Years ago, when I first stumbled upon Sheldon Brown's wonderful world of bike knowledge, I used to chuckle at the clunky-looking hub-generators. Who would use such an ungodly hub, it looks like it weighs a ton!
Well things have changed since my earlier days of cycling, and with dark winter commutes already happening, and long (possibly riding through the night) Brevets coming my way, I think it's time.
Once you decide to go with a "dynohub," the hardest part is figuring out which one you want. Schmidt SON28, or the smaller SONXS100? Or what about Shimano's dynohub? 32 or 36 spokes? And then there's lights: Schmidt E6 (supposedly the best/brightest), or the Lumotec Standard? 3 watts with one front light, or a 2.4 watt front bulb with a .6 watt rear one? Hell, you can even have two lights in the front, one as a backup.
Is your head spinning yet?
What I ended up choosing:
- Shimano Nexus hub generator - apparently weighs in at 735g (~1.5 lbs), ouch. $89
- Schmidt E6 main light - the best one, by all accounts. $110. ouch.
- Caliper-brake mount for the E6, backup bulbs: ~ $20
Then I'll need a wheel built around the hub, of course. I might try my hand at building my first wheel, why not? Although the idea of rolling out on the first time on it is a little daunting to say the least.
Either way, I'm gonna be so brightly lit it'll be ridiculous! Unlike tonight's 30km commute home, in the dark, from Redmond to Capitol Hill. At least I've got reflectors on my fenders, but that was about it! Thank allah for car & street lights! (Before you get your reflective vest & helmet light in a knot, I forgot my light at home, OK?!)
When it's all said and done, it should look something like this, except on my Bianchi Eros:
Yeah, it'll be a little heavier, and has a tiny bit of drag, but hopefully this will save me from buying tons of batteries over the years. And if I ever do a 1200k (gulp!), I won't have to carry spare batteries! Bring on the night!