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Dynamo Hubs & Lights

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With about a third of all bikes we sell going out with dynamo lighting, Joe Bike is Portland's best bike shop for dynamo hubs and lights, dynamo-powered phone chargers, and complete systems. We carry Schmidt, Shutter Precision, and Shimano dynamo hubs; smart-device chargers from Busch & Mueller, Supernova, and Sinewave Cycles; and dynamo lights from Busch & Mueller, Supernova, and Schmidt. For off-road, deep wood illumination, we carry both K-Lite and Exposure bikepacking lights.

What are Dynamo Lights?

Dynamo lights are battery-free bike lights that use the energy generated by the rotation of the front wheel's generator hub.  Other names for these lights include bike dynamo, bicycle dynamo, or even dynamo bike light.

Like disc brakes or, say, Gates Carbon Drive (belt drive), dynamo lighting is one of those things you just have to experience in order to appreciate.

Here's why we recommend bike dynamo lighting:

  • You don't have to worry about your lights getting stolen and thus you don't have to remove your lights and shove them into your pockets anymore
  • You'll never lose or leave home without your lights
  • You don't have to worry about your lights dimming
  • You'll never have to replace batteries
  • You do get to enjoy features like a rear brake light (see our Busch & Muller collection)
  • You do get to charge your smart phone, Garmin, or other GPS device simply by riding your bike (see The Plug III, the Busch & Muller Luxos U, and the AXA Luxx70 Plus). You will not be able to satisfactorily charge larger smart devices such as iPad.
  • While it costs more up front, in the long run you save money.

Our favorite dynamo components

Best Dynamo Bike Lights

Right now we're recommending Busch & Mueller Toplight Line Plus with Brake Tec ($55; that's the one with the brake light) for the rear dynamo light and the 100 lux Busch & Mueller IQ-X ($146) for a dynamo headlight. Or, if you want to charge your phone or a battery pack, the Busch & Mueller Luxos U headlight ($258), which features a USB charger, a handlebar-mounted switch, wider light dispersion, and a super bright 70 lux (along with the ability to beam 90 lux for short periods). All of the dynamo lights we sell have a standing light so it stays on while you're stopped at a red light.

luxx-70-plus-steady-auto-led-scheinwerfer

If you're commuting in the city and don't need the overachieving power of the Luxos, you might consider the new Busch & Mueller Lumotec Eyc T Senso Plus. For $80, this diminutive (we’d even say cute) but powerful headlamp is an excellent choice for city commuters who usually ride slower than 17 or 18 mph and who want to be seen without necessarily needing to light their own way. The version of Eyc (rhymes with “Ike”) that we carry features a daytime running light and a senso that boosts light output when it gets dark. (Or you can choose to turn the daytime running light off.) It also has a standing light, meaning it remains on (for 4 minutes) while you’re stopped.

For the rear light, the vast majority of our Portlandistan customers choose the rack-mounted B&M Top Light Line Plus with Brake Tec, $55. It pulses and it has a virtual brake light that's activated by sudden deceleration.

The Best Dynamo hubs

Shimano S-501, $100

This was our most popular Shimano dynamo hub through 2013. 6v, 3.0 watt output.  Works ideally with your touring or commuting bike. It can also power most smart devices via a handlebar-mounted USB port, in conjunction with a Busch & Mueller Luxos U or AXA Luxx70+ front light. But we have a better idea: for $50 more, you can get a superior Shutter Precision PD-8 or PL-8. Those are now far and away our preferred hubs.

Alfine S701 Centerlock

Shimano Alfine S701

Shimano Alfine S701 dynamo hub: $125 hub only, or $230 built into your existing rim The Alfine S701 is one of the first 1.5 watt (6 volt) hub dynamos with German StVZO approval for LED lamps. It combines filigree appearance, light weight (only 433g, vs. 575g for the S501), and extremely smooth rotation. Powers many front and rear lights easily--except for the newer very powerful lights, such as B&M Luxos. When this hub is used, your big powerful lights won't put out normally.

Also, if you plan on charging a smart phone (such as with the Tout Terrain The Plug III or the Luxos U light), do not use this hub; get a normal 3-watt hub instead, like the Shutter Precision, for $25 more. The Shutter Precision hub is lighter, too. 

8 series dynamo hubs
Shutter Precision PD-8 Price: $150 hub alone; $255 built into your existing rim.

This is now what we believe to be the best dynamo hub and is by far our most popular dynamo hub, going into about 90% of our dynamo wheel builds. SP dynamo's hubs are not only the lightest, but also the most efficient 3w hub on the market, and are virtually identical to the BioLogic Joule 3. The lightest SP dynamo weighs in at an unprecedented 360-390g (lighter than the little Shimano S701 1.5w!) while attaining an unmatched efficiency of 72%. These 3w dynamo hubs are premium products designed and engineered for the most demanding cycle tourists, commuters and enthusiasts.

Although various colors are occasionally available, usually we can get them only in silver or black.

It should be noted that the bigger your wheel is, the faster you'll need to be going to get your dyno hub to produce power. And this is where the Schmidt SON28 hub beats the Shutter Precision; it supplies lights and The Plug III with power at lower speeds than does the SP. This may not matter if you're on 26" wheels, but if you're riding a 29er and will be riding long stretches at under, say, 15 mph, just go for the Schmidt OR go for the American-made Sinewave Cycles Reactor, which outperforms The Plug III and lets you charge your smart device while simultaneously power your lights.

Schmidt SON28

Schmidt SON28. Price: $346 hub alone (price may vary with color); $450 built into an existing rim

This is traditionally the world's most highly regarded dynamo hub. Its very similar in performance to the Shutter Precision hubs.

  • Recommended when more light is required at low speed or when other devices are to be operated or their batteries recharged
  • Available with ISO 6 Bolt Disc or Centerlock Disc configuration
  • 6V / 3W
  • Hub Shell: aluminium 6082 T6
  • Axle: hollow axle Ø 10 mm, strain-hardened stainless steel
  • Bearings: deep groove ball bearing 629 2RSH
  • Magnets: neodym iron boron, 26 poles
  • Weight: 460g. (6 Bolt); 430g. (Centerlock)
  • 5 year warranty

 

USB Chargers 

The Plug III gives improved performance over the II at both low and high speeds, and costs a few dollars less ($215).

The Plug III

The Plug III gives improved performance over the II at both low and high speeds, and costs a few dollars less ($189).

Want to charge your iPhone or other smart device even if you don't have a Luxos U or AXA light? Tout Terrain's The Plug III ($189) is one of the best converters on the market, second only to the Sinewave Cycles Reactor. For use only with 3w dynamo hubs. Doesn't work sufficiently well with 1.5 w hubs. One advantage The Plus has over the Luxos U and AXA lights is that it's probably less likely to be stolen.

This is a nifty and highly efficient USB charging port that channels current from any standard 3w dynamo hub to charge smart devices such as phones, Garmins, and other GPS devices. It can also be used to recharge USB-rechargeable batteries for your lights or other devices. Not designed to charge iPads or other large smart devices directly. With a little wiring re-work that we can do, The Plug will function even while your dynamo is also powering front and rear lights, although you will have to maintain a speed of around 15 mph for all of that to happen. Otherwise, this latest version of The Plug charges even at slow speeds, starting at about 6 mph. That's a nice benefit to bike tourers hauling heavy loads.

Finally, it's pretty inconspicuous and is considered relatively theft-resistant.

Sinewave Cycles' Reactor. Outperforms The Plug III.

Sinewave Cycles' Reactor. Outperforms The Plug III.

A challenger to The Plug is the American-made Sinewave Cycles Reactor ($220). Similar to The Plug but even less conspicuous (there's not a single letter, number, or graphic on it), the Reactor has two big advantages over The Plug III: first, it begins charging at under 4 mph, and second, it lets you charge a device even while the dynamo powers  your lights. All the electronics are encased in resin, so the Reactor should be weatherproof and shock resistant.

Shimano Alfine S701 1.5W 32h Dynamo Hub
$125.00
The S701 hub is notably smaller and lighter than the S501, but it produces only half the output: 1.5W instead of 3W. (All other dynamo hubs we carry produce 3W). This hub is intended for city use, it's not intended to power the super-bright Luxos lights or to charge smart devices. It will do both, but not as well. A great front light to run with this hub is the B&M Eyc or Eyc T(and any B&M tail light). Note that for $150, the Shutter Precision hubs are actually lighter and produce 3W. For use with centerlock rotors.
Shutter Precision 8 Series Dynamo Hub
$129.99 - $178.00
This is now by far our most popular dynamo hub, going into about 90% of our dynamo wheel builds. SP dynamo’s hubs are not only the lightest but also the most efficient 3w hub on the market, and are virtually identical to the BioLogic Joule 3. The lightest SP dynamo weighs in at an unprecedented 360-390g (lighter than even the little Shimano S701 1.5w!) while attaining an unmatched efficiency of 72%. These 3w dynamo hubs are premium products designed and engineered for the most demanding cycle tourists, commuters, and enthusiasts. Their performance and reliability are on par with Schmidt. There's one exception: the Schmidt will start producing light at around 7 mph, whereas the Shutter Precision at around 11. The bigger your wheels are, the higher those minimum speeds, and the converse is also true. Although various colors are occasionally available, usually we can get them only in silver or black.
Schmidt SON28 Dynamo Hub
$299.00
This is traditionally the world’s most highly regarded dynamo hub. It's very similar in performance to the Shutter Precision hubs. •Available with ISO 6 Bolt Disc or Centerlock Disc configuration •6V / 3W •Hub Shell: aluminium 6082 T6 •Axle: hollow axle Ø 10 mm, strain-hardened stainless steel •Bearings: deep groove ball bearing 629 2RSH •Magnets: neodym iron boron, 26 poles •Weight: 460g. (6 Bolt); 430g. (Centerlock) •5 year warranty (longer than any other hub) The Schmidt SON28 is especially recommended if you want light at especially low speeds. It will produce front and rear light starting at about 7 mph, whereas the Shutter Precision will start at about 11 mph. And that's the Schmidt's one distinct performance advantage over the SP, to our knowledge. And remember that the bigger your wheels and tires are, the faster you'll need to be going to make light happen, so if you're riding a 29er under 12-13 mph for long periods, the Schmidt may be best for you.
Supernova E3 2 Dynamo Taillight, rack (bolt) mount
$56.00 - $58.00
Overview The dazzling brightness of these German[designed taillights is guided by Twin Beam Technology to provide, you know, safety. Safety first! · Four times brighter than previous versions · One of the brightest rear lights that is road legal in Germany · Features side illumination to increases traffic safety · Wide angle 250 degree light distribution · 100% waterproof · For 6V DC from E3 Pro front lights · CNC-machined · AL-6061 anodized case · Dimensions: 11 x 30 x 15 mm · Supernova rear lights are best matched to Supernova front lights and are not recommended for use with other manufacturers Bolts to the end of your rack.
Supernova Supernova E3 Pro 2 Dynamo Headlight with multimount
$191.00
The E3 Pro 2 is among the best headlights for riding in civilization. For off-road night riding, get the Supernova E3 Triple 2. Tip: Don't use a Supernova headlight with another brand's taillight, or vice versa. · Wiring included, powered by standard dynamos (dynamo not included) · Glare-free Terraflux2 lens provides large, near-field illumination with a far-reaching beam · Side-illumination greatly increases the safety in traffic · Features a 305 lumen output with 5 minute stand time · High-quality Multi-mount with its CNC-machined safety lock can be adjusted vertically with its dual pivot points · Rugged wiring ensures a safe power transfer · Water (fresh and salt) resistant housing · AL-6061 anodized case · Dimensions: 65 x 40mm · Weight: 130g
Busch & Mueller Toplight Line Plus with Brake Tec dynamo tail light
$59.00
This is probably the best rack-mounted dynamo tail light on the market, and definitely the most popular among our customers. Features a pulsing, wireless brake light. Compatible with most brands of front dynamo light except Supernova. Supernova lights should always be used together.
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$255.00
Exposure makes some of the best dynamo and USB lights on the market. The Revo dynamo light is one of the very best for bikepacking and and off-road night riding. This is a combo pack including a Shutter Precision PD-8 (32-hole, 6-bolt). Shutter Precision hubs are by far our most popular dynamo hubs, as they're at least as efficient as the most expensive dynamo hubs but at only about half the price. LEDs have rewritten the way manufacturers design cycling lights, but another game changer has been recent advancements in generator hubs. The Revo Dynamo Light is the first light that Exposure has designed for use with dynamo hubs. The Revo works with modern, six volt dynamo hubs from Shimano, SRAM, and others to offer 800 lumens of light -- limited only by rider endurance. The Revo is equipped with Stand Light Technology, an auto dimming feature. When you pull up to a stop light, the Revo dims, and will remain lit for ten minutes. This ensures you're visible even when the light doesn't have a power source. As soon as you resume pedaling, the light kicks back up to full power. The Revo also features Smart Port technology to allow use of the Red Eye rear light. Like all Exposure lights, the Revo is constructed from aerospace grade CNC-machined aluminum. This not only helps to dissipate heat from the four powerful Cree XPG R5 Leds housed in the resin lenses, it also offers protection from inclement weather. For extra light once at your destination, the Exposure Revo Dynamo Light can provide up to an hour of light on it's own. Product Features Bulb Type: Cree XPG R5 LED Power Source: Dynamo Hub Backup Power Source: capacitor (about 4 min) Batteries Included: no need for batteries Voltage Regulator: Modes: Bulbs: 4 Lumens: 800 Waterproof: no, weather-resistant Weight: 87 g (light only) Recommended Use: off-road cycling, bikepacking
Busch & Mueller Toplight Line Small dynamo taillight
$28.00
Tiny and light but packs a hefty punch. Includes a capacitor so it stays lit for a few minutes after stopping at a red light. The holes are drilled 50 mm apart for mounting to most racks. Use this light only in conjunction with a headlight; never wire it directly to the dynamo or you'll fry the poor thing.
Sinewave Cycles Beacon dynamo light
$350.00
The new Beacon is hands down the best dynamo headlight in production, and it's made in the USA. Arriving at Joe Bike in mid-February. 750 lumens Starts charging at around 5 mph (700c wheels), an industry best Symmetrical beam pattern Ideal choice for off-road riding. Superior brightness at low and medium speeds Waterproof Includes an integrated USB Charger to charge your phone, GPS, or any other USB device directly from the Beacon; no need for a separate charger. For bike touring and bikepacking, you can also charge an external battery pack for an extra store of power. 750 Lumens Dynamo power is optimized at low-to-medium speeds, reaching 200 lumens at just 5 MPH, 500 lumens at 8 MPH, 650 lumens at 10 MPH, and 750 lumens at 13 MPH. Simultaneous power distribution: the charger works even while your lights are on. Intelligently balances power between light and charger to optimize simultaneous use. Standlight: A supercapacitor provides about 5 minutes of standing light when stopped. Color options: anodized black anodized silver polished silver red blue Mix and match colors: By special order, you can choose different colors for the front, middle, and back of the Beacon. Pick a combination that matches your bike or represents your country or team. Contact us to place your order. Mounting options The 10mm mounting tab is compatible with mounting hardware from B&M, Supernova, Schmidt, etc. Compact design L x W x H - 58 x 42 x 42mm 115g (includes 36" dynamo wire) Taillight output: Power to the tail light is controlled by the front light Better color temperature: While still in the "cool white" range, the Beacon generates slightly warmer light than other LED headlights. This results in less glare, less strain on your eyes, and does a better job reproducing natural colors. Weatherproof (see the photo where the light is submerged in water). Designed to be used in any conditions. Multiple seals protect against water ingress, electronics are potted in epoxy, and all connectors are gold plated and designed for resistance to the elements. Made in the USA All Sinewave products are made in the USA. The Beacon is the only commercially available dynamo light made in the USA. 3-year Warranty What's in the box? The Beacon comes with a USB-to-DC cable. A mount is not included - there are many options available for different mounting locations. Contact us if you need advice about mounting options.
Busch & Mueller Lumotec Eyc T Senso Plus front dynamo light
$79.00
Distinctively small and lightweight, Eyc T Senso Plus puts out a very bright light that is ideal for city riding and for riding at less than racing speed. That has to do principally with the beam width, which is narrower than that of the Cyo or Luxos. Like all B&M dynamo lights, it has a standing light that keeps going for 4 minutes after you stop. Also built in are a daytime running light and automatic switching. Includes wiring for a tail light. Not for use with a Supernova tail light.
Busch & Mueller Secula Plus seatpost- or seatstay-mounted dynamo taillight
$30.50
One of the very few dynamo taillights that'll mount to either a seatstay or seatpost. The mount swivels so that you set the light vertical. Like all B&M dynamo lights, it has a capacitor (standing light) that keeps the light on for 4 minutes after you stop (that's what the "Plus" denotes). Also features over-voltage protection. Compatible with all B&M headlights and almost all other dynamo headlights; not compatible with Supernova headlights.
Busch & Mueller Secula Plus fender-mounted dynamo taillight
$30.50
Like all the B&M dynamo lights we carry, the Secula has a capacitor (standing light) that keeps the light on for 4 minutes after you stop (that's what the "Plus" denotes). Also features over-voltage protection. Compatible with all B&M headlights and almost all other 6V headlights, but not compatible with Supernova headlights. Mount allows you to adjust the angle in order to make the surface vertical. This works only on full-coverage fenders, however. Shorter fenders like Raceblades won't let you get to vertical.
Busch & Mueller Lumotec IQ-X dynamo headlight
$159.00
Busch & Mueller have outdone their top-of-the-line Luxos headlights with the 100 lux IQ-X. For road use, this is the most powerful dynamo headlight we know of. The IQ-X's new optical system produces a smoother distribution of light on the road than any other headlight. How does 100 lux translate into lumens? From a cyclist's perspective, there is no translation. Lumens describes the amount of light produced, whereas lux describes illumination of a given area at a given distance. From a cyclist's perspective, lux is a much more meaningful indicator of a light's usefulness. The housing is anodized aluminum and acts as the heat sink for the LED. The IQ-X has a standing light (like all the B&M lights we carry), as well as daytime running lights. A senso automatically switches to either daytime or nighttime mode. It does not have a blinking mode, and that's good, because a blinking light this powerful would be extremely annoying, not to mention dangerous, to both motorized and nonmotorized oncoming traffic. Mounting: compatible with other Busch & Müller headlight mounts. The included mount will work on most bikes. As with other B&M headlights, it includes wiring for a tail light. The sleek appearance of the IQ-X is also a nice step forward for Busch & Mueller. We hope B&M will offer a USB port version of the IQ-X that, like the Luxos U, lets you charge phones, cameras, and other devices while you pedal.
Shimano Alfine S501 Dynamo Hub
$90.00 - $100.00
A solid choice for a relatively low-cost, reliable dynamo. Works well with your touring or commuting bike. It can also power many smart devices and GPS units via a handlebar-mounted USB port, in conjunction with either a Busch & Mueller Luxos U front light, Supernova's The Plug power converter, or the Sinewave Cycles Reactor power converter. Quick-release axle for standard 100mm-OL dropouts. For bikes with centerLock disc brakes (can also be used with rim brakes).
Busch & Mueller Luxos U
$225.00
The pre-eminent dynamo light on the market includes a handlebar-mounted USB charging port, so you can use your dynamo hub to power your smart phone or an external battery either with the light on or (preferably, for faster charging) off. Luxos is the light to get if you ride where there aren't any streetlights and/or if you ride at high speed. The beam width widens the faster you go. Because it also cleanly charges your smart device, GPS unit, or external battery pack, this is very much THE light to get for bikepacking. Although some people successfully use the Luxos U with Shimano's 1.5W dynamo hub, we recommend using the standard 3W hubs from Shutter Precision, Schmidt, Sanyo, or Shimano. The only tail light we recommend with the Luxos is the B&M Top Light Line Plus with brake light.
Supernova E3 Pro Triple 2
$275.00
E3 Triple features a wide illumination pattern for outstanding illumination off road. Not recommended for on-road use, as the light can blind oncoming traffic. Aluminum case, 130g Wiring included. Powered by standard dynamos (dynamo hub not included) Ideal for 24-hour MTB racing, off-road bikepacking, randonneuring, cyclocross training, and general off-road night riding Choose either the Multi-mount version, which is a versatile dual-pivot, height-adjustable arm that mounts to hole in fork crown, or the handlebar mount version. If you are using a suspension fork, get the handlebar mount. Internal capacitor keeps the light on for up to 7 minutes after you stop pedaling. What tail light to get? Just make sure it's the same brand, as Supernovas don't always play nice with others.
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