Son et Lumiere Part Deux

Two evening meetings in a row have given me the opportunity to use the SON hub dynamo on an extended ride without a blizzard for distraction, in both dusk and proper darkness, and both in town and out on the dark rural roads – without so much as a sliver of moon to provide any additional light. So I should be able to write a proper review, but unfortunately it’s just so damn good there’s really nothing to say. Even I was able to work out how to hook up the dynamo when changing the wheel (it took me three goes to get the little tab things, if you’ll excuse the technical jargon, sticking out at the right angle to make attaching the wires a doddle, but that really is down to user error). And then it just works. Hop on the bike, press the button, and hey presto, light. Enough light that you can just go as fast as you would ordinarily which, all right, isn’t all that fast, but still. Even after eight rolling miles I couldn’t detect any difference in effort whether the light is on or off, or from when I had no hub dynamo at all. It’s basically magic, and like all the best technology, effectively invisible to the user.

The only problem, if problem it is, is that it is unlikely to remain as shiny a thing of beauty as it is now – at least if the small field’s-worth of muck I dug out of my mudguards on changing my wheels is anything to go by. That may be to its advantage in that even in Bigtown, leaving that amount of shiny German technology just lying around in the street attached to a bicycle may be risky, but I think getting it all clagged up would be a shame. I seem to remember a pipecleaner around the hub does the trick for keeping it clean. I’ve never actually seen the point of this up to now, given the state of the rest of my bike, but I’m beginning to think it might be worth a go.

It does mean the joy of night cycling, which has never held any terrors for me. In fact, sometimes it brings a moment of light relief, if you’ll excuse the pun. Like tonight, when I had slowed right down because my reflective slap strap had pinged itself off on the way home last night and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of it on the verge showing up in the light. Suddenly I heard the strangest noise: a sort of regular squelching, accompanied by a sort of huffing noise. I couldn’t imagine that it was anything on the bike, but yet it was keeping pace with me as I pedalled along so it must be the bike. Imagining some imminent catastrophic failure of unimaginable origin I slowed further … and realised that somewhere on the other side of the hedge I was being stalked by a curious cow.

I told you I was slow.

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2 Responses to Son et Lumiere Part Deux

  1. Paul M says:

    Do keep it clean. The SON on my Brompton served me well from new (2006) until quite recently, when it seized up. I don’t need to tell you how much they cost to replace!

    I can’t say for sure of course, but I suspect that the filthy conditions on the lane I ride between home and railway station were responsible. Certainly they do for chains and sprockets at a frightening rate – even if I degrease and clean weekly, a chain rarely lasts more than several months and I have been through about three sets of chainwheels and sprockets due to the sand and grit which gets washed onto the road every time it rains heavily.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I’m hoping it’s fairly well sealed. …

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