B&M Dynamo Lights and Sturmey Archer Dynamo Hub

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It’s been about 3 months since I’ve installed the B&M Lumotec Classic Senso Plus, B&M Toplight Plus lights and the Sturmey Archer Dynamo 3.0 front hub 70mm drum brake in my commuter vintage bike and I figured it’s time for a review.

I love the dynamo hub. It is hefty and has some weight. At first I was worry the weight would make my bike to heavier for the 8.5 mile commute I have. Also, I felt a slight resistance lag but I think I wouldn’t have noticed if I had not read a post in which someone mentioned that to be a concern with hub dynamos. Now, I don’t even feel the weight or any lag. I guess it is either because I got used to it, or the hub has gotten “broken in”. I am more likely to notice when the pressure is low in the tires than any hub resistance. The brake tuning takes a little tweaking on your first ride and once it settles, it works great. I weigh about 175lbs. My bike weighs in at 36lbs and I probably carry another 15lbs on the bike and the brake handles it without a problem; and the best part, I don’t have to worry when it rains. Note: my rear brake is still a rim brake.

The headlight is a 25LUX (If you get the model with the daytime-riding-setting, then it’s 30LUX) and it is bright and it is light weight. It is so bright in fact that when traffic passes by, it doesn’t outshine the light so I always have a consistent view of the path in front of me. The illumination pattern: imagine and upside down trapezoid so the slimmer side is closer to you and about 3 feet wide. The wider side goes outward and covers the length of a car lane. This took me a little bit to get used to. It took a few testing trips to position the light at the right angle. The vertical aperture of the pattern is also pretty good. On the bottom, I can see the top of the front tire shadowed on the road and on the top; I can see the street signs “shine” when the light hits them just as if I was in car.

13 - 2One concern I have is in a total darkness situation and the only light is the one in the bike. The light is so bright that you can see anything within the shape but you can’t see anything that if beyond the pattern. I find it a problem especially when making a turn. You don’t see where you are turning. The light body has some “stray” beams of light on the underside that sort of hit to thesides and around the tire as if to light your turning path but they’re not wide/bright enough toreally help. However; if there are street lights or other sources of light, this is no longer a concern.I have the model with a light sensor which means, the lights turn on when its dark and turn off when its daylight. It works great. However, I noticed that if I am in a well-lit area or a car with those very bright lights drives by the opposite way, the sensor gets fooled and turns off the lights. I have opted to just turn off the sensor feature at least for the winter.

The Toplight Plus is the best: bright, light. It has a BRAKE feature where the lights shines brighter when it senses the power from the dynamo is decreasing – tire is stopping- but I am not sure how well it works since it’s the taillight. The instructions also say it works when the power decreases “considerably and within a short span of time” and it will be brighter for about 10 – 15 seconds. So I assume, it works when you break hard. The other day as I was reaching home, my girlfriend was arriving as well in her car and mentioned that she was able to see the light while she was a good block and half away in lighted street.

Overall, the hub is one of the best investments I’ve made. I feel it’s worth the price and I don’t have to worry about maintenance for a long time. Busch & Miller are great lights with great features. I am glad I got them and I would recommend them to anyone who is looking to get dynamo lights.

About Baratier ErebusDuHalm

Drummer, biker, foodie, world traveler, beer snob, wine afficionado... and yes, I would do that!