Last updated: August 26, 2021

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Welcome to our big bicycle dynamo test 2021. Here we present all the bicycle dynamos we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best bicycle dynamo for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy a bicycle dynamo.




Summary

  • A bicycle dynamo is attached to the bicycle and helps you to generate light in the form of a small generator.
  • The dynamo generates electricity through the movement of the front or rear wheel and is therefore not dependent on any power source such as a battery or accumulator.
  • Side dynamos and hub dynamos have established themselves on the market, and with the right accessories you can also charge your mobile phone without any problems.

The Best Bicycle Dynamo: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a bicycle dynamo

What is a bicycle dynamo and how does it work?

Riding your bike at night without lights is dangerous because drivers cannot see you and you can also be fined by the police if you are stopped. The bicycle dynamo is one of many ways to ride with lights at night. The dynamo is an electric generator that is rotated by the movement of the front wheel. The dynamo generates electricity and lights up your bicycle lamp.

Did you know that the brightness of a dynamo is calculated in lux? Lux is the measure of the intensity of the light in the usable part of its beam pattern. Depending on how you cycle, the beam pattern will change. If you cycle faster, the light intensity is also higher.

Unlike battery-powered lights, with a dynamo you will never be in the dark as long as you keep moving.

What are the advantages of a dynamo?

In summary, you have the following advantages with a dynamo:

  • Inexpensive purchase
  • No battery
  • Always light

The advantages are obvious, it's cheap to buy, you don't have to worry about the battery and you generate your own electricity, so you only depend on yourself and no external power source. A plug-in light can be quickly forgotten at home or somewhere else, the dynamo is permanently mounted and reliable.

The bicycle dynamo has hardly any disadvantages. Sometimes irregular pedalling can cause the light to flicker and you have to use a little more power due to friction.

Where can I buy a bicycle dynamo?

You can buy a bicycle dynamo in your local sports shop or bicycle shop. You can also order a dynamo quickly and conveniently on the internet and at the same time get an overview of which dynamo might be the right one for you.


What alternatives are there to the side dynamo?

In addition to the side dynamo, you have a wide range of options for supplying your bike with light. Alternatively, there are battery-operated lights. These have the advantage that you can simply leave them at home when you don't need them and they are relatively light. A disadvantage compared to the side dynamo is the operating time, which is limited and the battery has to be charged at some point.

Battery-powered lights are especially useful for mountain bikes and road bikes. An alternative, but still belonging to the category of bicycle dynamos, would be a hub dynamo. The hub dynamo is located in the hub of the front wheel, so it is better protected from moisture and dirt, which is an advantage over the side dynamo and the battery-powered variants. It also generates electricity permanently, so you don't have to remember to switch it on or off.

When buying a dynamo, you should still pay attention to a few criteria. We would like to give you an overview of the purchase criteria here.

Fahrraddymano

The side dynamo is a common way of supplying electricity for the bicycle light. It is available at a reasonable price and generates energy through the rotation of the wheel to which it is attached. Source: Phillipe Renaud / 123RF.com

Decision: What types of bicycle dynamos are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four different types of bicycle dynamos:

  • Side-rotor dynamo
  • Hub dynamo
  • Roller dynamo
  • Spoke dynamo

Due to the different areas of application, a certain type is best suited for your bike. Due to the fact that not every bicycle dynamo has the same mode of operation, there are different advantages and disadvantages in their application.

We would therefore like to introduce you to the different types in the following section and help you to find out which dynamo is the right one for you. For this purpose, we will introduce you to the above-mentioned types in more detail and clearly present their advantages and disadvantages. It is worth mentioning that roller and spoke dynamos are hardly produced any more and you can only buy remaining stocks of them.

How does a lateral dynamo work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The side-rotor dynamo is still one of the most common options when buying a dynamo. It is attached to the front fork of the bicycle. To activate it, you have to push the dynamo against the tyre. This causes coils inside the dynamo to turn, which are connected to the housing. The kinetic energy you generate while riding is converted into electrical energy.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to install
  • Weighs little
Disadvantages
  • Doesn't work in snow and match
  • Makes noise when riding
  • Wears down tyre tread

If you use the side-wheel dynamo while riding, you will have to use more power to move forward. You should also bear in mind that the dynamo can be very loud. In heavy rain, the dynamo may stop working because it slips on the bike.

Dyanamoart Mounting How it works
Side-wheel dynamo Mounted on the side of the tyre, on the front fork or in the frame Low energy production, at a disadvantage in bad weather conditions
Spoke dynamo Mounted next to the wheel hub, can be quickly retrofitted and removed Serves well in bad weather, rather low energy, no losses when not in use
Hub dynamo Mounted permanently on the hub of the wheel No effect of weather on performance, high energy gain, no-load loss

How does a hub dynamo work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The hub dynamo is a modern way of generating electricity. It is located on the hub of the front wheel. The hub is the centre of the wheel and rotates around the axle when you ride. As soon as you ride the bike, permanent magnets rotate around a stator, which generates electricity. The hub dynamo is often used for city bikes and is more efficient. This means that you get more electricity than with a side-wheel dynamo when you pedal with the same force.

Advantages
  • Protects against dirt and moisture
  • Better efficiency than spoke dynamo
  • Very quiet
  • Long service life
Disadvantages
  • Idling losses
  • Cannot be changed manually
  • More expensive than side dynamos
  • Weighs more than a side rotor dynamo

When buying a hub dynamo, you should bear in mind that you cannot switch off the dynamo and therefore have to use more power when pedalling, even if you are not using the dynamo at all. This means that you have a loss of idle power. In addition, the hub dynamo is permanently mounted on the bike, so you cannot remove it by yourself.

How does a roller dynamo work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A roller dynamo, also known as a drum dynamo, works on a similar principle to the side rotor dynamo. The main difference is that the roller dynamo is attached to the profile of the wheel. Usually the dynamo is mounted behind the bottom bracket near the bicycle stand. The dynamo can be switched on by a cable on the handlebar.

Advantages
  • Can be switched on via a cable mechanism
Disadvantages
  • It doesn't work in snow and match
  • Hardly exists anymore

However, this model is no longer produced because the side rotor dynamo offers a better price-performance ratio. You can usually only find remaining stocks.

How does a spoke dynamo work and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A spoke dynamo is driven by a spoke on the front or rear wheel. A small machine part is attached to the wheel, which also moves when another part moves. As soon as you start pedalling, the wheel including the spokes is set in motion. The machine part gets in the way of the spokes and is driven by the kinetic energy of the turning wheel.

Advantages
  • No dependence on weather conditions
  • No idling loss
Disadvantages
  • Cannot be switched on and off while driving
  • Poor efficiency
  • Hard to buy

To switch off the dynamo, you have to remove the machine part from the spokes to bring it into an idle position. This means that you have no idling loss. All dynamos have their advantages and disadvantages. The side dynamo is a common variant, but it is increasingly being replaced by more modern hub dynamos.

The hub dynamo is mounted at the front and is totally independent of the weather. Good old storage dynamos are again hardly available and have been replaced by the already mentioned dynamos.

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate bicycle dynamos

In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate bicycle dynamos. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain device is suitable for you or not. In summary, these are:

  • Dynamo type
  • StVZO approval (voltage and power)
  • Overvoltage protection

In the following paragraphs you can read about the individual purchase criteria and how you can classify them.

Dynamo type

There are different types of dynamos. In this section we will look at one of the most common ones.

Side dynamo / side rotor dynamo

For a long time, the side dynamo (also called side rotor dynamo) was considered the most common variant for bicycles to produce light. The dynamo is mounted on the side of the tyre, i.e. on the side of the tyre. It is attached either to the front fork or to the frame of the bicycle. Before it starts, the dynamo must then be folded onto the wheel.

While riding, the dynamo's friction wheel is operated through the side wall of the tyre. A real advantage is not only the favourable price and its low weight, but also that it can be disconnected with a flick of the wrist when not in use. This means that it no longer rotates, there is no more friction and the wheel is not braked by the dynamo.

One disadvantage is the amount of force you have to exert, because you have to pedal hard to generate electricity. The dynamo also produces a louder noise, which can sometimes be annoying when you want to enjoy the peace and quiet. If it rains, the dynamo may slip and you will not be able to generate electricity, which is another big disadvantage.

Advantages
  • Low price
  • Low weight
  • Quickly decoupled
Disadvantages
  • Power-intensive
  • Higher noise level
  • Not always suitable in wet conditions

Fahrradlicht am Vorderrad eines Fahrrads

A bicycle light is mandatory in road traffic. Since 2013, however, not every bicycle lighting system has to include a dynamo. Source: Tookapic / pexels.com

Overvoltage protection

It should be prevented that the lamp burns out during the ride because too high a voltage is generated. This can be achieved with a surge protector. Therefore, when buying a lamp, you should make sure that it is integrated so that you do not have to ride with a dim light or even with a defective lamp.

Facts worth knowing about the bicycle dynamo

Who invented the bicycle dynamo and when?

The bicycle was invented over 200 years ago. At that time, people usually helped themselves out at night with oil lamps, paraffin or carbide lamps. Werner von Siemens then presented his invention in 1867: the electric generator. The electricity-generating generator paved the way for the bicycle dynamo. It is not possible to say exactly who invented the bicycle dynamo, as several people were involved.

Michael Faraday was considered the actual inventor of the dynamo. Richard Weber presented a dynamo machine in 1887. However, it did not catch on because, among other things, it was too heavy at 900 grams. A few years later, a 16-year-old student named Fritz Eichert succeeded in developing a dynamo that was successful. The dynamo eventually won through thanks to its improved lamp and low price.

Is there a smartphone charger for the dynamo?

With the right converter, you can also charge your mobile phone while cycling. The charging adapter is simply mounted on the handlebar frame using a rubber ring. Because if you are on the road for a longer period of time, your battery may soon run out, whether because you are using it as a navigation system or for other reasons. You can charge your device directly via the dynamo, but if you are interested in other accessories, you can quickly find out about them on the internet.

Picture source: Pixabay.com / sipa

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