WHS reviews: Bicycle lighting, mostly powered via dynamo, and USB power from dynamo

Spanninga Axendo 60 XDAS B&M Line plus SP switchable dynamo PD-7 (HB015) Philips SLD beamshot Herrmans H-track handheld

-> Skip the contents to the list of latest updates.


2015-1-6: Because especially some (still very good) headlamps and taillamps are no longer made, I'm now putting links to reviews in brackets for any products that are no longer made (you may still be able to find them in some shops). [ Note that I won't update all review pages with non-availability, that is better for overview pages ]

2017-11-10: The analysis section with regulations, experiments and criteria to review lighting has been split off from all reviews so to fully understand review criteria and what tests I've done to determine these criteria see the section Bicycle lighting analysis

Support this website! [ for more critical reviews ]

Paypal deleted, I will not use paypal anymore, they wasted my time multiple times this year blocking my account, last time was for a donation from a link here, they wanted information on selling, posting, etc. There is nothing being sold, the description also says it is for support for this website. I no longer have time to deal with these idiots...

If you have other ideas/suggestions to continue, send me a message. One idea I had but it is likely not of that much general interest, is a series of videos on the StVZO rules, what is good and bad about them, how deviations from the rules are allowed etc. I could even publish my entire StVZO analysis if there are enough donations (but that would require a lot of donations as it would mean not being able to use that as a large part of the value of the service I provide to get companies to make compliant lighting/e-scooters).
In case there is interest in a subscription type service, to say, buy more bike lamps or more types of the latest dynamos, or even saddle types that could be interesting to try out, to compare with the leather saddles I tried out. If you want to support in this way, spread the word on this (send links to people who may be interested to my youtube channel or my website), and have a look here: https://www.subscribestar.com/whs-bike-reviews.

For companies: Full translation of the German rules StVZO+TA (technical requirements) + FzTV (build/production requirements) in English, including analysis, summaries, build suggestions, description of the approval procedure, additional standards, information on other requirements that are not published in any standards, how the rules are going to evolve, and much more, along with consultation and help for the approval procedure included, is available to companies wanting to enter this market (for bicycles, pedelecs to 25 km/h, and more information on rules for fast-pedelecs/e-bikes). I have a sample of this for interested companies. Some of these companies I did such work for are: Exposure/Ultimate sports engineering in the UK, Superpedestrian in the USA. If you want to know more, email for information. I've also included information on whether approvals for non-standard lighting (such as lighting using non-standard power sources such as contactless rim dynamos and rim mounted lights, are likely to be succesful, with some requirements for any non standard lighting, and some examples.
Additionally, for a company that wants a collaboration, I have ideas for better beam shapes for headlights, better housing and mounts, better taillights/cable management, user interface etc. ]


I.1 Latest updates

News, updates, and summaries of experiences:

Plans and stuff to come/in progress:

Updates (these also tell you various experiences in date order, instead of organised per review/analysis section, so useful to read through):

The list of all updates can be found here.

1 Bicycle lighting: Introduction

See the analysis section where I've put all information on what is important and on the contrary what is problematic, in headlamps, taillamps and dynamos, which explains why I review the way I review, and explains which test criteria I use.
The early reviews and theoretical analysis together formed the criteria that were and are still used in my reviews. See especially the section of lighting analysis of headlamps for history and all required background information on testing of headlamps including a comparison of how much more light a non-cutoff beam needs to give equivalent performance to a cutoff beam. Note that the descriptions in the early reviews of headlamps/taillamps/dynamos give a better understanding of the review criteria, as in those I described what I experienced and how to thus analyse and what are the correct and important review criteria.

And yes, my review criteria are objective [ well, with some limitation in the sense that I review for the situation of fairly orderly traffic, as you can find it in NL, DE, etc. ]. The only people who complain about my reviews are themselves not objective (e.g. offended by my criticism of the SON dynamo hubs) and/or unable to actually get beyond their superficial impressions (such as discarding various factors of why a certain light colour or beamshape is bad). An example of this is when I rode with a guy who already had a Luxos U but was curious about the Bidi. We rode together and he was not impressed, but I said "You can see the road surface and what is on it better with the Bidi" (due to light colour of the Bidi which is neutral white, and because the Luxos overexposes the near field which reduces how far you can see with it). He just could not get over the impression of "It's bright" that the Luxos gave him. But that impression is caused by cool white. Just look at what you can see on the road! (i.e. what you can discern on the road!) He couldn't do it, he could not get past the superficial "it's bright" impression. That was a very strong clue to why there is not much progress in bicycle lighting, bicycle companies continue with cool white light because of such superficial impressions and by bad reviewers who don't know or understand what is good and bad and why...

Bicycle lighting types: Battery, dynamo, DC (e-bike/pedelec)

I mainly discuss dynamo lighting because I prefer to use that, it's like having an always full battery, no need to think about charging and battery status.

I do review a few battery and e-bike lamps mainly out of interest to see what is possible, not in what to use daily, for me that is too much hassle with a battery lamp and I don't ride a pedelec/e-bike.

For pedelecs and e-bikes that have a 6V DC outlet you can instead of specific e-bike/pedelec lights, use StVZO approved dynamo lighting because dynamo lights are also required to run on 6V DC (as described in TA, the technical non-public part of the rules for Germany), though that may change as since 2017 there is the possiblity to get lights approved as AC-only (I've not seen one yet as of mid 2020) or DC-only (for e-bike/pedelec). Note that Philips' early pedelec light "Saferide 80 pedelec" also runs on dynamo and this was required at that time...

2.v Dynamo headlamps

2.v.b The best dynamo headlamps

If you haven't already read through the section of review criteria first, do that, as it explains what is good and bad in headlamps, how beamshots do not convey what you experience while riding, issues with cear shapes of beams and much more.

Review criteria

See the bicycle lighting guide and if you want to know more the the analysis section where I've put information about the progress in bicycle lighting from the 1980s to now, and where I explain what is important and what is problematic, in headlamps, taillamps and dynamos, which explains why I review the way I review, and explains which test criteria I use.

Or go directly to the section on analysis of headlamps which includes a comparison of how much more light a non-cutoff beam needs to give equivalent performance to a cutoff beam.

Note that the descriptions in the early reviews of headlamps/taillamps/dynamos give a better understanding of the review criteria, as in those I described what I experienced, which I then analysed to understand why I experienced what I experienced such as that some light seemed brighter on pictures (beam shots) but not in reality (when riding with it) etc., and thus in those reviews I show the analysis and how it came about what the correct and important review criteria are.

1. If price is of no concern, then, the best headlamps, that are still produced, taking into account their abilities (USB or not), beamshape, and thus cost only to a small degree, are:
NOTE for 2024: The following list needs to be updated as many of these lamps are no longer available!

2. If price is a big issue, then the best headlamps that are still produced, taking into account most of all the beamshape and cost, are:

Page with summaries of reviews of headlamps with cutoff

Overview with summaries of reviews of headlamps with cutoff for dynamo, and a list of possibly interesting not yet tested lamps.

Direct to the summary of a specific headlamp with cutoff

All headlamps with USB power output:

All standard headlamps:

2.a Dynamo taillamps

The B&M Line plus was the first fairly good LED taillamp. The Philips Lumiring improved significantly on that and it's still at the top. But other makers are making good taillamps now, quite a change from pre-2011 when most LED taillamps were complete rubbish with rubbish optics...

It is interesting that incandescent taillamps were actually good, and really bad taillamps only appeared with LED light. I suspect this is because they HAD to be good to spread the limited light that an incandescent bulb produces into a pattern that gives proper visibility.

Review criteria

See the bicycle lighting guide and if you want to know more the the analysis section where I've put information about the progress in bicycle lighting from the 1980s to now, and where I explain what is important and what is problematic, in headlamps, taillamps and dynamos, which explains why I review the way I review, and explains which test criteria I use.

Or go directly to the section on analysis of bicycle taillamps.

Note that the descriptions in the early reviews of headlamps/taillamps/dynamos give a better understanding of the review criteria, as in those I described what I experienced, and then analysed to understand why some light seemed brighter on pictures but not in reality etc., and thus in those reviews I show the analysis and how it came about what the correct and important review criteria are.

2.a.b The best (dynamo) taillamps

Of the still produced taillamps, the best ones, taking into account their abilities, beamshape/visibility, and cost, are:

2.a.b.1 Rack mounted:

The winner is now an amazon brand, the Nean brake taillamp. It is an 'amazon brand' in the senes that this brand operates on amazon and it is not clear what the actual maker/brand is that approved this taillamp, and several brands on ebay offer the same type of taillamp though it seems only Nean offers it with brake functionality.

Change in rating: The Duxo is now equal 2nd with the Elips and Solo. The Duxo is similar to the Solo in optics, but with a little bigger reflector and a fully curved surface of the lamp include the retro-reflector. That eliminates a strong white glare for someone who is riding behind you from the reflection of his headlamp onto your taillamp. This is what I wrote in my bike lighting standard of 2015, that should be required in taillamps! A quick test shows that the light output is good (no too bright spots) as with all Spanninga taillamps in recent years.

Or if you can still find one: The Philips Lumiring. It is still the best taillamp, I compared it directly with the Solo... (esp. better because of more lit-up area, also better than the recent Spanninga lamps in construction and in having really red light, instead of red-orange).

Spanninga makes the best rack mounted taillamps now, with Axa following closely. They are making much better optics than all other manufacturers...

2.a.b.2 Mounted on the fender:

Indeed, there is no choice, the rest is rubbish... Well, the Spanninga O is available in a fender mounted version (O-guard), but that's for batteries and I wouldn't want a lamp with such a heavy going (and not all that reliable) switch on the fender. Update 2017-11-22: I saw the O-guard is available in a dynamo version, but it has no reflector at the centre it seems, from the pictures. Why not? As of March 2019, I've still not seen the dynamo version of the O-guard for sale.

2.a.b.3 Mounted on the seatpost/rear fork:

All taillamp reviews

You can go to the overview page with summaries of all reviews of taillamps, and listing others that may or may not be of interest, or directly to the review of a particular taillamp here:

All rear rack mounted taillamps (almost all have an included 'big' Z-reflector):

All fender mounted taillamps:

All taillamps mounted on other positions, such as the seat post:

2.a.i All light beams/projections of taillamps together

Well, except that since 2014, I'm not making beamshots/wallshots of taillamps with visible annoying point sources. Such lamps are immediately given a rating 'not recommended' and I will waste no further time on them. See Cornershots, wallshots and visibility of taillamps.

Other dynamo taillamps that could be of interest, or not

I don't see anything at the moment. The Spanninga Pimento (available since Feb. 2019) looks like a COB type light and such lights do not use optics but many LED sources to spread out the light. They are usually too bright as with e.g. the the Raypal RPL series. I did see a protype at a manufacturer that was fairly good by making the LEDs run at fairly low current.

3 Dynamos

Most of the dynamos here are standard 3W claw pole dynamos, where 3W is the power that is provided at 15 km/h using a standard resistive load. More can be extracted but there are also high power dynamos since the Sunup Maxidyn that has been available for several years (for various reasons I never got round to trying one), and I've heard of a few others too. I will describe these further on.

There are a few fairly good alternatives to hub dynamos, in particular the Sunup Eco spoke mounted dynamo (the 3W version, and the Maxidyn with USB output), and the rim dynamos by Velogical (actually approved as a 1.5W dynamo via StVZO/DIN but can supply at least as much power as 3W dynamos), but dynamo hubs are the most convenient and reliable and gearless ones are totally quiet which is nice to ride with. Of standard 3W sidewall dynamos, if you want to try one, I recommend the Axa/Basta HR, otherwise Velogical is good. I used the Axa Basta HR quite a bit long ago and it never failed me, but I didn't ride much with it in rain, not sure how good it is in that case.

If you haven't already read through the section of review criteria first, do that, as it explains what is good and bad in dynamo hubs, especially the issue of vibrations in the handlebar coming from a dynamo hub. See the link to the analysis section in 'Review criteria' where all the issues with vibrations and their causes are explained in more detail than in the overview table below.

Addition 2018-11-9: To give an overview of the situation of vibrations and what you can do about it or to prevent having issues in selecting a hub, with inspiration by a reader who made a useful table to give an overview of his problems and my problems and how to solve them, I am presenting here 2 tables:

Problems with vibrations in the handlebar, if you already have a dynamo hub:

Type of vibrations Cause Cure Reproducibility
Vibrations in the handlebar, type 1:
The vibrations are strong at any speed (along with resonance peaks at certain speeds, that are even worse).
This is likely caused by not tightening the skewers (or axle nuts) enough, or they may have got loose over time.

(1.1) If the skewer is not fastened tight enough, then the force required for the dynamo hub to get past a pole and the reverse after that point, can turn the hub's axle back and forth (= possibility for resonance).

(1.2) If the skewer is loose enough and/or the knurling on the hub is not a fit for that of the fork, this will definitely happen but at the same time the whole hub will rotate, eventually stopping when it has pulled the cable to the headlamp taut.
- From time to time check that the skewers are tightened enough.
- If you see the light cable wrapped around the axle, then you know the skewer was not tightened enough. In my experience this always happens and staying in situation (1.1) is extremely unlikely, because the knurling usually acts only as grip (and thus can slip to another position), not as a gear meshing with another gear (where movement is only possible if both gears move).
If skewers/axle nuts are not tightened enough, then if the dropouts are knurled enough, there is a high probability that situation (1.1) occurs. Generally it progresses to situation (1.2), the less grip (less grippy acting knurling), the faster this happens. The hub's axle will stop turning further but vibrations from the back and forth movement will still happen.
Vibrations in the handlebar, type 2:
The vibrations are faint, but have noticeable peaks in strength at certain speeds.
This is caused by resonant vibration at particular frequencies of the hub (from the rotation speed coupled with the number of poles), correlating to the resonance frequency of the front fork and/or play in the headset:

(2.1) Resonance from the front fork. This is mostly an issue with steel forks, aluminium forks are stiff, carbon forks usually absorb vibration energy.

(2.2) Resonance from a loose headset. These can give stronger vibrations than (2.1).

Both are caused by interaction between the variable frequency source of vibration (how fast the dynamo hub turns, and how many poles it has) and the materials, construction, equipment, setup (headset adjustment) and loading of a bike.
- First of all check that the headset is properly set up, tight enough to have no play, definitely not loose!
- If that doesn't solve it then you have encountered resonance of the front fork. This usually happens with steel front forks. If you can't live with this, use this hub for another bike or sell it, and buy a different dynamo for this bike.
Only with the same dynamo on the same diameter wheel on the same bike and with similar equipment and loading, will someone else experience this at the same road speed.

This means the problem is easier to dismiss by a manufacturer or supplier, if he finds the complaint inconvenient to selling the product! (see also my criticism about this behaviour on my dynamo theory page)

Note 1: If you already have a dynamo hub and can feel the vibrations and you don't like it, then you can look at my list of which hubs produce less strong jolts to choose one that you may like more:

List of vibration strength in dynamo hubs, from best at the start, to worst
[ This is for dynamos with a 3W power output at 15 km/h, or close to 3W, not using small wheel dynamos such as SV-8 in a big (26/28) wheel ]:

  1. Renak Enparlite: no vibrations but it has gear noise!
  2. Sunup Eco DS: no vibrations, no noise [ Not sure if I should remove this from the list as with the SV-8, as power output is less than 3W at 15 km/h. However, it gets to 3W at a bit more than 20 km/h which is a lot sooner than the SV-8. For this reason I put it after the Renak Enparlite. ]
  3. SP PD8X: This is the best that I tested of the gearless dynamo hubs
  4. SP PV-7/PD-7
  5. Spinup F12W-pro: Vibrations are slight, but all in all coupled with the walking speed feel that is a bit similar to the feel of a dry running bearing, I give this a slightly lower rating than the PD-8X which can hardly be felt, and than the PV-7/PD-7 switchable hubs.
  6. SP PD-8/PV-8
  7. Sanyo NH-H27 (Note that it produces less power than proper 3W hubs. In use this is not really noticeable for lighting, contrary to using a small wheel hub in a big wheel...)
  8. Shimano high end hubs (DH-S501 Alfine, DH-T8000-3D XT, etc.)
  9. Shimano low end hubs (DH-3N20, DH-3N30 etc.)
  10. SON28/SONdelux/SON28-new: With all you can feel vibrations even with no power output, with power going to lighting or a USB converter it's slightly worse. In all the SON28 and SONdelux are the worst bunch of all the dynamos I've ever tested. The reports I got about the SONdelux's vibrations from readers' of which I published impressions on my site, were confirmed when testing it in 2022: It is bad!
    I've not tested the SON28-new but judging from the reports I got from readers it has pretty bad vibrations similar to the old SON28. There is not that piece of evidence: the SON28-new is of the same design as the SONdelux and so will be at least as bad as the SONdelux which is similarly bad to the old SON28.

Buyer's guide for dynamo hubs to prevent possible vibration issues in case you have no previous experience with a dynamo hub on the given bicycle:

Bicycle's front fork Hub that you could try
Steel (not stiff) Any dynamo hub except the SON28.
The lower the vibration peaks as described in my reviews, the lower the vibration peaks will be in your bicycle (but at likely slightly different speeds). There are some differences between the hubs, the PD-8X was nearly unnoticeable, all others a bit more, each has vibration peaks at slightly different speeds.
Aluminium With reservations: Any dynamo hub. [ recommendation adjusted April 2023 due to the experiences with the SONdelux in my touring bike with Ti-frame and aluminum front fork ]

Aluminium forks are made to be stiff because aluminium can't handle repeated large deformations. This means that the resonance frequency of the fork is so high that you won't notice vibration issues from resonance of the fork. However: There will still be resonance issues from the bearings depending on how tight they are set, and generally the deformation in the steerer tube if that is not very stiff and possibly not from aluminum.... So you may be able to use any hub dynamos including the SON28 without issue in some bikes, but note that I felt a strong difference in my touring bike with Ti-frame and aluminum fork using the SONdelux vs. using a wheel with the Shimano DH-S501. It will always be the case that the lower the vibration peaks as in my experiences, the lower the vibration peaks will be in your bicycle (but at likely slightly different speeds, depending on wheel size, fork size), and that is also the case for situations if your headset is not quite adjusted tightly enough. This means with a hub that has stronger vibrations, there is less tolerance for how you adjust the headset...
Carbon fibre composite Any dynamo hub.
As carbon fibre as weaved in front forks absorbs more of vibrations rather than passing them along as metals do, in this case you can choose just about anything. Headset adjustment is still important.

Note 1: I generally recommend using a Shimano or SP hub in case you have a bike with steel fork, but some steel forks are fairly stiff, from a report I got about this, such that there is no issue of vibrations. Aluminium front forks (and frames) are always made to be stiff because aluminium can't handle repeated large enough deformations. This is why with aluminium front forks the choice of dynamo hub is largely irrespective of the vibration strength. Note that I examined the vibration strength in a bike with steel fork, and made a ranking from that of jolt strength that each hub gives while powering an Edelux headlamp. If the front fork is very stiff, then the resonance frequency of the fork is high. But bicycle hub dynamos usually have 26 or 28 poles, which means a quite low frequency of power generation (and of the corresponding jolts in the fork), e.g. at 20 km/h = 5.55 m/s with a 622m wheel with say 37-622 tyre which means a circumference of ca. 2.13m, this means 2.6Hz, so for 26 poles you get a vibration of 2.6x26 = 68Hz. So in such cases of a stiff fork, there will no resonance (= amplification or rather accumulation of force by repeated application of a smaller force in a certain direction at the right moments) because the resonance frequency of the fork is a lot higher than the low 68Hz so there will occur no resonance... Of course it's hard to say whether a steel fork is stiff or not, except by measuring, or testing with a dynamo hub.

Note 2: If you don't have a dynamo hub yet, but you know someone who has a dynamo hub, ask him/her to use it in your bike for a while to see if you get this issue with that particular hub in your particular bike. If you do experience vibrations and you don't like it, then get a hub with less strong vibrations as on my list, if you don't notice anything then you can choose any hub with the same or less strong vibrations. See the list above.

Review criteria

See the analysis section where I've put all information on what is important and on the contrary what is problematic, in headlamps, taillamps and dynamos, which explains why I review the way I review, and explains which test criteria I use.

Or go directly to the section on analysis of bicycle dynamos.

Note that the descriptions in the early reviews of headlamps/taillamps/dynamos give a better understanding of the review criteria, as in those I described what I experienced, and then analysed to understand why some light seemed brighter on pictures but not in reality etc., and thus in those reviews I show the analysis and how it came about what the correct and important review criteria are.

The best 3W (StVZO) (hub) dynamos

A summary is quite hard, as each dynamo has good and bad points, there are no perfect ones, not even close!

I've not tried the SON28-new but as it's similar to the SONdelux and because of reports/complaints I got of vibrations with that hub [ and I confirmed those experiences in 2022 ], I presume this will not be to my liking. Might be good if you have a stiff aluminium front fork [ but I feel the SONdelux with the aluminium fork on my touring bike...] or better a vibration absorbing carbon front fork, otherwise I would not try it...

My choice at the moment for standard 26-28 wheels (559mm-622mm rims) would be a PV-8/PD-8 or Shimano Alfine DH-S501 or a Shimano DH-3N80. For small wheels a SD-8/SV-8 (ca. 1.8W in a 622mm rim wheel) or a Shimano 1.5W dynamo (T780?).

Dynamo reviews

Dynamo reviews: Summary of all reviews

3.2 Other dynamos that could be of interest, or not...

These could be of interest:

These are not of interest:

High power dynamos

The first dynamo made especially to provide more power than regular 3W clawpole dynamos, was the Sunup Maxidyn, also notable for being a 3 phase dynamo. It can provide 12W using its regulator, and esp. at lower speed it provides more power than the Sunup Eco, which doesn't provide much power at low speeds. For headlights this is not so important, for a USB output, esp. when trying to charge a phone with it that you use for navigation it is quite problematic to have little output at low speeds, esp. in long sections in hilly terrain if you are riding a loaded touring bike. The Maxidyn should fix this issue compared to my linear regulator attached to the Sunup Eco, which couldn't keep the battery of the phone full even when using it solely for that purpose (I used a PD-8 for the lights) on a tour I did several years ago.

Recently I heard of some newer high power dynamos, besides the Sunup front wheel dynamo that Sunup has been working on, since ca. mid 2017, which looks very interesting but it seems Sunup is still working on improvements. One of these other systems is CadenceX (pedalcell). This is a rim driven generator providing up to 20 W, of course depending on speed but it will provide a lot of power at fairly low speed. Rim driven means noise, though not necessarily much loss in efficiency compared to direct drive as shown by e.g. the efficiency of the Velogical dynamos. Here the output seems geared to USB, though 2.4W lights are also mentioned, and from what they told me I suppose they will simply do (give outputs) what the customer wants, where the customer is a large company, not individuals. I.e. these dynamos will likely not or not in the near future become available to individuals wanting to install such a dynamo on a bike they already have. That's a pity as using such a system as a 2nd dynamo besides the regular dynamo would be good for long tours. If the noise annoys, switch it off until you need it again to charge your phone, for example. It could be used to charge all devices including a powerbank (for the phone etc.) during the day, then switch it off for evening or night riding when there is less noise around you.

4.a High power battery powered headlamps with cutoff, including e-bike lamps

The already existing section about battery powered and non-cutoff lamps, was less important and less interesting to me than dynamo powered lighting, however, as there have been no real improvements in headlamps since the Edelux (2008), Philips LED bike light (2009, later renamed: Saferide 80), and Saferide 60 (2011) it's time to do something else. On the one hand I'm not that interested because I don't like to charge batteries, often on some rides the battery indicator comes on because of cold weather which decreases capacity that the battery can supply, or because I forgot to charge, and it's just annoying. For e-bikes/pedelecs, there is the issue of charging the entire bike, is that such that you will forget? In any case, I don't need a pedelec for speed, but for loaded riding (with heavy panniers) I suppose a pedelec could be nice to have a guaranteed speed of 25km/h, although some sort of velomobile is likely much better. With no effort can you ride 40 km/h with them, with some effort 60 km/h and I've seen plenty of videos on youtube where people are going 80+km/h on flat roads... Those are mostly suited to commuting, but perhaps also long distance touring. With pedelecs one thing that is better is that there is normally more power available for lighting than with dynamos. In any case, from March 2019 I will start more testing of battery powered headlamps, and in particular bright ones, of 500 lm or more. The Philips LED bike light produces about 270 lm, of which Philips later stated that 220 lm is "in the main beam" so I presume they meant that amount gets onto the road surface. That is not so much more than e.g. the Edelux at high speed and yet the Philips LBL is vastly better. It even gave me issues wtih some reflective posts on narrow roads, they reflected so much as to distract quite a lot. Will that be an issue for these lamps? The ones I will test are on loan for a short while. I will tell more about which lamps I am going to test soon.

Some issues that I will investigate:

What other lamps could be of interest? Send me your suggestions... What about very expensive lamps, such as from Lupine, would you consider buying them if they are vastly better than say the Saferide 80?

I had a look at Lupine's offerings for pedelec and separate battery, and what I notice is:
- The battery lamps are very expensive, ca. 350 to 450 euros.
- The pedelec lamps are more reasonably priced at about 270 euros, but for each pedelec system there is a different variant? Really? Couldn't some power setting method be programmed in to deal with the power limitations of the various systems?
- All of them use cool white light, why? Didn't they do any testing with neutral white light? I guess not and they likely didn't read my website, otherwise they would know how much better neutral white light is and that the advantages become more apparant the more light a lamp puts out.

The lamps arrived 12 March:
1. Prototype battery powered lamp. I will tell more about this another time.
2. Lupine SL, 6-12V (pedelec). ca. 81g, with very short cable, width 51 mm, height 49 mm, length 46 mm. This is without mount, as that wasn't included. I will devise something else temporarily to mount it. This lamp uses a lens, which protrudes as with the Herrmans H_black pro, but here Lupine have actually done some testing and/or put more thought into it as the housing on top protrudes. So the light from the lens should not get into your eyes. I will check how well it works, for which riding positions, when riding.
3. Supernova M99-pure, 6V 8W (pedelec), ca. 225 g with long cable, width 82 mm, height 58 mm, 52 length mm. This is big, and the idiots at Supernova made the mounting bracket at the worst possible position, completely at the rear. This means the lamp will rotate when the bike goes through bumps if it's not tightened very securely. Well, perhaps the mounting is not meant for angling but only fixation? Seems unlikely but I will check. This lamp uses a reflector.

First test on 13 March on a quiet period between all the stormy weather last few weeks...Before the test I ran them at home and in the garden to have a preliminary look.

I will run the pedelec lamps SL and M99-pure on a 14.8V Lipo battery with 6V 3A regulator.
I will try to run the Lupine SL also on 3x3.7V LiIon that I will solder together, and perhaps a 12V regulator if I can find one in time (before returning the lamps next week). This seems not necessary as on 6V I already got full power, same as with 12V in my test with a bench power supply. Likely the electronics sees it can use more power and does so in such cases. The SL is specified at up to 16 W but it only uses a bit less than 12W...

Test ride 1: Prototype vs. Saferide 80 vs. M99-pure

The Saferide 80 has the best light colour. The others are cool white, the M99-pure a bit warmer than the Lupine SL, so a bit better but both are poor choices.

The Saferide 80 has the most even beam in the main section (I don't count some that are close to the bike if they are not about overexposure), worst is the M99-pure with a strong hotspot at about the distance of, rough estimate, ca. 15 m, it also has various other artefacts close to the bike with a darker section and a lot of light right on the front tyre. The area here is overexposed far worse than the other lamps do.

The M99-pure has the most light at the top of the beam, i.e it illuminates the best at long distances, followed by the Saferide 80. However, this is barely a selection criterium as you don't need to be able to see more than 60-70m far under just about any circumstances.

The Saferide 80 the narrowest beam, though narrow is not that narrow, it lights up a road of 6 metres wide. Does the M99-pure waste too much light on the sides? I'm not sure, first I need to do a bit more testing in curves and some other roads...

I made a video, I will upload that or another one without the experimental lamp soon.

Test ride 2: Prototype vs. Saferide 80 vs. Lupine SL and M99-pure

With Lupine SL running on 6V. 12V to be tested.

The Lupine SL has the worst light colour of all lamps, far too cool. Comparisons with the Saferide 80 neutral white show how much better that is esp. on partially wet roads.

The Lupine SL has the least artefacts of all lamps tested.

After riding with the SL for most of a 10 km ride (rest of the time comparisons with the Saferide 80 and prototype), I realised how much I dislike the artefacts in the M99-pure and that I consider it inferior to the others. What annoys me is esp. the big hotspot (that I point out in the video, note the issues with showing beams in pictures and videos, they do NOT show what you see in reality, therefore accompanying text or spoken comments are ALWAYS needed to properly understand what problems there may be in a beam). It's just amazing that with such an intricate design and big housing and reflector, they have produced a beam that is so uneven... I'm not at all impressed with the M99-pure.

I didn't make a video of test ride 2, I will do another test ride soon possibly to replace video 1, and then I will do a direct comparison Saferide 80 vs. Lupine SL vs. M99-pure.

Some thoughts after these testrides

All 4 lamps are almost blinding in case of low placed retro reflective signs to direct traffic (worse than with signs on the side of roads in curved sections that indicate where the road ends). I had to go through those sections in a village where I could switch the battery lamps to a lower mode, much better, but the pedelec lamps run at full power and send far too much light back to me. I presume in case of using the pedelec lights in actual pedelecs you can select power to the headlamp with its electronic system?

The Lupine SL and M99-pure have wider beams and the SL has a more strict cutoff than the Saferide 80 (not necessarily a higher lux rating), and the M99-pure has more light at the top of the beam (definitely a higher lux rating) so that gives better illumination at long distances than the Philips Saferide 80. In some aspects, such as evenness of the beam on the actual road surface and light colour, these newer lights are not better. What they are better in is good but not that spectacular, but quite useful: more light to the sides to illuminate the road or green when going through curves. I will do more test rides to see how much better these lamps are in that respect to give a real argument over the Saferide 80. In any case, with the Philips LED bike light from 2009, Philips was ahead of all competition at least 6 years. It's amazing how good it is even now, and that it's still fantastic as a bike lamp, and with a new high lumen lamp from these manufacturers you don't gain that much... Also, I don't care for cool white light, it makes the road look washed out, wet sections don't stand out so much from dry sections as with neutral white light, and there is more. So as it stands I would not want the Lupine SL (unless they made a different version with neutral white light) and definitely not the M99-pure.

Power measurements of the Lupine SL and M99-pure:

The M99-pure starts at about 5.7V and current is limited such that power remains at about 7.8W which is close enough to the specifications that I'm not bothered about small losses in the cables when testing with the lab power supply (which you will get anyway with any wiring). The Lupine SL runs at about 11.5 W from 6V to 12V. I made a video showing my tests, I will upload that soon.


4 Headlamps without cutoff or those that are battery powered

The tests of battery powered lamps and of lamps without cutoff are for me of interest to see what's possible with bicycle lighting, and not to see which one I would want to use on a daily basis, because lights with a cutoff are really required in urban areas and they are far better at actually lighting up the road and battery powered lights are annoying in never knowing how full or empty they are (status indicators are usually not that good, especially when it's cold...). With a dynamo you ride with an 'always full' battery...

4.1 Headlamps that have a cutoff, battery powered

This section was only additional to the dynamo lighting reviews, but as of March 2019 I'm going to review more battery powered lamps, mainly with cutoff. The reference lamp was since my test in 2010 the Philips LED bike light, later renamed to Saferide 80, and it still is the reference even though there are a few lamps now that are slightly better. Yes, just slightly... The Philips lamp was and still is an excellent lamp, there are not many lamps that have a better beam, and none that I know use neutral white light. Of course as with torches, using neutral white light is in some sense for the connaisseurs, not people who can't distinguish between "it looks bright" and "how well can you actually see with it". In any case, I tested a few starting with a prototype (more on this to come when the final version is ready), and Lupine's SL and the M99-pure.

Summary page: Headlamps with cutoff that run on batteries

Direct to the review pages:

4.2 Headlamps that have no strict cutoff (battery or dynamo powered)

Some people use headlamps with symmetric beam such as the Magicshine to give proper light on the road, but there is no good reason for doing so: There are good lamps for on-road use, i.e. of high quality and having a good light output with which one can safely cycle on unlit roads at speeds of 30 km/h and more, lamps for dynamo (esp. the Edelux, although more light would be more comfortable, in particular on parallel roads) and lamps that are battery powered (esp. the Philips LBL/Saferide 80, and before that the B&M Ixon IQ which is similar to a Cyo but battery powered).

The following tests therefore were only of interest to me to see how well a symmetric beam lights up the road, and to study the differences between a symmetric beam and one with cutoff.

Battery powered headlamps without cutoff:

Dynamo powered headlamps without cutoff:

Is there anything else of interest that I didn't test?:

Review criteria

See the analysis section where I've put information about the progress in bicycle lighting from the 1980s to now, and where I explain what is important and what is problematic, in headlamps, taillamps and dynamos, which explains why I review the way I review, and explains which test criteria I use.

Or go directly to the section on analysis of headlamps which includes a comparison of how much more light a non-cutoff beam needs to give equivalent performance to a cutoff beam (spoiler: This requires 3 to 5 times the amount of light!).

Note that the descriptions in the early reviews of headlamps/taillamps/dynamos give a better understanding of the review criteria, as in those I described what I experienced, and then analysed to understand why some light seemed brighter on pictures but not in reality etc., and thus in those reviews I show the analysis and how it came about what the correct and important review criteria are.

5 Battery powered taillamps, StVZO approved or not

Such taillamps are usually mounted on the seat post. The Spanninga O-guard is mounted on the fender. Many of the StVZO dynamo taillamps are available in versions with battery so have a look at that section too.

6 Other light systems

6.1 To be seen headlamps

6.1.1 Raypal RPL-2261, to-be-seen lamp on Li-po battery

Tested from 2016-4-14: This is an interesting concept, a LED strip which even in the lowest brightness is already too bright, but still not as annoying as many taillamps with single red LED that don't have optics to distribute the light. It looks to be a phosphor layer not just on the LED but extended, and that glows at higher light intensity. But really you don't need this brightness, and I modified it to run at lower power which is still very bright on low and it will run this way for at least 17h. Between 17 and 19h the brightness dropped a lot but still bright enough to be vvery well visible, after ca. 19.5h the light is getting very dim and flickery, needs to be recharged. See more on the RPL 2261 review page.

6.2 Head-mounted lamps

6.2.1 Silva Trail elite

This is a head mounted lamp that puts out a lot of light, far more than most bicycle lamps with cutoff, about claimed lumen, which I think is real when comparing to various other lamps. When using it within the house or in the garden it lights up everything I would want to see at high brightness and the feeling I get is "Wow, what a huge amount of light!" (and amazing from such a small lamp!). But the output dims quickly if using it say in the garden or in the house to light up what one does at night, which is how I used it a lot... For the high output, airflow is needed or the lamp will dim because of the heat. The light is very evenly spread, light colour is cool white which could be improved if Silva used neutral white, in particular for night time running or cycling on non paved terrain (mountainbiking). But the light colour is not as bad as most bicycle lamps...

March 2016: I did a night ride to compare it especially with bike lamps with cutoff, in bends in the road. On the bike I could not see far with it, and here in NL normally it's barely usable because the non-cutoff light means you get almost blinded by all the retro-reflective traffic signs... I tested the Trail elite on a meandering bit of road, where the D6 and IQ-X completely fail to light up the road as you would need light close to you and wide to the left/right, and here the head mounted lamp that you can point with your head, ahead of actual turning, works well. I think this lamp is used a lot by runners at night, and for that I suppose it's useful (in the right areas). For cycling too, on meandering roads, you could use it, but not as the only lamp, as throw is not far enough. The beam is very wide and even, but no concentrated part of the beam means that throw is always going to be limited. I felt I could only see a fairly short distance with it, about 30m or so.

6.2.2 Sigma Mono HL (similar to Mono FL)

I thought the Sigma Mono FL would be a 'to be seen' lamp, but perhaps not. in any event it seems unavailable in NL and the HL has a bike mount and seems to be the same as the FL except for beam strength and the additional flashing mode. I do not like the inclusion of a stupid flash mode, but worst of all is the light colour which is a horrible bluish colour in the centre, and around that the light is more greenish. Yuck!!! Throw is not very much either, the beam is weak, I think I can properly see 10-15m or so with it in my garden, but I will test it a bit more for running and cycling. For use around/within the house the beam is too narrow. More experiences to follow.

I've used it at night for a 10km walk and the beam is pretty weak, perhaps where there are no lamps anywhere around nor traffic, you might be able to see 20m with it, but otherwise 10-15 m is about the maximum. The horrendous light colour is especially annoying and for oncoming traffic (other pedestrians or cyclists) the light distribution is almost as annoying as most beams without cutoff. Not quite, the distribution over a larger area works somewhat. In any event, I cannot recommend this for any purpose. Too bad, if it had use a larger distributing optic and/or was a to be seen only lamp with proper light distribution (lower intensity cd/m^2 so not like a point source) and used a different LED, then it would be useful option (to-be-seen) in a small package with USB charging. Not recommended.

6.3 Revolights

2015-8-17: A reader inquired about revolights (http://revolights.com), and they are even with the 2017 update of StVZO not really compliant to the German rules. This is not a problem though in NL, likely fine in the UK too, not sure about other countries. Perhaps it would be interesting to try it out, but as of end of 2018 I didn't get round to it. You can find more on legality, links to earlier similar products, etc. in my analysis section.

Do you use them? If so, what do you think of them?

6.4 Contactless dynamos: Magnic light and Reelight Nova

6.4.1 Magnic light

The concept is a contactless rim dynamo using eddy currents induced in aluminium rims by magnets (so it will not work with steel/stainless steel rims that are used on some types of city bikes), where the lamp is enclosed in the housing as well. The latter part seemed to me a mistake from the start...

I got a set of 3 (2 front and 1 red for the rear) from a friend to review, with mounts for road bike and a few different brackets that I could use for the cantilever/v-brake/hydraulic brake mounts, and I used just 1 as more is not needed for testing.

I first tested them ca. 12 July 2017. So here are the main points:

Conclusion: There are far better options to give proper light... If the dynamo part of the magnic light can be made more powerful then it would be a nice option as a dynamo, but as a dynamo only, it should not be attached to a headlamp or taillamp.

I feel that it's time we all (riders and manufacturers) should stop playing with pathetic to-be-seen lights and solutions that are not solutions but distractions and delays to real solutions. We need more power (Olaf Schultz measured the Magnic lights and the low power output from that makes clear that this is not a good solution for proper 'to see' lights), proper beamshapes, better mounting.

Conclusion, addition: Because of the behaviour of Mr. Strothmann, I will not recommend their products even should they make better (useful) products in future.

Addition 2019-3-9: Mr. Strothmann sent me an email about the availability of adapters for Magura brakes to properly mount them. He didn't like my results and comments I guess, and so after my quite friendly reply in which I posed some questions such as if they changed the design so not as much light was blocked by wide tyres, he sent me a critising email that, as usual, only shows his limited ability to understand things. I may move the section below to my critical section, but for now it will stay here. I will publish all emails so you can have a look yourself at this guy's behaviour. His behaviour means he and his company go on my boycott list and will not test anything they may in future and I will not recommend anything they make. Here is my final email:

Mr. Strothmann ,

> Your "test" is the worst I ever saw. Even for ousiders it is obvious that the wrong adapters are installed and the complete installation is nearly useless.
> I wonder why you invested work in making phots and writing your article without having a look on our webpage before? If you test other systems with the same level of accuracy it makes no sense to have a webpage for tests.
> Sorry - but I have to say this clearly.

I guess you don't like that I called out the issues with your design which is problematic for wide tyres and for various bikes. You don't like that I called your lights basically a toy because they don't provide enough light and have issues again with to be seen left/right so you need 2 at the front and 2 at the rear. Fine, if you can't take criticism then that is your problem.

Of course I had seen all your pictures on your site. WTF do you think I didn't do more effort into getting perhaps more power? I guarantee you that what I got was NOT 20% of what was possible, but much more. not much less than optimal, the only thing that was definitely not optimal was how the headlamps were aimed.

I tried all mounting stuff that was included with the lights, and got the lights close enough to the rim to see the amount of light they give.

Let's be honest about being accurate: you mention somewhere (kickstarter?) a coming StVZO approval, but I know that is not going to happen. At least not with the current TA... Yes, I know all the rules and all the issues, exceptions and what will come in the new TA. For your information, the researcher with whom I discussed TA, old and coming rules, said about all the comments and analysis I made of TA:

"Meine Hochachtung; so präzise hat noch niemand die TAs gelesen und interpretiert. Sie haben mit allen Anmerkungen recht."

But you should not need to read that, to realise, after reading my site, that the view that I did not think of anything, is downright moronic.

If you can't understand what efforts I put into my site and into actual tests, and that putting further efforts into testing your lights was not done because I felt it was a waste of time and that your lights were from just about all design aspects, a bad idea, then that shows your lack of intelligence and comprehension.

I was going to reconsider if you changed them so that they would stick out more from the rim, and if they did produce far more light than the ones I tested, but clearly your response comes from the fact that you realise that they won't be favourably reviewed by me.

You can stick your lights where the sun doesn't shine!
Don't email me ever again, I'm not interested.


Wouter Scholten

I put his email into my blocked list and note that with him or anyone else: If anyone insults me I will if I desire, use everything that that person says/writes against him...

Why these lights would not be able to get StVZO approved: I'm not even talking of the non cutoff headlamp optics. The main issue is something else...

If he thinks an StVZO approval is only about cutoff optics (which seems to be so from what I read on kickstarter) then he is incompetent... But then note that he writes "If you test other systems with the same level of accuracy it makes no sense to have a webpage for tests.". He could and should have read a bit more of my site! So he in fact tells me (so he admits!) that he doesn't do any effort into seeing what my website is about and what effort I put into it! Conversely, he expects from me a lot of effort about reviewing his system (which I did, enough to see all problems but he just doesn't like my criticism). If he doesn't do proper effort in his views of me and my tests, why does he even criticise me of doing a poor job as it cannot be any worse than the job he did of analysing my review and my website! Accusing someone else of what a person does himself, is typical for antisocial people (including psychopaths), and ditto for autistic/aspergers who don't understand people and can't reason. The latter is the impression I got about him...

Mr. Strothmann's 1st email to me: magnic-email-1-ontvangen.txt
My reply to him: magnic-email-2-verzonden.txt Note that I state that all the stuff I tried were all mounting materials included that came with the light. I will add this: I experimented with maximum output and got close to the optimum but what I could not do properly was aim the headlamps which will however barely influence power output, the main issue is that the light is going more than needed into the tyre.
Mr. Strothmann's 2nd email to me: magnic-email-3-ontvangen.txt

I will also publish part of an email I sent dirk@magniclights.com on 13 Feb. 2012:


[ snip, not really relevant stuff ]

Ich glaube eigentlich eine doppelte Ausfuehrung (mit separater Leuchte) waere auch besser so dass das Ganze sich nicht drehen wird (um den Gabel), ich nehme an das ist in der Befestigung in betracht genommen, aber mit einer doppelte Generator koennte das gar nicht geschehen.

Licht oberhalb der Felge und des Reifens ist auch besser um gesehen zu werden.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen,

Wouter Scholten

So already then, early 2012, I gave them ideas/suggestions to improve their lights (esp. to make the light separate from the generator), and these idiots were not interested. Reelight did the it the right way, and then we come to another issue: It is disgusting how this guy from Magnic talks about getting a lot more light than Reelight because as you can see on the back of the box of the Reelight generator, Reelight have a licence for the patent. But I guess Magnic doesn't mind talking denigrating about a company that they do business with and from whom they are getting money... (at least, to me it sounds as "we do it much better and Reelight does a bad job" and not as an indication of how good a new version of magnic lights would be w.r.t. produced amount of light of the old version (however, if he is autistic as I suspect, then it may be that he meant it factually as showing that "If you think Nova is not bad, then Magnic will be better than the Magnic version you tested" (which it won't really be because of all the issues I mentioned in my review). In any case, Reelight's Nova is only suitable as 'to be seen' city lights and even with a lot more light this would hardly change without using cutoff optics for any improved Magnic lights)

6.4.2 Reelight Nova

For the manufacturer's information see Reelight's site.

This is a version of contactless induction lights that is superior in concept and in practice to that of Magnic.

This uses a contactless rim dynamo driven by eddy currents in aluminum rims (so it will not work with steel/stainless steel rims that are used on some types of city bikes), similar to the Magnic lights, but Reelight has separated the generator from the lights, which means it has almost none of the issues that magnic lights have, which are in particular: 1. aiming the lamp is difficult, 2. with wider tyres a lot of the light is obstructed. The light output is not as much as that of a 3W or 1.5W dynamo headlamp. It is specified as 60 lm at 30 km/h, and 30 lm at 15 km/h. This could be enough for city use, though the headlamp is not cutoff and a cutoff really improves efficiency by a factor of 3-5 as I found out long ago (see my review of the Philips LED bike light, a.k.a. Saferide 80). I will see for myself early December 2018...

2018-12-6: My trip was delayed a few days and the package with Reelights Nova lamps will come today so already I will start my review. To come later toady a youtube video of installation. On Reelight's website you see that the mounting method for the dynamo can withstand a 4.5kg load, that more or less takes care of thoughts about how well it will hold up to bumps, but what about sideways movement? The front and rear lamps come in 2 types:
Front: Mounted on a fork or handlebar mounted rack/basket or mounted on the top tube with rubber band.
Rear: Mounted on the rear rack, or mounted on the seatpost with rubber band.

The cables between dynamos and lights are quite flexible and have rubbers at the end to keep out water from the housings of dynamos and lamps, nice.

I've got the rubber band mounted headlamp and taillamp and here is what the whole system weighs:

Total for a complete system: 2x 42 g + 2x84 g = 252 g.

Installation and use on my Cannondale Touring with headshok front fork:

F. Front fork dynamo and front light:
F.1. The biggest rubber band for the front lamp only just works. I suppose the headtube on a headshok are about the biggest there are so should work on all bikes.

F.2. For the front the dynamo can be positioned on the front suspension fork despite the big distance to the rim, however it means the dynamo is at an angle from the flat surface of the rim, and it means that the dynamo doesn't work (or at least not enough power to even light up the LED), at 15 km/h. It is mentioned on Reelight's site that their generators are not meant for a mountainbike, but, not all bikes with wide front suspension forks are mountain bikes. I figured the issue with mountainbike was more about dirt, big jumps, that may forcibly move the dynamo, and so I didn't read the comment on their site... When clicking on that now, I see that they mention the wider seat stays etc. In my case this is not an issue for my touring bike which can handle 60mm tyres. The rear chain stay (ca. 2.7cm from rim to inner of stay, 3.7 cm to centre of stay), and it should be fine for the seat stay (ca. 3.0 cm to rim, ca. 4.0 cm to the centre). With the headshok the distance between the rim and the inside of the fork is ca. 4.0 cm, and to the centre of the fork leg ca. 6.0 cm. That is too much for their mounting system.

F.3. To make it fit the circumference of the headshok fork leg, I had to unwind the cable (there is more inside the housing already partly wound up) by reversing the key and pulling the cable.

F.4. The headlamp must be mounted above the headshok boot, and the cable is barely long enough, it should be a little longer. But not just for this bike, in general if you want to avoid say brake cables it could be good to have more room on how high to position the front lamp.

R. Rear fork dynamo and rear light:
R.1. I could not install the dynamo on the seat stay, only on the (horizontal) chain stay because the bike has rim brakes and a frame lock... However, when the dynamo is mounted on the chain stay, the cable to the taillamp is too short!

For both front and rear dynamo I could not move the dynamos over the centre of the rim as the tyres are 50mm, they get wide quite quickly and interfere with the dynamo. With the rear dynamo it seems no problem though, it gives enough light when riding.

I made a few videos of installation and issues that I came across, see my youtube channel about reviews of bicycle parts: WHS reviews.

I made a short ride with the taillamp and headlamp attached alternately to the rear dynamo, because of the too short wires and because the front dynamo doesn't work with the headshok. I taped the lamps to the bottle cage and let the taillamp shine upward so I could see how much light it gives and how blinding it might be. I let the front lamp shine shine upwards first for the same reason and then aimed it on the road:

- The rear lamp gives plenty of light and it is not a point source (bare LED) but uses some diffusing optics, so it looks ok for trailing cyclists. But as always, I would like to see a bigger illuminated surface, which could be done by frosting the lens and spreading the light more.

- The front lamp gives enough light for city use where the main point is to be seen as you will have normally enough light from streetlights, but you don't see much of the road so that's not optimal for unlit sections and definitely not enough for unlit roads outside cities. Efficiency of a cutoff lamp is a lot higher (equivalent to a round beam of 3-5 times the light output) so if that could be made it would be a lot better.

So the taillamp is not bad, but a bigger diffuser would be better, e.g. frosting the entire lens area would give a large area of diffuse light which would be superior for proper visibility. Shall I try by sandpapering the lens? :)

Conclusion: The concept is far better than with Magnic light, but here too there are various mounting issues depending on your bike. For city use they are pretty good to be seen lights for those who don't want a new wheel with dynamo hub, for outside cities these are not suitable. I sent Reelight all my comments about mounting/cable length, perhaps these will be incorporated into a newer version, we will see.
Update, 2019-Feb.: Reelight acknowledges the issues but says that the limitations are rarely an issue (*very few complaints about mounting). Making something that works on all bikes will be hard due to all the variations, so if you consider this system note the distance of fork leg to rim, and if you have both rim brakes and a frame ring lock mounted there, then you may not be able to mount the rear dynamo on the rear fork.

2019-3-12: Almost forgot: What I originally found interesting about the concept of a contactless eddy current dynamo is that the dynamo is sealed so there will, if the seals hold, never be issues as with a hub dynamo locking up, which I've experienced several times with dynamo hubs, such as with a Shimano HB-NX70 and 2 SP hubs because I left the bike lying sideways on the ground in my garden because of a storm. Ingress of water, esp. in combination with freezing temperatures can kill a dynamo hub (ice inside the hub will tear off the electrical wires). The main issue with this system is the limited power available, so if you want more light the next step is a Velogical rim dynamo (or a Axa HR tyre sidewall dynamo), or hub dynamo with standard dynamo lighting. For those who only ride within cities: you really don't need more than to-be-seen lights there.

6.5 Laser projection headlamps, some experiences and thoughts

I saw bicycles equipped with headlamps that incorporate a green laser projection of a bicycle onto the road in London 2018 and 2019. For now see the analysis section for experiences as a pedestrian seeing bicycles with headlamps with laser projection, and for other considerations, from my trip to the UK in Feb./March 2018. There are also separate projection symbol devices, perhaps I will get one of those as for me the point would be to experience as a rider what it will be like, not as a pedestrian seeing such a light (which works well as I experienced in London). What I wonder is:
- Could the green bike symbol be annoying on dark roads? As there you need to see the road and the green bike symbol is of almost no use...
If so then perhaps it should be possible for outside-city use, in case of headlamps with such an included laser, to switch the laser off.

2019-3-26: The article Guardian, 2015-9-1: London, Santander hire bikes with laser lights is an interesting look back into the past, 2015. The commentary has some views similar to mine about these lights (one wrote: "I think a laser projection on the road ahead of the bike could help a lot with the particular issue of pedestrian near misses."), some complain that the cyclists are made to do the effort to not get hit, instead of making motorists behave differently towards cyclists. The comment about being overtaken by someone with a projection symbol, that it surprised the cyclist, this is really no different from being overtaken by any other cyclist when seeing a bicycle's beam pass you before the cyclist does... And to the 'arms race' that is mentioned: Strangely they seem to think this is about other cyclists, but actually the main race is with motorists, with Xenon lamps, and their DRL...

2019-3-26: A bit more information: It seems from correspondence with a researcher (end of 2018) that in Germany, the KBA will await research on 'symbol projection' before allowing approval of any bicycle lights with such symbols. In a way that is odd, because they don't regulate against say bright spots, or beamshapes with sharp edges in the beam. A friend of mine uses the H-one S for this purpose, he feels it puts a block of light on the road that motorists notice.

7 Passive lighting: Reflection

In the 1980s here in the Netherlands circular reflection on tyres, rims or somewhere mounted on the spokes became mandatory. I didn't like the aluminium spoke mounted reflectors (I think 3 were used to form a circular reflector similar to the reflecting stripe on the tyres) on my bike, but tyres soon became available with reflection and when you needed a new tyre, you simply got one of those.

Some rims were made with reflection stripes, I've seen stainless steel rims with them for example. They seem to last from my experiences, at least 15 years for a city bike that is kept mostly in a shed when you're at home, just like the reflection on the spoke reflectors. In any event, tyre reflection is the direction developments have gone and once the reflective layer gets loose from the tyre, the tyre is usally quite worn anyway.

Note that the regulators making these rules aren't stupid (or I should say: Not always stupid ;-) See my page on StVZO where I show some of the stupidities in StVZO!). Some people complain about such requirements, say that they are useless, but side reflection does help to see cyclists on intersections where motorists otherwise might go faster thinking no one is there. Many headlamps and taillamps don't put out much light to sides, which is why this reflection helps. It also helps from behind to see that a cyclist ahead is starting to make a turn. For this, reflection on the tyre is also better than on the rim or mounted on the spokes, as the tyres are wider, thus reflective surfaces in case of rim-reflection or spoke mounted reflection will be partly hidden (when a cyclists starts to turn, i.e. with the wheel at a small angle compared to the frame and the road).

Then we have pedal reflectors, which are really efffective at grabbing just the right amount of attention to show that a cyclist is ahead.

8 USB power from dynamo

Apart from headlamps with built in USB (Luxos U, Luxx 70plus, nano 50 plus) there are other USB power devices, but you'd have to switch these with a headlamp if you also ride at night.

I haven't reviewed any, but here is an article that could be of use, with a list of power converters from dynamo to USB and other power supplies such as solar cells:

9 Overview of beamshots, movies, camera settings etc.

9.1 Camera settings, camera height, lamp height, and roads used to make beamshots

Camera settings, camera height, lamp height, and roads used to make beamshots

9.2 Pictures of light beams from the lamps I tested

Pictures of light beams from headlamps. All (well, most) pictures of light beams from headlamps on one page. I need to update this page and really make it autogenerated as some pictures can only be found on the review pages of the E3-pro-StVZO and QL-269.

Pictures of light beams from taillamps. All pictures of light beams from taillamps on one page.

9.3 Videos of bicycle lamps in action

The videos on the page Videos of bicycle lamps in action are made with a relatively cheap camera, the Samsung EX1, which has a bright F1.8 lens and a bigger sensor than compact cameras which makes the results it gives pretty good.

10 Various technical issues, light colour, lighting regulations, calculations

See the lighting analysis section: light colour, experiments in fog, annoyances, lighting regulations, speed loss from using a dynamo, etc.

11 Motorists vs. cyclists, bad behaviour in certain countries?

2019-3-26 I mentioned in a few places the bad behaviour of motorists vs. cyclists in the UK, which I was told about by many people, however: In Jan-Feb. 2018 in London and again in March 2019 in London/Bury (Pulborough) and Oxford, I had a look and never saw motorists behave worse than I've seen in NL. I also watched quite a few videos on youtube in 2018 where cyclists in the UK complain about behaviour of motorists and all of it is less bad than what I have experienced in NL... I saw no homicidal behaviour that many cyclists complain about, or in any case, not worse than in NL. I suppose I'd need to ride a bicycle for at least a few weeks in the UK to get a better overview of the situation, but I asked one cyclist who said that he thinks the complaints come from e.g. cyclists riding side by side on narrow roads which annoys motorists and then gives behaviour in response to that.

A comparison between UK and NL in roads: In the UK there are outside the big cities a lot of very narrow winding roads going up and down big and small hills, whereas in NL roads are almost always wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass each other without one waiting where there is room beside the road to let another pass, and roads in NL are often straight and hills only exist here in the south of NL. So in NL there are logically fewer issues but, still I've not seen anything in youtube videos from the UK that's worse than what I experienced in NL, so surely the problems from the UK that I heard about and that some cyclists complain about are just outliers, not general behaviour...

Another thing, in NL it is not allowed as a cyclist (except for wide vehicles, e.g. a recumbant more than IIRC 80cm wide) to ride on roads where cars may ride 80 km/h. Any pedal powered vehicles are not allowed on roads where cars may ride 100km/h or more. I'm not sure what the rules in the UK are. In Germany I think you may ride on roads where cars may go 70 km/h, and I have done so but I didn't like it there in particular because in Germany motorists often ride far too fast. See my travel experiences page in Germany.

12 Maintenance of hub dynamos

13 Other sources of information that might be useful

Various websites with more information on dynamos and how much power you can extract from them (incl. circuits to use multiple LEDs):

Internet forums:

Forums are a problem in that the people there (moderators and forum abusers) want you to conform to their reality... I therefore generally don't visit forums much. I only recommend these:

Special mention: Youtube:

This is a cesspool of mainly garbage, and the garbage is promoted by youtube to viewers to make more money (for the company google). This is why you see in recommended all kinds of click bait and simply nonsense for morons, rather than useful or interesting stuff. Try logging out, removing all of the cookies on your browser, and visiting youtube. Then see that after whatever you search and watch, almost nothing changes in 'recommended', it keeps recommending the same garbage videos for ages... The section 'trending' is even worse, more pushing junk out to viewers 'because others watched it'... You need to search to find something interesting.

I don't watch many bicycling videos and the well known channels with lots of subscribers are usually poor, they do don't do proper reviews, and don't know what science is about (science is NOT measurements, it is general analysis!). I don't recommend GCN, bike radar is a bit better. RJ the bike guy is pretty good no-nonsense, with real information on repairs that can be useful. A lot of small channels are interesting but you need to find them based on your interests so using certain keywords. I watched bike blogger in 2019 for esp. some older videos to see what cycling in the USA is like, and ditto for "Catrike & The Flaming Eyeball" which is interesting to see what cycling is like in rural parts of the USA. I generally don't watch videos with background music. I esp. hate most the inane free music that many people use to avoid copyright BS from using commercial (reasonably good) music. And so I don't use music in my videos. I also don't edit videos as I don't want to spend time on it, that could (only) happen if there is more interest, more subscribers, more comments etc. to give me the feel that it's worth the effort. Btw, a few cases where I like the music are for example Dafnefixed's "The best skid ever", Ryan Sedgewick's "London cycling near misses" and some of Terry Barentsen's videos.

Life is not all about cycling, so for fun I sometimes watch for example many vids from "Fight time prod." and a few from "Every damn day fitness" for their roasts of some stupid fitness youtubers :) To like these you will need to get into some of the background of the people being criticised but then you will have more fun also from the comments that people place with such roasts, such as repeating comments that such people use. Then esp. "Fight time prod." videos are fun. These 2 channels also talk about the issues of popular channels, of how they are influencing/manipulating and that is a point that has been important to me. You can read my criticism about forum moderators who want you to accept their reality (which I don't do) [ Addition 2020-6-15: On 2020-4-1 I added a big criticism page about this regarding inane moderators on flashlight/torch site cpf ] but also just people who email me in the criticism section and I've dealt with this topic related to e.g. airport Schiphol, and I'm now finishing a project in which I use all of that... A few other channels that I like to watch are scam baiters such as Malcolm Merlyn, ScammerRevolts, Jim Browning. Also fun is Vortecks for the e-bike creations, and just 'messing about' riding with a nice style of self critical humour [ overtaking a cyclist on a modified Xiaomi e-scooter: "It's got to be done!", followed by a self-critical "Juvenile" :) ]

Forums that I won't visit

I won't read anything from the following sites and I will definitely not post there, because of inane forum rules or inane moderation:

Note about interpretation, objectivity

If you want to critize something I wrote, feel free to send an email but I'm only interested in proper arguments, not things like "your reviews are biased because they don't agree at all with other reviews". That has nothing to do with being biased, because most other reviews are poorly done, so no wonder my conclusions differ... Since ca. 2013, there is beginning to come more criticism on various websites and forums about point light sources and cool white LEDs and other matters that I've been writing about for a long time, but I don't know whether that has finally improved this year in magazines.

See for more about this, Criticism (with an example of a nutter who doesn't understand the essence and wants to force his views onto me, uh, that's not going to work buddy! If you can't give proper arguments, then your email will be discarded).

Further note that my views are biased in some sense, namely the situation in the Netherlands and neighbouring countries, Belgium and Germany. There are large differences in behaviour in motorists in esp. UK (which I've been told about many times, but in my visits to the UK and in youtube videos I didn't see worse behaviour than I experienced in NL as a cyclist from motorists), USA, Australia and other countries with fewer cyclists, where cyclists are seen as occupying 'their roads'. The situation in a country influences a little bit what is acceptable as a lighting system, for example whether flashing is acceptable or not. With lots of cyclists, I would say it's not acceptable, and besides that it takes away the ability to estimate distance (and visibile indications that a cyclist may turn left/right!). A way to differentiate bike-car would be useful for large speed differences. But what besides flashing? Perhaps I should add a section on different attitudes in different countries? But even when looking at different attitudes, the design principles for good lamps remain as I described...

To email me go to the email page