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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-01-11, 10:02 PM   #1
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Bottle generator in winter?

So, what's the verdict?

Some background here:

Originally Posted by legot73
One more mod on my L200 I decided to make is to get the Nexus NX-30 hub generator and switch from The hub is $45-$55, and will work more reliably than the bottle dynamo and with less friction. A worthwhile upgrade for winter where bottles slip and drag.
Originally Posted by PaulH
Nokians do not have generator tracks molded in them Even a good generator strip and bottle generator will have problems in snow. My solution was to swap the bottle for a hub dynamo. Best thing I did with my bike.
Originally Posted by PaulH
I'd advise getting a hub dynamo and going with the Nokians. In my experience, even with a dynamo strip, a bottle generator is unreliable in wet snow, even with frequent tinkering.
Originally Posted by Juha
I just got a 3W Lumotec with bottle dynamo. This is an experiment to see if the wattage is enough for my commute. I have had it for a couple of days now and the light is good. Bottle dynamo is not the ideal solution in winter though, it requires constant adjusting. I guess I am lucky in the sense that the Busch & Mueller dynamo at least allows easy adjusting without tools.
Originally Posted by Juha
I don't have any experience of dynamo strips, but I do have a Nokian W106 and a B&M bottle dynamo in front. It did require a bit of adjusting and testing and re-adjusting to get the dynamo running flawlessly, but after that I have not needed to touch it for several years.

BTW, what is the idea with a dynamo strip? Less spring load needed to keep the dynamo firmly against the sidewall? Better traction between sidewall and dynamo? Durability?
Originally Posted by Juha
+1 to Lumotec lamps. I've been riding a couple of winters now with a B&M bottle dynamo and the Lumotec Oval -light. I am pleased.
Originally Posted by jakub.ner
Really? A bottle dynamo during the winter in Finland? Does it work because it's so cold that you don't have moisture issues or does it work because the dynamo is of good quality? I've tried a cheap bottle dynamo in the winter here in Canada and it just slipped, so I used batteries. But I've just bought three cheapie bottle dyanmos for exactly the same reasons as the OP, just in case: commuting and long distance.
Originally Posted by Lotum
You're quite right--arctic/semi-arctic winters and bottle dynamos don't mix. If you want to see (in addition to not having slipping probs), hub dynamos are the way to go. Battery-powered LED lights are also ok, if you want merely to be seen.

I currently have a single-watt battery-powered light that I use as my 'seeing' light. I am considering a dynamo system just because I don't like fiddling with or worrying about batteries - but I will consider investing the money I would spend on said dynamo lighting into another battery light if a dynamo light won't/can't cut it.

Some more opinions:

Originally Posted by via PeterWhiteCycles
Sidewall dynamos from B&M work in all weather except snow
Originally Posted by via LovelyBicycle!
About slipping in the rain and snow: That was one of my worries before I began using them, and I think the key here is good model vs bad model. I rode the Austrian bike with the older, battered-looking dynamo (top picture) in the snow a bit, and in lots of rain - no problems with the dynamo. And I've ridden my currently owned Gazelle in downpours without nay problems either. The new B&M and Nordlicht are supposed to be the best functioning models out there, so hopefully those are an even safer bet.

Last edited by boro; 11-01-11 at 10:08 PM. Reason: ..
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Old 11-02-11, 04:53 AM   #2
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I'll take for 300 Alex! Doesn't a generator cause blindness? I're peddling so hard your eyes pop out? THEN WHAT!? A seeing eye cat!? But oh boy not long til it gets destracted by your danglin eyeballs...
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Old 11-02-11, 05:11 AM   #3
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If you are going to be dealing with snow a bottle generator will not work effectively and rain can also impair their performance... a hub generator will be fine regardless of the weather conditions.
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Old 11-02-11, 07:03 AM   #4
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+1 re: sixty fiver

The B&M Dynamos work well, but they require lots of tweaking to get the angle to work efficiently with your tire. Change the tire and performance (ie slippage) goes down until you tweak again. Rain? works okay if set up well, but still more slippage. Snow? well, caliper brakes suffer in the snow, so it goes with out saying that the dynamo performance will suffer. I never used tires with the so called dynamo strip and yes, I wore down the tread on that edge.

This season, I've got a generator hub. I gave up on the dynamo not because it didn't work, but because it was a lot of hassle to get it to work.
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Old 11-02-11, 11:17 AM   #5
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I have a bottle dynamo on my tourer and a Shimano hub generator on my everyday commuter.

The tourer setup is as good as any bottle dynamo can be, quality Nordlicht with rubber cap, bolted to a small, solid braze-on tab at the rear wheel, used with Marathon tyres with the relevant dynamo strip. I have used it in solid rain for hours and it works OK. I wouldnt trust it in snow, slush or sticky mud. Wiring the system reliably is tricky, I think dual wire circuits are easier to connect than using the bike frame.

The hub generator is faultless, works in all conditions without missing a beat for years. The only downside is that sevicing the bearings is a tricky and dangerous operation. If you break the small conductive ribbon there is no way of fixing it (is there?, if you know, please post it). Drag on the hub is not noticeable.

Both units output the same std 3 watts of power but the amount of illumination varies with the efficiency of the lamp. New LED units are far better than old bulb ones. Newer generations of LED are better than older LEDs.

I tried using an LED rear with a bulb front. When the bulb or connection goes, all the power is diverted to the rear and it blows. Is there a solution to this?
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Old 11-03-11, 12:39 AM   #6
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will hydroplane on that generator track .. enter Schmidt hub Dynamos,
never slip and what drag they may add is inconsequential .

Point focus on the e6 Halogen bulb lays down a good amount of light to see by
or if the street is really wet, a be seen light, as light reflects off wet pavement ,
and not back to the source.

but faced into a howling gale , I tend to have my head down and forge onward.
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