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Thinking about going with a Dynamo hub for my lights and have just a few questions..

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Thinking about going with a Dynamo hub for my lights and have just a few questions..

Old 10-10-15, 08:32 AM
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MulliganAl
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Thinking about going with a Dynamo hub for my lights and have just a few questions..

I'm almost finished outfitting my Rivendell as my main commuter and was thinking that perhaps a dynamo hub would be a better answer for lighting my way at night instead of the battery units I currently have.

First, can I run both the front and rear lights off one dynamo hub, and if so does it matter which wheel the dynamo is on.

Which dynamo hub would you guys recommend for such an application, I don't mind paying a bit more for a good hub.

Which light sets are you guys running and which would you recommend.

How much do you think it would normally cost to have a wheel re-laced to accommodate the hub?

Here is my bike that I'll be installing the hub on.



Thanks for the help guys
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Old 10-10-15, 08:51 AM
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You can get shimano dyno hub built wheels , thru wholesalers that supply your LBS,

Peter White Cycles Home Page Is the importer-distributor for the German Schmidt hubs to north america,
he, in NH , also builds custom wheels .

So you can have your favorite LBS open a dealer account with Peter, and order the hub & Lights from him ,
and have them build a wheel ,


Or, he sells direct, at Retail, too , and that is the cost .. + spokes, rim and labor fee , and shipping directly to you.

people also order stuff from Europe and UK too , for less than PW's selling at Mfgr's SRP, so there is that approach.

If you get your LBS to open an account, shipping is paid within their Margin , and so you don't have that added on top.

Bought a Bike Friday with the new Centerlock SONdelux disc for smaller wheels
I have 2 Schmidts ( an extra , since I went from a Polished without disc mount , to a Black anodized 6 bolt Disc wheel)
with the eDelux headlight (now in version 2, a Brighter output) & B&M taillights.

And a Brompton Shimano wheel With a B&M Eyc-t headlight ..The new Schmidt Mini Taillight is attractive

B&M has a version of that too.. the companies share lense's technology

Particularly with a Euro spec rear rack like Tubus with the 50mm spread Mounting holes ..

PW has adapter brackets to use a Euro Taillight on other racks ..

Hub, or Bottle Dynamo powers the headlight, the headlight has the plug for powering the taillight.

same load split as Bulb lights .. 0.6w for taillight drawn from total of 3w powering the headlight.

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Old 10-10-15, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by MulliganAl View Post
I'm almost finished outfitting my Rivendell as my main commuter and was thinking that perhaps a dynamo hub would be a better answer for lighting my way at night instead of the battery units I currently have.

First, can I run both the front and rear lights off one dynamo hub, and if so does it matter which wheel the dynamo is on.
Yes, one dynamo can run both lights. Put the dynamo on the front wheel for convenience
Originally Posted by MulliganAl View Post
Which dynamo hub would you guys recommend for such an application, I don't mind paying a bit more for a good hub.
I don't think it matters. Make sure the output is 3.0W. I usually shop by price.

Originally Posted by MulliganAl View Post
Which light sets are you guys running and which would you recommend.
find one that has a 5v USB output, so you can charge your phone off your dynamo. You may never need that feature, but it's too cool to pass it up!
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Old 10-10-15, 11:26 AM
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I have Son, Shimano, SP (Shutter Precision), and Sanyo hubs. For a bike like the Riv, I would probably go with the Shutter Precision or a SON. For as long as they last, there really isn't much reason not to go with the SON, but the SP seem to be just as good. I'm happy with all of them though. I would just have a new wheel built, it's not going to cost much more. Nowadays I would probably go with the BuM Cyo Premium for lights. I have a Luxos U, and it's a really nice light, but complexity is not a good idea as far as lights go
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Old 10-10-15, 11:56 AM
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I use a básic Shimano hub ($50), and Bush and Muller lights. The Lumotec Eyc Senso Plus, which I absolutely love, and a Toplight Flat Plus on the rear.
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Old 10-10-15, 12:04 PM
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You already own a perfectly functional front wheel. Why would you tear it down to build a new wheel with a dynamo hub when battery lights are of such good quality and readily available at a variety of price points? There are applications where a dynamo light is clearly superior but I'm not convinced they are for commuting.
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Old 10-10-15, 12:19 PM
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The Shutter Precision hub seems to hold up and work just as well as the SON but for half the price so I would suggest that route. Find someone who is a capable wheel builder and let them know what type of riding you will be doing or even just re-lace your current rim with the new hub as long as it is in good shape.
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Old 10-10-15, 12:23 PM
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Can anyone spot the one crucial detail missing from this thread?
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Old 10-11-15, 07:41 PM
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I use the Shimano LX dynamo on my Sam Hillborne with an Edelux upside down light and I love it. Though if I had to do it again I would be buy the normal version because with the upside down one, you can't run a rear light. For a rear I would use Anton Tutter's new rear light that would look great on your bike. You can view it here.



I supplement the dynamo with the Light and Motion VIS 360 on my helmet and two Planet Bike SuperFlashes on my seat stays. Now I have the best of both worlds.

I would just buy a pre-built wheel and use your front as the back up. That is what I did.
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Old 10-11-15, 11:01 PM
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Sweet bike. I like the dyno for the simple reason that it is always there, always ready, and won't let me down on a long ride. I use B&M dyno lights, but also have a Phillips battery light that has a very good beam pattern also.

My rando bike has a Son hub, where the steel fork seems extra sensitive to very slight magnet buzz. Another bike has a Joule 3, which is half the cost, still pretty, maybe a tad more power at slow speed, and not quite as smooth. Still nothing noticeable other than when the lights first come on. Rim dynos I have seen don't have voltage regulators: not good.

Hopefully you had wire routing eyelets put on. Hate to spoil a nice ride like that with sloppy external wire routing. So maybe the battery route isn't so bad, if the run time factor isn't a problem for you.

Last I checked, wheel builds run about $1 per spoke for new spokes, and $1 per spoke for labor. The whole kit is pretty pricy compared to batteries.
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Old 10-12-15, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
Can anyone spot the one crucial detail missing from this thread?
No.

Hint?
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Old 10-12-15, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You already own a perfectly functional front wheel. Why would you tear it down to build a new wheel with a dynamo hub when battery lights are of such good quality and readily available at a variety of price points? There are applications where a dynamo light is clearly superior but I'm not convinced they are for commuting.
I added dynamo lights to two of my bikes, and I regularly commute on them.

Commuter-oriented advantages of dynamo lighting:
+ RELIABILITY: The dynamo light is always installed, and always powered. I never need to remember to charge the light or carry spare batteries. I am never stranded in the dark without a headlight.
+ ILLUMINATION: Dynamo lights have better optics than any battery light I've seen. Dynamo lights conform European standards, so they throw more light where you need it, while not blinding oncoming traffic. Most battery lights throw a circular beam with no cut-off, which wastes most of the light.
+ CONSPICUITY: Dynamo lights are generally quite bright. Once I installed the dynamo headlight, I noticed that many more cars will see me, stop, and wait for me to cross. Maybe they think I'm a motorcycle...

I've never experienced such amazing lighting as I get from my dynamo setup. I've seen folks with 3000 lumen "off-road" lights that don't illuminate the trail nearly as well as mine, because they throw the light everywhere.

High output battery lights with good optics exist in the Euro market, but are rarely sold here.
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Old 10-12-15, 09:30 AM
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+1 for buying or building a new wheel around the dynohub. You're already in for new spokes, so you might as well have the thing built around a fresh rim. You can offset the cost by selling the old wheel if you want to.

BTW, if you want to run both front and rear lights off it, make sure you get a 3.0W hub, and not one of the 2.4W units.
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Old 10-12-15, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
I added dynamo lights to two of my bikes, and I regularly commute on them.

Commuter-oriented advantages of dynamo lighting:
+ RELIABILITY: The dynamo light is always installed, and always powered. I never need to remember to charge the light or carry spare batteries. I am never stranded in the dark without a headlight.
+ ILLUMINATION: Dynamo lights have better optics than any battery light I've seen. Dynamo lights conform European standards, so they throw more light where you need it, while not blinding oncoming traffic. Most battery lights throw a circular beam with no cut-off, which wastes most of the light.
+ CONSPICUITY: Dynamo lights are generally quite bright. Once I installed the dynamo headlight, I noticed that many more cars will see me, stop, and wait for me to cross. Maybe they think I'm a motorcycle...

I've never experienced such amazing lighting as I get from my dynamo setup. I've seen folks with 3000 lumen "off-road" lights that don't illuminate the trail nearly as well as mine, because they throw the light everywhere.

High output battery lights with good optics exist in the Euro market, but are rarely sold here.
You could well be right as to illumination being better with the optics of dynamo lights versus battery lights. I've read that in other threads and have no personal experience to the contrary. Still I find illumination a non-issue for city riding since there is plenty of light.

I disagree as to reliability and conspicuity. I commute regularly at night and have had zero problems with either. Cars stop and see me and a usb light is as easy as pie to keep running. I do run two lights up front and three in the rear in winter but have never had to rely on my fail safe lights. One thing is for sure, usb lights have come a long ways in terms of brightness and reliability. I suspect most people who use a dynamo light also run a usb rear blinkie because they really are that good.

It is a large expense to build a dynamo hub front wheel. It is not clear to me that it is worth that expense but I understand that you, as well as other posters, feel differently about this and I understand the reasons you gave.

Last edited by bikemig; 10-12-15 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 10-12-15, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by MulliganAl View Post
First, can I run both the front and rear lights off one dynamo hub, and if so does it matter which wheel the dynamo is on.

Which dynamo hub would you guys recommend for such an application, I don't mind paying a bit more for a good hub.

Which light sets are you guys running and which would you recommend.

How much do you think it would normally cost to have a wheel re-laced to accommodate the hub?
I think someone already answered your first question, but to be clear: Both head and tail lights are powered off a single generator that provides 3 watts. Usually, the headlight takes 2.4w and the taillight takes .6w.

Most dynamos are inside the front hub. It's the cleanest and most efficient setup. You can also find dynamos that push against the tire, either on the sidewall (the old-fashioned "bottle" dynamo), or against the tread on the back wheel (located where the kickstand goes). These types of dynamos are cheaper and easier to install, but are much less efficient. FYI, high efficiency = less drag.

As @fietsbob pointed out, Peter White Cycles is the expert on cycle dynamos in the US. He has sold Rivendells in the past, and knows what he's doing. Read his Lighting page for expert information.

Dynamo hubs:
Schmidt SON hubs are the most efficient and most expensive
Shutter Precision hubs are like an Asian-built SON, and are almost as efficient and not nearly as expensive
Shimano hubs are quite good, but less efficient than SON and SP, but cheaper

I used Shimano's best dynamo hubs (DH-3N80 and DH-780) for my builds, because I found them quite cheaply from Europe.

Dynamo lights:
Schmidt Edelux are really good, with metal housings and attractive looks. But they're pricy.
I went with the Busch and Muller Luxos U light, because it's much much cheaper from Europe and it includes a USB charging dongle (I can charge my phone with my dynamo).
However, it sounds like the Luxos lights are not as durable as the metal Schmidts; some folks have broken off the metal contact tabs when packing their bike for shipping. At less than half the price of the Schmidt, I'm ok with that liability. I'll be more careful if I ever ship the bike.

Mounting:
You choose where to mount the light. They come with a brake bolt mount for the top of the fork, but with your front rack in the way you'd have to find a different mount.
You could mount it on the side of the rack, which would involve some kind of clamp, mount, or workaround.
I mounted the light to the top center of the handlebar with this mount, which maximizes the beam.

Taillight:
Since you're using a rack, I recommend a large, rectangular light.
I use the B&M TopLight Line, it's has bright LEDs and a big reflector for conspicuity.
Dynamo headlights come with the necessary wiring to run between the hub and the light. But dynamo tail lights don't come with any wire, so you have to buy some.
If the rack you have is a Nitto, you need one of these adapters for a dynamo tail light.

Wheel building:
You'll have to ask your local shop how much it costs to lace a hub into a wheel. It will cost the same for dynamo or non-dynamo hubs.
Personally, I think wheel building is pretty easy if you have access to a truing stand. I built my wheels.
You'll need to get the right spoke count that matches your rim when you buy the hub. 32-hole and 36-hole are the most common.
You'll probably need to use new spokes; dynamo hubs usually have larger flanges so they use a shorter spoke.
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Old 10-12-15, 09:54 AM
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if you write here from the jobsite and have a USB Patch cord at the computer you use all day,
of course a USB rechargeable light is adequate for the ride to and from that job, & is convenient.
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Old 10-12-15, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
You could well be right as to illumination being better with the optics of dynamo lights versus battery lights. I've read that in other threads and have no personal experience to the contrary. Still I find illumination a non-issue for city riding since there is plenty of light.

I disagree as to reliability and conspicuity. I commute regularly at night and have had zero problems with either. Cars stop and see me and a usb light is as easy as pie to keep running. I do run two lights up front and three in the rear in winter but have never had to rely on my fail safe lights. One thing is for sure, usb lights have come a long ways in terms of brightness and reliability. I suspect most people who use a dynamo light also run a usb rear blinkie because they really are that good.

It is a large expense to build a dynamo hub front wheel. It is not clear to me that it is worth that expense but I understand that you, as well as other posters, feel differently about this and I understand the reasons you gave.
Yeah, it's hard to compare them if you've never tried--or ridden with--someone with dynamo lights. Since we're both in IA, you could check mine out sometime if you'd like to.

I was also very skeptical about the effectiveness of dynamo lights vs. the cost.

Since I found much cheaper prices from Europe, I took the plunge. I spent about $225 for the dynamo setup.
3N-80 hub: $70
Luxos U light: $105
B&M tail light: $25
Headlight bracket: $10
Tail light bracket: $10
Tail light cable: $5
But that doesn't include the cost of the new wheels since I was due to build up a new set anyway.
The fear of wheelbuilding keeps many folks from doing it themselves, but it's just as easy as changing brake or shift cables. (Though, it requires access to a truing stand. My local bike co-op has one)

There is not plenty of light on my commute; most of it is on unlit bike paths and poorly-lit streets. I noticed a huge difference in reaction from drivers before/after.

You can approximate a dynamo beam with multiple battery lights. You'll need multiples because the beam pattern of the dynamo light is very, very wide but not very tall. I use multiple battery lights on my bikes without dynamos, and every time I ride them I wish they were dynamo-equipped.

The beam has a sharp upper cut-off (like an auto headlight), which allows me to light up the entire trail out to ~200 feet (and 20 feet on either side) without shining any of the beam directly into the eyes of an oncoming cyclist.

I am seriously annoyed by folks with mega-powered battery lights that blind me when we cross. USB lights have definitely come a long way in the amount of light they put out for their cost. But, they're wasting most of that light unless they have good optics (which no US market lights have).

Another advantage of dynamo lights vs usb: Any battery will lose capacity over time; just ask your laptop or phone. The battery in a USB light has a limited number of charge-discharge cycles and will eventually fail. Dynamos and their lights are much more durable in the long run.

I'm glad that you found a battery light solution that works for you. I would have easily spent $225 on two high-output USB head lights, and probably still been underwhelmed by their performance.
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Old 10-12-15, 10:24 AM
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I run a cheap Sanyo on my commuter, and the higher end SP on my rando bike. Previously I had a Shimano on my rando bike.

All have worked flawlessly. The numbers on the Sanyo indicate it has the highest resistance when off - which is irrelevant to me since I always have my commuter lights on. Resistance is also higher when on, but I really don't care for this application.

Sanyo was $90 for a prebuilt wheel from eBay. I probably have 10k miles on this wheel, year-round use in all weather.
SP was about $120 for the dyno, direct from SP. Two rando seasons, all weather, PBP, 24-hour races.
Shimano was a bit less IIRC, bought through my LBS, who also built the wheel. (replaced with SP when I needed a different size wheel).

My lights-on always policy for commuting is why I run dyno.
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Old 10-12-15, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
. . . You can approximate a dynamo beam with multiple battery lights. You'll need multiples because the beam pattern of the dynamo light is very, very wide but not very tall. I use multiple battery lights on my bikes without dynamos, and every time I ride them I wish they were dynamo-equipped. . .
Actually, you can exactly duplicate the "dynamo" beam by driving your Luxos U light with a battery. It could even shine brighter if you want. A good battery is usually cheaper than a wheel.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:04 AM
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I always thought it was weird that lights cause more heated arguments than any bike related subject other than headgear. I always have redundant lights on my bkes, and every bike but the fat bike has a dyno hub. And I'm hoping to change that. I also have a really nice Cygolite headlight, and I'm trying to figure out if I should add to that or just get spare mounts. I have battery tail lights and dyno-powered tail lights on every bike. The one thing I don't like about battery lights is a silly little thing called "battery runtime" and until it becomes infinite, I'm sticking with dynohubs. The only downside is that my collection of unused front wheels is starting to be fairly large.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I always thought it was weird that lights cause more heated arguments than any bike related subject other than headgear. I always have redundant lights on my bkes, and every bike but the fat bike has a dyno hub. And I'm hoping to change that. I also have a really nice Cygolite headlight, and I'm trying to figure out if I should add to that or just get spare mounts. I have battery tail lights and dyno-powered tail lights on every bike. The one thing I don't like about battery lights is a silly little thing called "battery runtime" and until it becomes infinite, I'm sticking with dynohubs. The only downside is that my collection of unused front wheels is starting to be fairly large.
Chain lube, disc versus rim brakes, best frame material, just to name a few...

I'm seriously considering a dynamo hub as well. I like my battery lights but the limited run time is an annoyance (see also: range anxiety for electric cars.) But I'm unsure about adding one more thing onto my frequently beaten commuter bike, especially one with wiring involved. I feel like every year my commuter gets that "one new thing" that I need to have, and eventually it will be a 100lb glob of gear that's impossible to ride. I'm exaggerating of course, but I'm unsure where to draw the line. Cost is also a factor.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:24 AM
  #22  
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I've had awfully good luck with a Shimano Alfine dynohub. I previously owned a Schmidt but the Alfine is every bit as good for much less cost. I don't know much about the Shimano lines, but FWIW the Alfine is much much smoother than the Nexus 8-speed hub I used to have -- looks similar but clearly some things are different.
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Old 10-12-15, 11:49 AM
  #23  
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I've got dynamo lights on my bikes.
They work great out on dark streets. So for riding through the countryside, they're great.
If you get in with a bunch of cars and traffic, something brighter would be advantageous.
The ones I have, have a fairly well-defined light area that is mostly on the road. The good part is that this doesn't blind oncoming traffic or riders. The bad part is, it doesn't illuminate stop signs and the like, and you can ride right through a stop sign and not ever see it.
Rechargeable lights work great, unless you're like me and forget to plug them in when you get home and then can't ride the next day because you forgot to plug your lights in the day before. It's nice to just always have the lights there!
Planet Bike Superflash is my main taillight (3 or more of them, not just one), I don't try to run taillights off the dynamo. In flashing mode, the batteries last pretty good.
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Old 10-12-15, 12:28 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
Yeah, it's hard to compare them if you've never tried--or ridden with--someone with dynamo lights. Since we're both in IA, you could check mine out sometime if you'd like to...
I've been trying to get @bikemig to come along on some of the shorter brevets. Perhaps we could all join up next spring. I'll have my dyno light setup all done by that point, too.
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Old 10-12-15, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
I've been trying to get @bikemig to come along on some of the shorter brevets. Perhaps we could all join up next spring. I'll have my dyno light setup all done by that point, too.
Does that mean that @Tim_Iowa is going to tell me how much better his lights are than mine for 200 km? Or maybe we need to do a C&V TOMRV?


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