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Dynamo front light

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by Tynan, 21 Jun 2008.

  1. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran


    In the LBS today for all manner of nonsense but also asking about a decent road front light for the Dun Run and commuting thereafter, for a budget

    They suggested a dynamo driven halogen, £35 ish plus fitting

    Will it be bright enough for windy country lanes and will it be negligible as regards drag/weight, I understand there's some noise

  2. RedBike

    RedBike New Member

    Beside the road
    Most front lights are only 2.4/3watts, My halogen light wasn't quite bright enough to use on unlit roads. Mine would also dim slightly on steeper uphills. Heck of a lot better than most of these cheap LEDs though.
    (I belive you can get high powered LED dynamo lights which are significantly better.)

    I never noticed any drag from my dynamo front hub at low speeds. However, the bike was a few mph slower downhill. (Without a speedo I probably wouldn't of noticed this.)

    The front dynamo wheel was rather heavy but the lights weighed nothing.

    The hub was more or less silent, although I belive the dynamos that run off the side of tyres can be quite noisy (Never used one).

    £35 seems relatively expensive to me. Although obviously some lights wil be better than others and cost more than others. You can pick a basic set of dynamo light up off ebay for about £15
  3. piedwagtail91

    piedwagtail91 Über Member

    the best dynamo/hub driven light I've come across is the lumotec fly iq, it's 40 lux led and is very bright,
    it's more expensive than the one quoted for but should last indefinitely, without the bulb problems.
    click on catalogue, headlights lumotec fly iq. it shows the difference in brightness.
    i used it last winter and theres no problem going down 30 mph twisty descents
  4. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran


    suck it and see I guess, not sure what worries me most, noisey or drag, last saw dynamos when I was a kid and they were hideous in return for a flickering glow

    long suck it and see for Dunwich clearly
  5. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    I recently fitted a Basta Pilot LED to replace an older halogen
    Light output is more than adequate (and comes on full power at walking pace) for the unlit lanes and woodland paths I ride (though not as quite as bright as a lumotech), it also has a standlight that stays lit for about 4 minutes. Cost £27.49 inc post from SJS. At the same time I changed the old Union sidewall dynamo for an Axa HR
    £23.00 inc post from SpaCycles. The Axa makes a very slight humming sound, and there is a little drag but it can't be much as I've sometimes not flicked it off the tyre after getting home, and set off the next day in daylight and not noticed:blush:. I found that correctly aligning the dynamo(wheel) with the tyre helps keep drag/noise down. You don't say what your budget is, but as a 'tight arsed yorkshireman' (as my wife often calls me ;)) I'm delighted with the price and set up.
  6. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    that's excellent info fella, thank-you, very happy with that

    and it tallies with what LBS said
  7. Danny

    Danny Legendary Member

    How easy was it to fit the light? It looks like it could involve a lot of faffing about.
  8. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    Very easy as I had a mount in place for the old light
    though I had to drill the lamp mounting hole out a bit to fit the original one.
    The Basta came with two mounts (you can see one of them here)
    I use the double wire system as I've found it more reliable over the years, so all I had to do was undo the lamp back and cut the wires, joining the original wires to the new ones inside the lamp (the new wiring wasn't quite long enough to reach the dynamo at the rear wheel). The Pilot also has little plug connectors for the rear light, so I put a couple of new wires from the rear light to the Pilot. I was so pleased with the new light that I just had to get something similar for the back ... So these had to go
    to be replaced with
    Fitting that was a bit less straight forward as the rack light mount/fitting was this type
    so I made an adapter
    So now I have bright lights (with standlights) both front and rear :angry:.
  9. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran


    LBS said it was a fiddly faffy job to get right although I suppose they would possibly
  10. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    Strewth! It's no more fiddly faffy than say ... replacing v-brake blocks.
    The light can be mounted using the crown bolt (assuming your bike has one - or at least a hole for one), thats the bit where the front reflector is fitted here
    (I might remove that as the new light has one built in). Mounting a dynamo is just a matter of bolting it on a fork (if that's where you want it), or a rear seat stay using a suitable mount, and adjusting so that it runs true with the tyre. I think it took me about half an hour.
  11. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    collected it back today on the way back from the chippy with the two nippers in tow so a bit rushed, axa HR dynamo (which google say people rate) and a basta front light that the mechanic at the LBS said was really bright

    just ran it with the wheel held up and was dismayed at the drag, granted it was the wheel spinning alone but it felt and sounded like a whole loada drag on the back wheel

    try it with me on it I suppose ...

    the light is rather handsome, it smacks of serious manly riding, suspect I'll have to take up smoking rollies and get a stained cap for the full effect
  12. Yorkshireman

    Yorkshireman New Member

    There's bound to be some drag Tynan, but if you take a little trouble to set the dynamo up correctly it's not a problem. The optimum set up is when an imaginary line passes through the centre line (top to bottom) of the dynamo and lines up with the wheel axle (that also ensures that the dynamo drive wheel is lined up with the tyre sidewall). Adjust the presure that the dynamo applies to the tyre so that it's just enough to stop it skipping or skidding when wet. I often set off for a ride to have someone point out that I've got the lights on 'cos I forget to pull the dyno off the tyre after the previous nights ride. The noise that I get is just a slight humming sound (and I find it blends quite well into the normal tyre noise), but that may vary with the type of dynamo track on the tyre sidewall. Just out of interest ... Which light (model) did you get?
  13. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    Hmmmm thats what I remember about dynamo's Think I will stick with my twin smarts and flashing LED
  14. Tynan

    Tynan Veteran

    axa HR traction dynamo and a basta horizon front light

    for all my deciding to rely on the LBS to do the fiddly work it seems to my ignorant eye that it's far too much drag on the wheel

    really not sure, it's a nice bike and I like to go quick and I'm used to the back wheel spinning endlessly, now it's barely spin three times before stopping rather quickly

    fiddle with it then I suppose, galls after the experts supposedly doing it for me

    and thanks for that prompt reply

    well and good fat fella but my night ride to Southend learnt me what riding down an unlit country road is like with a commuter LED front light
  15. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    You old town / city boys with your street lights. Countryside commuting with a fading LED avoiding low flying pheasants is where its at :tongue: