I have upgraded the front light on my Bullitt Clockwork Cargobike.
I have been using an excellent pair of Lumicycle lights (one Halogen, one LED running off a bottle battery). They are really bright, excellent on unlit roads. But they lack convenience on a transport bike. When you are nipping to the shops or a meeting you need good light but it is a pain if you have to remove the lights off when you park.
Also any lights that need to be re-charged and have a limited runtime are not ideal on a transport bike. The bike needs to be ready to go at all times and remembering to charge the battery or check you have it with you is inconvenient.
So I have upgraded to a front wheel with a dynamo hub. I had the wheel built by St John Street Cycles to a nice Bullitt proof specification with a rim suitable for nice big tyres.
Warning: This is not a cheap lighting option. This type of lighting is hard to justify unless:
- you rely on your bike for everyday use
- you enter long Audax rides (where you need to ride many hours in the dark)
On the other hand if it can be justified then it is fantastic.
On my Bullitt the light is mounted to the front fork crown (just above the mudguard). This means it is clear of any cargo and the wire is nice and short. However, it does mean the light is quite low which is good for seeing by but less good for being seen. I will probably supplement it with a LED flashing light on the handlebars to be seen by.
Besides the light being available 24×7 it also has another nice feature. The switch has a sensor setting as well as on and off. When set to sensor it comes on automatically when it starts to get dark (comes on nice and early).
In every test I have seen these hub dynamos come out as the most efficient with the least impact on your speed. My first impressions support this. I fitted it late last night and today rode into Leicester (dreaded Christmas shopping) and then I have been to Asda this evening.
One thing that immediately impresses is the way the light comes on as you wheel your bike out of storage and then stays on when you stop. Amazing, just a few rotations of the wheel at slow walking pace and there is already light.
The light seems good to ride by. I’ll write more when I have been on some unlit roads but it was fine coming down the unlit cycle path from the Asda car park. Earlier, riding back from Leicester I was following Jane and it lit up the back of her bike very brightly.
There is no noticeable friction and the wheel rolls very smoothly.
I am already enjoying the time saved when I got to Asda and didn’t have to worry about my expensive Lumicycle lights (even less in the future when I get them secured by Infinity3D).
I have been a fan of dynamo lighting for many years but this is by far the best yet. Highly recommended.