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Old 01-16-13, 07:46 PM   #1
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Adding dynamo lighting to my new Electra Townie

Hello to all. I'm new to Bike Forums and very new to biking. I have just bought my first bike, an Electra Townie 21D (AKA: "Gloria"), and I am interested in having my local bike shop install pedal-generated lighting to Gloria - both a headlight and a tail light - similar to what I see on higher end city bikes like the Pashley Princess Sovereign and the Workcycles Omafiets. I think this is called hub dynamo lighting (I hope I have that right!)

Is this something that can somewhat easily be added to my new Townie as an aftermarket upgrade or would the expense be just enormous? Could any good bike shop do something like this for me or would I need to find a very specialized shop? Also, do any of y'all have recommendations for particular brands of aftermarket dynamo lighting systems that I should look into?

Many thanks for all input!


Last edited by petalsandpedals; 01-16-13 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 01-16-13, 08:08 PM   #2
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Rebuilding existing rim around the dynamo Hub, or buying a built a front wheel is the biggest part..
your local Bike shop should fix you up. Shimano has Many Generator hubs models.
Sturmey Archer doubled up an all weather drum brake with a dynamo in the same part.

the typical wired headlight is attached at the fork crown. the wired tail light runs off the plug supplied in the headlight..

There are rear of the rack or fit to the Mudguard tail lights available..

Peter White Cycles imports and distributes a few European brands , your LBS can order from him,

Or QBP is another nationwide distribuitor..

Busch and Muller is a German company, AXA - Basta is a Dutch/NL company .
good LED and some halogen Bulb. lights

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Old 01-16-13, 08:17 PM   #3
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There are two options for providing power to the lights a "bottle" generator on a bracket or a hub generator built into a wheel. One you have that power source any modern production lights are wired to the generator with ease. A wheel build with a generator is going to run over $100, where a bottle generator will run $15-$50 plus $7-$20 for a bracket, plus the cost of lights (~$25-$30 for the rear, front ~$50-$120 depending on which model you go with in terms of brightness). Adding the lighting and your choice of generator isn't any more difficult than bolting on any other accessories.

See these links for information & pricing:

Last edited by Fenway; 01-16-13 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 01-16-13, 09:19 PM   #4
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For the bike you have, you should be able to get a Sanyo H27 hub and a wheel built around it for $100, maybe 125. A light would be about 60-75 for a decent one, so you're looking at $200, AT LEAST. There's someone on eBay selling a road wheel made with the Sanyo hub for $95, but you need a mountain bike wheel to fit. They don't have any at the moment but said they would in the coming months when I asked. The road wheel looked decent enough, so if they had an MTB wheel that's what I'd get.

All generators produce 6v/3a due to the German StVZO legal standard. They have the largest share of the generator light market so the rules they make are followed by all the manufacturers in all countries. It doesn't make sense to me that there aren't any that pump out more volts or amps for those of us not subject to German law. More watts output means more pedaling input, so you don't want to go too crazy there. All generator lights also work on 6v/2.4a in front and .6a in back, hence the 3a rating.

With LED lighting getting more efficient by the day, you should be able to pump out a lot of light with that kind of power, but StVZO comes into play again. These laws state that lights MUST be limited in their aim and throw, just like a car light. Not all light adhere to this standard. You can also wire up your own if you are handy with electronics. Most lights have a "standlight", where the light stays on for 4 minutes (StVZO) or more (or less if it doesn't adhere to the standard) when you stop moving.

You probably don't want a "bottle" generator, these are a lot less efficient.

All that said, you can buy a rechargeable battery powered front light that will throw as much light off, or more, for $35, with batteries, mount, charger, and a headmount included. Rear lights are still catching up to the fronts in efficiency, but they aren't expensive.

I haven't tried dynamo lighting yet myself, mostly because I'm still enamored of my battery lights. It's a lot less hassle, plus I can't see putting a dynamo on my road bike. I could see it on my MTB, but it would cost more than the $150 I paid for the bike.
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