Recently I’ve been thinking about dynamo (generator) hubs as an alternative to light systems with rechargeable batteries. Though Shimano makes several popular dyno hubs, the acknowledged gold standard is Schmidt Original Nabendynamo (SON). Schmidt makes the lightest hubs with the least amount of drag, but they are premium priced. You can buy the SON hubs direct through the US importer Peter White Cycles, though your LBS may already have a relationship with him.
Recently I did a tune-up on a bike with this particular wheel with SON hub and a Supernova E3 light. What I thought was particularly sweet was the fact that the light attached to a special nut on the quick release skewer. Thus the light came off with the wheel and would not need to be disconnected from the hub at all. Awesome! Easy to move the wheel from one bike to another, and powerful lighting without ever having to charge a battery.
If it were me, I would have built the wheel on a Mavic Open Pro Ceramic rim for better braking in the rain and vastly improved longevity in the grimy, wet NW winters.
One thing about dyno hubs….they all feel super notchy when you turn the axle in your hand. All of them. It’s just the poles and magnets of the dynamo attracting each other. At speed your momentum while riding largely cancels this out, but just twiddling the axle in your hand makes it seem like the hub has something wrong with it.…
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