Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Should I get my next front wheel built with a dynamo hub?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Should I get my next front wheel built with a dynamo hub?

Old 03-31-20, 04:13 PM
  #1  
JayKay3000
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
JayKay3000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 180
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Liked 44 Times in 34 Posts
Should I get my next front wheel built with a dynamo hub?

I'm still trying to plan for the future.

For long term ownership do you recommend a dynamo hub for charging basic things like a phone or music player?

Or is it better just to have a couple of cheaper battery recharge packs or even a small solar panel charger?

I really like the idea of the dynamo hub, but I'm not planning on riding around the world so for general riding and the odd week long tour is it worth it (I know 'is it worth it' is subjective).

To me it doesn't seem worth it and better to put that money into a different part of the bike.
JayKay3000 is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 04:28 PM
  #2  
Nyah
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Shenandoah Valley, Northern Virginia.
Posts: 275

Bikes: '99 Trek 520, Konacado ('20 Kona Sutra).

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 58 Times in 42 Posts
I probably wouldn't get one just for that purpose. If I needed to power lights, though, I'd get one and then also have it set up for USB charging while I was at it.
Nyah is offline  
Likes For Nyah:
Old 03-31-20, 05:22 PM
  #3  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 2,176

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 682 Post(s)
Liked 417 Times in 253 Posts
Get a dyno hub if you want effective and reliable lighting because you ride a lot in the dark (although I see value in running lighting during the day for visibility). If you don't need such lighting, stick with charge packs.
Moe Zhoost is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 05:44 PM
  #4  
skookum
cyclotourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: calgary, canada
Posts: 1,183
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 321 Post(s)
Liked 117 Times in 72 Posts
Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Get a dyno hub if you want effective and reliable lighting because you ride a lot in the dark (although I see value in running lighting during the day for visibility). If you don't need such lighting, stick with charge packs.
Or if you are just fascinated by the technology.
skookum is offline  
Likes For skookum:
Old 03-31-20, 06:00 PM
  #5  
KC8QVO
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 768

Bikes: Surly Disk Trucker, 2014 w/Brooks Flyer Special saddle, Tubus racks - Duo front/Logo Evo rear, 2019 Dahon Mariner D8, Both bikes share Ortlieb Packer Plus series panniers, Garmin Edge 1000

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 229 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 31 Posts
The only logical* reason I see for a dyno hub is for a more reliable/less maintenance lighting system.

*By logical I am working in reference to the investment and logic in dishing out the $ for a complete system. If lighting is important enough to you that you can reason the investment then that is what I am getting at.

Having said that - for powering accessories I use a 12v class (around 14v full charge) Lithium battery then recharge with solar on-the-go, or plug in. I think this is a much more versatile system.

For the amount of power that you get out of a dyno hub, in my world, it doesn't make any sense. I can get around 17w from my solar panels. Yeah, a dyno can provide power as long as you are moving, but the average power any dyno is able to provide is very low. For the investment you can get magnitudes more wattage from solar. Yeah, it is more "stuff", but you can get a lot more power out of solar.

Considering building a wheel set with a dyno hub right now with no use, to me, is asinine. You can add a dyno hub any time. In fact, unless you are using some special rims that are expensive that you want to re-use to stretch your $, it would be worthwhile to get a new rim and new spokes then build up your wheel with the dyno hub when you transition to it. You can get rims pretty cheap - under $50. I bought some around $30 to replace one I ran over with my truck. I just bought 2 so I have a spare.

As to spokes - all rim/hub combos will likely require different spoke lengths. And you aren't likely able to buy just the number of spokes you need - you probably are going to be buying a box of 100 or so, unless you have a wheel builder or bike shop set it up for you.

Building a wheel isn't hard. I did it then took it to a buddy with a truing stand to dial it in. Easy peasy. You can get close enough on truing to work putting the wheel on your fork also. If you want to get creative you can put a feeler marker of some kind on the fork to get better results.
KC8QVO is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 07:12 PM
  #6  
timdow
Pie Smuggler
 
timdow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 363

Bikes: 2010 LHT (Blue), 2000 Jamis Aurora, 2005 Giant Ranier, 1998 Schwinn Moab (converted for commuting), 1994 Trek 1220

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Not worth it to me. LED head/tail lights w/battery or rechargeable work well enough, and a power-pack to charge the phone do the job just fine. But everyone has different needs and desires. I currently only desire to tour in the developed world. There is a lot I would have to think about if I change my tune and want to go someplace remote.
timdow is offline  
Likes For timdow:
Old 03-31-20, 07:23 PM
  #7  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,786

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 253 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 42 Posts
I got one prior to my 18-month trip across the Americas. I used it to charge battery packs that then get used to charge my cycle computer - particularly in a few gaps of multiple days with no charge options e.g. Dalton Highway or a gap or two in Peru and Argentina. As it turned out, the wiring was fragile and broke in Alaska. At that point, I could get there by charging a battery pack from wall outlet and using it for the cycle computer. So it was a nice idea but not one I ended up using as much as I expected.

So I see them as interesting luxuries, particularly if you are in a place where you are likely to be able to charge most nights.
mev is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 07:30 PM
  #8  
downtube42
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 2,330

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Volae Team, Priority Eight, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6.

Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 241 Post(s)
Liked 376 Times in 212 Posts
Dyno gives you forget-about-it lighting. Install it, turn it on, and never think about lights again.

​​​​​​For charging stuff, I'm a bit less enthusiastic because now you're fiddling with wiring on the bike and screwing with your lighting system.
downtube42 is offline  
Likes For downtube42:
Old 03-31-20, 09:31 PM
  #9  
DropBarFan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 3,151

Bikes: 2013 Surly Disc Trucker, 2004 Novara Randonee , old fixie , etc

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 671 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 39 Posts
Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
I'm still trying to plan for the future.

For long term ownership do you recommend a dynamo hub for charging basic things like a phone or music player?

Or is it better just to have a couple of cheaper battery recharge packs or even a small solar panel charger?

I really like the idea of the dynamo hub, but I'm not planning on riding around the world so for general riding and the odd week long tour is it worth it (I know 'is it worth it' is subjective).

To me it doesn't seem worth it and better to put that money into a different part of the bike.
I do similar riding; had thought about a dyno hub. But I figured that if I was going to go the trouble I'd want a premium German hub/llight set & those are expensive. Dyno would be nice for folks who do significant touring time in the dark or for a commuter/touring bike. For less price, one can buy a set of TRP hydraulic brakes or a new saddle, ie something that is helpful more frequently.
DropBarFan is offline  
Old 03-31-20, 11:32 PM
  #10  
MarcusT
Senior Member
 
MarcusT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: NE Italy
Posts: 926
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 426 Post(s)
Liked 151 Times in 94 Posts
I was in the same position while building up my tourer, then I tried to remember how many times I actually rode after dark and it was almost never, a battery light would work fine, then I looked at cell phone and tablet and not once had either one drained completely during my trips (with a charger).
The dyno triggers romantic thoughts of crossing barren lands for weeks at a time and in need of a power source, but until I actually plan a trip like that, I'll go without
MarcusT is offline  
Likes For MarcusT:
Old 04-01-20, 01:20 AM
  #11  
alo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2020
Posts: 430
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 191 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 92 Times in 70 Posts
Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Dyno gives you forget-about-it lighting. Install it, turn it on, and never think about lights again
I use solar lights for the same reason. You just put them on the bike, turn them on when you want them on, and turn them off when you are finished.

Solar bicycle lights

These headlights are much brighter than any lights I have seen run from a bicycle dynamo.

If you want to charge other things, such as phones, I would get a battery pack with a solar panel.
alo is offline  
Old 04-01-20, 02:54 AM
  #12  
Trevtassie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Down Under
Posts: 1,698

Bikes: A steel framed 26" off road tourer from a manufacturer who thinks they are cool. Giant Anthem. Trek 720 Multiroad pub bike. 10 kids bikes all under 20". Assorted waifs and unfinished projects.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 567 Post(s)
Liked 359 Times in 192 Posts
Get on the German websites, Bike24, bike discount starbike etc. Grab a cheap SP Dynamo hub. One of the AXA headlights, a B&M toplight tail light. When you decide to tour, add a Forumslader or a similar high capacity dynamo to USB with cache battery system. Don't bother with an integrated light/USB system, the output is too low to be useful. I use a Forumslader set up to charge from the hub, but also portable to act as a battery
Solar is a PITA on tour. Been there done that. You have to worry about finding a campsite with sunlight, spreading out a panel over your luggage and worry about people stealing said panel. A USB battery pack with a USB-C fast charger would be a better option.
Trevtassie is offline  
Likes For Trevtassie:
Old 04-01-20, 04:21 AM
  #13  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,733
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 383 Post(s)
Liked 77 Times in 64 Posts
For me I decided that the best approach was to minimize battery usage. I don't use super bright lights or ride long hours at night on tour. I turn my phone off when not in use or at least put it in airplane mode. I I use a tiny little light in camp for a few seconds at a time and the battery lasts for months. The two AAA batteries in my little blinkie light seem to last forever, but carrying spares is easy enough. I have no problem keeping up with charging even when I am days between charging opportunities. Bottom line, for me a dyno hub would be gross overkill.

If you don't mind the weight and expense and want more than minimal day and night lights maybe you needs are different.
__________________
Check out my profile, articles, and trip journals at:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/staehpj1
staehpj1 is offline  
Likes For staehpj1:
Old 04-01-20, 08:10 AM
  #14  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 7,136

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1822 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 261 Times in 220 Posts
This is the touring forum so I assume the question is for touring, not commuting, etc.

Touring, I almost never use a headlight since I am riding in daylight 99 percent of the time. There are occasional tunnels, maybe an occasional trip to a pub. But generally I am not needing a lot of light to see where I am going. But I use one or two battery powered taillights when touring, usually have one on in blink mode. The taillights use two AAA batteries which I charge up every week to make sure they stay bright. If however you also used the bike for commuting, that is a different story.

My point is that 99 to 100 percent of the power out of my dynohub while touring is for battery charging, not for lighting.




***
How long are your tours?
- For 2 to 4 days, skip the dynohub. Shut off your phone when not in use.
- A week long tour, a large power bank and power conservation can do the trick if you look for outlets to sit by when you walk into a restaurant. If you bring a camera, bring spare batteries for it.
- Multi-week, a dynohub is really nice for charging stuff up.

My last tour was five weeks, due to a bad cable I had to charge up from an outlet half way through my tour, but other than that I was self sufficient for the whole tour for power. And I finished my five week tour with a battery pack that was almost fully charged.

Before I started using a dynohub for charging, on month-long tours I was often searching out outlets every time I went into a restaurant, looking for unused outlets in campgrounds near my campsite. That is a major hassle, I was so happy to not have to deal with that anymore.



***
I built up my first touring bike in 2004. I saw no real need for a dynohub, at that time they were pretty much just for lighting. If I commuted, I would have considered it. Next touring bike I built up was in 2010, I owned nothing that charged with USB. I retired that year, so that was when I started thinking about tours longer than a week, but I still decided against dyno hub.

The touring bike I built up in 2013, decided I wanted a dynohub, almost exclusively for charging devices. And occasional lighting. I was still using a flip phone that did not use USB, but I could see that USB charging was the future. I bought the hub thinking that the cost of a dyno hub minus the cost of a plain hub was my only additional cost. Oops, one more cost, most dynohubs do not come with a skewer so needed to buy that too. I was building up a new wheel, not considering upgrading a wheel that I already owned. In 2017, I built up another touring bike and there was no question, I was buying a dynohub. This bike was 700c and the bike I built in 2013 was 26 inch so I could not use that four year old wheel on the new bike.



Side note: I usually use a bolt on skewer instead of a quick release when touring, the skewer in the above photo takes a standard 5mm allen wrench which I assume an opportunistic thief won't have in their pocket when they are walking past my bike while I am in a grocery store, etc.

***
A few notes on energy conservation:
- Using a phone when it is cold will reduce battery life. If I wanted to check weather forecast on a cold morning I warmed up the phone in my sleeping bag first.
- Make sure your cables do not have high resistance, a bad cable got into my cable collection on my last trip and I did not get as much power from my Sinewave into my battery pack as I should have. Used a different cable for second half of the trip and did not have a problem.
- And the obvious, leave the phone off or in in airplane mode.

***
Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Get on the German websites, Bike24, bike discount starbike etc. Grab a cheap SP Dynamo hub. One of the AXA headlights, a B&M toplight tail light. ...
One of my dynohubs was from Bike24 and I bought a light or two from them too. But, for touring I would not recommend buying the taillight, since for touring a taillight is usually used in daytime in flash mode a battery taillight makes more sense.

Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
For me I decided that the best approach was to minimize battery usage. I don't use super bright lights or ride long hours at night on tour. I turn my phone off when not in use or at least put it in airplane mode. I I use a tiny little light in camp for a few seconds at a time and the battery lasts for months. The two AAA batteries in my little blinkie light seem to last forever, but carrying spares is easy enough. I have no problem keeping up with charging even when I am days between charging opportunities. Bottom line, for me a dyno hub would be gross overkill.

If you don't mind the weight and expense and want more than minimal day and night lights maybe you needs are different.
Mostly agree, but my long tours are often more remote than yours and I find places to chargeup are not as plentiful as desired.

Plus I use a GPS when I am rolling, that might be a third or maybe a half of my power usage.

Last edited by Tourist in MSN; 04-01-20 at 09:07 AM.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Likes For Tourist in MSN:
Old 04-01-20, 08:59 AM
  #15  
GamblerGORD53
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Elevation 666m Edmonton Canada
Posts: 1,528

Bikes: 2013 Custom SA5w / Rohloff Tourster

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 725 Post(s)
Liked 47 Times in 41 Posts
If you only use this bike in July and August in northern places >>LOL, sure don't get a dyno. It gets dark at 7:30 at 35d lattitude, like AZ CA. I went to Vietnam in winter, it was dark at 5:30. NOT having a dyno is LAUGHABLE, especially in rain. Last fall I had my other old bike on a car trip from Aug. 16 to Oct.16. The last month it was dark at 6:30, so it didn't get used. Pathetic life battery lights actually cost way MORE than my dyno.
I bought my SA XL-FDD dyno drum brake in 2012. It has 24,000 trouble free miles with a new bearing at 17,000. Lights are always ON. The brake is like FREE, ZERO service.
This is by FAR the best thing I have EVER bought.
I still don't have a battery pack. It takes 4 hours to charge everything at a hotel.
=======
Plus my biggest peeve, is after 20 years there is still NO progress. The said life is still 7 hours.
And they are still 5V instead of 6V/ 1.25 vs 1.5V.... WTF Does Eveready have a patent on 1.5V??? The difference in usability is HUGE. Maybe somebody can point out the insider info??

Last edited by GamblerGORD53; 04-01-20 at 09:47 AM.
GamblerGORD53 is offline  
Old 04-01-20, 02:33 PM
  #16  
skookum
cyclotourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: calgary, canada
Posts: 1,183
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 321 Post(s)
Liked 117 Times in 72 Posts
This is good, you are getting every opinion under the sun.

I rode the GDMBR, I had a small powerbank and a small solar panel. I kept the phone off most of the time and used a garmin etrex gps with lithium batteries, which would last six days per set.
I used the solar panel twice to charge up my phone in remote places, you need fairly bright sunlight, and it works better the closer to the equator you are. Imagine that. Just kept my eye out for opportunities to charge my phone or my powerbank, it wasn't a huge deal.

For off pavement slow speed travel, you may not be going fast enough to get an effective charge with a dynamo hub. My average speed on the Divide was 10 km/h
(I know, Im slow) - probably not fast enough to make good use of a dynamo.

I've built up a bike with a SON dynamohub, I'm just getting the whole thing going. Some really good information at Cycling About.
Also our pal here, Tourist in MSN has some really good info, that he has posted here and on the Thorn forum.

I was just reading some of Iohan's stuff on keeping things charged, he uses a fair amount of power for cameras and his drone.

Power on the go: Solar vs Dynamo vs Battery packs ? Bike Wanderer

I notice that my friends who are engineers love to geek out on the details of electronics and charging systems and seem to enjoy the challenges and complexity of the topic. Others just want to keep their phone charged.

Anyway good luck with your decision, and have fun!

Last edited by skookum; 04-01-20 at 02:38 PM. Reason: more thoughts, redundancy
skookum is offline  
Old 04-01-20, 03:03 PM
  #17  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 6,103

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1273 Post(s)
Liked 356 Times in 248 Posts
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
One of my dynohubs was from Bike24 and I bought a light or two from them too. But, for touring I would not recommend buying the taillight, since for touring a taillight is usually used in daytime in flash mode a battery taillight makes more sense.
If you're riding where there are tunnels, having the dyno tail light (and headlight, for that matter) makes it easier. No need to pfaff about getting a rack-mounted tail light (which seem to be getting a lot scarcer in the last few years). No need to stop and turn them on and off, Flip up the shades and ride right on through.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 04-01-20, 04:11 PM
  #18  
Trevtassie
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Down Under
Posts: 1,698

Bikes: A steel framed 26" off road tourer from a manufacturer who thinks they are cool. Giant Anthem. Trek 720 Multiroad pub bike. 10 kids bikes all under 20". Assorted waifs and unfinished projects.

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 567 Post(s)
Liked 359 Times in 192 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
If you're riding where there are tunnels, having the dyno tail light (and headlight, for that matter) makes it easier. No need to pfaff about getting a rack-mounted tail light (which seem to be getting a lot scarcer in the last few years). No need to stop and turn them on and off, Flip up the shades and ride right on through.
Yep, this, Japan where we go a fair bit is full of tunnels. Longest one so far was 3.5km long (about 2 miles) one day we spent 20% of 85km underground.... Plus even Japan has big rural areas where power points are scarce, especially when some convenience stores will call the police on you for stealing power. The Japanese have a bee in their bonnet about power theft. I've seen lockable power points that must have costs 100s more to protect than the cost of power used by a mobile phone charger.
When we are touring in non english speaking countries power consumption can be pretty high, phone stays on for google translate and maps. Tourist areas have english signs but the rural areas often don't. Plus the limited network frequencies mean that the phone sometimes has to work much harder to receive and transmit to distant cell towers that have the right frequencies. (next phone will be a world model for me, with as many LTE frequencies as it can).
Trevtassie is offline  
Old 04-01-20, 06:16 PM
  #19  
Tourist in MSN
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 7,136

Bikes: 1961 Ideor, 1994 Bridgestone MB-6, 2006 Airnimal Joey, 2009 Thorn Sherpa, 2013 Thorn Nomad, 2015 VO Pass Hunter, 2017 Lynskey Backroad, 2017 Raleigh Gran Prix, Perfekt 3 Speed -age unknown, 1980s Bianchi Mixte on a trainer. Others are now gone.

Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1822 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 261 Times in 220 Posts
Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
...No need to pfaff about getting a rack-mounted tail light (which seem to be getting a lot scarcer in the last few years). ....
If you have a seat stay light mount, wrap a bit of rubber strip from an inner tube around the rack to make it a bit bigger and then put the seat stay mount on the rack that way.



I typically use two taillights when touring, most of the time one is a backup but in fog or heavy overcast or rain I will have both lights on.
Tourist in MSN is offline  
Old 04-02-20, 08:46 AM
  #20  
Happy Feet
Senior Member
 
Happy Feet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Left Coast, Canada
Posts: 4,252
Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1728 Post(s)
Liked 753 Times in 412 Posts
For minimal power use in the summer I've used a portable solar panel. This powers a battery bank that in turn powers my other stuff. Some solar units turn a phone off charge when the sun is interrupted but the battery just keeps charging on and off. At this point in time I made that decision because I also like to hike and kayak and didn't want to replicate charging options across genres. This panel serves them all if I keep the power needs low.

By minimal I mean a usb headlight (used only at night or in the tent), phone (turned off except for use) and IPOD. Even in Canada I think I could be off grid indefinitely in summer.

Happy Feet is online now  
Likes For Happy Feet:
Old 04-02-20, 09:56 AM
  #21  
mev
bicycle tourist
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,786

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 253 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 42 Posts
Originally Posted by skookum View Post
This is good, you are getting every opinion under the sun.
Yes, interesting. I think it is also context dependent on how much power are you burning where - and what are your opportunities for recharging.

In general, my largest need is my bike computer if I record GPS. I turn a tablet or cell phone on only occasionally and can moderate my usage. Three different extended trips I've taken also show slightly different patterns for such usage:

* In 2013, I cycled across Africa with a supported group (TDA). We mostly camped and it was frequently that we had multiple days We were off-grid much of the time. Cell signals were surprisingly available. We crossed the equator and were close to it much of the trip, so it got dark early and we had longer nights. I did OK on that trip because of three factors: (a) In addition to my GPS tracker, I also had a cycle computer without GPS that lasted the entire trip on the same batteries. This was important because directions were typically given with distances (b) I had a Goal 0 solar charger that let me top up a battery pack. Not every day but let me keep enough charge so my GPS cycle computer was able to work consistently (c) we weren't traveling at night or with tunnels. There was one very foggy day where I brought out my blinkie but I wasn't running it every day (c) other than GPS tracking, I moderated other usage such as cell/internet. // So this is a case where a dyno hub could have been useful, but I was able to get by without it.
* In 2007, I cycled across Russia, self-supported with one other person. We mostly camped and as we got further east might be in a hotel once very 6-10 days. We were off-grid. In more remote parts of Siberia some villages along the railroad did have cell coverage. We used this for a very-limited way: (a) using GPS to get our latitude/longitude (b) firing up cell phone (pre smart phone) to send a SMS message with our GPS coordinates once every 1-2 days so there was a "pulse" we were alive. My cycle computer didn't have GPS so batteries lasted throughout. Most all this was at latitude between of 54 and 60 degrees so days were long and so there was no travel in dark or even much non-sleeping in dark times. // In this case, that particular usage didn't need a dyno hub.
* In 2016, I cycled across the Americas, mostly along self-supported. The amount of camping varied. Some countries no camping and in general I stayed in hotel when I found one. However, also some places where gaps of up to 3-4 days between indoor lodging. Daylight varied from continuous north of the Arctic circle - down to about 10 hours in the shortest in my route/timing. I started with a dyno hub, wires got screwed up in Alaska and never quite fixed. I had GPS computer. I had cell phone, though also moderated usage if necessary. This time worked by having two battery packs for the longer gaps and watching my usage. // In this case, if my dyno hub kept working, I would have used it more, though was also able to get by.

So for me, I can definitely see places where having and keeping this working and I will use it. I also see it as something that is not a necessity for my travels.
mev is offline  
Old 04-02-20, 10:44 AM
  #22  
PedalingWalrus
Senior Member
 
PedalingWalrus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 1,146

Bikes: Corvid Sojourner, Surly Ice Cream Truck, Comotion Divide, Salsa Warbird, Salsa Beargrease, Dandelion Dream Tandem

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 367 Post(s)
Liked 176 Times in 97 Posts
I did not read the reply's so hopefully i"m not repetitive but I do have the dynamo and light and usb charger and I do like it - especially the lights. I never need to keep in mind to be fully charged, remove and mount lights or have a second thought whether the lights will last. I just turn the light on and ride.
PedalingWalrus is offline  
Likes For PedalingWalrus:
Old 04-02-20, 08:49 PM
  #23  
skookum
cyclotourist
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: calgary, canada
Posts: 1,183
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 321 Post(s)
Liked 117 Times in 72 Posts
Originally Posted by mev View Post
Yes, interesting. I think it is also context dependent on how much power are you burning where - and what are your opportunities for recharging.
Yes, totally context dependent. I have never used nor needed one, but I have one now, we will see how much use it is.

Last edited by skookum; 04-02-20 at 08:50 PM. Reason: missing bracket
skookum is offline  
Old 04-03-20, 01:59 PM
  #24  
tspoon
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Stratford, New Zealand
Posts: 314

Bikes: 1990 Paul Dye Hand Built 7 Speed, 1965 Raleigh Sport, Folding 26" Tourer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 57 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 9 Posts
I use a dynamo wheel, my bike is used at home and on tour, although I don't commute by bike. I quite like leaving town before sun up, especially if it's a fairly large town. That way you miss the worst traffic, you get to see the town wake up, and the people that start work early (I believe the current term is 'essential workers'), you get to see the sun come up, and by the time it does you're in the countryside hopefully. I also find it handy if the day doesn't quite go to plan, and you need to continue moving after dusk for a short period to find a place to stay, which has happened numerous times.
Being an electrician, a cheapskate, and a bit of a DIY fan, I designed my own system which produces about 4.8 watts at 18km/h. It has a small 8.4V 1000mAH backup battery to keep charging if I slow down, or to keep the lights lit at intersections etc. I also have a slightly larger 8.4V 3500mAH pack to take on tour which plugs in, and can be removed at the end of the day to charge while in the tent etc. The front light is an alloy housed, STVZ0 compliant unit single LED unit from China which was designed for battery use, but was repurposed for dynamo use with a 500mA constant current driver. The light output is at the point of diminishing return, i.e. extra current doesn't give a proportional increase in light, and 500mA also allows the battery to continue charging at about 3W even at night.
My phone has a ~4500 mAH battery, this seems to charge well from the setup, I imagine it depletes the battery packs, which then recharge at a slower rate as I continue cycling. The only other portable battery powered equipment is a headlamp with white and red leds that doubles as a backup bike lamp for either end, and sometimes, a small bluetooth music dongle as my phone has no 3.5mm earphone plug.
Basically the setup is very reliable and trouble free, and repairable if anything does happen, although I did have to go to an electronics store one time to get a butane soldering iron to use.
This kind of setup is good if:
You use the bike for touring and general use.
You aren't expecting to spend consecutive long days at very low speeds <12-13 km/h
You spend a reasonable period each day cycling.
You might spend multiple consecutive nights away from mains power.
You expect overcast or rainy weather at times.

Additionally, even if you didn't intend to spend multiple consecutive nights away from mains power, the system gives you to freedom to change plans on a whim with one less thing to arrange if you do that.
tspoon is offline  
Old 04-03-20, 10:58 PM
  #25  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,077
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1054 Post(s)
Liked 349 Times in 190 Posts
Last year I built a touring bike and considered a powered hub, but quickly put that on hold as the cost is too high. Batteries have served me well over the years, and it looks like they will continue to do so into the future.
TiHabanero is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.