What is a dynamo bike (and how does it work)?


There are many ways to decipher someone’s age without asking. Any journey along the path of memory that comes with a musical reference. Or what it was like to watch a football game.

Perhaps one of the most significant are the blurry memories of playing in the street. How far you could go without your parents knowing or worrying about where you were going. And the freedom it entailed.

I borrowed my dad’s fixed wheel bike for an adventure like mine had just been stolen from me. He used it to work. It was not glamorous, a heavy steel machine that was sprinkled with black and had heavy wheels. I struggled to reach those bear trap pedals that made me appreciate the fixed rotation of the wheels so they couldn’t hit my shins.

In addition to the novelty of going up and down like being on a carousel while pedaling, I remember the dynamo I went up when the sky began to darken and the world around me turned a very special orange, like a stained glass made. by the street of the Quality.

If you remember those tombstone Ever-Ready headlights and taillights that needed two D batteries, you’ll appreciate the simplicity and sleek design of a dynamo.

Audax and endurance riders return to the dynamo as a light source that depends on our own effort to illuminate the road. In a sustainable world, buying less of a consumer product like a battery is not bad either. Let’s take a look at how we create electricity and illuminate our world on roads and lanes.

What is a dynamo bike?

It is a method by which the propulsion of the wheel generates an electric current. This is transferred to provide energy. The traditional dynamo is known as the side wall dynamo or bottle. Modern versions are operated from the wheel hub. You can also get a bottom bracket dynamo.

How does a bicycle dynamo produce electricity?

The movement of the bicycle wheel in the most common forms of dynamo spins a magnet inside a coil of wire. This creates a flow of energy between the two ends of the coil. The energy difference between these ends is expressed in volts. The “work” done causes an electric current to flow.

Is a Dynamo bike AC or DC?

Dynamo comes from the Greek word dynamis (power). Your dynamo is likely to be a magnet. A standard dynamo creates a direct current (DC): a unidirectional flow of electric charge. A bicycle dynamo creates an alternating current (AC), which occasionally reverses direction.

Who Invented the Dynamo Bike?

A German, Robert Bosch, founder of the company of the same name, introduced in 1923 a headlight that worked with a dynamo that generated electricity from a small roller placed just behind the forks of the front wheel. The higher the speed, the more electricity was generated and the brighter the light.

How much electricity does a bicycle dynamo produce?

The typical electrical output of a bicycle dynamo is six volts. It is a result of low power derived from your pedaling. Sometimes hub dynamos can be adjusted to produce 12 volts. Electricity is generated immediately and stops occurring when you stop pedaling.

The lights can work with alternating current and this has been the traditional use of dynamos. As we move into the world of communication and become more efficient, there have been enough advances in battery technology, LED light technology, and charging technology.

Along with the USB cable, this has led to the opportunity to convert AC power to DC power, which is needed to power electronics. This means that modern dynamos (which usually operate from the front wheel hub) are capable of providing power to LED lights, or to a battery or GPS device or phone.

Sustainability and the pleasure, not the achievement, that comes from feeding your own electronic existence is a powerful force in itself.

Are Dynamos bikes good?

Your lights will always work. Most bike lights are battery-powered, and although they can now be charged at home or in the office via USB, it’s up to you to remember the cables and pick them up when needed. You’ll never get stuck in the dark with a dynamo or push your bike home.

If you are a cyclist, you will enjoy the electricity generated by the dynamo of the particular hub and you will not feel disturbed by the increase in energy you need to power it.

The power you generate should be enough to charge most of the devices you carry with you on this trip. Apart from your laptop.

Although a bottle dynamo powered from the front wheel depends on a physical connection to the tire, or sometimes the rim, to produce electricity, it may not be the most reliable and would certainly have a reduced benefit if you go off the road or somewhere. which created a trip rugged enough to cause the connection to fail intermittently. On the other hand, core dynamos offer a more stable and consistent power output.

Dynamos have the side effect of producing some form of resistance to feed them. In most cases, this is not too noticeable. A bottle dynamo will create a small amount of noise and friction. You may lose a minute of your personal mark in a twenty-mile journey. In general, the maintenance and upkeep of a dynamo is not significant.

Bicycle Dynamo: Pros and Cons

PROS CONS
Reliable, especially if you travel at night Weight and drag will slow you down
Usually screwed or fastened to the bike – less hassle and harder to steal Cube dynamos should require the construction of a new front wheel
Some dynamos can be used to charge moving devices when no lighting is needed The light will work less reliably if you travel off-road, which will be unpleasant
The emitted light can be scattered over a larger area than with battery-powered lights There is no light when it stops, which may worry you at crossroads; it is also worth checking local lighting laws

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Kevin Glenton
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