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New Trend For Using Hub Dynamos

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In recent years, hub dynamos have become kind of a standard on bicycles with lights. Its about time that these dynamos are being put to good use not just for the lights, that is. Thats what four manufacturers thought of independently and showed at this autumn shows.

New Trend For Using Hub Dynamos
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In recent years, hub dynamos have become kind of a standard on bicycles with lights. It’s about time that these dynamos are being put to good use – not just for the lights, that is. That’s what four manufacturers thought of independently and showed at this autumn shows.

Thanks to their efficiency and reliability under all kinds of weather conditions, hub dynamos have literally pushed the old ‘bottle’ dynamos out of the market. But there is more to them than weather resistance. Whether a hub dynamo is switched on or off hardly makes any difference in terms of rolling resistance.

Tests with a sophisticated SRM power output meter have shown that rough surfaces, tyre choice and tyre pressure are far more important factors than if the hub dynamo is switched on or not. That’s why no less than four manufacturers decided to make good use of those hub dynamos as a means to produce electricity while cycling.

This trend excludes all sports-oriented bicycles, as these are hardly ever equipped with such a dynamo or any kind of fixed lights. But for commuters as well as cyclotourists, the idea is all the more appealing. After all, people tend to carry an ever increasing number of mobile devices with them that need lots of electricity. That starts with up-to-date multimedia mobile phones such as the Blackberry or the iPhone, but it also includes digital cameras or increasingly popular GPS devices.

Despite the obvious similarities in terms of the idea, there are some significant differences between the systems presented at Eurobike this year. For example, the Australian brand PedalPower+ relies on its own internals that fit into the shell of different OEM hub dynamos. While this obviously raises the price of the product, there are also some nice features about PedalPower+ worth mentioning.

Since the system’s battery pack can not only be charged by the dynamo, but also by a car battery and a soon-to-be-presented foldable solar panel, it’s easily the most versatile system aimed not just at cyclists but also at the outdoor market as a whole; and even at road reps that heavily rely on their mobile phone in the middle of nowhere.

Typically a leading OEM producer, Busch & Müller has now created ‘e-Werk’ – a compact system that can be fitted to virtually any bicycle. With the system’s battery weighing only 53 grams, it is small, lightweight, and pretty powerful, too. Busch & Müller claims that the power output equals the one of a regular charging kit at a modest speed of 15km/h.

Pretty similar both in function and appearance is Dahon’s BioLogic ReeCharge system, which is also easy to install on all kind of bicycles. The cleanest solution so far, The Plug, comes from German manufacturer Tout Terrain. The Plug also appeals to the eye, as the cable is routed within the fork shaft, and the USB socket is neatly integrated into the system’s special top cap.

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