If you're planning a bikepacking trip, then you'll be smart to look for gear that's reliable, convenient, and can withstand the rigors of the road. One of the aspects of modern life that doesn't stop while bike touring, is the need to charging your navigational devices, phone, lights and other tech gadgets. Dynamo hubs can help with this task in a simple, reliable way. At Curve we have been using SP Dynamo Hubs on our dynamo wheelsets for over 10 years. We have carbon dynamo wheelsets and alloy dynamo wheelsets ready to go. The Curve squad has used them successfully in bikepacking races, cross-continent adventures and plain old commuting for many years, demonstrating their reliability in all conditions. Read on to find out why we think dynamo hubs are such a useful tool for your bike adventures.
A dynamo hub is a small electric generator built into the front wheel hub of a bicycle. It works by converting the mechanical energy generated from pedaling into electrical energy as the wheel turns. This electrical energy can then be used to power lights and a USB charger. That charger can, in turn, power any device that charges via USB.
One of the biggest advantages of using a dynamo hub for bikepacking is that it provides a reliable source of power for your lights. Since the hub generates its own power, you don't have to worry about running out of batteries or finding a place to charge them. This makes it perfect for long-distance bikepacking trips where you may be traveling through areas without access to electricity. It's also super convenient for commuting - you never have to worry about charging your batteries. As long as you're moving your light will shine. Modern dynamo lighting systems - like kLite - also have an in-built stand-light, so that once they're charged up the light continues to shine even while stationary, albeit at a reduced output.
Speaking of pedal-powered lighting, at Curve have been using k-Lite setups for years across many of our bikepacking adventures and racing. We help customers set them up with new or existing bikes. Get in touch if you want to know more.
These kLite lighting systems been invaluable for providing bombproof, consistent and powerful lighting from commuting to multi-week bikepacking races in all conditions. The ability to have all your lighting needs provided for without having to find a place to recharge them is a massive weight off the mind when pushing the limits in racing or adventuring around remote corners of the world with no other source of power.
With the additional USB charger (also available with kLite systems) you can charge your phone, navigation device, headphones, USB battery packs, and more, all while you ride. This means you never have to stop to charge your electrical equipment.
Using a dynamo hub is more environmentally friendly than other power sources, as it doesn't rely on disposable batteries. The power generated by a dynamo hub is renewable and reduces your carbon footprint while enjoying your ride. Riding a bike is an extremely low impact way to travel. Using a renewable power source at the same time, just makes sense.
Surely this is too good to be true. What's the downside? Well, as you might expect there is a small weight penalty for using a dynamo hub. With internal magnets necessary to generate power, a dynamo hub is heavier than a traditional hub. Also, energy doesn't come for free. While generating power, a dynamo hub steals some rotational kinetic energy, effectively applying a fractional braking force on the rotating front wheel. The power loss is minimal. Sure, it would be an issue if you were trying to find extra fractions of a Watt in the pursuit of an Olympic time trial medal but not on an extended bike tour.
The trade off for the convenience of having lighting always available and an endless source of power to charge your devices is a minor weight impediment and a fractional power loss. For bikepacking and extended cycling tours it's definitely worth it.
In conclusion, dynamo hubs are perfect for bikepacking because they provide reliable power for lights and devices, are environmentally friendly, low maintenance, and can power a USB charger. If you're planning a bikepacking trip, consider upgrading your ride with a dynamo hub and experience the benefits for yourself. With a dynamo hub, you can focus on the adventure and leave the worries of power behind!
Curve has a number of wheelsets that are prebuilt with dynamo hubs like our Dirt Hoops, Dirt Hoops Alloy and Grav AL wheels. We can also custom build any of our rims with a dynamo hub should you want something bespoke. We also stock, or can supply, various different k-Lite setups and can fit them to your bike in combination with a dynamo hub. We regularly use the front Backpacker ULTRA and rear Qube FLASHING lights for our builds and feel this is the perfect setup for a hassle-free lighting solution.