Great hub if you need a hub brake with dynamo
I bought this for my Swift folding bike, which isn't disc compatible nor easily converted. While I was at it I decided I might as well experiment with a dynamo too. I also went with the Sturmey X-RDC drum brake cassette (!) hub in back because I wanted the flexibility of derailer gearing.
These drum brakes have a more gradual, "softer" feeling engagement than discs, but are plenty powerful (and way more effective than the Shimano roller-brake hubs I've tried). I don't recall too much of a break-in period. They worked pretty well right out of the box and got better.
My front drum brake is considerably more powerful than the rear, which may be due to the shorter cable run. Although more oddball and slightly heavier than a disc setup, these work well enough that I don't miss discs, even though my commute involves a 500-800' high speed, steep descent with lots of heavy braking for tight turns, stop signs, traffic, etc.
Remember to use ROAD (short-pull) levers designed for caliper or cantilever brakes (or old-style mountain levers from the cantilever brake era). Regular mountain (long-pull) levers for V-brakes have insufficient leverage to work well.
The dynamo works great too. I was too cheap to use a "proper" dynamo light, so I wired up an MR16 4-LED bulb from DX designed for 12V (AC or DC). Much to my surprise, it worked! With a 20" wheel it starts to come on at 3-4mph and is near full brightness at 6-8mph. Larger wheels would require higher speeds to achieve the same. My $8 light is only about 200lm and a lousy wide beam, but I've ended up using this more for the odd local errand around town than for my long hilly commute, so this light is sufficient for the purpose. It flickers a bit at lower speeds, but not enough to impair effectiveness and it probably gets motorists' attention better.
I notice absolutely no extra drag with the dynamo than with the non-dynamo hub that it replaced, nor do I notice a significant difference when the light is on vs. off. FWIW the 20" wheels add noticeable extra drag vs. larger wheels, but the dynamo does not.Pros:
Good disc alternative that works with any fork regardless of disc tabs. Brake is reasonably powerful and unaffected by weather. Simple to install and set up (as long as you use the proper brake levers). Dynamo adds negligible performance penalty and works very well. No more need to worry about changing batteries - you just have lights all the time, period. Bolts on rather than QR, which may reduce theft risk *slightly*.Cons:
Kinda heavy. Brake isn't quite as powerful as a disc. Some people will not know to use the proper type of brake lever. Commercial light options are fairly expensive. Bolts on rather than QR, which can be inconvenient if you remove the front wheel a lot.Would Buy Again:
June 10, 2013Reviewed by:
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