Author Topic: Bicyle Lights  (Read 7311 times)

prognastat

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Bicyle Lights
« on: March 21, 2016, 04:19:30 PM »
So me and my SO just got a bike each, however both did not have any lights on them to start with. I have been looking around at some lights and was hoping to get some opinions on bike lights.

One thing I am intrigued by is using some form of powering it by muscle instead of having to either charge it or replace/recharge AA/AAA batteries regularly for it. Also it seems that a lot of the new LED battery powered lights have issues with either brightness or if they are bright with battery life.

Now in my youth all my bikes had one of these. and was able to easily power a very bright light without any issues. This was before LEDs were even a thing.

Now I am sure with modern technology in both lights and electricity generation something better should exist now. I found ones like this and was hoping to get some opinions on good bright lights and various ways of generating the power by muscle or if it isn't worth it.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 04:45:12 PM by prognastat »

onlykelsey

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2016, 04:27:10 PM »
I had one of those in Germany, but I don't think they meet most regulations anymore.  You really need light if you are, for example, stuck on the side of the road because you fell over or are fixing a tire.  Maybe you could combine one of those headlights with simple cheap LED lights that you use to make yourself visible (rather than to improve your vision much).  I keep a ~15 dollar light that flashes red in the back and white in the front on my helmet at all times, so I'm never without at least SOME light.  If I'm being responsible/plan on being out at night or in bad weather, I bring a proper headlight, as well.

johnny847

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2016, 04:30:37 PM »
The dynamo setup is just not worth it. You need to have it in the right spot for it to work right. It'd really easy to knock it out of place when you lock up your bike to a rack

And even if you're careful, anybody locking up their bike next to yours may not be.

Just get a LED light powered by a lithium ion battery, rechargeable via USB. You can get ones that are plenty bright.
The ones I have last far longer than any ride I want to do in the dark.

prognastat

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2016, 04:43:11 PM »
Well one thing I did encounter was in hub dynamos such as this:
http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-20170-shimano-dynamo-dh-3n80-hubs.aspx?variantID=49158&gclid=Cj0KEQjwt763BRDZx_Xg3-Pv2cABEiQAoDfeGE4s6UoUhBfo9aXuiB1KRLv-h4QeFkjwTuaUHvWBQFYaAqvQ8P8HAQ

They definitely shouldn't have any issues when parking it, not that it ever really was for me in the past. Also it sounds like due to being in the hub the wear on the tire from the old dynamos is gone and it sounds like they create less resistance than the old ones did too.

It seems though that going from a technology where no charging is required to one where you are lucky to get a half decent night ride in without having to charge it is a step backwards not forwards.

I was hoping someone might have more experience/knowledge about the in hub technologies and if they are actually worth it or not.

Which kind are you using though Johnny?
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 04:50:47 PM by prognastat »

jac941

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2016, 05:33:31 PM »
I haven't been able to justify the expense of the hub dynamo, but I sure would like one. The people I know who have them love them. The item you linked is just the hub - you will also need the light and possibly a new wheel which really adds up. The huge advantages are not having to charge, always having light, and not having to take them off when you park (theft prevention).

I have 3 nice bright rechargeable headlights by Light and Motion and Cygolite and they work great, but I have to charge them all the time. The small ones make it 1 round trip commute Nov to Mar. I have to charge 2x per day in the dead of winter when it's dark both ways. One of the Cygolites is a big 800 lumen variety. I bought it so I could run it on half power and get the 3-4 hr battery life, but I still end up charging it 2-3x per week.

So is the hub dynamo worth it? I'd say if you're riding in the dark a lot (1+ hr per day), it really makes a difference in reducing the irritating charging. But they are expensive, and they aren't any better lights than the battery operated variety.


prognastat

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2016, 11:00:15 AM »
That helps some. I guess since at this time I will not be riding at night at this time it might be best to get a rechargeable one for now until that changes.

acroy

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2016, 11:19:14 AM »
Just repeating what has already been said:
Dyno lights not worth it.
I highly recommend a decent AA powered flashlight in front, and AAA powered blinky in back.

Like this
http://www.amazon.com/Fenix-E20-Flashlight-EdisonBright-batteries/dp/B00MB24GAA/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1458667040&sr=8-4&keywords=fenix+2aa+flashlight

with this holder:
http://www.amazon.com/Two-Fish-Lockblocks-Flashlight-Holder/dp/B001CJXB5E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458667081&sr=8-1&keywords=bike+flashlight+holder

And this back light (better than the PB Superflash)
http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_262055_-1___204664

Be safe!

GuitarStv

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2016, 11:22:05 AM »
I commute regularly in the dark, rain, and snow.  My lights get lots of use.

I'm a big fan of Planet Bike's offerings for cheap battery powered lights.  The Superflash Turbo is a great and visible rear light, and the 2 watt Blaze does alright as a front light on dim streets.  I can usually get about 80 - 100 hrs of light from the Turbo between charges, and about 30-40 from the Blaze.

If you want to spend a little more money, I'd recommend the Cygolight Metro (350, 450, etc)series front and Hotshot Tail light.  They're excellent and incredibly bright lights and use a simple rechargable USB battery.

Charging bike lights is really not a big deal, just a couple seconds to unclip your lights at the end of a ride and plug in (or pop the batteries into the charger).  Hub dynamos are not worth the cost IMHO.

robartsd

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2016, 11:28:08 AM »
The picture OP linked to is a dynamo that gets mounted to the frame such that it can be placed in contact with the tire and driven by friction. This type is usually mounted at the top of the rear triangle and runs off the rear wheel. The more modern option is building the dynamo directly into the hub that the front wheel is built around. Modern dynamo hubs tend to be much more efficient and paired with LED lights generally do not add noticeable drag. Dynamo lights are great for touring on bike - where the time spent using the bike is often much larger than the time available for charging batteries, but would be an expensive option for a bike that is only used for short trips around town.

Battery powered LED lights are certainly the easiest option for a lot of cyclists. I personally prefer standard replaceable batteries (just get rechargeable and a charger) over rechargeable lights, as the useful life of rechargeable lights is often limited by the rechargeable battery inside them.

The effectiveness of the light is not only how much light it outputs, but the pattern of the output. Most cheap lights are basically flashlights with a handlebar mount providing a bright cone of light pointed straight ahead. This is an OK option for being seen on a roadway where seeing the road surface well is not critical. Many higher end lights shape the beam the same way a car's low beam headlights do with a bright line of light pointed at the horizon with the brightness being cut off sharply above the line and gradually below the line. This pattern illuminates the surface fairly evenly for quite some distance without wasting light by sending it skyward.

Jack

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2016, 11:41:10 AM »
I'd love to have a hub dynamo, but I can't justify either the expense of the dynamo itself or the time/effort/investment in skill to re-lace the wheel to install it.

I got a Chinese MagicShine clone (complete with rechargeable battery and several kinds of mounting device) off Amazon for $10 and it's worked great so far. (It's so great that I bought a couple more, for my wife to use and for backup.) Unfortunately, it's $21.96 now, so you'd want to look around for one of the dozens of identical lights with different brand names to find one that's cheaper. This one, for example, is $19.09, but I bet you could do better if you look hard enough.

dogboyslim

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2016, 11:43:15 AM »
I'll put in my $.02 as counterpoint to all the dyno naysayers.  I've been commuting year-round for 8 or so years in the upper midwest and I use a dyno-hub system as my primary lighting.  I have a rechargable USB powered light for my race-bike, so I can compare and contrast the two.

Hub system.  I use a shimano alphine(sp) hub that is compatible with disc brakes.  My light is a supernova E3 and the taillight is a german company tail-light.  The headlight and taillight both have capacitors that will keep them lit while standing for up to 3 minutes.  This system was expensive.  All in it was ~$400.  The lights are bolted on and wired.  I never have to worry about charging them, and I don't have to put them on and take them off regularly to charge them.  This is a great advantage in winter when both morning and evening commutes are in the dark.  I carry a small LED for use if I need to see off the bike.  The beam pattern is great, and it hits full bright at about 7 mph.

USB powered lights.  My cygolite headlight-taillight combo was about $120.  The light is very bright, but I don't feel I can see any better than I can with the dyno system.  The taillight is brighter and flashes.  I hate this system because I'm always trying to decide if I need to bring them or not, and often times I forget to charge them when I get home, so when I do need them they're dead.  This is certainly user-error and not a problem with battery based lights, but for me, it pushes the preference to the dynamo solution.

So for me, the expense was worth it for the convenience of always having light on the bike when I need it.  I've been using the same light for 5 years.  I've not had a battery light last that long yet.

I commute in a low theft area if that makes a difference.

nereo

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2016, 11:58:41 AM »
I'd love to have a hub dynamo, but I can't justify either the expense of the dynamo itself or the time/effort/investment in skill to re-lace the wheel to install it.


This. My buddy had a hub dynamo but had problems with it on a long ride down the California coastline, and it was a PITA to replace the wheel.
In contrast, my bike light has a rechargrable lithium ion battery that's quick to recharge and lasts several hours.  I've never once run out of juice.

The light is so bright, small and easy to recharge I can't fathom how having a hub dynamo would make my life any better. The only reason I can think of is if I needed a charge that lasted longer than the ~3 hours I get... but I simply never bike anywhere near that long after dark.

YMMV

ooeei

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2016, 12:02:16 PM »
For the taillight get something bright.  You'd be surprised how not visible a cheapo AA light is at an off angle when it's not pitch black out.  They all look really bright when you're in a store and look directly at them from 2 feet away in your hand, on the road you're competing with all sorts of advertising, cars, and other light sources, and it may need to be seen at an off angle from 100 yards away.

http://www.amazon.com/Cygolite-Hotshot-2-Watt-Rechargeable-Taillight/dp/B005DVA57Y?
This beast is BRIGHT and battery lasts a good while.  Maybe get a cheapo AA setup as a backup in case you forget to charge.  I've used it for a year or so and so far so good.  I can light up an entire room with it no problem.  There may be better choices out now, not sure.

For the headlight it depends whether you want to use it for you to see the road, or for other people to see you.  If it's the latter then I don't have any recommendations, and you could probably go cheaper than I did.  I used mine to actually see the road, and used a zebralight headlamp held in my hand alongside the handlebars. Granted, I never traveled all that far in the dark, and use the headlamp camping and whatnot too.  It's crazy bright and uses rechargeable AA batteries, and fits in your pocket easily.  Battery life at the brightest setting is ~1 hour, but you can check the battery level before you head out and switch if needed (or carry a spare AA with you).  It also has a strobe setting in case you don't need to use it to actually see that increases battery life.  I tried mounted lights, but they never let you change where you're looking, didn't like it. 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:05:48 PM by ooeei »

onlykelsey

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2016, 12:04:02 PM »
Quote
I tried mounted lights, but they never let you change where you're looking, didn't like it.

Try mounting and putting one on your helmet to focus on a certain area of the road/curb/etc.   I like that combo and get along with just the helmet lamp in brighter conditions (yes I wear lights all the time)

KCM5

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2016, 12:04:44 PM »
I have a hub dynamo. I love it - I commute year round and I just don't ever have to think about lights. I leave them on all the time. My front light has a sensor so it comes on in low light. My rear light I leave on all the time and also acts as a brake light (it gets brighter when I slow down).

The hub came with my bike (it's Dutch) but I did buy the front and rear lights because the ones that they came with were inadequate. They were $120 combined (B & M - excellent brand/reliability). I'm so spoiled by these lights that I know I will never again be without a bike with a hub dynamo. I have other bikes without a dynamo, but the one with the dynamo is like a car substitute. You just don't have to think about it. You get on and go.

My spouse does not commute year round. I was going to get him all set up with a dynamo system, but honestly, he doesn't need it. And I also considered a bottle dynamo, but for some reason didn't pursue that. So he has a USB powered headlight and a battery taillight. It's enough for him.

So, heavy utility bike use? Dynamo or get really used to thinking about your USB lights. Light recreational use? Battery or USB is no big deal.


ooeei

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2016, 12:14:09 PM »
Quote
I tried mounted lights, but they never let you change where you're looking, didn't like it.

Try mounting and putting one on your helmet to focus on a certain area of the road/curb/etc.   I like that combo and get along with just the helmet lamp in brighter conditions (yes I wear lights all the time)

The light I use is actually a headlamp that I took out of its headband.  http://www.zebralight.com/H52-AA-Headlamp-Cool-White_p_131.html

I initially tried it with the headband, but realized I look around far more than I thought and would lose my peripheral view of the road.  Basically the frame mount didn't move enough, and my head moved too much.  I compromised by holding it in my left hand along with the handlebar.  This way I could adjust it if I needed to, but it still basically points where I'm going. 

It wouldn't be practical for long distances/times because it strains your hand a bit to hold it, but for the ~20 minute rides I needed it for it was great.  A combo of frame and headlamp would probably be the best route to go, but it just wasn't necessary for my situation.  Plus, I already had the headlamp.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:16:03 PM by ooeei »

dilinger

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #16 on: March 22, 2016, 12:28:00 PM »
I'm also going to disagree with the dynamo nay-sayers.  I've used usb-rechargable lights for years, and finally replaced them with dynamos.  But it depends on what your needs are.  Also, if you're just starting out biking, I'd probably just pay $100 for a pair of decent rechargeable lights and upgrade to dynamo later once you've figured out how well your bike fits your needs.  No sense paying for dynamo hub upgrades on a bike that you're going to replace in a year or two.

The big appeal for me is not having to replace them every year (due to rechargeable batteries dying), and not blinding other people biking by going with German lights that actually direct the light to the ground:  http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/b&m-hl.php

The big appeal for my wife is not having to worry about forgetting her lights.  This happens often enough to be dangerous.

More details: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/lightingsystems.htm .  I got them cheaper elsewhere, but that page has lots of really good info.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:30:41 PM by dilinger »

prognastat

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2016, 10:21:39 AM »
I just want to thank everyone for the information. It definitely helps a lot.

I suspect what I will probably do is go with rechargeable ones for now while I am not biking to and from work every day. However once I move closer to work I might have to reconsider and see how much cost and effort would be involved in upgrading to a HUB since I do like the idea of not having to constantly remember to charge them up. I know myself well and know that it would happen regularly enough to be a problem if I were biking in the dark on a daily basis.

onlykelsey

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2016, 10:24:39 AM »
I just want to thank everyone for the information. It definitely helps a lot.

I suspect what I will probably do is go with rechargeable ones for now while I am not biking to and from work every day. However once I move closer to work I might have to reconsider and see how much cost and effort would be involved in upgrading to a HUB since I do like the idea of not having to constantly remember to charge them up. I know myself well and know that it would happen regularly enough to be a problem if I were biking in the dark on a daily basis.

One more thing to consider: theft.  Is your bike in a secure place at home? at work? at the grocery store or wherever else you routinely go?  That is a lot of equipment to lose.  I know Manhattan is a weird place, but I would not leave a bike outside with a hub attached for more than a couple minutes.

prognastat

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2016, 10:40:53 AM »
Theft shouldn't be too large of a problem. The places it would likely be stored are in my garage at home, in the garage at work with cameras and light everywhere and possibly for short moments at stores. Also I am used to securing a bike against theft growing up in Amsterdam. I am planning on getting 2 good U-Locks and a flexible lock to snake through it.

Also after looking at it some more it looks like there are some more affordable options for in hub dynamos too:
http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/sanyo.php

$50 is a lot more reasonable than the hundreds of dollars of some others I was seeing and it seems to have good reviews in general.

jda1984

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2016, 03:22:19 PM »
I'd love to have a hub dynamo, but I can't justify either the expense of the dynamo itself or the time/effort/investment in skill to re-lace the wheel to install it.

I got a Chinese MagicShine clone (complete with rechargeable battery and several kinds of mounting device) off Amazon for $10 and it's worked great so far. (It's so great that I bought a couple more, for my wife to use and for backup.) Unfortunately, it's $21.96 now, so you'd want to look around for one of the dozens of identical lights with different brand names to find one that's cheaper. This one, for example, is $19.09, but I bet you could do better if you look hard enough.

I have a similar front light, which is very bright.  I zip tie the power cord to the top tube and hook up the battery under the saddle (either to the seat stays or the saddle rails).  I don't worry too much about it getting stolen, but usually take the battery with me if I'm going to lock it up for more than 30 minutes.

I have two different Portland Design Works tail lights.  One uses AAA batteries and the other is USB rechargeable.  They use the same mounts as Planet Bike lights, so you can mount to the seat post or seat stay(s).  Either works well, the USB one was about $5 more, but I like not tossing batteries as often.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2016, 02:08:41 AM »
I've got a little Guee headlight that's USB rechargable. Unfortunately I broke the charging port a while ago, but it's not mattered too much as it's DST. I don't think I can open the thing up to fix it myself, so I might just have to get something else before daylight savings ends :)

I recommend a good USB rechargable headlight over something using AAA batteries.

If you're dedicated enough and the bike stays outside during the day, maybe bolt a small solar panel to the bike to recharge the battery while the bike is parked :)
« Last Edit: March 24, 2016, 02:10:39 AM by alsoknownasDean »

powskier

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2016, 03:52:21 PM »
I have an awesome expensive dynamo hub. I have a light on 24/7 and can keep my iphone charged on the USB also, great for my daily commute and great for biking expeditions where I need the phone gps.

When I add up all the crappy lights( planet bike) and endless batteries I have purchased over the years it is totally worth it. Daily use in brutal climate.

robartsd

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #23 on: March 24, 2016, 05:01:56 PM »
I forgot about the USB charging off a dynamo. Another major plus for those who go on long rides; but again cost/utility grows rapidly for those who only use bike for short trips.

darkadams00

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #24 on: March 24, 2016, 08:51:34 PM »
Cygolite Metro or Expilion models (400-600 lumens are sufficient for normal street riding in the dark). NiteRider Solas tail lights are good as well. I made a simple bracket for all of our bikes, so each bike can take 2 tail lights. One of these headlights, two tail lights, and I've never had an issue with close-approaching cars in the dark--18+ mile RT commute almost daily in all seasons.

otter

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2016, 01:32:35 PM »
I love, love, love dynamo lighting. I have hub-dynamo setups on three of my bikes. Two B&M IQ Cyos, one Supernova E3 Triple that is getting replaced with another Cyo. All on Shimano -70/72/80 hubs. I ride all year in whatever the weather is, usually on city streets but regularly on unlit paths. A good TUV-compliant headlight is terrfic.

I don't quite get the comments on relacing the wheel being a PITA. If you don't know how to lace tension a wheel, sure, you have to either learn or pay someone, but it's no different than lacing a normal front hub, save for the assymetric spoke tension if it is a disc-compatible hub, in which case it's like lacing up a rear hub. All of my parts were bought gently used. None of the front wheels cost me more than $100 (in once case I got the whole wheelset, a nice one, for $100) and I tend to pay about $80 for the lights.

I hate battery management, but if you don't, battery lighting is fine.

robartsd

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2016, 01:45:09 PM »
I don't quite get the comments on relacing the wheel being a PITA. If you don't know how to lace tension a wheel, sure, you have to either learn or pay someone, but it's no different than lacing a normal front hub, save for the assymetric spoke tension if it is a disc-compatible hub, in which case it's like lacing up a rear hub.
Building a wheel around a dynamo hub is no different than building a wheel around any other hub. I think people are saying it is a PITA because they are comparing to using stock machine built wheels. As part of a custom built wheel, the dynamo hub is just the increased cost over a regular hub, but when compared to stock wheels it is the cost of the hub plus the labor (paid or DIY) to build the wheel.

nereo

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2016, 05:35:40 PM »
I don't quite get the comments on relacing the wheel being a PITA. If you don't know how to lace tension a wheel, sure, you have to either learn or pay someone, but it's no different than lacing a normal front hub, save for the assymetric spoke tension if it is a disc-compatible hub, in which case it's like lacing up a rear hub.
Building a wheel around a dynamo hub is no different than building a wheel around any other hub. I think people are saying it is a PITA because they are comparing to using stock machine built wheels. As part of a custom built wheel, the dynamo hub is just the increased cost over a regular hub, but when compared to stock wheels it is the cost of the hub plus the labor (paid or DIY) to build the wheel.
This is what I meant on my post above.  Personally I find lacing a hub to be a PITA, especially since I find machine-built wheels to be just fine for my purposes and there seems to be a plethora of them all over craigslist at steep discounts.
If you don't mind lacing a wheel then this won't be much of a concern for you.  My buddy on his California bike trip had to relace his hub with minimal tools on the side of the road a dozen miles from the nearest town. Based on other's experiences it was probably a fluke... Since taking my bike light off after each ride is part of my routine (anti-theft) I find battery power to be ideal for me.  Different strategies for different folks.  I certainly wouldn't turn down a dynamo hub if it were free.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2016, 05:36:24 PM »
I don't quite get the comments on relacing the wheel being a PITA. If you don't know how to lace tension a wheel, sure, you have to either learn or pay someone, but it's no different than lacing a normal front hub, save for the assymetric spoke tension if it is a disc-compatible hub, in which case it's like lacing up a rear hub.
Building a wheel around a dynamo hub is no different than building a wheel around any other hub. I think people are saying it is a PITA because they are comparing to using stock machine built wheels. As part of a custom built wheel, the dynamo hub is just the increased cost over a regular hub, but when compared to stock wheels it is the cost of the hub plus the labor (paid or DIY) to build the wheel.

Plus the cost of all the new spokes if the hub isn't exactly the same measurement as the one currently in the wheel you're re-lacing.

robartsd

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #29 on: March 30, 2016, 10:27:15 AM »
Plus the cost of all the new spokes if the hub isn't exactly the same measurement as the one currently in the wheel you're re-lacing.
The point is a dynamo hub builds up like any other hub.

Sure if need to replace a hub and acquire a replacement with the same dimensions of your previous hub, the spoke sizes will match your existing spokes. Most wheel builders would use new spokes anyway. A dynamo hub is likely slightly bigger than the existing hub, so the spokes would need to be slightly shorter. If the required length is short enough to cut off all of the existing threads and you have access to the tools to roll new threads, you could reuse the existing spokes.

Jack

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #30 on: March 30, 2016, 11:58:39 AM »
The point is a dynamo hub builds up like any other hub.

Sure, but normal cyclists (I almost said "normal people" but cyclists are abnormal to begin with) don't custom-build wheels at all. Instead, they use the wheel their bike came with forever. Even if it breaks, it's more likely to result in the purchase of a new bike (or a new/used machine-built wheel), not a custom one.

hyla

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #31 on: March 30, 2016, 09:23:19 PM »
I have a dyno setup one one bike and battery lights on my two other bikes, and the dyno lights are by far the best.  I frequently find myself taking out the bike with the dyno lights, even though the other bikes are better in other ways (better brakes, more cargo capacity etc.) just because the lights are so much better and convenient. 

It really is excellent that the lights are always there.  You can't run out of batteries.  They are bolted onto your bike, so they don't get forgotten in your other bag, or stolen, or left in your garage the way clip on battery lights seem to.  Also, the beam pattern on my dyno headlight illuminates the road more effectively than any battery lights I have used.

If you can afford them, dyno lights are amazing.  If you are looking for reasonably priced dynohubs and lights, I would recommend looking at shimano, sp, or sturmey archer hubs, and B&M lights.  I have a lower end LED B&M headlight and it's great, for general commuting look at LED headlights in the $30 - $60 range, the more expensive brighter ones are overkill unless you are touring at night and going really fast. 

I have tried to put a bottle dynamo (first picture you linked) on another bike, but have not been able to mount it because American bikes lack mounting brackets and the hefty fork on my cargo bike means the mounting adapter I tried did not fit.  From what I've heard from others there are reliable bottle dynamos out there but mounting them can be a pain.  I'd get a hub dynamo, they're easier to put on your bike. 

Montana Socrates

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2016, 05:58:15 PM »
We bought and have been happy with the USB rechargeable bike lights recommended by The Sweethome:
http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-commuter-bike-lights/.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2016, 07:11:51 PM »
I have a dyno setup one one bike and battery lights on my two other bikes, and the dyno lights are by far the best.  I frequently find myself taking out the bike with the dyno lights, even though the other bikes are better in other ways (better brakes, more cargo capacity etc.) just because the lights are so much better and convenient.

Same here. If you use your bike as transportation a dyno hub + light is a worthwhile investment. You can wire up the rear light to the dyno hub as well, but I find battery operated rear lights last long enough and I have several so that I rarely don't have one ready to go.

If you do get a dyno hub get a German headlight with a vertical cut off beam. It works like a car low beam so the light is down on the road and not blinding the folks you are riding towards.

GuitarStv

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Re: Bicyle Lights
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2016, 06:50:53 AM »
We bought and have been happy with the USB rechargeable bike lights recommended by The Sweethome:
http://thesweethome.com/reviews/best-commuter-bike-lights/.

+1

I've also read their recommendations and find them to be spot on.