Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

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largeallan
Posts: 329
Joined: 10 Jan 2010, 2:31pm

Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby largeallan » 25 Sep 2018, 8:38am

Hi there, I'm looking to hear thoughts and experience on the reliability of shimano hubs dynamos through the murk of a Scottish winter.
I've decided to bite the bullet this year and try a 20mile commute, to and from work, but the weather effects on my electrics concerns me
regarding lights and dynamo. I don't expect it to be chucking it down every day, but........

Has anyone found water ingress to be a problem?

Also, any recommendations on a decent set of lights at a reasonable price? My pedal will be mostly former railway cycle path, but with a 3 mile grind up a country single track to start
....the start is the bit that's always put me off commuting. :shock:

Thanks, Allan.

Nigel
Posts: 146
Joined: 25 Feb 2007, 6:29pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby Nigel » 25 Sep 2018, 8:53am

Lights - B&M LED models. Seem to strike the right balance on price/performance and beam shape.
I've got a reasonably recent front one, and a fairly old LED rear powered by the Dynamo. There are also battery LED rear flashers on the bike.

Can't say how well the Shimano hub will stand up. I've had one on my "winter" bike for a decade or more, but my riding is still mostly fair-weather. It gets wet now and again, but not abused by salt and regular drenching.

Brucey
Posts: 34216
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby Brucey » 25 Sep 2018, 9:06am

I think a shimano hub generator will work OK, provided you add more, better grease and adjust the bearings properly. In most cases you can add grease to the RH bearing via a skinny/squashy tube and the LH bearing is conventionally accessed.

There are quite a few LED dynamo lights that are worth having, starting at about ten quid. There are B&M models which offer more light and better beam patterns than many others but then again they are often more expensive too.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

gazza_d
Posts: 56
Joined: 30 Oct 2016, 8:20am

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby gazza_d » 25 Sep 2018, 9:36am

I've been running a pair of cheap Shimano DN31 hubs for the last 4 years commuting. They're used year round in NE england on my 18 mile each way commute and have been faultless. I bought them ready built in wheels from Taylor wheels for about £40 each.
Cheap enough to run for a few years and then just replace when knackered

As for lights, one bike has a B&M Topline, and the other has a herrmans H-track, both have been great.
Front lights are Herrmans H-One S which give 75lux when they have a rear connected. They're just over £30 a pop, and have plenty of light for unlit lanes or NCN tracks.

sukuinage
Posts: 66
Joined: 20 May 2008, 1:18pm
Location: Germany

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby sukuinage » 25 Sep 2018, 10:11am

I've been using an Alfine one for the past five years (ten mile/ day commute). Done absolutely nothing to it in that time and still running smoothly. Have the B&M Cyo lamp; would be better with a bit more light for the dark lanes (it's still ok though), but more than adequate with street lighting.

pwa
Posts: 9589
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby pwa » 25 Sep 2018, 10:20am

It may be stating the obvious but if you are commuting a relatively long way on unlit roads it makes sense to spend whatever it takes to get the strongest, widest beam. If that means £100 rather than £20 it still makes sense.

largeallan
Posts: 329
Joined: 10 Jan 2010, 2:31pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby largeallan » 25 Sep 2018, 10:30am

....Absolutely agree pwa, I'm not looking to buy cheap crap, though I'm not stretching to a SON either. I'm looking at spa cycles looking like I'll be getting a ready built 36hole Sputnik rim with something in the middle.....the 'something' is what I'm interested in.

largeallan
Posts: 329
Joined: 10 Jan 2010, 2:31pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby largeallan » 25 Sep 2018, 10:34am

I'm in the west of Scotland, hence my bad weather reliability concerns.

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby meic » 25 Sep 2018, 10:41am

There were many threads in the past discussing the various hubs' merits.
It was interesting the lengths that SON had gone to to prevent damage from moisture.
They even had breather systems to prevent internal condensation from taking bikes between a heated house and a cold outside.
A counter to that is that you can have two wheels with other hubs for the same price, a spare always to hand whatever happens.
A guarantee is all well and good but what do you do when the hub is being dealt with for a month?
Yma o Hyd

kwackers
Posts: 13062
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby kwackers » 25 Sep 2018, 10:46am

meic wrote:There were many threads in the past discussing the various hubs' merits.
It was interesting the lengths that SON had gone to to prevent damage from moisture.
They even had breather systems to prevent internal condensation from taking bikes between a heated house and a cold outside.
A counter to that is that you can have two wheels with other hubs for the same price, a spare always to hand whatever happens.
A guarantee is all well and good but what do you do when the hub is being dealt with for a month?

I stretched to a SON because less hassle is worth more to me than the extra cost.

Haven't had a spot of bother with it (other than some clown cutting the cable once), summer, winter, rain, salt and a general lack of doing anything plus it's "always on" over the last 20k miles or so.
It's hooked up to a pair of B&M lights too which I'm more than happy with.

Doesn't mean the SON was worth it after all a cheap Shimano hub might have been just as reliable.

nigelnightmare
Posts: 462
Joined: 19 Sep 2016, 10:33pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby nigelnightmare » 25 Sep 2018, 11:00am

pwa wrote:It may be stating the obvious but if you are commuting a relatively long way on unlit roads it makes sense to spend whatever it takes to get the strongest, widest beam. If that means £100 rather than £20 it still makes sense.



+1 on that and get one's with a standlight function Front & rear.
I have AXA luxx70 front and AXA RIFF rear run by a (Sturmey Archer X-SDD dynamo drum brake hub cost £74.99).
Lights cost more than the dynamo. :!:
Lights on all the time. 8)
I also have a couple of LED battery lights on mine ("aldi" cheapies) just in case. I haven't had to use them in the past two years of Scottish riding.

HTH
Last edited by nigelnightmare on 25 Sep 2018, 11:09am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
meic
Posts: 19355
Joined: 1 Feb 2007, 9:37pm
Location: Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen)

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby meic » 25 Sep 2018, 11:08am

I also have a couple of LED battery lights on mine ("aldi" cheapies) just in case. I haven't had to use them in the past two years of Scottish riding.


I have a couple of secondary lights when I use the dynamo setup. It does cross my mind that any weather bad enough to render the dynamo setup useless, will almost certainly see off the battery lights before that point.
Yma o Hyd

Brucey
Posts: 34216
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby Brucey » 25 Sep 2018, 11:09am

FWIW I have a shimano hub dynamo on my most-used bike which lives outdoors 24/7, gets rained on etc. Between condensation inside and direct water ingress, the thing needs a seeing to once every two or three years, and if I didn't use much better quality grease in it, the bearings would fail more quickly than that.

How my use compares with a potentially wet commute every day I'm not sure but it can't be too far off, hence my comment about wanting better grease in the bearings.

If you want a lightweight, low drag unit the SP generators are good value, but they have cartridge bearings that are not especially well sealed or filled with super quality grease, and the hubs appear not to have a well thought-out ventilation system. The result is that the life expectancy of these hubs seems to be about 2-5 years if you ride in the weather much, before the bearings fail. Then you need a wheel rebuild for the replacement hub (warranty or £25 refurb outside warranty from Isons).

No such thing as 'perfect' in hub generators; my view is that the shimano units are very good value and you can service/repair them in the event of trouble (including replace the internals without rebuilding the wheel). A taylor's wheel is, once stress-relieved etc, likely to be pretty reliable.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

nigelnightmare
Posts: 462
Joined: 19 Sep 2016, 10:33pm

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby nigelnightmare » 25 Sep 2018, 11:15am

meic wrote:
I also have a couple of LED battery lights on mine ("aldi" cheapies) just in case. I haven't had to use them in the past two years of Scottish riding.


I have a couple of secondary lights when I use the dynamo setup. It does cross my mind that any weather bad enough to render the dynamo setup useless, will almost certainly see off the battery lights before that point.


It's just in case something happens to either the dynamo/wire or lights OR I get a flat at night.
Then I've got a light to work by and a flashing rear so that I'm visible.*

* Sometimes it takes longer than 4 minutes standlight time to fix the problem.

james01
Posts: 2026
Joined: 6 Aug 2007, 4:48am

Re: Hub Dynamo for winter commute.

Postby james01 » 25 Sep 2018, 12:20pm

Decathlon offer the Shimano dynohub in both 700c and 26" wheels for an amazing £29.99 - surely a low-risk introduction to dynamos.
I agree comments about Bush & Muller lights as a safe choice, although I've been impressed by much cheaper offerings from Pico and Union (Taylorwheels website) which are almost as good for anyone watching the pennies.