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Old 01-02-12, 12:47 PM   #1
RFC
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Recommendations please re dynamo hubs and wheels

I am a loooong time road bike rider (40 years) and a reasonably good mechanic for a hack. I have never tried dynamo hub systems, largely because I ride several different bikes. However, I think my RB-T would be a good dynamo hub candidate. I have read a good deal about them and want to try them out.

This is an experiment for me. I'm ok with this being a $200 project, but don't want it to become a $500+ project. Also, one mechanic skill I have not picked up is wheel building, although I may end up doing so as part of this project.

I have noticed a number of prebuilt wheels and dynamo hubs available with Shimano LX and Sanyo hubs.

Are these decent dynamos?

How does the drag compare with more expensive hubs? (I'm going to angst about drag).

Are there other medium priced hubs I should consider?

What lights should I consider?

BTW, I am presently using a Magicshine for my after work sunset and evening rides, which is very bright and gives me good deal of both "seeing" and "being seen" confidence. How do the dyno powered lights compare in brightness?

Thanks for all of your help.
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Old 01-02-12, 01:13 PM   #2
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I was going to buy one of these SP dynamo hubs
I settled on a Sanyo because the vendor didn't have the SP listed at the time.
The Sanyo impresses me as having as much drag as the cheap Shimanos, which seems like a lot when you are holding the hub in your hand, but isn't noticeable on the bike. The more expensive Shimanos are pretty draggy in your hand, but not as bad as the cheap ones. Again, I can't tell the difference on the bike, and I out-coast a lot of people I ride with so the drag can't be too bad. The Sanyo is on my cheap 650b conversion project, which doesn't have a frame yet so I haven't tested it.

I bought a cheap ($60) 26" Alex rim/Shimano dyno wheel. The hub is ok, but the wheel is a typically poorly machine-built wheel. I did think about getting the 700c version for my daughter's hybrid, haven't gotten around to that yet
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Old 01-02-12, 02:05 PM   #3
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I have the Shimano Alfine hub which I do not notice. Can't speak about the Nexus. And apparently the Alfine is not far off SON performance these days - not that I have seen the data myself.
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Old 01-02-12, 02:06 PM   #4
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I was going to buy one of these SP dynamo hubs
I settled on a Sanyo because the vendor didn't have the SP listed at the time.
The Sanyo impresses me as having as much drag as the cheap Shimanos, which seems like a lot when you are holding the hub in your hand, but isn't noticeable on the bike. The more expensive Shimanos are pretty draggy in your hand, but not as bad as the cheap ones. Again, I can't tell the difference on the bike, and I out-coast a lot of people I ride with so the drag can't be too bad. The Sanyo is on my cheap 650b conversion project, which doesn't have a frame yet so I haven't tested it.

I bought a cheap ($60) 26" Alex rim/Shimano dyno wheel. The hub is ok, but the wheel is a typically poorly machine-built wheel. I did think about getting the 700c version for my daughter's hybrid, haven't gotten around to that yet
That SP looks very interesting. Do the company's claims hold up?
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Old 01-02-12, 03:30 PM   #5
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there have been some posts about the SP on other forums that are very positive. The owner of this website is pretty positive about it. He posts here occasionally.

I really want a SON, but I can't afford to put one on all the bikes I want a dyno on. Waiting until I have the frame with the Schmidt SON Delux XL compatible fork built, which seems to be taking forever.
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Old 01-02-12, 04:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by RFC View Post
How does the drag compare with more expensive hubs? (I'm going to angst about drag).
I have a couple of of Shimano dynohubs (Alfine and 3N80). Even with the lights on, the drag is so miniscule that I don't bother turning the lights off even on daytime group road rides. Yes, I'm taking pulls with my dyno on. It just isn't a big deal IRL. If you're thinking about a Shimano, for a road bike, I think the DH-3N80 is the one to get, it's 190 grams lighter than my Alfine, which is a monster at 680 grams w/out skewer.

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What lights should I consider?
If you ride on dark roads and highways at road-bike speeds, and want to see stuff at a decent range so you can avoid it, I think the Cyo 60-lux versions are the ones to look at, or the Edelux if you can afford one. I use the base model Cyo 60-lux design (no DRLs, no auto-on/off sensor).

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BTW, I am presently using a Magicshine for my after work sunset and evening rides, which is very bright and gives me good deal of both "seeing" and "being seen" confidence. How do the dyno powered lights compare in brightness?
I think you'll find the dyno lights are not as bright in absolute terms, and will get washed out more easily in urban conditions as a result. In the "showcase" environment of a dark highway, however, the well-designed beam of a light like the Cyo or Edelux should prove to be very effective. I'd still like a super-Cyo with twice the actual lumens; I guess I could run a dual-Cyo setup if it came down to it.

The "be seen" capabilities of the MagicShine will easily top the Cyo. For one thing, it stays running at full power when you're stopped. Also, it doesn't cut the beam off, there's ample light above the horizon. In city traffic, this is a good thing. On a dark highway or MUP, not so much.

Last edited by mechBgon; 01-02-12 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 01-02-12, 05:14 PM   #7
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I almost never turn my lights off either. I just can't tell the difference, so I figure I'll leave them on

I'm thinking about getting the Cyo lyt for my commuter. I have a helmet light which is very effective at getting people's attention. My experience is that a headlight doesn't really cut it for that.
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Old 01-02-12, 06:06 PM   #8
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This guy can build you a complete kit for under $200. However, the light at that price may not be to your liking. And since most generator powered lights lack the output of your Magicshine, you might want to consider running both- dyno all the time and the MS when you feel you need the extra oomph.
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Old 01-02-12, 06:23 PM   #9
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Also, while doing your research, have you come across the various beam shots that Peter White has on his site?
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Old 01-02-12, 06:36 PM   #10
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Shimano DH-3n80 with mavic cxp33 rim, skewers, tape, tube gp4000s tyre. Bit over 200US$ (need to add shipping but remove tax).
!0 year guarantee on spoke break.
http://www.roseversand.com/article/r...0-c/aid:336508
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Old 01-02-12, 11:36 PM   #11
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Also, while doing your research, have you come across the various beam shots that Peter White has on his site?
Yes, thanks, I have seen those, however, it is a bit difficult to gauge the actual light output from a photo.
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Old 01-02-12, 11:51 PM   #12
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Yes, thanks, I have seen those, however, it is a bit difficult to gauge the actual light output from a photo.
Very true. I find my Supernova E3 Pro "glare-free" model isn't nearly as potent as his photo represents it.
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Old 01-03-12, 01:23 PM   #13
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This guy can build you a complete kit for under $200.
Long Leaf built me a Sanyo H27 hub dynamo wheel with a Velo Orange PBP rim. The wheel build labour was $15 (!!!). That's unheard of in these parts...
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Old 01-03-12, 01:27 PM   #14
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I went to Sheldon Brown online and got the prebuilt wheel with dyno hub: http://sheldonbrown.com/harris/lighting/shimano.html for $179. Moved tire/tube over and it works great!
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Old 01-03-12, 02:30 PM   #15
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Check the Bicycle Quartely web site for drag; I think they have their dynamo comparison article up.

My bottom line is not to worry about the drag. 1 W (lights off) extra for the Shimano over the SON is not a big deal. I usually turn the lights off for a winter day ride, but I've left them on over the nearby ridge and a good distance further before I've noticed the funny shine on my fender.

Somebody compared the drag of a dyno hub to a standard hub and concluded it amounted to a 10 foot rise every mile of the ride. IIRC their conclusion was, "If that's a hill, I'm a Dutchman!"
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