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battery-less front light

Old 10-19-20, 01:36 AM
  #1  
fofinet855
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battery-less front light

Hello everyone.
I'm looking for a motion-powered front light (to be seen, but also to see), because I'm a bit tired of always having to worry about recharging the one I'm using now. I checked Reelight and they seem good, but the ones that mount on the axle are only visible from one side, which I don't like, while the ones with separate pieces for the dynamo and for the light are not suited for carbon forks, because the dynamo is attached with a very thin wire which might damage the fork. Before I start checking dynamo hubs, is there some cheaper option? As I said, carbon fork and disk brakes.
Thank you.
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Old 10-19-20, 08:36 AM
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I think you are looking at a dynohub.

Several years ago I bought a dyno powered headlight on a clearance price, no switch on it. Sat on my shelf for a few years. Then I got lucky and got a low cost dynohub wheel that had been donated to a charity. Put it on my errand bike. In my case it is a Shimano hub, they are grounded to the fork, the light is also grounded to the mount, steel fork is conductive, thus one wire from hub to light was all that was needed. My fork has fender mounts, your carbon fork might not. But my light is off to the side far enough that the shadow behind the wheel is off to the side far enough that it does not bother me. I just used a piece of threaded rod and some nuts to mount it.

The light being this low gives a lot of shadows for dips in the road, etc., so if I was going to use this very much I would raise the light up higher but for my errand bike for short shopping trips it is adequate.

It however hangs up on some bike racks at stores.

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Old 10-19-20, 02:52 PM
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I have dynamo lights on a couple of my bikes. I love them. They are very reliable. I've tried various dynamos, and I find that I prefer the hub kind. It takes more money and work to get them going, but it's worth it to me. I barely feel the drag from the hub. It's so small that I run my lights day and night. Another benefit of dynamo-powered headlights is that they are designed with a new beam shape that has a cutoff at the top of the beam.
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Old 10-20-20, 06:09 AM
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Yes, the drag of the dynamo hub, according to some research, is about 3% IIRC. That's not what bothers me. But I guess I'll keep an eye on offers for hubs and lights.
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Old 10-25-20, 02:05 AM
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Not really cheaper than a dyno hub, but cheaper than a new wheel with a dynohub (unless you rebuilt the wheel yourself): check the dynos from velogical engineering. Lightweight, solid product, works in rainy and slippery conditions as well. I has been discussed here in the forum before, search for it.
As a to-see light: B&M IQ-X. Don't know where you based, but if you're in states it might be cheaper to order it from a german online seller than buying it at peter white cycles.
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Old 10-26-20, 11:24 AM
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Yes hub dynamos are expensive. Especially here in the US where they are not that popular. But you find them in Europe almost anywhere. I have a few bikes of mine equipped with hub dynamos and purchased the dynamos and even complete wheels in Germany and brought them back from my family visits in Germany. Some dealers might even ship to the US.
If you don't mind side mounted bottle dynamos but don't want them to mount on the carbon fork you can also mount them to the rear wheel if the frame is not carbon. One of my bikes has a rear mounted dynamo. You just need to make sure to purchase the correct model. There are clockwise and anti-clockwise turning models. They all generate about 3W and are sufficient to power the modern LED lights.
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Old 10-26-20, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by fofinet855 View Post
I checked Reelight and they seem good, but the ones that mount on the axle are only visible from one side, which I don't like, while the ones with separate pieces for the dynamo and for the light are not suited for carbon forks, because the dynamo is attached with a very thin wire which might damage the fork.
Reelight RL700 Series. I've had one on my commuter for ~7 years. Powers the front and rear lights, and has a built in capacitor/battery so it still works for a few minutes, even when you come to a complete stop and a Stop sign or red light. I mounted mine to the rear wheel and seat stay. No need to touch the carbon fork.

https://www.reelight.com/collections...s/rl700-series
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Old 10-28-20, 09:05 PM
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Old 10-29-20, 01:55 PM
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What you want then is something like these:

https://www.magniclight.com/en/

I've got the Mk1 set of these and I've supported the Kickstarter for the new brakeshoe type.


OR
https://www.reelight.com/

No personal experience
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Old 10-30-20, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by fofinet855 View Post
Hello everyone.
I'm looking for a motion-powered front light (to be seen, but also to see), because I'm a bit tired of always having to worry about recharging the one I'm using now. I checked Reelight and they seem good, but the ones that mount on the axle are only visible from one side, which I don't like, while the ones with separate pieces for the dynamo and for the light are not suited for carbon forks, because the dynamo is attached with a very thin wire which might damage the fork. Before I start checking dynamo hubs, is there some cheaper option? As I said, carbon fork and disk brakes.
Thank you.
I have the Reelight Nova and it's a light to been seen and not to see. You'll still need a front light to see the road. However, it's always good to have a backup front light and you tend to use it less during dusk.

Would I purchase it again? Probably not as I'm looking into bottle dynamos once this light burns out! However, it's so well made, I don't expect that to happen for years!
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Old 10-30-20, 10:36 AM
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Bottle dynamos seem to make the most drag. They are light and easy to install, however.
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Old 11-02-20, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
What you want then is something like these:

https://www.magniclight.com/en/

I've got the Mk1 set of these and I've supported the Kickstarter for the new brakeshoe type.
Their claim of no friction is misleading though. There are forces being applied analogous to friction. You have to take your energy for the lights from somewhere.
Energy is drawn from the rotating bicycle wheels without any physical contact, and thus without friction.
According to wikipedia:
By Lenz's law, an eddy current creates a magnetic field that opposes the change in the magnetic field that created it, and thus eddy currents react back on the source of the magnetic field. For example, a nearby conductive surface will exert a drag force on a moving magnet that opposes its motion, due to eddy currents induced in the surface by the moving magnetic field. [...] The current flowing through the resistance of the conductor also dissipates energy as heat in the material. Thus eddy currents are a cause of energy loss in alternating current (AC) inductors, transformers, electric motors and generators, and other AC machinery, requiring special construction such as laminated magnetic cores or ferrite cores to minimize them.
That being said, I kind of like their brake pad mounted version as a be-seen light so I might buy one one day.

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Old 11-02-20, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
Their claim of no friction is misleading though. There are forces being applied analogous to friction. You have to take your energy for the lights from somewhere.

According to wikipedia:

That being said, I kind of like their brake pad mounted version as a be-seen light so I might buy one one day.
They do have a bunch of advantages.

Much cheaper than a hub dynamo set up. Easily transferred between bikes. Much cheaper.
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Old 11-02-20, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JonnyHK View Post
They do have a bunch of advantages.

Much cheaper than a hub dynamo set up. Easily transferred between bikes. Much cheaper.
I can get a prebuilt dynamo wheel for €90, add a fairly decent front light for €20 (that's brighter at 40 lux than the 28 lux for the pair of the magnetic lights) and €10 rear light and you're only €5 more expensive than this setup. All that leaves you is a lighter setup that's easier to swap between bikes. Swap out the front light for a B+M Cyo Premium and it will vastly outshine the other option for €35 more.

Look, I'm not hating on the tech. I think it's pretty cool. But I do have trouble seeing what the added advantage is over existing tech. And it doesn't help that I live next door to the country with some of the best and most affordable bicycle light technology. The US is just very expensive when it comes to dynamo wheels compared to the rest of the world.

Last edited by JaccoW; 11-02-20 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 11-02-20, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by JaccoW View Post
I can get a prebuilt dynamo wheel for €90, add a fairly decent front light for €20 (that's brighter at 40 lux than the 28 lux for the pair of the magnetic lights) and €10 rear light and you're only €5 more expensive than this setup. All that leaves you is a lighter setup that's easier to swap between bikes. Swap out the front light for a B+M Cyo Premium and it will vastly outshine the other option for €35 more.

Look, I'm not hating on the tech. I think it's pretty cool. But I do have trouble seeing what the added advantage is over existing tech. And it doesn't help that I live next door to the country with some of the best and most affordable bicycle light technology. The US is just very expensive when it comes to dynamo wheels compared to the rest of the world.
This is good information. Sometimes people ask me where to get a reasonably priced dynamo wheel. I build my own wheels but others don't. I checked out this site's shipping charge for one of those wheels, and it was 20€ to the US which really isn't that bad.
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