Dynamo chargers don’t have reside in the hub. Let’s look at some new designs of bicycle dynamo chargers that mount on the bicycle. All of the dynamo chargers in this review are not hub dynamo chargers. I am not against using a hub dynamo charger. I love my current set of wheels and am not open to any changes to accommodate any hub dynamo chargers. So what are the new developments in non hub dynamo chargers.
First off what are non hub dynamo chargers?
A non hub dynamo charger is a dynamo charger that is outside of the wheel’s hub. They mount on seat stays, forks, bottom brackets and there are some newer versions that mounted between the hub and the dropouts. They all make contact with the tire and that in turn drives the dynamo. They are not as well received as an internal hub dynamo but were once the only dynamo chargers available.
Wheel Mounted Dynamo Chargers
There are three entries to the wheel mounted dynamo charger category: The Siva Atom, the Spinetics CydeKick, and the Tigra Sport BikeCharge. These are all new products that I have not tested. have a look:
The Siva Atom
The Siva Atom came to my attention last year when they ran a successful kickstarter campaign. The reviews for this product are mostly positive and it looks to fit most bicycles. Should you have wide flange hubs or disc brakes you are out of luck. The unit comes with a cache battery that stores power. It is easily removable if you have no power needs or if you meet technical riding or muddy trails. This product is available for to buy.
This isn’t even a product yet. I found it when I was searching for products to include in this article. It described as being frictionless with no added resistance. It looks like there are two parts. A magnetic flywheel that zip ties on the hub and a dynamo unit that is removable. For more information about this charger visit http://www.spineticsinc.com/thecydekick/.
There are two different versions of this charger: The CYDEKICK Pro and The CYDEKICK MINI. The difference being is the pro can charge USB items like a phone or GPS and the MINI charges the light set that comes bundled. An interesting thing to note is that the lights that ship with this product can charge a bit so they stay on when you stop riding. I will update this when their kickstarter launches.
The Tigra Sport BikeCharge is a front mounted dynamo charger that comes with front and rear lights, a 1000 mAH cache battery, and two USB ports. I have read reviews where users were able to mount this on bikes with disc brakes.
To be honest it looks pretty bulky. The onboard battery allows the user to charge even when stopped. You can remove this when it is not needed or when more technical terrain id being ridden.
Sidewall “Bottle” Dynamo Chargers
A sidewall dynamo looks like a mini wine bottle and mounts to the fork or seat stay. A wheel atop the dynamo touches your bicycle wheel and turns with the wheel. A spring in the mount keeps the dynamo pressed to the rim.
The major drawback to a sidewall dynamo are the friction involved and the fact that you need to convert the electricity to the USB standards to charge your phone, gps, or camera. the flywheel will wear your tire as well.
These have been around for ages and work, but I am trying to avoid converting dynamo to phone and I am looking for a solution that comes with this conversion built-in. My grandfather had a bottle dynamo on his vintage Campy equipped Legnano lighting his way on night rides. They work but there is a lot to consider between the mount, tire contact, and power conversion. For me there is too much that can go wrong out in the field. Please change my mind and school me about bottle dynamo chargers.
Rim Dynamo Chargers
How cool is that? I love me some good design and gadgetry and this qualifies as both. Visit http://www.velogical-engineering.com/rim-dynamo-en for a better look. I think these would only power a set of LED lights and they wouldn’t work for a cache battery or a smart phone. They show mounts for road, mountain, and even suspension forks. It’s a link that I will keep clicking just for the cool factor.
This is the worst concept I have seen in dynamo chargers. It only works when you are pedaling. The plastic attachment belt looks like it could come loose and get sucked into the wheel. It would completely interfere with every shift you made to another gear. 8 out of 9 reviews on Amazon are negative. I would stay away from this concept.
Seat Tube Mounted Dynamo Chargers
Is this even real? I’m not sure. The System-S seat tube mounted dynamo charger looks pretty cool in the above photo. It mounts well away. The dynamo comes with a USB cable and they also make a handlebar mount for your phone. Minimum speed for charging lists at 8 km/h and the output is USB DC 5V. I couldn’t find a lot of information on this other than one amazon review which stated: Didn’t work :(. It was not in stock at amazon.
It sells at he following ‘sketchy looking’ sites below. At $47 USD I would buy one just to test it but the shipping prices were a bit off-putting. Shop at your own risk:
Bottom Bracket Dynamo Charger
The Sanyo NH-T10 [6v-3w] was probably the only bottom bracket charger I have ever seen in the wild. They no longer available but I see them on eBay sometimes. Peterwhitebicycles.com still sources some replacement parts. I can’t comment on how well this works but since they don’t make them anymore I’m going to assume that they can’t come close to doing what a dynamo hub does.