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  1. #1
    Senior Member d2create's Avatar
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    So what's the latest dealio on generator hubs?

    Thinking of building up my next ride with hub powered lights rather than battery powered ones.
    Anyone have the low down on current most popular choices?
    I did some searching and Shimano seems to be popular for low drag.
    Anyone have any advice?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member pluc's Avatar
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    When on, the lastest SON, SRAM iLight and Shimano 3N7x are pretty much all equal. When off, the least efficient it the SRAM, then Shimano's, then SON.

    For cost-efficiency, I'd say the Shimano is the best so far if you turn it off. If you always keep it on, I'd go with SRAM's. If you have money to spend, go with SON.


  3. #3
    Senior Member pluc's Avatar
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    Oh and I know Sturmey-Archer does them too, but I don't know how they are. If anyone knows what they are like, it would be fun to know.

  4. #4
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pluc View Post
    Oh and I know Sturmey-Archer does them too, but I don't know how they are. If anyone knows what they are like, it would be fun to know.
    Don't have the newest SA dynohub...yet But from what I gather the internals are very, very similar to the Shimano ones. I can vouch for the Shimano as being an excellent hub for the money. Check into the LED lights from Spangia or B&M. They are a bit pricey on the front end, but you don't have to worry about them burning out at inopportune moments.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  5. #5
    cyclopath vik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d2create View Post
    Thinking of building up my next ride with hub powered lights rather than battery powered ones.
    Anyone have the low down on current most popular choices?
    I did some searching and Shimano seems to be popular for low drag.
    Anyone have any advice?


    Bicycle Quarterly did a nice review of hubs.

    Having had a SON and using a Shimano hub at present - if money is an issue get the Shimano hub. It's 80% of the SON at less than 50% the cost. If you've got lots of $$$ and like bling the SON is very nice and is probably worth the extra cost if you keep it for the long haul.
    safe riding - Vik
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  6. #6
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    ... As for headlights, get the Lumotec IQ Fly. It is 2-3 times brighter than the Schmidt E-6 for roughly the same price.

    Or wait for the new Schmidt E-delux that should come around this June. It should also be more expensive.
    Michel Gagnon
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  7. #7
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I actually ordered the DLumotec Oval plus, based on the similarity to the Halogen version. I am not real picky about my light patterns...

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  8. #8
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    I have a Shimano Alfine (disc) dynamo up front with a Lumotech IQ Fly n-plus senso, and a Lumotech DToplight XS in back. I love this setup so much I can hardly stand it.

    http://stankertanker.blogspot.com/20...-wheel-to.html

    Joey French

  9. #9
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    Can anyone rate these lites in luminins? (or however you spell it)
    CE
    Well mine is making just short of 500 lumens. Love it

  10. #10
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    For lights this is rumored to be the best thing going.

    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/p...3_english.html

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails...gId=39&id=2759


    Not cheap but then... you never need to buy batteries.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member d2create's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyfrench View Post
    I have a Shimano Alfine (disc) dynamo up front with a Lumotech IQ Fly n-plus senso, and a Lumotech DToplight XS in back. I love this setup so much I can hardly stand it.

    http://stankertanker.blogspot.com/20...-wheel-to.html

    Joey French
    That looks like a really nice setup at a good price.

    The supernova looks awesome but a bit pricey.
    Maybe if i needed to SEE but mostly I just need to be SEEN.
    2008 Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
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  12. #12
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
    For lights this is rumored to be the best thing going.

    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/p...3_english.html

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails...gId=39&id=2759


    Not cheap but then... you never need to buy batteries.
    Sweet. I was hoping Harris Cyclery would be stocking these. Now I just need to start saving my pennies.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon View Post
    ... As for headlights, get the Lumotec IQ Fly. It is 2-3 times brighter than the Schmidt E-6 for roughly the same price.
    For Christmas, I built up a generator hub wheel for my girlfriend and gave her a Lumotec IQ Fly. I run with a dual pair of E6's myself, and it's interesting doing side-by-side comparisons when we ride together. Both of our lights are mounted just above the fork crown, and we ride at roughly 12 mph on average when going through town.

    The beam of the E6 is very long but narrow and is a boon if you do a lot of fast night riding, but objects outside the relatively narrow beam do get shadowy, so if you're making a lot of turns on unlit streets, it's sometimes hard to see potholes or curb sides.

    The Fly's beam is not quite as long, but it's much wider, and it illuminates near objects rather well. For commuting, it's perfect, and the light is extremely visible from at least 200 yards away. (as in, the intersection that my girl turns on to approach our apartment is about 200 yards from our door, and it's very easy to see her approach). I've been able to spot her DToplight generator taillight from about a quarter mile away.

    As far as specific hub models go ... I have a SON, but I agree that if one is working in a tight budget, the Shimano is a fine competitor. As far as added resistance goes, to my mind, the drag on the SON when it's on is relatively innocuous. I've started more than a few morning commutes with the lights on from last night, and only noticed when I'd be approaching a car at an intersection and would see my lights reflected back at me.

  14. #14
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
    For lights this is rumored to be the best thing going.

    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/p...3_english.html

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails...gId=39&id=2759


    Not cheap but then... you never need to buy batteries.
    I'm building my next wheel with a SON28B and a coupling to a Supernova E3 light (maybe a pair of them, eventually.) The light output is equivalent to any 500-600 lumen single lamp I've seen, and the price is not prohibitive when you start comparing the lifetime of the SON hub and E3 light to the lifetime of a 500-600 lumen battery-powered light.

    SON28 and E3 light ~ $450
    500 lumen LED or HID with Li-on battery ~ $500
    Extra battery when the current one wears out ~ $75
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    The new shimano hubs are great, you really don't notice the drag.

    It will cost $200 to get a wheel-build that includes a shimano hub. Thats about $150-$170 more than what you would spend on batteries and charger.

    If you ride at night very often, it is a good investment. For your $150 you never need to worry about changing batteries or getting caught without batteries. If that is worth $150 to you, get a generator hub.

  16. #16
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    So your system constantly charges the battery while in motion and discharges while stationary?
    Do you need a voltage regulator?

    CE
    Sorry, I wasn't really clear on what those prices meant.

    The SON/E3 setup will only cost $450 over the lifetime of the system. The lamp itself is rated to 100,000 hours, and I haven't heard of anyone wearing out a SON28 hub.

    The $75 replacement battery was referencing the price you'll have to shell out every 3 or 4 years after buying a $500 lighting kit, to keep the system working when the original battery conks out.

    Now, there's also the argument of is it cheaper to replace a battery every 3-4 years, or replace your front rim every time you wear it out?
    - How fast do you burn through a rim? Rim brakes will speed that up, but the SON28 comes in a disc model now, so you can go that route and eliminate the rim issues.
    - Do you build your own wheels or pay for the build? That's going to influence cost greatly. It's typically $40-$50 just in labour for a wheel build-up.

    If you use rim brakes and wear through a rim in a couple of winters, ride a pricey rim like a CxP33 or Deep V, and pay a builder for your wheels, then the upkeep of the SON28 would be just as much (or more) than the upkeep on replacement batteries.
    Then you just need to look at convenience factors like remembering to charge the battery.

    Honestly, when you start getting into the pricey systems like these, it's less about output comparison and more about upkeep efforts.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
    So your system constantly charges the battery while in motion and discharges while stationary?
    Do you need a voltage regulator?
    Some generator driven lights have a capacitor (basically a battery) that keeps the light powered when you're stationary. Other lights, like the E6 do not have a capacitor and just go dark once you've stopped. The IQ Fly stays lit for about five minutes after stopped.

    You do not need a separate voltage regulator. I believe a regulator is actually built into the hub.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by d2create View Post
    Thinking of building up my next ride with hub powered lights rather than battery powered ones.
    Anyone have the low down on current most popular choices?
    I did some searching and Shimano seems to be popular for low drag.
    Anyone have any advice?
    There have already been plenty of posts on this topic, but I'll chime in that I am very pleased with my Shimano generator hub. The Ultegra bearings on this unit are so good that the wheel with the generator hub actually moves smoother in my hands than the OEM Bontrager wheel that came on my Gerry Fisher. With the light turned off the generator hub wheel wheel will spring longer than the OEM. I can feel the "notches" from the magenets, but that is normal. The SON hub is supposed to be a bit more efficient but for more than double the cost I could not justify the difference. I love having the light working all winter long and never worry about batteries. I have the DLumotec Oval Plus. If I were to buy it today I'd get the IQFly. The IQ Fly was not out yet so this was not an option. The IQ Fly costs only a few dollars more, but is much brighter.

    Happy riding,
    André

  19. #19
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    A few precisions:

    Spokenword:
    Strictly speaking, the voltage regulator is not built in the hub, but rather built in the light. The generator produces a constant 0,5 A, at a voltage that increases when you ride faster. Headlights such as the E-6 and the Lumotec have a zeener diode that caps the current at 6,7 or 6,8 V. In the LED-based offerings by Lumotec (DLumotec and Lumotec IQ FLy), SuperNova and the upcoming Schmidt E-delux, the headlight has a different circuitry that produces the same result: keeping the voltage in check.

    Jeffbeerman2 and CliftonGK1:
    I have saved money by ordering my hubs from Peter White, buying my spokes locally and building my own wheels. That way, I was able to recycle the rims I had. Building the wheels was fairly easy. I simply followed the late Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding instructions. I built the wheel on the floor and used the bike as truing stand and a small screwdriver as feeler. The first wheel I built took me 4-5 hours on two nights; I now build them in about 1-2 hours, truing included.

    Spokenword:
    Thanks for the side by side comparison of the E-6 and IQ Fly. I used to have an E-6 main and a Lumotec (round) secondary that was a carryover from yet more ancient days. When I received the IQ Fly, I removed the Lumotec secondary and wired the E-6 main differently to use it as a secondary headlight with the Lumotec IQ Fly.

    How did I "convert" the E-6 ?
    I did not break anything. In a nutshell, I keep the E-6 permanently on and have installed a bypass switch in parallel to short it out of the circuit. I have installed the E-6 + bypass switch in series with the IQ Fly. I aim the E-6 a bit higher than I used to. With the little experience I have on pitch-dark roads, I find that the E-6 truly adds to the reach when I ride faster than 20-25 km/h. Probably not worthed if I had to buy the secondary light, but since I already had it, the 3 $ switch is a worthy investment.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  20. #20
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon View Post
    A few precisions:

    Jeffbeerman2 and CliftonGK1:
    I have saved money by ordering my hubs from Peter White, buying my spokes locally and building my own wheels. That way, I was able to recycle the rims I had. Building the wheels was fairly easy. I simply followed the late Sheldon Brown's wheelbuilding instructions. I built the wheel on the floor and used the bike as truing stand and a small screwdriver as feeler. The first wheel I built took me 4-5 hours on two nights; I now build them in about 1-2 hours, truing included.
    My LBS has the SON28B for just less than PWC, and I get my spokes and rims at www.bikeman.com for pretty cheap. The $50 I spent on a truing stand has saved me more money than I can tally up in wheel truing, and I've already built a track wheel from scratch so I'm ready for building the SON28 wheel when I can afford the parts.
    I'm thinking about waiting until I need to swap rims anyhow, and rebuilding my rear wheel at the same time using DT Swiss RR1.2, or Alex DA-28 rims for both.
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  21. #21
    Spoked to Death phidauex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyfrench View Post
    I have a Shimano Alfine (disc) dynamo up front with a Lumotech IQ Fly n-plus senso, and a Lumotech DToplight XS in back. I love this setup so much I can hardly stand it.

    http://stankertanker.blogspot.com/20...-wheel-to.html

    Joey French
    Where did you get this Alfine generator hub?? I want one!

    -Sam

  22. #22
    Senior Member Jeffbeerman2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikEthan View Post
    For lights this is rumored to be the best thing going.

    http://www.supernova-lights.com/en/p...3_english.html

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails...gId=39&id=2759


    Not cheap but then... you never need to buy batteries.
    This sort of thing is why I should stop reading the forums now that I have "perfected" my bike. There is always something a bit nicer than what you already have

  23. #23
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2 View Post
    This sort of thing is why I should stop reading the forums now that I have "perfected" my bike. There is always something a bit nicer than what you already have


    I don't want to know how much money I have spent after someone posts some neat item on here...

    I can claim at least 3-4 bikes and I have no clue as to how many accessories I "had" to have after seeing them on here.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  24. #24
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliftonGK1 View Post
    Sorry, I wasn't really clear on what those prices meant.

    The SON/E3 setup will only cost $450 over the lifetime of the system. The lamp itself is rated to 100,000 hours, and I haven't heard of anyone wearing out a SON28 hub.

    The $75 replacement battery was referencing the price you'll have to shell out every 3 or 4 years after buying a $500 lighting kit, to keep the system working when the original battery conks out.

    Now, there's also the argument of is it cheaper to replace a battery every 3-4 years, or replace your front rim every time you wear it out?
    - How fast do you burn through a rim? Rim brakes will speed that up, but the SON28 comes in a disc model now, so you can go that route and eliminate the rim issues.
    - Do you build your own wheels or pay for the build? That's going to influence cost greatly. It's typically $40-$50 just in labour for a wheel build-up.

    If you use rim brakes and wear through a rim in a couple of winters, ride a pricey rim like a CxP33 or Deep V, and pay a builder for your wheels, then the upkeep of the SON28 would be just as much (or more) than the upkeep on replacement batteries.
    Then you just need to look at convenience factors like remembering to charge the battery.

    Honestly, when you start getting into the pricey systems like these, it's less about output comparison and more about upkeep efforts.

    But those are essentially separate issues. I mean... unless you throw away your hub every time you wear out a rim, you'd be replacing the front rims anyway. Plus... there's a little bit of drag from the hub (very little from the SON) but still it should mean that you'll have to brake just *slightly* less and your rims will last longer.
    2009 Bike Friday Season Tikit (commuting folder)
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  25. #25
    JRA. BikEthan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffbeerman2 View Post
    This sort of thing is why I should stop reading the forums now that I have "perfected" my bike. There is always something a bit nicer than what you already have
    Hehehe... yeah. I made the mistake of getting on here before buying a full touring rig with all the fixin's.

    How much have I spent? Don't ask!
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