Sanyo H27 Dynohub
My commute to work often entails riding in the dark, especially during these short days of Winter, either my ride in is in the dark, or the ride home. On a bad day, I could be in the dark both ways. So, I've always needed a light for commuting. Over the years I've tried many battery powered lights, beginning with the old square wonder lights of the late 70s!
Bicycle lighting wasn't ever of huge interest to me until recently. I've found that the technology has improved tremendously over the last few years. Probably the most important development has been the introduction of LED bulbs. These are so much more efficient than the old incandescent bulbs, it has really revolutionized the field.
A few years ago I finally decided to invest in a better quality light, and found a Sigma Pro on sale at Nashbar for over 50% off. This is a really fine battery powered light. And it's built extraordinarily tough, with an aluminum body. It's small battery pack has a good life span, and the LED puts out a strong beam.
Motobecane with the Sigma Pro LED
I have been interested in generator hubs and these too have seen some exciting developments take place over the last few years. Combined with the advances in LED bulb technology, they are looking like a great combination for reliable bicycle lighting.
Dynohubs are actually quite an old idea, Sturmey Archer having produced one many years ago. More recently, Schmidt developed their SON, followed by Shimano's nice dynohubs. Now, Sanyo has produced one, the H27, which is now available at a very economical price. I decided I wanted to experiment with this new system
The Sanyo can be found online as low as $35, shipped! I decided on the Busch & Muller Lumotec Lyt N LED headlight, which I purchased from Longleaf Cycles. Now, the reason the Sanyo was so cheap was that it is only the hub itself, you do not get a Q/R skewer or even the plastic connector for the headlight leads. The skewer I had lying around, the connector I purchased with the headlight from Longleaf, they're cheap.
I laced the hub(32 hole) to a nice shiny Sun CR18, and installing the light was pretty easy, I had to remove one spacer to allow enough room on the brake bolt for the sturdy stainless steel rod bracket.
The tricky, (and if I say so myself), brilliant part of the install was the wiring. I dreaded having to zip-tie the wire from hub to light. I then noticed that the Motobecane's fork had small vent holes on the inside. These were just big enough to allow the 2-wire lead to pass through!
Inside top of fork; notice the wire passing through the vent hole.
The process of actually feeding the wire down the fork and fishing it out the tiny hole at the bottom was long and trying. But, after about 20 minutes of careful prodding I finally snagged the lead with a small wire hook I fashioned from thin wire:
Got it through!! Also in the picture is the wire used to fish the leads through the hole.
Man that was tricky, but really worth it, the installations is really clean. Now with the wires run, it was a simple process of slipping the supplied connector ends onto the headlight leads, then stripping the wire ends and installing them into the connector and then into the hub.
Connector installed in the hub.
I gave the hub a spin, and like magic, light! At low RPM's the light kind of flashes on and off rapidly, but at any speed at all, you've got a good steady beam. I haven't had a good chance to use the light, my last commute was not dark enough to really examine the beam, but it looks pretty good. Time will tell.