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Old 10-03-10, 12:00 PM   #1
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Best value head & tail light to go with a SON hub?

I have a wheel that has a SON 28 generator hub. I want to get a headlight and tail light to go with it. I'm looking for a combo that's switchable and has a standlight feature. Also trying to understand the benefits of halogen versus LED. Someone recommended LEDs to me but I wonder how long they last and how much to replace relative to halogen.

Currently I'm running a Cygolite Rover II with about 250 lumens which is plenty of light for me, so I don't require anything more than that. It would be nice to not have to worry about charging my system every time I want to commute, plus if I make any side trips the Cygolite battery threatens to quit on me (the charge is good for my 2.5-3.0 hour commute and that's about it), plus running PB Superflash in the back.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-03-10, 05:35 PM   #2
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I have a Son hub and love it. 5k miles and never had a problem. I had the lumotec IQ Fly which i was happy with. Used it a lot (3-4 hours a week) and never had a problem. Sold it and bought an Edelux. Both are very good, but I like the Edelux better. Metal housing instead of plastic, and seems like it's a little brighter. Personally I'll never buy another headlight that isn't LED. They've been 100% reliable.

I wouldn't get a dyno taillight. I just use 2 PBSF. The batteries last so long that it isn't worth buying a dyno taillight and messing with the wires.
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Old 10-03-10, 05:55 PM   #3
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Hmmm.... good point on the tail light.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-04-10, 08:28 AM   #4
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I was reading about this the other day, lots of good info here:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/schmidt.asp
and some lights need a 2nd light to use up some of the current if you're traveling at higher speeds:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/inoled.asp
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Old 10-05-10, 10:50 AM   #5
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Yeah, I've read through that.

I talked to the LBS and they are supposed to be putting some options together for me. We'll see what they say. Has anyone had an LED go out on one of these generator lights? Can they be replaced? I'm a little concered about that. The halogen bulbs are pretty inexpensive.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-07-10, 07:24 AM   #6
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I wouldn't get a dyno taillight. I just use 2 PBSF. The batteries last so long that it isn't worth buying a dyno taillight and messing with the wires.
I'd definitely go with an LED light. However, depending on your bike setup, I'd encourage you to use a dynamo-powered taillight as well. When I first switched to dynamo lights I used the dynamo just for the headlight to avoid the additional wiring. However, I found that I was often slow to replace batteries, and I'd end up riding in the dark with a dim taillight.

I eventually decided to try a wired dynamo-powered taillight, and I LOVE it. They are very bright, especially the fairly new Busch & Müller Toplite Line Plus (best choice if you have a rear rack on which to mount it). I haven't had any trouble with the wiring after several years of use, and I very much like having it on most of the time and never worrying about batteries. There are also good fender-mounted options available, but if you have a suitable rear rack, I highly recommend the Toplite Line Plus.

My take is that once you make the investment for a hub generator, why not take full advantage of it? The LED lights are so much brighter than what was available just a few years ago. Just spend the necessary time to do the wiring carefully so it is secure, and you won't have to worry about proper illumination, front or rear, for years.
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Old 10-07-10, 08:41 AM   #7
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I've been okay with PBSF blinkies so far. This is for my commuter bike so yeah, there is a rack. My budget is $100 for the lights (a little more isn't the end of the world). I may not be able to get the best lights ever, but compared to what I've been running, anything designed for the SON dyno should be a big improvement. I'm just trying to figure out the whether to spend it all on a headlight or to get a lesser headlight and get the tail light, too.

I see a lot of talk about balancing and wattages and stuff (Peter White talks about getting a 2.4 W headlight if you're getting a tail light, or using 3 W if no tail light). How big of a deal is it to match the wattages and such? Is this just a concern with halogens, or is it a concern with LEDs too?
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-07-10, 08:46 AM   #8
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Also... what about the strategy of getting a headlight now and adding a tail light later on? Will it matter if I go with an LED light? If I go with halogen I guess I will need to change bulbs.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-07-10, 09:17 AM   #9
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I've been okay with PBSF blinkies so far. This is for my commuter bike so yeah, there is a rack. My budget is $100 for the lights (a little more isn't the end of the world). I may not be able to get the best lights ever, but compared to what I've been running, anything designed for the SON dyno should be a big improvement. I'm just trying to figure out the whether to spend it all on a headlight or to get a lesser headlight and get the tail light, too.

I see a lot of talk about balancing and wattages and stuff (Peter White talks about getting a 2.4 W headlight if you're getting a tail light, or using 3 W if no tail light). How big of a deal is it to match the wattages and such? Is this just a concern with halogens, or is it a concern with LEDs too?

$100 will be tough for both head and tail lights, even if you're willing to go over a bit. You could, of course, get the headlight for now and add a taillight later. New products come out quicker than I can keep up with them, but I did a lot of research last winter as I built up a new touring bike, and I settled on the Lumotec IQ CYO R headlight made by Busch & Müller. They're about $105 from Harris Cyclery, and as far as I know, that's the low end for the really bright LED dynamo lights. My take at the time was that to go any brighter would be big jump from there in price, but mainly more money would get better build quality (e.g., metal housing, better switch, etc). I'm quite happy with my IQ Cyo R, but I do think the switch could be improved.

You'd be fine running it without a taillight (no wattage issues), and it would be easy to add one later. That said, if you can afford it, I'd just suck it up and buy them both now (the Toplite Line Plus taillight is ~$35). Sorry for trying to up sell you, but I've just been incredibly impressed with these lights on my touring bike -- well worth the expense in my opinion.

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Old 10-07-10, 09:23 AM   #10
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Also... what about the strategy of getting a headlight now and adding a tail light later on? Will it matter if I go with an LED light? If I go with halogen I guess I will need to change bulbs.
Yes, with a halogen you'd need to change bulbs (3 W w/out a taillight and 2.4 W w/ a taillight). Seriously though: the LEDs are so much better in every way that I wouldn't even consider a halogen bulb model any more. I haven't seen one in person, but there's now a lower-cost LED headlight option from Busch & Müller called the Lyt that's only ~$40 from Harris Cyclery.
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Old 10-07-10, 11:00 AM   #11
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Okay, so that matching business is a halogen issue only, doesn't matter for LEDs. That's good to know. Thanks.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-09-10, 08:02 PM   #12
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Someone recommended LEDs to me but I wonder how long they last and how much to replace relative to halogen.
You probably won't need to replace the LEDs in your lifetime. LEDs are rated for 50,000 to 100,000 hours. If you use your light 4 hours a day, everyday, that would be over 34 years with the 50,000 hour rating.
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Old 10-09-10, 08:08 PM   #13
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Yes, with a halogen you'd need to change bulbs (3 W w/out a taillight and 2.4 W w/ a taillight). Seriously though: the LEDs are so much better in every way that I wouldn't even consider a halogen bulb model any more.
Some people still prefer the halogen bulbs. From what I have read, the LEDs have a bluish tint and the halogens have a yellow tint. Or the other way around (I'm colorblind and can't tell the difference). Some people have a harder time seeing with the LED, especially older people, because of the tint.
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Old 10-09-10, 08:15 PM   #14
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$100 will be tough for both head and tail lights, even if you're willing to go over a bit. You could, of course, get the headlight for now and add a taillight later. New products come out quicker than I can keep up with them, but I did a lot of research last winter as I built up a new touring bike, and I settled on the Lumotec IQ CYO R headlight made by Busch & Müller. They're about $105 from Harris Cyclery, and as far as I know, that's the low end for the really bright LED dynamo lights. My take at the time was that to go any brighter would be big jump from there in price, but mainly more money would get better build quality (e.g., metal housing, better switch, etc). I'm quite happy with my IQ Cyo R, but I do think the switch could be improved.

You'd be fine running it without a taillight (no wattage issues), and it would be easy to add one later. That said, if you can afford it, I'd just suck it up and buy them both now (the Toplite Line Plus taillight is ~$35). Sorry for trying to up sell you, but I've just been incredibly impressed with these lights on my touring bike -- well worth the expense in my opinion.
I have the same setup and love it. The lumotec IQ CYO R doesn't seem to put out as much light as my Minewit, but it puts the light where I need it and does a better job of lighting the road for me. I'll probably go with the non "R" model next time though.

I also agree about getting both a headlight and a taillight if you can. If not, as you know, with the Lumotec, you don't need a taillight (some LEDs run better with a taillight). You can get the taillight later. I think it is worth the wiring. I too have let my Cherry Bombs, PBSFs, etc go too long between battery changes. Nothing to worry about after going dynamo. If you do a good job at wiring, it would be very difficult to damage the wires.
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Old 10-09-10, 08:57 PM   #15
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I have the non R version of the IQ Cyo and wish I had gotten the R version for the close in lighting as lots of potholes in local roads. I have ther R version on the way for my Big Dummy lighting project along with the Toplite Line Plus taillight. I also have the Supernova E3 Triple on one bike and the Light On dynamo light set on another, both excellent lights IMO.

IMO halogen dynamo lights are obsolete compared to modern LED lights as the amount of light output from the latest LED lights is enormous compared to halogen lights. Just compare the output of the latest Supernova, B&M IQ Cyo and Schmidt Edelux LED light beams on the Peter White Cycles web site with the illumination level provided by even the best of the halogen lights. To me there is no comparison. The latest version Supernova E3 Triple claims 800 Lumens output and the latest Supernova E3 is about 370 Lumens claimed output, about the same as the Light-On dynamo headlight.
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Old 10-10-10, 03:20 PM   #16
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I agree with the posters supporting LED lights at both ends of your bike. I have a SON powering two each B & M IQ Flys (state of the art several years ago when I got them) in series, plus a B & M 4DToplight multi senso wired (plus battery) tail light, and am quite pleased with the set up. I suggest getting the best headlight you can reasonably afford now, and then upgreade your current battery blinkie to the best tail light a bit later. I particularly like the "shaped pattern" lights meeting the euro spec. The Flys in series work quite nicely, and two is the best bang for the buck, to get the same increase as going from 1 to 2, would require going from 2 to 4. Also, try looking at classifieds on various cycling forums (fora?) as I got the second IQ Fly used, when the previous owner upgraded to a Cyo.
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Old 10-15-10, 10:05 PM   #17
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I decided to go with the Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ Fly with standlight



and a Busch & Müller Toplight Line Plus



A little bit over my $100 budget, but I think they'll work well.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-20-10, 09:38 AM   #18
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Have you got them yet? I have a feeling that i just decided what i want for chirstmas this year.

How are you liking them?
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Old 10-25-10, 08:54 PM   #19
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Have you got them yet? I have a feeling that i just decided what i want for chirstmas this year.

How are you liking them?
I just got them today!



I tested the headlight briefly with the dynamo and it works. The standlight feature is pretty cool.

The bike shop was going to mount them. I stopped by on the way home from work (I drove today) and the lights were in, so I just picked them up instead of having them mount them. They didn't get the lug terminals that are recommended, but I have some of them at home (and my wife said I was crazy for pulling the wiring out of our old dishwasher!)

I have to make a little bracket for both lights. The rear needs something to adapt to the rack, and the front needs a bracket to get around my cantilever brake cable (the shop said the bracket that came with the light would work, but... not really.)

So I should have everything on by later this week.

To use the full wheelset, I need to swap my cassette over to the rear wheel that I got with the dynohub front wheel.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-27-10, 07:16 AM   #20
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Everything is on. I just need to swap out the cassette on the rear wheel so I'll have the matching wheelset on front and back. Pics soon.
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Old 10-27-10, 12:33 PM   #21
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What was the problem with the connectors?
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Old 10-27-10, 08:56 PM   #22
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The SON hub has wider connectors than the ones that come stock. Peter White points this out on his page. When I picked up the lights, this came up in conversation and the owner did a face palm because he forgot to get them. They are normal blade and socket connectors, a little skinnier than the standard ones you see on cars.

Anyway, I got everything settled, swapped the cassette and got the rear wheel on (the old wheelset had 700 x 25c wheels, the new one has 700 x 35c), took it for a test ride around the block. I kind of forgot how harsh those 25s are. The 35s are so smooth.
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Old 10-27-10, 11:50 PM   #23
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I just finished mounting a Supernova E3 Asymmetrical headlight and a Supernova taillight on my Big Dummy. I had to make a sheet aluminum taillight mount to bolt to the rear deck but the headlight and taillight wiring were long enough without having to add any wire. Considering the length of a Big Dummy I was surprised. The taillight mounting plate is large enough so I also have a Radbot 1000 mounted below the Supernova taillight.

My front wheel is a 36 hole Shimano Alfine 501 dynamo hub laced to a Salsa Gordo rim. This is the same make of rim as the original wheel which I am keeping as a spare.
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Old 10-28-10, 07:37 AM   #24
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Yeah, I had a lot of extra wire from my tail light. I just wrapped it around the frame several times instead of cutting it.

I commuted with it for the first time today. I'm satisfied with the headlight but I think they over-engineered it some (Germans over-engineering a product? Really? Like that never happens ). Specifically, the beam is highly shaped and focused. The battery powered light I had been using had more of a gradual diffusion at the edge of the beam which provided better peripheral vision and better illuminated street signs. This is more like tunnelvision.
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Old 10-28-10, 08:46 AM   #25
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Interesting. I'm trying to decide between store bought lights and wiring up my own LED setup. I have an overvolted halogen setup now with no optics and I am kind of starting to worry about how i'm probably blinding some people going the other way. I really like how the halogens have a warm yellow color temperature that envelopes the whole road, but a nicely controlled LED beam might be more responsible.

Do you wish you a setup that would flood the road a little more? (at the expense of everyone else on the road) or is the tunnel vision enough that you feel safe at high speeds? (I realize that'll probably take you a couple commutes to figure out)
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