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Old 04-02-11, 05:59 AM   #1
chandltp
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low cost dyno hub

I'm looking at dyno hubs for my primary commuter, and no matter what I do it seems like I'm looking at a $300-$400 investment at a minimum to get a dyno hub on a wheel with head light and tail light.

I really like the idea of never running out of light, but that's a pretty steep investment.

I don't think my current wheel (stock Trek 7000) is worth rebuilding with a dyno hub, so that's why I was looking at new wheels.

Is there an entry level solution that I'm missing here? I'm primarily commuting, but my night vision isn't that great, so I really want a bright light.

I have a MagicShine right now, but the batteries are dead on that after only one year (not sure why, but their lifespan is about 1/3 of new). I figure it won't take too many years of buying 2 battery packs a year before the dyno will pay for itself though.
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Old 04-02-11, 07:02 AM   #2
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Don't ignore the option of a wheel-driven dynamo. Properly mounted so it's driven from the treaded part of the tire instead of the thinner sidewall these can produce the same electrical power as a dyno hub, add no resistance at all when not in use and only a tiny amount more when engaged. The only time I've had issues with them has been when riding through snow and slush where the dyno wheel tends to slip.

I found the dyno-driven lights to be sufficient, but not as bright as a MagicShine.
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Old 04-02-11, 07:21 AM   #3
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VO had a dynohub in their specials for 35$. having an LBS build that into a decent rim shouldn't cost more than a 100$. There are some neat DIY projects out there that use LED that seem to light up the road well. I found a generic light, like this one (link is to wholesaler, not actually for sale )in Toronto for 20$ at some small shop, it feels a bit cheap but it's fairly bright though it does flicker a bit. They also had a rear light that didn't come with anything but the lamp unit itself, no hardware or wires/connectors. I suspect the bottle dynamo kits that include lights could be hacked with LED if one was so inclined, but unfortunately dynamo lighting is still a niche market at best so there isn't a lot of choice.
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Old 04-02-11, 07:49 AM   #4
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Dynohubs are a little expensive. I would go with either the SON or the Shimano 3N72. The Shimano hub is about $110.00, the SON about $260.00. I have both, they both perform the same as far as drag and electrical output. The SON is built better, has cartridge bearings that are not user serviceable, hub has to go back to an authorized dealer when the bearings need serviced. The Shimano has loosed cup and cone bearings, difficult to service but not impossible.

Headlights on the other hand are very expensive. They have alot of very expensive, complicated electronics. I have been using some home built LED headlights all winter. I have found that for a fraction of the cost and a little work I can put more light on the street with my home made lights than with my 2009 model Supernova E3.

A bunch of good info here on DIY lights:


http://www.pilom.com/BicycleElectron...moCircuits.htm
http://yojimg.net/bike/equipment/lights/led_lights.php

Some good tests on dyno lights here. Worth a read.

http://www.xs4all.nl/~swhs/fiets/tes.../index_en.html
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Old 04-02-11, 08:33 AM   #5
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For bikes with light use in our household, I have been getting built-up wheels in Germany, with DH-3N30, at the cost of ~50 euro for a rim without eyelets (including S/H within Germany) and ~75 euro for a rim with eyelets, delivered to a local shop there. This should give you a reference as far as how low the costs can go.
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Old 04-02-11, 09:44 AM   #6
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I agree that they are expensive, but I will say that I have a SON that is 4 years old, and runs like new. Never done a thing to it. Very low drag (even when on). I have the Edelux light which is also very expensive, but has been 100% reliable for a couple of years.
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Old 04-02-11, 11:34 AM   #7
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http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=2982 http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/light...motec-hub.html
Looks like $300 is the lowest.
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Old 04-02-11, 02:07 PM   #8
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Hmm.. sounds like pay a lot now or pay a little over time with batteries and everything. I'm sure you get what you pay for.
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Old 04-03-11, 07:31 AM   #9
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Old 04-03-11, 12:24 PM   #10
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That does look good. Is this really a good deal, or will I regret my decision in a year?
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Old 04-04-11, 09:14 AM   #11
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I'm using a Sram i-light hub and a Planet bike blaze led generator light. The light has a good light pattern as well as On/Off/Superflash and a standlight mode. Price of the setup was good and quality looks good so far. I am running this on a recumbent with a 20 wheel. It does have some drag and is a bit heavier than a standard wheel. This is my touring bike so I'm not going for speed, just want to get there safely.
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Old 04-04-11, 09:50 AM   #12
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Velo-orange has a couple of wheels at $150 +/- $10. You can find a dyno light for probably $60 to $70, if you don't insist on the latest models, so you may get the package installed for under $250.

I'd suggest getting at least an IQ Cyo level light; if you're going to all the trouble of changing out a wheel, you may as well get a light that makes it all worthwhile. I don't know how long it'll take on a purely economic basis, but knowing the light is going to work tonight is worth a bit to me.
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Old 04-16-11, 10:54 PM   #13
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Depending on where you live, and whether the old technology is good enough for you, you might be able to buy an old English 3-speed with a Sturmey-Archer dynohub, swap out the front hub, and sell the bike without losing much money at all. Just a thought.
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Old 04-17-11, 05:41 AM   #14
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Depending on where you live, and whether the old technology is good enough for you, you might be able to buy an old English 3-speed with a Sturmey-Archer dynohub, swap out the front hub, and sell the bike without losing much money at all. Just a thought.
That would be a great idea.. although I rarely see those come up for sale. I did see a guy with an old English 3 speed when I bought my folder, but I don't think it had a dynohub.

For that matter, I could just use the 3 speed for my primary transportation if I found one. Most of my hills aren't that bad. My old "mountain" bike with road bike gearing is good enough for most of the hills around here.
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Old 04-17-11, 11:12 AM   #15
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Review the practicality and cost. With the amount of light and life you can get out of a few AA batteries with current LED technology, it's hard to make a case for anything else. I even prefer AAs over rechargeable, because is so much simpler, and it's easy to carry a spare set when needed and go when I want. With rechargeables, you always have to plan ahead and make sure they're charged up.
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Old 04-17-11, 09:55 PM   #16
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Review the practicality and cost. With the amount of light and life you can get out of a few AA batteries with current LED technology, it's hard to make a case for anything else. I even prefer AAs over rechargeable, because is so much simpler, and it's easy to carry a spare set when needed and go when I want. With rechargeables, you always have to plan ahead and make sure they're charged up.

This may be true, but the beauty of a Dynohub is NOT having to plan ahead. It's ready when you are.
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Old 04-18-11, 12:40 AM   #17
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The cost difference between an ultegra front hub and a 3n80 dyno is about 30 US$. How far are you going to get on 30$ worth of AA's?
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