Man on touring bike on a quiet road in North Wales

The Essential Guide to Dynamo Hubs

By Rob Savin>

Putting a dynamo hub on your bike means you can power lights and charge your electronics wherever you go. Power is always with you!

Dynamo hubs are brilliant for multi-day bike touring, endurance racing and daily commuters looking for maintenance-free riding.

Essential Dynamo Details

  1. What is a dynamo?
  2. 5 Reasons to get a dynamo
  3. What can you power with a dynamo hub?
  4. How fast do I need to ride to produce power from a dynamo?
  5. Do dynamo hubs slow you down?

What is a Dynamo Hub?

A dynamo hub is a hub that produces electricity when the front wheel turns. It uses a small internal generator that works by passing powerful magnets over a coil. A wire connects the hub to whatever it is you want to power. It's as simple as that!

5 Reasons to get a Dynamo hub

  1. Power is always with you. As long as your wheels are turning, you'll never run out of electricity. So you can go further and carry less weight in spare batteries.
  2. Dynamo lights are really bright and give a very even lighting pattern.
  3. Dynamos can charge batteries, phones, GPS devices and e-readers. In fact, they can charge most small electronic devices.
  4. Dynamos work great in wet and humid conditions across a wide range of temperatures.
  5. Your bike is always ready. No need to charge your lights before you go out!
Dynamo Hubs

What can you power with a dynamo hub?

Dynamo hubs can power lights, batteries and small electronic devices like phones, GPS and e-readers.

Dynamo lights

Dynamos can power front and rear lights. Super-bright and efficient LED bulbs mean that modern dynamo lights are exceptional. They produce very broad and consistent lighting patterns to light the way. In fact, compared to the standard circular beams produced by battery-powered lights, a dynamo light can give a much broader pattern on the road or trail in front of you. Many are so bright that the beam pattern is altered similar to a dipped headlight to make them road-legal in Germany!

Don't worry, dynamo lights won't go off when you stop moving. Most dynamo lights have a "stand light" function that means they will stay lit for around 10 minutes after you stop moving. So a stop at a set of traffic lights is no problem.

Charging batteries and electronic devices with a dynamo

To charge batteries and electronic devices with a dynamo hub you need to use a power converter. This converts the AC power from the hub to DC power and stabalises the current from the hub to protect your device. They're simple to set up and there are some neat solutions, like the Cinq Plug III.

How fast do I need to ride to product power from a dynamo?

As a general rule, any speed over 10kph or 6mph will produce power for lights and batteries. Of course the, faster you go, the more power you produce, up to around 25kph or 15mph. At this point, you've reached maximum efficiency. You can go faster, of course - it just won't produce any more power. Bad news for us hoping Chris Hoy might be able to power our washing machines!

Do dynamo hubs slow you down?

Dynamo hubs have a very small effect on your speed. But it is very small. It depends on what you're using your dynamo to power too. Here are a couple of ways to show the effect a dynamo has.

The effect of a dynamo on the time to ride 100km

Compared to a standard hub, a dynamo hub would add around 30 seconds to the time it would take the average person to ride 100km. This is without the dynamo charging anything. If you rode 100km using a dynamo to power your lights and charge your batteries/phone/gps, it would take an around 4 minutes longer than if you were using a standard hub.

The effect of a dynamo on speed in relation to the power of a rider

For an 80kg rider with 15kg of bike & gear, riding at 150W the speeds on a flat road with different hubs are as follows.

  • Standard hub: 28kph
  • Dynamo hub powering nothing: 27.9kph
  • Dynamo hub powering lights and batteries: 27.5kph

Order your prebuilt UK made wheelsets with dynamo hubs

As we build our wheelsets in the UK it is no problem for us to lace up your dynamo wheelset for you. Just visit our wheelsets for road, gravel and mountain bike. We can create your perfect 700c, 29er or 650b dynamo wheelset to keep you powered on your adventures.

Building your own wheelset with our 6V dynamo hubs

If you already have your own rims you can lace in your own dynamo hubs. Our Sonder Juice 100 dynamo hub and Juice 110 boost dynamo hubs both have a 28 spoke count.

So there it is! Everything you need to know to help you decide whether to go dynamo. Once you do, you'll never look back!

Sonder Dynamo Wheelset

Sonder Dynamo Wheelset
700c performance disc brake dynamo wheels with a balanced ride and round-the-world durability for gravel and road adventures. Designed, hand-laced and precision-built in the UK with a Sonder Juice 100 dynamo hub.

Sonder Juice Dynamo Hub

Sonder Juice
Super smooth 6V/3W dynamo disc hub for running your lights and recharging your batteries on the move

Cinq Plug III

Cinq The Plug III
Dynamo-powered charging unit which converts AC power into DC, charging devices at speeds over 12km/h via a USB top cap

Sonder Bike Wheels

Boost mountain bike wheelset for agility on tight trails
$259.99
29” XC wheelset for long days of singletrack
$259.99
Strong and dependable 650b wheels
$259.99
650b Performance dynamo wheels for going the distance
$389.99
700c purpose built for gravel and road
$259.99
700c Dynamo performance wheelset
$389.99
Gravel race carbon wheelset with with a ratchet drive 36 point engagement freehub.
$549.00 $1,049.00
Boost mountain bike wheelset for agility on tight trails
$429.99
650b performance wheelset
$429.99
Performance boost wheels for tough trails
$429.99
29” XC wheelset for riding further and faster
$429.99

6 comments

  • Could a dynamo hub provide enough power to extend the power supplied from a large battery in an e-bike?
    e.g. on downhill bits of trail when no pedalling is occurring, a bit like regenerative braking in cars, but of course with the minimal drag of a dynamo hub. How much bigger would a dynamo hub have to get before it could actually be useful as a range extender on e-bikes?

    Robert Backhouse Cook

    May 17, 2021

  • What rear pannier racks are suitable for the Frontier Eagle?

    Michael Kochalski

    April 25, 2022

  • What rear pannier racks are suitable for the Frontier Eagle?

    Michael Kochalski

    April 25, 2022

  • Could a dynamo hub provide enough power to extend the power supplied from a large battery in an e-bike?
    e.g. on downhill bits of trail when no pedalling is occurring, a bit like regenerative braking in cars, but of course with the minimal drag of a dynamo hub. How much bigger would a dynamo hub have to get before it could actually be useful as a range extender on e-bikes?

    Robert Backhouse Cook

    May 17, 2021

  • What rear pannier racks are suitable for the Frontier Eagle?

    Michael Kochalski

    April 25, 2022

  • Could a dynamo hub provide enough power to extend the power supplied from a large battery in an e-bike?
    e.g. on downhill bits of trail when no pedalling is occurring, a bit like regenerative braking in cars, but of course with the minimal drag of a dynamo hub. How much bigger would a dynamo hub have to get before it could actually be useful as a range extender on e-bikes?

    Robert Backhouse Cook

    May 17, 2021

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