This is now my third attempt at using a dynohub on my bike. All three hubs were Shimano branded, but there is something different about this particular wheel.
I built up my first dyno back in 2008 just before a trip and thought it was OK, but after a couple days of riding it around and having to conquer some hills, I soon came to realize that the hub created too much noticeable resistance. I sold it on Craigslist and went back to using battery-operated lights.
The second attempt was with a slightly more expensive option of the Shimano Deore LX as ordered through Universal Cycles. Again, it was great using lights that never needed batteries and gave off a nice flood of photons, but I swear the resistance was worse! I’m not knocking the wheel. It was a great buy and solid wheel. Most riders probably wouldn’t notice the resistance until they got above 15mph. My main gripe was that they offered no cruising at all.
My latest dynohub-wheel was purchased at Clever Cycles for $99. It’s probably lower on the tier than the LX model, but it was a GREAT price point. A friend of mine recently bought one and was singing its praises, so I bit my wallet and dove into the Dyno-pool once more.
I have to say: This is the best dyno-wheel I have ever used. It adds the same weight as previous wheels but it rolls really well and I don’t really feel any significant resistance or alternator buzzing that was symptomatic of previous hubs. I can still cruise along at 18mph without feeling like I’m being pulled back by invisible gremlins.
This has me thinking of all kinds of projects I could do with a dyno…powering a stereo, charging my phone or AA batteries, lighting my way through all-night rides.
One of the Clever Cycles employees has mentioned that the Shimano Alfine hub is supposed to have less resistance and is competitive with the Schmit SON dynos. If this is true, I may have to let loose a few more dollars.
I can hardly wait to try some long distance, randonnuering rides with it.