The Chainlink

Chicago streets are very well lite, but head and tail lights make you NOTICABLE, there is a difference between being seen and noticed.
I'm a big fan of lights and before cars came with it I was one of those goofy drivers that had his headligghts on all the time, I always liked getting flashed with brights and people stoping to tell me my lights were on in the daytime.


ANYWAY is anyone here using or used a bottom braket mounted dyno, these are different than the bottle types


You can see one here:


Any ideas/opionions?


Do the headlights unplug easy enough to be removed when my bike is parked?





Views: 699

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion


I do not use a BB dynamo...but I do currently run a hub Dynamo. BB dynamos still are driven by the tire, but they are even more restrictive when it comes to tire selection than bottle (Sidewall) dynamos) You cannot use the BB dynamo with a nobby tire, and both sidewall and BB dynamos tend to slip when used in wet weather, rendering them less effective. A hub dynamo is weather proof, it doesnt tear up your tires and have very low rolling resistance.

I currently run the Shimano Alfine DynoHub with the Supernovar E3 Triple Front light

and E3 tail light

I have a little over 2000 miles on the system and it is working marvelously. Supernova recently upgraded my LEDs so I now have about 800 lumens out the front! I would highly recommend this system to anyone who needs high powered lighting and needs it to work all the time. I have done hundreds and hundreds of miles with this light at night, and it is insanely bright and super reliable.

anyways. That is my 10 cents.


I like how you mounted your tail light on the rack. Where did you find those pieces to add on?

i used to have a Sanyo bb-mounted dyno. The voltage regulation wasn't too good, but check to see if that's been improved in newer models. Many new headlamps have an internal voltage limiter to prevent burnouts.

Mounting and use is easy. Some older touring bikes (older -mid '80s Specialized Expedition, etc.,) had wiring installed for that dyno.

i wore the rotor a bit thin and although it didn't slip much in the wet, it did tend to throw a lot of grime towards the chain and crank. Rolling resistance was tolerably low.

In general, though, it was a big improvement over the "bottle" type. Bottles tend to slip and really need to be carefully installed and aligned as they can eat a sidewall.

i've used a Sram (similar to Shimano) hub dynamo and loved it. i just built up a Schmidt SON equipped wheel and love it even more -almost no rolling resistance -much less than the Sram, although the Sram and Shimano units are great.

i leave the lamps on the bike, but then i never leave my bikes locked up outside.
I've used, and still use, Soubitez bb generators. I have them mounted on two bikes. The oldest I've had since 1990 and it has survived PBP and the required brevets along with plain ol' riding around. That said, bb dynamos are nineties technology and they are what they are. Cats Ass then, not so much anymore. I didn't have slipping issues with this one until recently, I think the spring may be getting weak or the pivot is just grungy. The other unit, while also 1990 unit, was NOS when I go it two years ago, so in Dog Years it's still a puppy.

As far as the Sanyo units went, mine had regulator issues, too, and I think it is languishing in a parts drawer.

I also have hub dynamos. I use a Sturmey Archer 3 watt X-FDD powering a pair B&M E6 lights and a 1968 Sturmey Archer Dynohub powering Cree Q5 LEDs front and rear. The X-FDD is nothing special but it does have drum brake. It works well.
The old SA Dynohubs are rated at 2 watts, but if they are putting 1.8, they are having a good day. With their low output, they are excellent candidates for powering LED lamps once the output is switched from AC to DC. That, in itself, is a small matter with five bucks worth of parts from Radio Shack.

I use bottles, too. Again, they are what they are. Been around since the forties without much for improvements. The majority are 6v/3w and can run a pair of halogen bulbs. The big deal has always been drag and tire wear. Caps for the knurled driver were available years ago and these cut down on the tire wear but were prone to slipping. If you can find a rubber roller that is a snug fit on the driver and about 1 1/4" in diameter, you'll be doing yourself a big favor as this will cut down on the drag, wear on the tire, and slow the dynamo down enough to keep from blowing bulbs. I used this setup for years when I did ultramarathon events in the eighties and still use it today. I also don't throw much away.
The reason I was looking at the BB dyno is cost, I don't like the idea of mounting on the bottom and will (probably) mount it on my rear rack somehow... That would also give me a place for a rectifier and rechargable battery (or capacitor) to run LEDs
I just started looking into this and like your lights, but looked at the cost, wow, I'm hoping to keep it @ about a hundred or so so I guess I got more learning to do...
Have had a Sanyo bottom bracket generator for years, moving from bike to bike. Never burned out bulbs much, so I guess the regulator still works on mine. Works great on a bike where the bottom bracket distance is correct for the tires you have. Doesn't work on bumpy cyclocross tires. Reliable, quiet, capable of crushing the chainstays and wrecking the paint, all in all a good option compared to old style bottle generators. Maybe a new high efficiency bottle (like the one Peter White has) is a more versatile option and it's nearly as quiet with the rubber wheel. The BB generator is definitely not as nice as a dynamo hub but a pretty good second choice if it fits the bike.

The headlights that I've used don't unplug or remove, but since they're bolted on and not necessarily too nice looking they just sit on the bike safely when it's parked. See the posts on the other forum discussion about lights, and if you are choosing lights and there's a light with a standlight feature that's less expensive, it's still probably nearly as good as the expensive one for use in the city. I wouldn't get one without a standlight. If you play your cards right you can get a front and back light for about $60-$70, both with standlight.

In regard to the other questions, I think the commercially available lights like B&M or Supernova or Spanninga or Schmidt are all perfectly good, and I don't think it's necessary to go building your own voltage regulator and rechargeable battery setup unless it would be lots of fun to do it. There are some how to build your own bike light videos and things on the internet but they seem like a lot of work to me to get something that looks kludgy.

Hope this helps
Ahh, but kludgy less likely to get 'borrowed'. There is also the "I made that" factor.
Sweet link.

Even SWEETER prices! $40 for a Sanyo dynamo hub? These things can NOT be made in Japan at that price. Probably Korea or even somewhere cheaper.

I'd like to have a setup that not only has a battery and a voltage regulator but smart enough to switch from a bright headlight where there is enough power (charging) but switch back to a blinky LED when stopped. (auto on and auto off would be nice too. All this would be fairly simple to do so that you wouldn't even have to think about turning it on and off. Oh, and a quick release connector so you could snap it off your bars in a second if you need to lock up the bike and walk away from it in a place where you fear it might be stolen.

If they made something like that for $60-70 (with a rear light too) I'd be all over it.

At this price I might just snap up one of these for a future wheel build.

Does the E3 Triple have different output settings? Or are you always blazing out 800 lumens?

Elliot Bennett said:

I currently run the Shimano Alfine DynoHub with the Supernovar E3 Triple Front light

I have a little over 2000 miles on the system and it is working marvelously. Supernova recently upgraded my LEDs so I now have about 800 lumens out the front!

Mike--thanks for your advice on the other lighting discussion. I'm copying and pasting something you wrote here for easier reference and in case Rick wants to look at the Velo Orange option.

Yeah, hub dynamos can be pricey, but if you shop around you can go fairly inexpensively. It doesn't have to be a SON dyno and a top-line superlight... right now Velo Orange has a very nice dynohub on special for $35, and you could probably build a nice setup for under $150 with some judicious shopping and creative wrenching.


© 2008-2016   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C.   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service