This is a sweet set of 650b gravel wheels. They’re put together using Onyx rear and SON front hubs paired with Light-Bicycle carbon rims. These wheels are destined for a year-long journey so I’ve selected Sapim Force spokes, which makes builds more bulletproof. For more casual use lighter spokes would definitely work. Please email for help sourcing SON generator hubs.
Blog: Dynamo Hubs
SON hubs and lights include normal spade connectors — trim wires to length, crimp on connectors and connect to your hub. Anyone can manage this system and it works well. As an upgrade, SON offers a coaxial version that I put together today. This system requires more effort to assemble (basic soldering required) but pays you back with a number of advantages.
The upgrade comes with an adapter that connects a coaxial plug to the hub spade connectors. The new plug interface is spring-retained, which is more refined than the friction fit of spade connectors. The coaxial plug is secure but can be fitted or removed with full-fingered gloves. As well a single plug presents no opportunity to reverse pins, which is an issue with dual connectors.
I’ve become a big fan of dynamo hubs. For commuting it’s great to have bright lights without charging batteries. For touring I feel the same and rely on dynamo power to charge the gizmos I can’t live without. Apart from the weight penalty, hub dynamos are pretty terrific.
Check out this upgrade for a customer’s Surly Long Haul Trucker. This wheelset re-uses the stock Shimano XT rear hub and adds a new XT dynamo front. Since this LHT is ridden unloaded too, I’m mindful of weight and mitigated the dynamo’s added mass with lighter Mavic rims and butted spokes. Surly uses straight gauge spokes on their stock wheels, which targets price rather than function — butted spokes are a must for touring in my book. Spare spokes included!
This recent build is one I can get behind. It’s based on Shimano XT disc hubs and burly H Plus Son Archetype rims. The front hub is the new Shimano XT dynamo. It produces enough juice to power bright lights or charge your USB electronics (cycle computer, GPS, smartphone, etc). I loathe batteries so this resonates with me. Great for commuting, brevet riding and cycle touring.
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