For the race I'll be free not only from mains charging, but I'll also be able to avoid faffing trying to find alkaline batteries (nasty things I try and avoid) from petrol stations and corner shops to keep my lights and navigation going. I'll be powering and charging everything from my Shutter Precision PD-8 hub dynamo :-)
|Battery (and mains charging) free: Bar light and GPS charging all powered by a dynamo hub|
Should I want to be connected to the real world, it will charge my phone too
The power is switchable, through a switch on the handlebar, between the lights (front and optional rear light) or a USB cable. The USB cable will spend most of its time plugged into my GPS unit, but can also be used to charge my phone or my Exposure Joystick headlight. Good times :-). I've been running this setup for a while now and I must confess to being really rather chuffed with it. Here's a quick overview of the three main components:
THE WHEELS: The heart of the dynamo power are a rather special pair of wheels. I am a very lucky rider indeed as Reynolds have made me a one-off 32hole set of their wonderful 29er rims, with custom red & white graphics to match the bike. I've loved riding their conventional wheels, so to be able to use these with my dynamo is a real treat. Into these I have a DT Swiss 240s 6-bolt hub at the back and IDC have supplied me with SP's lightweight & efficient PD-8 6-bolt dynamo hub which will produce the power. These are all laced together with DT Revolution spokes and, to top it all off, colour matched red aluminium nipples, again kindly provided by the lovely people at Reynolds.
|Complete bike, showing off it's lovely and very, very special, "factory" colour matched wheels :-)|
|The tiny SP PD-8 disc brake dynamo |
hub that makes it all possible
|DT240s rear hub to|
complete the bling!
|The Expusure Dynamo Light|
Available this autumn, it's really rather good
|Exposure's standard Redeye rear light plugs|
into their dynamo light, a neat touch
Front and rear light also work off the Exposure dynamo light's standlight
CHARGING: The final touch for multi-day racing is charging. I've tried a few different chargers, including the offerings from Softhema, Kemo and making my own. There are plenty more available from other well known brands. They're all small, lightweight and simple, comprising of just a few components. This is excellent as it makes them super reliable too. In this case I'm using the Softhema offering as it straps most neatly onto my bike setup, with the long thin form factor attaching neatly to the brake hose. A small toggle switch on the bars switches the power between from the lights to the charger so I can use the hub power to top everything up during daylight hours.
1) So, dynamos are heavy, right? No! The Exposure light comes in at a flyweight 112g, with the SP hub another 390g, A total weight of 502g. Yes, a MaXx-D is only 337g, but you still need a front hub, and with a Hope Pro 2 coming in at 190g, that's a total weight of 527g, 25g heavier. And that's without factoring in having to run my battery light on a low light setting or the weight of carrying alkaline batteries as spares for the GPS or some form of battery charger.
2) Isn't a dynamo draggy? Well, Please excuse the maths, but if you rode at 20mph for an hour the light would pull about 6W from your legs during this time, this is equivalent to approximately 5.2kcal. There are approximately 72kcal in a McVites Digestive biscuit, enough to power your light for just under 14hrs and that's assuming you pedal down the hills and around every corner! So yes, it does draw a tiny bit of power, but I certainly can't tell the difference and it's a damn good excuse to eat an extra biscuit every few rides ;-)
So, there we go, simple really and with more products and better products being released all the time, dynamo power it seems has really come of age, not just for urban riding and extended road tours, but for fast winter road rides and technical, mountain bike singletrack riding too.