Velo vision alfine dynamo and wheelbuld review nov 2016

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The credible cycling magazine



PLUS: Radical Design trailer for Brompton Low-power 1.5W dynamo lights Lezyne, Zéfal and SKS pumps

IS S UE 52 NOV N OV E M BE R 2 0 1 6 £ 7

Velo Vision PDF This is an excerpt from Velo Vision issue 52, published November 2016. To find out more about this unique magazine, please visit our busy website: where you will find a guided tour, full subject and author indices, free sample articles to download and the online shop. Subscriptions are available in both print and digital format, and the digital package includes apps for iOS and Android plus full access to all back issues! We’re also on Facebook: If you have any comments, problems or suggestions about the magazine in general, or this PDF in particular, please email me at I hope you enjoy the read!

Howard Yeomans Editor and publisher, Velo Vision magazine

Technical notes This Acrobat PDF file should display correctly on almost any computer. If you encounter problems the first thing to try is to download the latest version of Acrobat reader from the Adobe website: If that fails, please send me an email and I’ll try to sort it out. Small print I don’t much like copy protection and legalese, but a few things need saying: You are free to print the document out for your personal use, but not for resale or for anyone else. To protect the copyright of Velo Vision and of our contributors, modification of this document, and copying of the contents, may have been disabled. Words and images remain copyright Velo Vision and the original contributors. Please don’t reproduce anything without express permission.


Velo Vision is published by Howard Yeomans T/A Velo Vision. Subscription details and the forum can be found at and regular news and updates on the Facebook page VeloVisionMagazine. ISSN 1475-4312 Velo Vision, Freshfields, Main Street, Gayton le Marsh, Lincolnshire, LN13 0NS, United Kingdom Tel +44 7948 271 763 (from UK, 07948 271 763) E-mail Skype howardyeomans EDITOR AND PUBLISHER: Howard Yeomans COPYEDITOR: Heather Luna GRAPHIC DESIGN: Howard Yeomans PHOTOGRAPHERS: Elsie Luna & Howard Yeomans PRINTER: The Manson Group Ltd PUBLISHING SCHEDULE: Issue 53: February 2017 Issue 54: June 2017



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A crop of your correspondence, including an AZUB delta trike, Brompton notes, followed by dates for your 2017 calendar.


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Our report brings you right up to speed on the great number of new world records.


Review: Performer Saki

An aluminium high-racer with a thirst for speed, but was it usable on the road, too?


Review: 1.5W dynamo lights

A triple test puts together a Shimano Alfine dynohub and Busch & Müller lights.


Review: Radical Design Cyclone

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Review: Tern Verge Tour

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Here in England, the season has definitely rolled over to Autumn setting. The leaves that once seemed so full of vigour they could never drop have now given their all, and inevitably fallen. Quite why this event would cause surprise to anyone is, itself, I think, a reflection of the nature of the cyclist – an optimist in denial. Someone who too easily forgets the rigours of a bracing British winter and is consistently dressed for the outdoor conditions one month ago. Being an optimist, I get caught out. It could be called


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Plus, back-issue bundles and details of retailers and distributors worldwide.



Even the ads look great in Velo Vision! Please consider our advertisers when buying – they support this magazine!

complacency, expecting the weather to cooperate with my rides schedule. I also postpone those kind of events that we should all prioritise – rides with new people, challenging rides to new places, and nostalgic journeys down memory lane searching for that magic we all love. This issue is for my dad. We missed that ride, because we were waiting for those metaphorical ‘lemon-soaked paper napkins’. Why make excuses? – they tell me; there’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing. Howard Yeomans





Lighting up time! We asked Practical Cycles to build us a new wheel around the lowpower 1.5W Alfine dynamo. We then matched it with a set of the latest lights from Busch & Müller, to see if there’s a bright future for smaller lamps.



Not many years ago, the general rule was that, to put more light on the road, you simply needed more power. Technologies like tungsten halogen incandescent lamps and high-intensity discharge arc lamps were used in conjunction with the best battery technology available. LEDs have now changed everything: as soon as they could match the brightness of their forebears, LED lights were set to come out on top. As efficiency went up, so energy sources could be shrunk down to more manageable sizes. At the extreme end, inch-long USB lights could be used as a rider’s get-you-home light set. Germany’s Busch & Müller are a leader in lighting innovations and, perhaps, a conservative one, too, as it was several years more before they released their first all-LED dynamo light, the Lumotec IQ-Fly. The resurgence of the humble dynamo commenced. Dynamos themselves haven’t changed much. For decades, cyclists have depended on a bunch of permanent magnets turning in a can of wires to push recalcitrant electrons through a circuit. The generator standard long ago settled at around three watts and six volts, an acceptable compromise between drag on the rider and useful electrical energy. Hub dynamo efficiency can be in the range of about 40 – 65%, so a 1.5W dynamo should, in theory, run with half the


drag of a 3W unit. Shimano is the only large manufacturer making 1.5W dynamos. Their DH-S701 includes a splined ‘Centerlock’ disc mount, perhaps hinting at its use for faster performance riders, or maybe this is the do-it-all front hub. From a mere three watts, a good halogen bulb system will project something like 10 lux on the road ahead, just enough to see the way – but decidedly dim by modern standards. Before continuing, we should define what a lux actually is – one lux is equal to one lumen per square metre. So, what is a lumen‽ A lumen is a measure of a unit’s total light output; B+M (unlike most manufacturers) prefers to express how much illumination is usefully projected on the road surface when the light is aimed correctly. Given the beam pattern, we can only assume the measurement is an average across the useful part of the beam. B+M lights have a well-defined beam and minimal unnecessary scatter. For reference, the sun illuminates the ground with about 100 lux on a dark overcast day. In this test, we’ve put together the Alfine hub with Onefive and Toplight rear light and, for beam comparison, mounted a 2.4W IQCyo front light on the same bracket powered by a separate 3W dynamo.

B+M Lumotec Onefive T Senso Plus

Camera settings in the comparison photos were the same. All B+M lights comply with German TUV road traffic regulations (StVZO).

0.9 watt B+M Onefive.

The technology squeezed into the Onefive includes an ambient light sensor (called ‘Senso’ in B+Mspeak) to control the brightness of the light, daylight running light function (designated ‘T’), and a stand-light (giving it the ‘plus’). With this codification, most of the B+M catalogue can be deciphered. Behind a plastic front cover, three LEDs team up to provide the best

illumination for the prevailing conditions and, below, a clip-on reflector fits to the base of the unit, if required. At the back of the plastic casing, a small weather-sealed push switch, which glows gently when the light is on, controls both the Onefive and the rear light, if connected. The stand-light will stay on for a good three minutes, regardless of the switch position. Using the on/ off switch, we could easily compare the resistance of the unloaded and loaded dynamo. Slits in the side of the unit allow light to escape to the sides, acting as repeaters. Note that the three LEDs are all mounted in the ‘hood’ of the light and point downwards onto the mirror, which actually forms the beam of light. In daylight, the Onefive switches itself to DRL-mode, and using some algorithm best known to the designers, the intensity of the three LEDs is adjusted for maximum conspicuity; i.e., the main LED for the road beam is dimmed, while the two that scatter light more widely run at maximum brightness. In the dark, the main-beam LED runs BELOW: A comparison with the well-known IQ-Cyo* gives some idea of the Onefive’s slightly reduced output.

2.4 watt B+M IQ-Fly.





brightest, while the smaller LEDs are still on, but dimmer than in DRLmode. A time delay, between the two modes, acts as a safety measure to stop the light dimming itself in the face of the beam from an oncoming vehicle. The rear light (if connected) will always stay on regardless of the state of the front light, according to the position of the manual switch. The beam from the Onefive is distributed well, shedding most light to a letter-box area in the far distance. The spread in the nearfield is still effective and helps see things that should have already been apparent at around the 15-metre point. Aim the light higher than this and too much light is lost in the distance, never to return. In our 700c (622) wheel, the hub pushed the light to full brightness at around eight mph. Below about five mph, there was a tendency to strobe somewhat. The stand-light activates between the dynamo’s distinct power-pulses, giving out approximately 50% of full output. In the context of the 10 lux German legal minimum, a 30 lux claim for the Onefive perhaps sounds disappointing, but we found it totally adequate for use in street-lit areas. Around unlit country roads, we had no trouble, even on faster sections. Upon comparing it to the brighter cousin, the original B+M IQ-Cyo(*), a benchmark 2.4W LED model, you get some idea what you’ve been missing. With the grander Cyo, mainly the foreground benefits from much more illumination, while the ‘letterbox’ in the distance no longer falls away so abruptly. The difference between 30 and 60 lux is however not as much as the figures indicate. Mounting the light on our test bike was fairly straightforward. The Onefive is supplied with a stainless fork bridge bracket suitable for v-brakes and some dual-pivot brakes (depending on bolt length). The bracket would probably not work with cantilever brakes as the unit



B+M Toplight Line Plus

ABOVE: A flying lead has connectors for the Toplight rear light. Permanently attached 75 cm-long main wire runs to the dynamo: long enough to mount the light on fairly high bars.

will not clear the brake mechanism. Any other fork with a brake bolt hole should present no problem, so long as the light can ‘see’ over the tyre. The B+M catalogue includes the range of alternative mountings and SON also sells a good range of light-mounting brackets. The six millimetre hole in the body passes straight through, giving the creative home-technician opportunities to fashion their own mountings. B+M Lumotec Onefive. Weight: 55 grammes (including wire, excluding stainless steel bracket). MSRP: £34.00.

The entire range of B+M’s LED tail lights is compatible with the Onefive (actually a 0.9W unit). As tail lights consume up to 0.6W, the set adds up to 1.5W. Our test bike had a rear rack, so we selected one of the newer slimline models, the Line Plus, which actually features two LEDs above an integral reflector. The key design aspect of the ‘Line’-denoted lights is how the LEDs are mounted in a plastic lens that diffuses the light so it appears to illuminate a much larger area. One advantage of this design is how the spread of light gives a better sense of scale and range. The theory works: Seen from an approaching vehicle, the light clearly looks like a horizontal band of light. Not being a retina-burning device works to its advantage: following drivers and cyclists can look straight at the light without being dazzled, adding a level of conspicuity that must, ultimately, equate to safety. In daylight, the strip is less distinct; most light is seen from the two LEDs.

The Toplight Line Plus tested here fits to any rack with 50 mm hole spacing. Below the special lens, which forms the strip of red light, a reflector forms the larger part of the whole 94 x 45 mm size. A pair of standard spade terminals for crimped brass connectors can be used to form the twin-wire circuit; the unit will not work with frame as ground. For speed of fitting, wires can be simply poked into a pair of holes and a lever will clamp the wire and cut through the insulation to make the connections. A small pushbutton in the opposite corner can be pressed when the bike is stationary to turn off the stand-light. Other tail lights in the B+M range include Seculite and Secula models, for mudguard mounting; Toplight, an overall larger rack-mounting unit containing the same optics as the Seculite; and Flat Plus, another slimline light with one LED. From 2015, B+M introduced BrakeTec, whereby the rear unit responds to rapid reduction in the electrical frequency from the dynamo and, in turn, pulses the rear light brightly. B+M Toplight. Weight: 53 grammes (including fasteners). MSRP: £22.00.

Practical Cycles wheel with Shimano DH-S701 Based in Lancashire, Practical Cycles is a specialist retailer in cargo cycles, family bikes, and practical cycling accessories. Their bespoke wheel-building service can work to a specification or suggest suitable wheel configurations based on a design brief. For our test bike, they put together a wheel to match the existing set: a black version of Shimano’s 1.5W hub and a Mavic Open Pro rim with stainless Sapim double butted spokes. In a threecross pattern, the build sacrifices weight for ultimate strength and long-term fatigue resistance. The quality of the build is second to none – flat and true as the rings


LEFT: Wheel is fastened with a normal quick-release; remember disconnect the plug first.


of Saturn and all spokes precisely tensioned (I measured them with a Park Tools tension meter). The tyre and tube were not included, so budget for those extras unless robbing them from the bike’s original wheel. Shimano’s data sheet says the DH-S701 is suitable for 20 – 28" diameter wheels and is only available with a splined ‘Centerlock’ disc mount. Our bike has a rim brake, so the spline is covered with a dust cap. When unloaded, electrically, the hub has a very low mechanical drag, as expected for any good quality hub dynamo. Compared with a SON, the industry’s gold standard, however, it’s no equal; although barely noticeable when riding the bike, the drag can easily be seen on a spindown test in a static fork. Like the rest of Shimano’s vast catalogue, bearings are sealed by a single rubber cone in contact with axle and hub, an effective system that works by-and-large, but can be prone to leakage, especially later in life when the seals harden and perish. Whether the Shimano will sustain the starship mileages modern high-end hubs are capable of, only time will tell. In terms

of preventative maintenance, Shimano’s exploded diagram shows only the left-side bearing to be serviceable, while the right side is integrated with the coil assembly. One of the joys of hub dynamos is how, at the push of a button, full-power illumination is available. As far as I could tell, the added drag resulting from powering the lights (in either DRL or night mode) felt very similar to turning on a three-watt hub – perhaps only slightly easier. Impossible to be really sure without trying it on an honest test rig. This was the only disappointment of the test and we were left wondering if our early expectation of an imperceptible hub was over-optimistic. Practical Cycles Alfine wheel-build. Weight, excluding tyre and tube: 1.22 kg. £180.52 including VAT, excluding delivery. Alfine DH-S701. Weight: 430 grammes, including supplied QR lever. Hub comes drilled for 32 or 36 spokes and also available in silver. MSRP: £99.99.

Weighing up the pros and cons of the 1.5W format, three key points come to mind – brightness, drag and weight. The Alfine hub is notably smaller than Shimano’s equivalent 3W models and is also at least 50 grammes lighter. Spend much more money, and lighter and smoother running 3W units can be found. What we know for sure, though, is that the Alfine is a lightweight and keenly-priced, discready hub. On brightness, the Onefive is almost as effective as a 2.4W lamp – ideal for urban use where it would be wholly acceptable. Riders might begin to struggle in the rain, where much light is lost due to reflection from wet surfaces, and for faster riding in more challenging conditions, where a long beam throw and peripheral coverage is even more important. Out of curiosity, we tried our 2.4W IQ-Cyo instead of the Onefive with the tail light on the Alfine hub. Not only did it work, but at speeds beyond five mph, the lights appeared to reach full brightness. The drag when doing this stunt seemed the same as with the 0.9W Onefive lamp unit – while apparently delivering double the power. I was left wondering what other configurations were possible and if power available from hubs is higher than the label says. Conversely: do lights consume less power than their label indicates? We couldn’t try it out, but three Onefive front lamps in parallel, plus a single tail lamp, sounds feasible with a 3W dynamo. However, a word of caution – overloading the hub may put long-term reliability in jeopardy. Spare capacity in a system gives the opportunity for other devices to tapoff power, for example, for a phone or GPS via a USB charging converter. Three-watt hubs probably have sufficient power for a light in DRL-

mode and a USB device in parallel. The more power remaining, the faster the potential charging. We did some research and found that most mobile phones consume 2.5W when charging, minimum, although they may charge (slowly) on about 1.5W. Anyone looking for spare capacity in their system would probably be wise to go for a 3W dynamo. Please note: Early reports that the electronics in the original IQ-Cyo interfere with wireless computers (those radio transmitting wheel sensors) have, according to B+M, been solved with the new 1.5 and 3W models. We await with interest the next generation of even more brilliant low-power light technology. Shimano manufactures a wide range of 1.5W dynamo hubs, including Deore XT, Alfine, Alivio, and Nexus models with and without brake discs. The Nexus DH-C60001R has a roller brake and the Nexus DH-C2100-N is a 0.9W dynamo. Unfortunately, all of these models, except the Alfine, appear only to be available outside of Europe. Howard Yeomans Busch & Müller: or tel Germany +49 (0)23 54‒9 15‒6. For UK distribution, see amba-marketing. com or tel UK 01392 829903. Practical Cycles: or tel UK 01253 739680. Shimano: For UK distribution, see SON: For UK distribution, see or tel UK 01278 441500. * We tested the Onefive next to the original IQ-Cyo with ‘IQ-Tec’ technology (60 lux). That version, has now been superseded by a new ‘IQ-Tec Premium’ LED, giving 80 lux.




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