Batt or Dynohub?-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2016

    Batt or Dynohub?

    My bike packing adventures up until now end at sunset and resume at sunrise. For those of you who are extending your ride time into the darkness on multi day trips, are you running battery lights and recharging at select stops or are you running dynamo systems?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Hey Willy,
    You will probably get more traction answering this question in the Bikepacking forum. It generally appears that those who often bikepack do not venture into this forum; and the regulars here in this forum do not typically participate in multi-day rides.

    That said, you will probably find a mix of both strategies, especially depending on the duration of the trip, the total anticipated night-riding, and the route (Do planned stops offer electricity and duration to recharge battery packs, etc?). Dynamo systems are popular, but the options for lighting are limited (and what's "good" lighting is subjective...); K-Lites with Schmidt or Shutter Precision hubs have proven themselves reliable. B&M eWerks or USBWerks added into these systems for cache batteries or charging other devices (iPads, camera batteries, etc) have proven themselves to be less reliable.

    Battery packs are heavy, but they work. I cannot (yet) run a dynamo hub on my fork, so I'm limited to battery packs for multi-day events. The 4 packs I carry will provide 28-30 hours of light, and the extra weight is offset by the fact that I'm still moving forward (instead of waiting for sunlight). But, I will replace them with a dynamo hub once I find a solution that works with my set-up.

    YMMV. Good luck!

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Lone Rager's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    FWIW: The Peter White Cycles website has a lot of info on Dynamo hubs and related systems.
    Do the math.

  4. #4
    Light freak
    Reputation: scar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    FWIW - I build custom bike lights and offer a AA battery holder for ultra endurance racing and backpacking. Shoot me a PM and I can give you details.


  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Thanks for the replies.

    I did read the peter white website info. Good stuff for sure.

    My typical bike packing trip is just one or two nights and just set up camp at sunset, so I havnt really cared about lights in the past. But Iím planning on ďracingĒ the Idaho smoke and fire this year so need to figure out some lighting and charging solutions. (5nights in the backcountry) I also like the thought of doing just some local foothills riding at night this year to escape the heat.
    I think itís pretty clear that for local riding a good battery light is the way to go, and much more affordable. Setting up a quality dynamo system is crazy expensive, but it makes me independent. I just donít know if itís worth the huge cost.
    Son hub, klite, usb charger is like $800 just for parts, not to mention building a wheel up.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    If you go the dynamo route, check out Shimano XT dynamo. They're around $100, and seem to be rated very well. I bought two of them (model DH-T8000-3D), one for my Surly ECR build, and one to put on the shelf for now. I'm saving now for a dynamo light (yes, expensive), as like you, I like the idea of the independence from batteries/charging. I do have a couple battery-powered lights, as well.

    I dig steel-framed bikes of all shapes and sizes.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    May 2011
    The Shimano dynamos work, but are noiceably bigger & heavier than the SP. You can pick up an SP dynamo for less than 70 euro + 20euro shipping from one of the german sellers -eg bike-components or bike 24. You can also buy complete wheels - eg BC 28" wheel with sp dynamo, but they are mostly designed for commuting etc & I haven't seen one I would want to use backcountry.

    In terms of lights, make sure it produces enough light at the speed you will be travelling. Klites are designed for bikepacking & known to work well - a mate has one of the new backpacking ultra that he raves about, but there are other options, eg exposure revo, supernova

    Yes dynamos aren't cheap, but their value is when you look at how many battery packs you are going to need for 5 nights. If you are backcountry, finding somewhere to re-charge seems fairly fraught with difficulties - it rather depends on you being at the right place at the time that you wish to stop, otherwise you are going to be wasting time waiting to charge.

    I run a dynamo on my commuter simply because I kept forgetting to charge batteries. Similarly with longer Audax rides, I know I'm not going to have a battery go flat. I built my own wheels & lights with help from people on the DIY forum, but I don't contribute much here anymore because 3 years on they still just work.

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