Battery or dynamo hub powered front light, the big decision #cycling

At present I have an Air Bike P7 Ever Light (SCC P7 LED, 700 lumens) and it’s been working well for several years now but a while back the cat chewed the charger cable, so I patched it up, but the lamp cable has also been patched up, the lens is cracked and the reflector surface has bubbled in places too. Sure, it still works, but a replacement is overdue.

I can’t afford a decent branded battery pack light (oooww Betty) or a SON dynamo plus a decent lamp. Given the price of the MagicShine lights I’m tempted to buy one, but I’ve also been thinking about a dynamo. Dynamos seem expensive, mostly lack a flashing mode for daytime use and quick release would have to be a DIY solution too. Why am I still interested in a dynamo? Well, the modern battery front lights have such poor runtime that I find it annoying to have to keep charging it, my rear lights last the week so they can happily be battery powered without getting annoying. Fortunately Busch & Müller’s IQ DRL lamps aren’t that expensive and have a Daylight Running (flashing) Light, so if I can keep the price of the hub and wheel down then the only issue is a DIY quick release bracket, I can deal with that. Another thing about a dynamo (in theory) is that I can upgrade or replace the lower costing lamp in future, so when the IQ2 is widely available I can upgrade (or just wish I’d have waited for it). Nexus and Bluebell have different wheel sizes, so I can’t swap it between the bikes, but then I’ll still have the Air Bike that I can use on the lesser used Nexus if I have to.

Finding somewhere that sells dynamo hubs laced into rims isn’t that easy either, some don’t, they only sell the components, some say you’re going to have to contact them with your requirements and they’ll create the custom order for you. A few people recommended Bike24, so I went there, they do sell the built wheel, but unfortunately the cheaper dynamos were out of stock, after some huffing and puffing I decided to just splash out a bit (no, not on a SON, I can’t splash out that much!), here’s what I ordered:
Supernova Infinity S dynamo hub laced into a Mavic XM 719 rim (center lock or rim brake) – €229.90
Busch + Müller Lumotec IQ Fly RT Senso Plus LED Front Light with DRL 174QRTSNDI – €49.90
Total = €279.80

The downside (there always is one) is Bike24 are based in Germany (hence the Euro price tag), so I’ve no idea how much it’s really costing, but I figure if I can afford it in pounds then it’ll be fine.

Wish me luck!

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5 responses to “Battery or dynamo hub powered front light, the big decision #cycling

  1. stromatoliteful

    I like the sound of Dynamo hubs, it will be good to know what you decide in the end. Ben

    • What swayed me was the absolute turd battery life on even the decent branded lights. I’d have to charge them every other day or more frequently.

      I made a double size battery pack for my air bike from laptop battery cells, that was a huge success and still works after many years. But a dynamo will hopefully be an even better solution.

  2. The amount you use your bike, I’d say just get on with it and buy a decent dynamo and light. Don’t scrimp on such things, you earn more than me and only have 1 child!

    • I have gone mid range, price in GBP was £230. You get a lot more for your money now i think.
      It is 60% of the price of a SON with edelux lamp.
      Twice the price of the cheap option.
      Since it’s locked up on the street I think midrange is best option!
      I might upgrade the lamp when the new one is available, but I doubt I’ll need one.

    • Having spent £7,040 in just over 4 years of cycling I don’t think I scrimp.

      OK, I scrimp on my shoes and not re-building my rear wheel yet. But only those.

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