Dynamo Bike Lights: The Best Self-Powered Lights for Your Bicycle
If you’re particularly conscious about saving the environment (and we all should be, really, shouldn’t we?) then, of course, regular cycling is a great start as an alternative to driving.
But if you really want to go that extra mile – pardon the pun – then why not fit your bike with self-powered, dynamo bike lights?
WHAT ARE DYNAMO BIKE LIGHTS?
A dynamo is an energy-generating hub that’s built into a bike’s front wheel, primarily to power lights.
Early dynamos were tyre-driven, having first become popular between the First and Second World War, when English bike component manufacturer Sturmey Archer introduced the ‘Dynohub’, which moved the generator inside the hub of the front wheel.
Initially quite clunky designs, they’ve come on leaps and bounds since then, yet although they’re more commonplace in cycling hotbeds like Germany and the Netherlands, they remain quite unfashionable elsewhere, in places like North America, in particular.
HOW DOES DYNAMO LIGHTING WORK?
With dynamo lighting, there’s no need to fidget around trying to flick your bike light while cycling at the same time. They run on pure pedal power.
It’s quite simple to explain, really. Using the rotation of the bicycle wheel to generate electricity, the dynamo can then produce an electric current which is then delivered to the lights. The faster you cycle, the more power generated, and so the brighter the light.
HOW TO FIT A DYNAMO HUB TO A BICYCLE
Installing a dynamo hub on to your bike is a pretty straightforward process. You just attach it to your front tyre, lining it up in such a way that it runs on the white part of the tyre, before fastening on tightly with a screwdriver. This YouTube video should explain it all to you in less than a minute:
PROS OF DYNAMO LIGHTING
- Never needs re-charging
- Safe, powerful and extremely visible form of lighting, using durable LEDs
- Environmentally friendly and recyclable
- Far more difficult to steal than standard bike lights
- After initial investment, you may find they’re more cost-effective (no purchasing new lights, batteries, no need to pay fines if you forget your lights one night)
CONS OF DYNAMO LIGHTING
- Friction dynamos (or ‘direct contact dynamos’) can make bikes a little harder to ride because they slow them down when they come into contact with the tyre
- Friction dynamos also cause increased wear and tear on the tyre, and may slip in wet conditions
- Maintenance can be a problem – you may find strips of metal stuck in your bike or worse, you may sever the electrical circuit if assembled incorrectly
BEST DYNAMO BIKE LIGHTS:
A brilliant little bicycle dynamo light that mounts on to the hub quickly and easily. Suitable for all bikes with V-brakes and coaster brakes, it causes no friction and, once attached, requires no further maintenance.
This self-powered bike light goes on the front and rear of your bicycle, with an extremely long LED lifespan and no need for batteries.
These pedal-powered bike lights even have a ‘steady’ function, so they continue to shine even for as long as two minutes after you’ve stopped cycling. Easier to attach and compatible with any type of tube, you can mount them higher to make yourself more visible. Like all of these, they are easy to assemble and require no batteries.
An on/off button comes on the back of this battery-free bike light, as well as electric cables to connect the light to the dynamo.
A similarly reliable dynamo light for the read of your bike, it provides high-quality visibility while you cycle, and also comes with connectors to connect your hub dynamo electric cables.