as a hub for smaller wheels. I've been too lazy to get my SA hub on the road (yes, this is a theme w/my bikes tyvm), but I expect it will work fine with an LED light.


    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m-hl.asp
    Lumotec Cyo seems to be the sweet spot for bright yet not too expensive lights. I have a Supernova E3 Asymmetric, and I still get flashed by idiots who think it's too bright.

    I think lights like the magicshine actually do put considerably more light into an oncoming driver's eyes than a car headlight, rivaling a car high beam.

    You can't overpower a modern power LED with a dynohub. The dynohubs put out .5A, the LEDs can take over 1A. My only reservation is turning the LED on while at speed, collapsing the hub's field through the LED could conceivably burn it out.
    Last edited by unterhausen; 01-02-12 at 02:49 PM.

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    Senior Member fender1's Avatar
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    I have not built my own wheels, so I am no help there. I have 2 wheels w/SON hubs. One 32 spoke on CR-18 & the other 36 spoke in a Salsa Delgado. Both function great and are barely noticeable when on. I run e3 headlights & wired tailights. I would look on ebay for a used wheel. They come up fairly often and cost about half what a new wheel would (using the SON hub)

  17. #17
    Senior Member minisystem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    Second, you seem to assume the Sanyo is better than a 50 year old Sturmey Archer dynohub. And maybe it is. I don't know about that.
    I also think the GH6 is just about the coolest thing ever made in the entire history of humankind.

    I just happen to have recently done a direct comparison of the two. Here I've plotted the current going through 2 series LEDs (one 3V white LED and one 2V red LED) at different speeds. You can infer power output by multiplying by 5V, although this is approximate as the voltage goes up a few tenths of a volt as the current increases. Unfortunately, I didn't record anything below 12 kph or so, but the LEDs do light at lower speeds for both hubs.




    I really like the Sanyo H27. I put one on my wife's mixte. It's a nice looking hub for the money.

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    Dishing tools...

    Whenever I read that.. it just breaks me up. Just complete nonsense. Wheels.. all of them run CENTERED in the space.. getting that correct with your stand is your "dish" once completed.

    And.. a tension meter such as the inexpensive Park Tool model.. is probably one of the best buys for a 'new to wheel building' person.. if.. a long lasting durable wheel is the goal. Very few newbies will get tensions right by feel.. sound does work yes... but is a PITA doing a wheel...having to continually reference an accurate pitch for more precise work.

  19. #19
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Dishing tools...

    Whenever I read that.. it just breaks me up. Just complete nonsense. Wheels.. all of them run CENTERED in the space.. getting that correct with your stand is your "dish" once completed.
    I have a Park TS-2.2, and it simply doesn't help with dish at all. I don't remember if my memories from back in the day are shot, but I don't remember the TS-2 stands that I have used being that bad. I used to be a "flip the wheel and check the dish" sort of person, but that doesn't work at all with my stand.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have a Park TS-2.2, and it simply doesn't help with dish at all. I don't remember if my memories from back in the day are shot, but I don't remember the TS-2 stands that I have used being that bad. I used to be a "flip the wheel and check the dish" sort of person, but that doesn't work at all with my stand.
    Then how in the heck do you ever get the rim dead center of the space.................

  21. #21
    old and fixed... clubman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Dishing tools...

    Just complete nonsense. Wheels.. all of them run CENTERED snip
    My Hozan doesn't accurately measure dish. Why do all the good wheelbuilders I know use a dishing tool?

    Oh here's the Shimano wheel factory where they build Dura Ace race wheels. 4 dishing tools!

  22. #22
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Justin, there are so many sub-models of that light, all at around the same price. Please help. I've tried to read through this a few times and can't make total sense of it.

    http://www.xxcycle.com/lumotec-iq-cy...qcsndi,,en.php

    http://www.xxcycle.com/lumotec-iq-cy...rcsndi,,en.php

    http://www.xxcycle.com/phare-del-b-a...r-60-l,,en.php
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  23. #23
    Senior Member ColonelJLloyd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Dishing tools...

    Whenever I read that.. it just breaks me up. Just complete nonsense. Wheels.. all of them run CENTERED in the space.. getting that correct with your stand is your "dish" once completed.
    Your response is asinine. Dishing tools/alignment gauges are not nonsense. If you want to rely on only your truing stand that's your prerogative. I use a Park WAG-2 and I know my rims are perfectly centered between the dropouts.

    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Justin, there are so many sub-models of that light, all at around the same price. Please help. I've tried to read through this a few times and can't make total sense of it.
    This is the one I would recommend. http://www.xxcycle.com/lumotec-iq-cy...rcsndi,,en.php
    Last edited by ColonelJLloyd; 01-02-12 at 06:51 PM.
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  24. #24
    Randomhead
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    Quote Originally Posted by SortaGrey View Post
    Then how in the heck do you ever get the rim dead center of the space.................
    a good wheelbuilder can keep track of things like how far over the rim needs to move to be centered. You can take the wheel out of my stand and put it back in 10 times and you'll get 10 different positions. I am not sure what is off with it, but it's off. A dishing tool lets you measure and make sure you've got it right. Granted, it's an iterative process for most of us

  25. #25
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Justin, sorry to be a pest, but why that one? Which features does it have that are worth having, and which features does it lack that are better avoided? I want to make an informed decision.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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