New lights for the winter commute

After a fair bit of research over Dynamo power, a crash course in wheel building, and a big hit to the wallet, here’s the new set up…..

The Schmidt hub will have to wait this time! But the Supernova light systems won hands down, although the Schmidt Edelux front light was a close second, but didn’t have a nice tail light solution.

The Schmidt hub will have to wait this time! But the Supernova light systems won hands down, although the Schmidt Edelux front light was a close second, but didn’t have a nice tail light solution.

Peter White’s web site proved invaluable for advice, when I first started investigating the prospect of Dynamo lighting, I knew very little, save the old “Can on the Sidewall” systems I was used to as a child, little more use than a candle melted onto the handlebars! The lamps used to rust from the inside out, and the drag was akin to riding in sand! Suffice to say, things have changed!

The bottle design to which I refer still exists, and Busch & Muller, one of the leaders in dynamo technology, offer a pretty high end example of such a device that will lighten your wallet by nearly £50. Claims of low resistance and high efficiency make it a serious contender, but I was after something a little more “finished” in overall appearance, as opposed to “bolted on”!

I pass a fellow commuter every morning coming in the opposite direction, and one winter morning I was quite literally “blinded by the light”, after screwing my eyes up and peering a little closer, I noticed the oversized, shiny front hub, so by the time I was sat at my desk, I was on Google, looking up Dynamo hubs!

Now the dynamo hub market appears to be dominated by Shmidt, and start at £135, although good old Mr Shimano offers a few cheaper alternatives! At this point I turned my attention to the lighting systems on offer, Busch & Muller again featuring quite heavily here, Shmidt less so. Once the costs of lighting systems began to sink in, I realised that this was going to be quite an expensive project! I couldn’t get past the thought though; “Once this system is fitted, that’s it, for life, no matter where I go, or what I am doing, it doesn’t matter if it goes dark, I will always have a light, never a degraded battery light, or even a light forgotten, a full powered, human powered light! Zero impact on the environment, other than manufacture” This is a good thing right!?

The Busch & Muller light sets, although still demanding as much as £100 just looked a little flimsy in the bracket department, Supernova were hugely expensive, but I loved the tail light, my heart though was with Shmidt’s eDelux headlight. A big, over machined can of pure German build quality, light sensitive auto switch, Stand light (so whilst stationary at traffic lights, a small battery reserve runs the light for a few more minutes), and a hook up to run a tail light, perfect! Unfortunately though, after emailing Peter White in the States, I was informed that the eDelux headlight could not be coupled with the Supernova tail light….. Decision made, the Supernova might be the most expensive system, but take a look at their website, it is justified in my opinion!

Based on my research so far, the money I felt was better invested in the light system, the hub can perhaps be upgraded at a later date, even the trusty Christmas bonus wasn’t going to stretch to a Supernova light system running off a Schmidt hub, we’re talking in excess of £400 now! So I turned my attention back to the Shimano offerings, and my search to trusty old eBay! And what should I find for £24!? A Shimano Nexus dynamo hub, in black, perfect! So armed with Roger Musson’s guide to wheel building, a fist full of spokes and a fluorescent yellow Halo
Aerorage rim, I set about building my wheel!

I will write again on the trials and tribulations of building your own wheels! 😉

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