On behalf of his sister-in-law, Edwin searched far and wide for bicycles in the U.S. market that come standard with dynamo lights.  We are grateful that he’s chosen to share his research with us.

As a long time reader of Bikes for the Rest of Us, Ilike practical bikes. Bikes that are good for most people, most of the time.The kind that you can ride most places in most conditions. The kind where youcan go shopping for a week’s worth of groceries, commute to work and head outat night. The kind of bike that, if you wanted, you could ride on a 30-milecharity ride. Or adventure ride with your friends. The kind of bike that works duringthe day and during the night, rain or shine, without modifications. Kind oflike the cars we drive.

The key features to this kind of bike are comfort, sothat you can ride it all day; fenders, so you don’t get wet; a rack or basket,so you can carry your goods; and most importantly, lights, so you can see andbe seen.

After riding aroundcities for the first 30 years of my life without a permanent lighting system onmy bikes, I was blown away when I finally made the investment in a dynamo hub afew years ago. It has not changed my bike style or bike practices, as I alwaysbiked most places most of the time; it just made it so much more dependable andsafer. Now I ride with my front and rear lights on all the time. I think it issafer and I stand out whether biking alone or in a crowd. My front light is aBusch and Muller LumotecIQ Premium Fly RT Senso Plus ( I hope this name is actually shorter in itsnative German!)

Lumotec front light. Credit: Peter White Cycles



The lower lights stay on all the time – day timerunning lights! And the top light turns on at night for a more traditional headlight with a horizontal cutoff according to German lighting standards. (Yes,they exist, and you can read about them and other light-nerd stuff here.)

My rear light is aBusch and Muller Toplight Line Brake Plus.

Credit: Peter White Cycles.

 

It has a great, steady rear light that brightenswhen you brake!


I bought them both from the man who knows more aboutbicycle lighting than anyone else in the U.S., PeterWhite.


Enough about me. What inspired me to write this postwas looking for a good production bike for a friend. Actually, for mysister-in-law, which is slightly more pressure than just for a friend. I wasthinking the best bike for her would be the kind of bike I described above,that comes with fenders, racks, and dynamo lighting, so she could ride at nightwithout worrying about whether her batteries were charged or her lights hadbeen stolen off her bike last time she parked it for a few minutes outside.


So I started thinking about the options for a stockbike, sold in the U.S., that fit these criteria. And here is what I found, witha few notes on the specifications of each. I have ridden very few of thesebikes and so this is not a review, but more of a gathering of what is outthere. Let me know in the comments if there are others that you know about thatare not listed.
Breezer

These bikes are fairly widely distributed and can even befound in two of our five bike shops here in Nashville. Models that come with aDynamo hub are: 

All Breezer courtesy www.breezerbikes.com




o  Price: $1099

o  Dynamo Notes

§  Dynamo System: Shimano DH 3N20-NT

§  Front Light: B&M Lumotec Lyt

§  Rear Light: B&M DToplight Plus with Standlight

o  Other: Comes in diamond frame andstep through. The rear hub is a NuVinci 360 Continuously Variable Planetarygear system. In short: there are no gear “steps,” but a gradual change inratios.

Uptown 8




Uptown 8 LS



o  Price: MSRP $849

o  Dynamo Notes

§  Dynamo System: Shimano DH 3N20-NT

§  Front Light: B&M Lumotec Lyt

§  Rear Light: B&M DToplight Plus with Standlight

o  Other: Rear hub is a Shimano NexusRevo-shift 8 speed internal hub. Comes in diamond frame and step through frame.

Uptown 5




Uptown 5 LS


o  Price: MSRP $789


o  Dynamo Notes:


§  Dynamo System: Shimano DH 3N20-N


§  Front Light: Trelock Bike-I Uno LED


§  Rear Light: Trelock Trio Flat Standlight


o  Other: Rear hub is Shimano Nexus 5speed. Comes in diamond frame and step through frame.

Beltway 11


o  Price: $2099


o  Dynamo Notes


§  Dynamo System: Shimano DH S501


§  Front Light: B&M Lumotec IQ Fly


§  Rear Light: B&M DToplight Plus withStandlight


o  Other: Rear hub is Shimano Alfine 11,a high quality internal gear hub with a wide range of gears.


Beltway 8



o  Price: MRP $1569


o  Dynamo Notes


§  Dynamo System: Shimano 3N30-QR


§  Front Light: B&M Lumotec Lyt


§  Rear Light: B&M DToplight Plus with Standlight


o  Other: Rear hub is Shimano Alfine 8,a high quality internal gear hub with a moderate range.


Finesse


o  Price: MSRP : $1649


o  Dynamo Notes


§  Dynamo System: WH-S501-V-3D (Complete Wheel)


§  Front Light: B&M Lumotec IQ Fly


§  Rear Light B&M DToplight Plus withStandlight


o  Other: Rear hub is Shimano Alfine 8internal gear hub, disc brakes.


Greenway Elite

Greenway Elite ST




o  Price: $899


o  Dynamo Notes


§  Dynamo System: Shimano DH-3N30-QR


§  Front Light: Trelock Bike-I Uno LED


§  Rear Light: Trelock Trio Flat Standlight


o  Other: This is the one Breezer dynamooffering with a derailer: 2×10 speed.



Novara

AsREI’s in house brand of bicycles, Novara has tried several different bicycleswith dynamo hubs, including the Transfer, featured on this siteOther models included the Fusion, also featuredhereSadly, they are both discontinued. The currentline up seems to include one bike with dynamo powered lights, the Gotham.

Gotham

Photo courtesy of REI.





·       Price: MSRP $1399

·       Dynamo Notes

·       Dynamo System: Joytech Dynamo hub

·       Front Light: specificationsunavailable (looks like a handlebar mounted spotlight)

·       Rear Light: specifications unavailable

·       Other: Nuvinci N360 continuouslyvariable transmission like the Breezer Uptown Infinity, but driven with a Gatescarbon drive.

Marin

This company has turned out a lot ofpractical city bikes, commonly called “hybrids.” Not many have had dynamolighting, but they have one out now.
Fairfax SC6

Photo courtesy Marin.

 

·       Price: Roughly $2000, MSRP not listedon site


·       Dynamo Notes


·       Dynamo System: Shimano Alfine Dynamo


·       Front Light: Super Nova E3 Pro


·       Rear Light: unknown


·       Other: Shimano Alfine 11 rear hub.

Electra

Electra is famous for its comfortbikes, Cali-style and their Dutch style Amsterdam models, some of which havedynamo hubs.

Amsterdam 8i




Photos courtesy Electra Bikes.



o  Price: $1200


o  Dynamo Notes


§  Dynamo System: Shimano Nexus


§  Front Light: Spanninga, unknown model


§  Rear Light: Spanninga, unknown model


o  Other: Shimano Nexus 8 speed rearhub, wheel guards, cutesy colors.


Fashion 3i


o  Price: $899


o  Dynamo Notes


§  Dynamo System: Shimano Nexus Roller


§  Front Light: Spanninga, unknown model


§  Rear Light: Spanninga, unknown model

Other: Shimano Nexus 3 speed rear hub, wheel guards, cutesy colors.

Other Options



·       Dutch/Danish and other Euro bikes


These are the real deal European style bikes sold by bikeshops like  Adeline Adeline and RollingOrange in NY, BicycleBelle in Boston, JC Lind in Chicago, DutchBike Co. in Seattle, Clever Cycles in Portland OR, and My DutchBike in SF. These shops all sell bikeswith dynamo lighting or will adapt dynamo lighting to your bike. You can addyour favorite shop with dynamo bikes in the comments.


These shops sell bikes from several makers who have modelswith dynamo lighting. The prices tend to range from $1000 to $3000 when you adda few accessories! Some of those brands include: Brompton (UK), Gazelle (NL) Pashley (UK), Paper (UK), Pilen (SE), Retrovelo(DE), VanMoof (NL), Velorbis (DK), Workcycles(NL)


·   The big guys:

They don’toffer anything here in the US, though they have tried in the past. I never knowif they drop these attempts because the public won’t buy them, or if they donot know how to sell them!

Specialized: This big bike company had a fewdynamo versions of the high end commuter bike called The Source over the lastfew years. Theyalso used to make a dynamo powered version of one of their Globe bikesTheydon’t anymore.  Ontheir Dutch site they still have several Source models with dynamos.

Trekused to make a cute bike called the Belleville that came in diamond frame ormixte with dynamo lights, fenders, with front and rear racks. A true bike forthe rest of us. And it was featured here.

Ontheir Dutch site, Trek has several bikes with dynamo lighting like this one:

Courtesy Trek Bicycle Products


Cannondale

I don’t think they ever had one inthe US, but on their Dutch site, you can find:

The Tesoro 3!

Courtesy: Cannondale

  Giant

Overseas,yes, here in the US, no.

On their Dutch site… you can find:

·       Aero RS 0

Courtesy: Giant.

 Jamis

I have read about Jamis’ prior offering here, buttheir 2014 Commuter line does not come with a dynamo option.



Edwin Williamson

Nashville, Tennessee

 




 

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6 comments

  1. Invisible Hand

    Reply

    Nice work Edwin.It's good to see a few versions under a $1000 with wide gearing.

  2. Dennis Tivey

    Reply

    You mentioned Euro bikes. The German company Kettler makes a comprehensive line of city bikes with dynamo lighting. If you don't have a dealer nearby, you can buy factory-direct on Kettler's US website:
    http://www.kettlerusa.com/bikes/city

    I actually have a Kettler Berlin Royal on order right now—very excited!

  3. Freewheel

    Reply

    Dennis, after your Kettler arrives and you've put some miles on it, let us know how you like it.

  4. Dennis Tivey

    Reply

    Only two commutes in on the Kettler Berlin Royal, but I wanted to share my first impressions.

    This is an imposing bike–very handsome and very large, with prewar motorcycle styling and oversized wheels and tires. It gets lots of compliments.

    It's like riding a magic carpet. You ride above traffic where you can see and be seen, and the balloon tires and sprung seat ensure that bumps are only seen, not felt. The city bars with leather ergo grips are ergonomically sound, eliminating the numb wrist I get on other bikes. Handling is stable and relaxing.

    The LBS was impressed at how rugged and well-built this German-made bike is, but puzzled why it's equipped with Dutch valves that can't be filled by US compressor hoses. (Luckily, screw-on adapters seem to work.)

    The Kettler is fully equipped with everything needed for commuting: front and rear lights (with standlight) powered by a dynamo hub (no batteries required!), chain guard, fenders, bell, oversize pedals, internally geared 8-speed hub, tires with reflector sidewalls, weatherproof roller brakes with enormous cooling fins, and coolest of all, a rack built into the bike itself (not some unsightly add-on rack) with matching pannier. Nothing to remember, nothing to bring, just hop on and go.

    Now the downside. Despite its aluminum construction, this is a heavy bike (about 40 pounds). And the same features that make it a great commuter (from the IGH to the upright seating position) also add a lot of drag. So you'd expect low, city-friendly gearing…nope. I'd gladly trade its very tall 8th gear for a lower first gear to get up the nastier hills.

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