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  1. #1
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    Shimano Dynamo Hubs and wheels

    My current lighting set-up is a Light and Motion Seca 400, and I'm getting tired of unhook my battery pack after every ride home to re-charge and having them die after a year, requiring me to sink $125 into a new overpriced battery (beware of L&M, their stuff's nice, but they can be gougy).

    I've been looking at Shimano dynamo hubs compatible with disc brakes, and true to Shimano form, I'm having a hard time finding another brand that offers what appears to be excellent quality and durability for the price. Yeah, SON is amazing, but their hubs are also amazingly expensive. I'm not interested in entry level dynamos.

    Specifically, my current line-up is the Nexus, Alfine, DH-3D70, DH-3D71 and DH-3D72 (the last three are disc compatible versions of the 3N70, 3N71 and 3N72, if you have them). Anybody have any experience with these hubs or advice on which to buy?

    The other problem I'm having related to this is finding a prebuilt wheel with these hubs already laced. Anyone have any ideas about how to make this happen if I don't want to buy everything to lace my own hub?

  2. #2
    tsl
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    I own an Alfine DH-S501, which is disc compatible. Flawless, trouble-free for three years this month.





    I've trimmed the wire since then, and routed it up the fork using Jagwire's stick-on cable guides.

    I bought the hub, then took it to my LBS, who ordered the hoops and built the wheels (I also had a matching rear made).
    Last edited by tsl; 11-11-12 at 03:46 PM.
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    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  3. #3
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    There's no magic to building a wheel around a dyno hub. Ask riders in your area (or tell us where you are, and someone may have suggestions) who builds good wheels, and then have them build you a wheel. Or you can get someone like Peter White or Long Leaf to build you a wheel around a dyno. The hubs are readily available from parts distributors (There are sometimes stocking problems), so if you've already got a shop you like, just get them to do what you want.

    I've got an alfine (samw one as tsl, I believe), which I built into a wheel using a Velocity Dyad. The wheel was a breeze to build, and has been trouble free (though I've only been riding it about 9 months).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by usndoc2011 View Post

    Specifically, my current line-up is the Nexus, Alfine, DH-3D70, DH-3D71 and DH-3D72 (the last three are disc compatible versions of the 3N70, 3N71 and 3N72, if you have them). Anybody have any experience with these hubs or advice on which to buy?

    The other problem I'm having related to this is finding a prebuilt wheel with these hubs already laced. Anyone have any ideas about how to make this happen if I don't want to buy everything to lace my own hub?
    Don't buy the 3D70/3D71 versions, Their cones (identical on both versions) are just too thin and may crack under stress. They are obsolete models too. All the current Shimano "Sport" dynamo hubs I have seen have much improved cones, so the 3D72 is an excellent choice for a modern dynamo hub wheel.

    I guess most wheel builders would be happy to lace a 3D72 hub to a rim of your choice.

  5. #5
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    Currently running a 3D72 because our distributor was oos on the N version when I needed a hub. 5k mi regular commuting on it and no issues at all, hasn't needed even bearing adjustment. Dynamo part of it is flawless, again, no issues. Dynamo drives a Supernova E3 front and rear light setup, no problem.

    I think there is a pre-built version of the Alfine dynohub -- have your bike shop check with QBP.

    I built my wheel myself, but I are bike mechanic. A decent shop should be able to build whatever you want. Mine is 36h, 3x, DT Swiss competition DB spokes, brass nipples, and 26" Velocity Synergy rim (eyeletted).

    One thing: I'm running rim brakes, so no experience with the disc brake aspect, but I run centerlock Shimano hubs on another non-Dyno setup and other than being more expensive than 6-bolt rotors, they are solid.

  6. #6
    Gammal cyklist Reynolds's Avatar
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    Built my own wheel with 3D72, Ambrosio Elite rim, ACI double butted spokes, 36 3x lacing. Only 700km on it so far, works flawlessly.

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    I have been running the 3DN71 (XT grade, disc model) for about 4 years. It is reliable and trouble-free.
    I can't say if the cones are thin, Ive never opened it up.
    One of the disadvantages of Shimano dynamo hubs is the difficulty/danger of doing a standard bearing service. You can sever the thin connector wire that runs in a slot in the axle. My LBS (who are very good and built the wheel) don't like to open them. Some people have soldered repairs to this wire. I would like to see a Youtube video of a full service, the only dynohub ones Ive seen are not applicable to these versions.
    I have the 36 spoke version, because it was the only one available in the country at the time.

    I usually put the connector in the 7:00 position for a smooth cable route and to let it drain down.

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    Thanks for the advice. It's encouraging that you all have had good luck with your hubs. tsl, I saw your pics while snooping around before I wrote this post, looks great! I've got a salsa vaya that I built up with Ultegra/105 parts, love it.

    Does anyone have any idea what is different between the DH-s501 (Alfine) and the 3D72 (the "sport" version)? Shimano make great stuff, but they do a TERRIBLE job publishing specs on their products. Peter White seems to think all the shimano hubs are the same, although I thought the whole advantage of the 3N80 was that it was .5lb lighter, double contact bearings and an aluminum axle! Sheldon Brown points this out, but his descriptions seem to indicate that the 3D72, the Alfine and the T660 are all the same but with different logos and casings, which is also what this poster said on bikeforums.net, and this poster heard from the shimano rep. ARRRRRGH! If they are all the same, why can't shimano just come out and say it! I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

    It's looking like if I want a mid-range disc compatible dynamo hub, it's the DH-s501 (alfine) or the DH-3D72, which are, in actuality, the same hub, but with different casings. Am I missing something?
    Last edited by usndoc2011; 11-12-12 at 07:51 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
    I usually put the connector in the 7:00 position for a smooth cable route and to let it drain down.
    ???

    Mine's somewhere in the 10-11:00 position for straighter run up the fork. Didn't think about draining. Seems to me, since the wire end of things is a female connector, any water getting through the wire portion will still drain out the bottom of the connection. Doesn't seem to be to many places for water to go on the male/hub connector end? Is this a real issue? Mine's been through rain enough times with no issues.

    Quote Originally Posted by usndoc2011 View Post
    It's looking like if I want a mid-range disc compatible dynamo hub, it's the DH-s501 (alfine) or the DH-3D72, which are, in actuality, the same hub, but with different casings. Am I missing something?
    Get whichever one you like the looks of better, or which best fits your budget, /overthinking...

  10. #10
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    Handspun has dynohub disk compatible wheels, at least in 700c size. Missed what size wheels the OP wants. Any bike shop can get the handspun wheels, I find that it's usually better to go to the LBS for those wheels because the online stores don't discount them much.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by usndoc2011 View Post

    Does anyone have any idea what is different between the DH-s501 (Alfine) and the 3D72 (the "sport" version)?

    [snip]
    It's looking like if I want a mid-range disc compatible dynamo hub, it's the DH-s501 (alfine) or the DH-3D72, which are, in actuality, the same hub, but with different casings. Am I missing something?
    Everything points to the fact that performance wise, all the current "Sport" dynamos (above the 3N30) are identical. Most of the current hubs have been tested by various German magazines, and they all come to this conclusion.

    All the 3N80/3D80 and other hubs in similar weight range have an aluminium axle instead of steel, and there are other small variations in sealing and cones. My guess is, that the alu axle, lighter hub shell versions like the 3N80 are less sturdy than eg. the 3D72. I have owned a pair of 3N80 since they where released (2008/2009?), and the have performed flawlessly, even with heavy loads, so I don't think they are delicate, just that for off road use etc. the steel axle models are probably a better choice.

  12. #12
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    Interested, thanks for the confirmation. I think linked back to your post back from 2009 on this subject in my last post, so thanks for having some good information out there. I saw an article (in German, thanks to google translate) that compared a shimano, shmidt and one or two other dynamos. Was that the article you're referencing? I'm interested in reading anything out there on the subject.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    HandSpun wheels is part of QBP. you also have Peter White Cycles as a wheel builder that Ships.

    Ask at your LBS, Their Distributors may also have Pre-Built wheels.

  14. #14
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    Here's something you may find interesting/useful:

    http://www.gravelbike.com/?p=1415





    The Handspun wheels are a good deal. Universal Cycles sells them, and with the 10% or 15% discount code, the prices are pretty attractive.
    GRAVELBIKE.COM - ride everything

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by usndoc2011 View Post
    Interested, thanks for the confirmation. I think linked back to your post back from 2009 on this subject in my last post, so thanks for having some good information out there. I saw an article (in German, thanks to google translate) that compared a shimano, shmidt and one or two other dynamos. Was that the article you're referencing? I'm interested in reading anything out there on the subject.
    This free German on-line magazine has a couple of dynamo tests, this one is the latest:
    http://fahrradzukunft.de/14/neue-nabendynamos-im-test/

    Among the interesting results are that there is a measurable difference between several examples of the same hub.

    SON's homepage has several links, among these this from 2010; an article from the German magazine "aktiv Radfahren":
    http://www.nabendynamo.de/service/pdf/ar_09-10_2010.pdf

    On Olaf Schultz's home there is a whopping 645 page pdf file on hub and side dynamos, and bicycle lights. Lots of hard data and measurements, but in German only. His data and measurements are often used by various magazines. http://www.enhydralutris.de/Fahrrad/...ml#beleuchtung

    A note here: the German consumer marked is very "test" driven. Many magazines (both profit and non profit) therefore often publish tests of products, where actual hard data measurements plays a role in the score. The quality and usefulness of such tests vary of course, but sometimes there are some really good tests made by independent engineers that really know what they are doing. Much better than subjective guesswork.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by interested View Post
    A note here: the German consumer marked is very "test" driven. Many magazines (both profit and non profit) therefore often publish tests of products, where actual hard data measurements plays a role in the score. The quality and usefulness of such tests vary of course, but sometimes there are some really good tests made by independent engineers that really know what they are doing. Much better than subjective guesswork.

    Two quick things. First, Olaf is not unusual for a German. Second, let me know if you need help with the German (anyone in the thread). Machine translation is not always the best.

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