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Thread: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

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    Default 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    As an overworked, underslept, father of young kids, living in/near a major metro, Iím curious to hear this groupís thoughts on running a dynamo hub and front light full time *to stay safe*, versus your standard USB-charged front blinky.

    Iíve got a frame on order that will have mid fork bosses for a rack or lights and I have confidently run a front blinky via a Paul Gino mount in the past. Given that Iím likely to order one or two new wheel sets for this bike and donít race or need to worry about ultimate top speed, is a dynamo setup a worthwhile path for front (mostly daytime) lighting or overkill?

    Iím wary of being the guy that buys a full size Tundra to buy one piece of furniture every five years but on the flip side, this is a much more affordable way of covering my bases, current and future. Last qualifier is that if I ever worked in an office again and started commuting by bike again, Iíd probably be riding my disc brakes gravel bike for any wet or dark commutes, so future needs other than ending a recreational ride in the dark probably need not apply here.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Can your new bike have disc brakes? You could be one and done for a front wheel with a dyno disc hub. I commuted for many years on a Gunnar Crosshairs with cantilever noise-makers. I had a dedicated rechargeable headlight that I could strobe during the daylight and still go fast in the dark. I also had a backup blinkie in case I needed it for the daylight commute home.
    Weight Doper

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    I run a dynamo hub and front light at all times. I do have a second set of wheels thatís not dynamo, but in the city I like the light. The dynamo and the front rack with bag have evolved my riding and commuting. So much simpler now.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    If you’re going to mount the light on the fork crown or lower I suggest a handlebar mounted blinkie for when you’re so close your main light is below drivers’ sight lines.
    If you never indulge in lane splitting and similar behaviours maybe you don’t need one.
    David Benson

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    I’m curious to hear this group’s thoughts on running a dynamo hub and front light full time *to stay safe*, versus your standard USB-charged front blinky.
    This is me.

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    ...the guy that buys a full size Tundra to buy one piece of furniture every five years
    Guilty again!

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    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Seriously, though...a dynamo set up simply cannot be beat!

    I have a SON28 with Supernova lights front and rear on my Ahearne and on my Lynskey.

    Those lights are very bright!

    And as far as pickup trucks go, there's nothing like having one when you need one.

    And even when you don't.

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    I think for the cost of the hub, you can buy some really nice lights. I'd spend the money on the lights.

    If I was doing a long distance tourer and wanted something to charge my phone and stuff, I'd go dynamo.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by 72gmc View Post
    I run a dynamo hub and front light at all times. I do have a second set of wheels thatís not dynamo, but in the city I like the light. The dynamo and the front rack with bag have evolved my riding and commuting. So much simpler now.
    Pete and 72: Good to hear. My rationale is itís easier to go this route up front than later.

    Quote Originally Posted by benson View Post
    If youíre going to mount the light on the fork crown or lower I suggest a handlebar mounted blinkie for when youíre so close your main light is below driversí sight lines.
    If you never indulge in lane splitting and similar behaviours maybe you donít need one.
    Not an issue now, but I also have a Lumos helmet with built in lights, or a light and motion helmet mount headlight and taillight that was golden for commuting in Chicago.

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    Seriously, though...a dynamo set up simply cannot be beat!

    I have a SON28 with Supernova lights front and rear on my Ahearne and on my Lynskey.

    Those lights are very bright!

    And as far as pickup trucks go, there's nothing like having one when you need one.

    And even when you don't.

    SPP
    Do you like the SON? Does it provide noticeable drag?
    Would love a Tundra, but I am minivan man for the next decade, so my Sienna will more than suffice.

    Quote Originally Posted by vertical_doug View Post
    I think for the cost of the hub, you can buy some really nice lights. I'd spend the money on the lights.

    If I was doing a long distance tourer and wanted something to charge my phone and stuff, I'd go dynamo.
    Thatís the proper counter argument to what Iím thinking, and I agree about nice lights these days. Just bought a really nice new taillight for the first time in five years and the tech keeps getting better. Plus the bike to bike moveability.
    Last edited by robin3mj; 02-13-2021 at 08:40 AM.
    my name is Matt

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Everything I've read says the SON is superior to others.

    Data says minimal drag.

    I do like the Supernova lights better than the SON Edelux though.

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    My light has so many programs, but at max 1100 lumens which is too bright for urban, I get 1.5 hrs. Low mode is 36 hrs

    My rear is a Leyzne Strip Drive 300 Pro. It is good in low mode for 53 hrs. Daytime Flash is 300 lumens and I am yet to outride it.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Dynamo hubs and lights are great these days. Have your builder integrate them into the build and you're golden. And yes, running it all the time makes sense. Drag is minimal and they're surprisingly visible.

    Additionally, there are now taillights that are surprisingly effective and also run off the dynamo.

    If you plan in advance, you can have the wiring run through the bike making for a far cleaner installation.

    Overall brightness and shock value is less than with the upper end of battery lights (no strobe for example) but the lights are effective. I use that word because unlike most battery lights, the manufacturers use aiming and mirrors in the shell to maximize the light in front of you and minimize glare to oncoming road and trail users. Your fellow trail users on the Custis and W&OD trails will thank you for your dynamo light instead of a blinding, poorly aimed battery light.

    Definitely consider this with your build.

    Never worry about charging again or the battery being drained. It's just always ready.
    Last edited by Saab2000; 02-13-2021 at 09:19 AM.
    La Cheeserie!

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Totally agreed with Saab. I have dynamos on 2 bikes and they're always on. You absolutely don't notice the drag. One of the other advantages is that if you're picking up a German brand (Son, B&M), they're also very focused beams and you don't need to worry about dazzling drivers.
    My name is David Moeny

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Fully integrated lights beginning with the frame are extremely convenient.

    The slip-ring is obviously not necessary and was a lot of effort but I'm glad I did it; here's how: https://www.flickr.com/photos/216244...57710996851941

    The photos aren't in any particular order and span prototyping as well as the two frames getting the treatment. Here's how it turned out:

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/216244...57674615273680

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/216244...57671170583438

    On my next build I'll go the extra mile and put a switch in the stem, and get the switch-less version of my light. If you want a strobe for conspicuity, which I sometimes do, then it's easy to add a battery powered strobe to your saddle or seat post while retaining the integrated head and tail lights.

    If you're going to turn the lights off for a significant portion of your riding then I think the SON is worth the extra expense; if the lights are going to always be on and/or the bike is going to be more exposed to theft/beater usage then the Sanyo H27, now Panasonic I think, is a very good option; the data I've seen shows that when turned on it's efficiency is comparable to the SON and it's far less expensive. I have both...but the H27 is hanging on the wall.

    The Edelux II is fantastic and robust (aluminum housing, glass lens) but I think the same optics are available in the B&M IQ Cyo Premium (plastic housing and lens) for about half the cost.
    John Clay
    Tallahassee, FL
    My Framebuilding: https://www.flickr.com/photos/21624415@N04/sets

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    There are now a ton of bikes in NYC. One thing I notice is that unless the light is super bright, it just disappears into all the other lights around it. Most people are using blinking lights and those are almost worthless unless they have significant lumen production. And the lenses on a lot of them reduce the brightness unless you are looking dead-on straight at the light. You are almost always seeing the light at an angle or from the side. I rarely see lights on bikes that are too bright. Rarely as in nearly never. Occasionally I see someone with a super intense piercingly bright light on their bike, usually flashing at medium to fast rate but sometimes a stable light, that is unavoidable. You see it whether you want to or not. That seems about right. No idea which one it is.
    Last edited by j44ke; 02-13-2021 at 09:56 AM.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by robin3mj View Post
    As an overworked, underslept, father of young kids, living in/near a major metro, Iím curious to hear this groupís thoughts on running a dynamo hub and front light full time *to stay safe*, versus your standard USB-charged front blinky.

    Iíve got a frame on order that will have mid fork bosses for a rack or lights and I have confidently run a front blinky via a Paul Gino mount in the past. Given that Iím likely to order one or two new wheel sets for this bike and donít race or need to worry about ultimate top speed, is a dynamo setup a worthwhile path for front (mostly daytime) lighting or overkill?

    Iím wary of being the guy that buys a full size Tundra to buy one piece of furniture every five years but on the flip side, this is a much more affordable way of covering my bases, current and future. Last qualifier is that if I ever worked in an office again and started commuting by bike again, Iíd probably be riding my disc brakes gravel bike for any wet or dark commutes, so future needs other than ending a recreational ride in the dark probably need not apply here.

    Matt,

    Just do the dynamo setup. Youíll regret it if you donít. I have $400 Lupine lights that are brighter than anything, but the convenience of not having to charge is more important.
    Darnell Laventhrop, Curling Coach

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by j44ke View Post
    I rarely see lights on bikes that are too bright. Rarely as in nearly never.
    I used to regularly see a woman walking on the Old Croton Aqueduct on my commute home from work during daytime hours.

    My first and only interaction was when she once stopped me to lay into me about how bright my dynamo driven Supernova headlight was...and how annoying it was to her.

    I actually thought she was going to compliment me...apparently not.

    On the many more occasions I would pass her it was all I could do to not scream an obscenity.

    SPP
    My name is Peter Miller.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowPokePete View Post
    I used to regularly see a woman walking on the Old Croton Aqueduct on my commute home from work during daytime hours.

    My first and only interaction was when she once stopped me to lay into me about how bright my dynamo driven Supernova headlight was...and how annoying it was to her.

    I actually thought she was going to compliment me...apparently not.

    On the many more occasions I would pass her it was all I could do to not scream an obscenity.

    SPP
    Thatís the one to get!

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by DCT View Post
    Matt,

    Just do the dynamo setup. You’ll regret it if you don’t. I have $400 Lupine lights that are brighter than anything, but the convenience of not having to charge is more important.
    This. I had a Jamis commuter with built in dynamo. The light was always on the bike and always ready to go. Didn’t even have to turn it on — if I was going, it was going.
    Trod Harland, Physical Educator

    Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. ó James Baldwin

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    I passed a guy off-road the other day riding in the woods miles from the nearest car running front and back daylights. I don't buy the added safety for daytime. If someone were going to run you over [on the road] it would make no difference whether you had a light on or not.

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    Default Re: 2021: men of a certain age, dynamos, and staying safe

    Quote Originally Posted by holliscx View Post
    I passed a guy off-road the other day riding in the woods miles from the nearest car running front and back daylights. I don't buy the added safety for daytime. If someone were going to run you over [on the road] it would make no difference whether you had a light on or not.
    This might be true. However, when the motorist argues that he didn't see you before he ran you over and extinguished your life, your spouses's attorney will have a better case when it is revealed that you were well garnished with lights front and back.

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