If you are a bike fanatic, then you know that you will not always be cycling in the brightness of the day. Sometimes you are late and have to cycle at night, sometimes you cycle during winter and foggy conditions, and if you love bike packing, you can be pretty sure that mountains are not that much lighted up.
Therefore, you will need to get a dynamo hub, and not just a piece, but the best possible.
So, how does one go about considering the best dynamo hub for bike packing and touring? This article delves into the ultimate buying guide that you need in buying the dynamo hub, in addition to a few examples that you will get in the market.
Let’s have a look at a few examples of the unbeatable dynamo hubs in the market today:
Best Dynamo Hubs for Bike Packing and Touring: Top 3 Picks
1. Shimano DH-S501 Alfine Dynamo Disc Hub
One of Shimano’s finest, Alfine Dynamo is suitable as a front wheel hub. Basically, it is a quick release axle model, suitable for all standard bikes with 100mm-OL dropouts. Therefore, if you own a road bike, a racing bike or a touring bike, this dynamo is an excellent option.
Luckily for you, the dynamo hub is even compatible with rim brakes. Therefore, whether you use coaster or rim brakes, your bike will still work with the dynamo hub.
Most essentially, the hub produces 3-watt power supply, which will work even with LP-R600 handlebar front light kit.
It comes with 36 spokes, hence the need to use it with such, or slightly less.
The package includes, other than the DH-S501 dynamo hub, an E2 power connector, in addition to a quick release skewer.
- Lightweight, and really convenient for the front wheel
- Compatible with rim brakes
- Compatible with all standard bikes
- Only suitable for the standard bike wheels
2. YSD Dynamo Bike Hub
For a range of wheel sizes, this dynamo hub will perfectly fit. It can be accommodated by wheels from 16 inches to 28 inches, as long as the bolt circle diameter adds to 74mm.
Other than that, the dynamo hub features 36 holes, hence the need to crosscheck against the spokes that your bike wheel features.
Producing 6 volts of power in 2.4 to 3 watts for 25kph, the dynamo hub is a great option for touring.
In addition, the dynamo hub works with rim brake types, yet will not interfere with the braking system.
Though silver in color, the headlights will be luminous flux, that is, 400 Lumens and 3000 CD
Better still, you can cycle in any weather condition when using the dynamo. This is because it is weatherproof. Also, even when the lights are off, the dynamo hub is in a reflector in itself, hence facilitating visibility.
- Suitable for most standard wheel bikes
- Promotes visibility by acting as a reflector
- Weatherproof, hence all-weather usage
- Accommodates a range of wheel sizes
- Only available in one spoke number option
3. Joule3 Biological Dynamo Hub 32H
For the best 32-hole spoke bike dynamo hub choice, this Joule3 Biological Dynamo Hub takes the trophy. On top of allowing for 32-spoke wheel usage, the dynamo is 100 mm OLD, hence suitable for all standard bikes.
Then, the dynamo hub is compatible with both disc and non-disc brakes, hence highly versatile in bike choice.
Available in silver color, be sure to have the dynamo perfectly blend in with your bike color, design and outlook. It is really lightweight, weighing only 416g. Thence, it will not interfere with or weigh on your pedaling activities.
Compliant with the German St VZO, the dynamo hub produces 3 watts with 6 volts. The best part of the deal Is that it is very efficient, with minimal drag. The generator efficiency is actually estimated to be 73%
- Best for 32-spoke wheels
- Compatible with disc and non-disc braking systems
- Best for standard bikes only
What is a Dynamo Hub Anyway?
If you don’t have a vivid idea of what a dynamo hub really is, and why you would need it for touring and bike packing, then relax. Still new in the activities? Trust me, you will need it, so let’s define it first.
A dynamo hub is a kind of energy that powers front and rear lights on a bicycle, and could also be used to charge other gadgets such as laptops and phones. It recharges as the bike moves, hence in most cases powered by your cycling speed.
To avoid instances where you can’t cycle in the dark or end up risking getting into an accident, cyclists prefer to invest in this essential biking accessory.
How to Find Best Dynamo Hub for Bike Packing and Touring: Absolute Guide
Performance of the Dynamo Hub
The performance of a dynamo hub refers to how much power it gets in a pedaling session, and also your speed. Most dynamos produce 3 watts within a speed limit of 25 kilometers per hour, but this is not all. These are just the standard dynamo hubs, so this means that you are not limited to this extent.
Actually, there are those that will go as far as producing 6 watts for the 25 kilometers per hour speed.
What you need to understand, though, is that the more power that the dynamo hub gets from your bike pedaling, the better the dynamo hub. This is because you don’t have to pedal much just to get the dynamo producing the light that you need.
One thing you have to take note of, however, is that dynamo hubs increase the lighting of the lights when you increase the speed, and dim the lights when you are at your lowest cycle. Nevertheless, this will differ with the specific dynamo hub performance.
Moving Speed that Powers it
If you want to bike pack, then you definitely know that there are instances when you really struggle with the pedals. Does this mean that the dynamo hub power will reduce as well? This will most likely be the case, unless you source for dynamo hubs whose power charges from the least pedal stroke.
It would be disappointing to get a dim light when you are deep in the mountain jungles, where it is completely dark, yet straining to light the bike lights.
The quality of the bike dynamo hub will be determined by the material, brand, and even performance on the bike. Did you know that you can light more than a single light with your bike dynamo hub? However, the more lights your bike needs, the better quality you should go for, so that the lights do not overwhelm the dynamo hub.
This way, all the lights will brighten uniformly, and impressively illuminating at the same time.
Type of Bike for the Dynamo Hub
Different bikes will be compatible with different dynamo hubs. Thence, before you make a purchase, ensure that the dynamo hub will be suitable for your specific bike. This is because the dynamo hub is placed at the center of the wheel, and bike wheels have different axle sizes.
Thus, to get a bike dynamo hub that completely suits your exact bike, you should consider the dynamo hub compatibility with your bike. Let’s dive into some of the bike dynamos that you will come across, based on your bike:
- Quick release, which is perfect for a standard bike. It is usually 9mm. There are 2 different types, based on the braking system. These include those suitable for disc brakes and those that are for non-disc brakes.
- Thru axle road, which is 12mm. This dynamo hub is most suitable for mountain bikes.
- Folding bike hub dynamos, which are quite sleek and stylish to suit the trendy and smaller bike needs of a folding bike. They are, basically, 8 mm in length.
- Fat bike dynamo hubs, which are thru axles of 15mm, with a width of 150mm. This is for ice and very smooth conditions biking. For normal fat biking, you can get a quick release option.
Model and Efficiency
There are various models of dynamo hubs in the market, just as with most other bike accessories. There is no better brand in comparison to another, but your bike needs may differ.
Moreover, it is good to take into account the fact that your dynamo quality is paramount before selecting the brand. Imagine lights going off mid cycling, just because your dynamo failed.
Some of the major models of dynamo hubs that you can consider include Shimano, Son, Shutter, Kasai, to mention but a few.
One of the major drawbacks of dynamo hubs is the weight. Some are so heavy that they hinder efficiency in cycling.
Nevertheless, you can still get relatively light dynamo hubs, especially for touring. This way, you will maximize the lighting.
However, if using dynamo hubs for mountain biking and fat bikes, the dynamo hub is bound to be heavier, so as to cater for the specific needs of these bikes.
Some bike dynamo hubs have more spokes than others. I don’t think it makes much of a difference the number of spokes, it is just a matter of preference.
But wait! Different bike wheels have different spokes, right? Therefore, you have to ensure that the spokes in your bike match the spokes in the dynamo hub you choose.
For instance, if your bike wheel has 36 spokes, then you have to at least get a bike dynamo hub that has the same number of holes. The description of the dynamo hub never leaves this factor out, hence it is easy to find out.
In a Nutshell
Bike dynamos are really important in bike packing and touring activities, that we all agree. The challenge is how to find the best dynamo hub for bike packing and touring, right?
Now that we have a solution, all that is left is for you to find the most suitable dynamo hub for your specific hub. Remember to put all the consideration into account, so as to come up with the best of the best.