28 October, 2019

Pete's Dynamo Polyvalent with Shimano Hydraulic Brakes

by Igor

Pete really liked the spec of our stock Polyvalent build and wanted full dynamo lighting for commuting year-round. We were happy to oblige. While we don't often do dynamo lighting for customer builds, I was happy to implement some new tricks I had learned and practiced prior to building up his stellar ride. Clean routing, upgraded hydraulic brakes, and proper lighting - to be honest, I'm pretty jealous. Let's jump into the build details!

The best dynamo routing is the clean kind: connectors are covered from dirt and water, wiring is secure yet flexible, and lights are unobstructed from baggage or fenders. This setup features a Busch & Muller IQ-X headlight and a B&M Secula fender-mounted taillight, all powered by a Schmidt SON 28 dynamo disc hub.

Starting from the front, the SON 28 hub is probably the best one you can get. Very low friction when the lights are on and when the lights are off, forgetaboutit, you won't even know it's there.

The neat thing about the IQ-X headlight is that it uses a mount that can be rotated without messing with the beam pattern of the light. So if a Porteur Rack is in Pete's future, the light can be mounted upside down, inside the rack's cone of safety.

The Secula taillight is mounted securely, directly to the fender. Wiring is sneakily routed along the rolled edge of the fender, and then passes through a drilled, grommeted hole by the kickstand plate.

I tried to limit the zip ties used, but a few were required to keep things tidy. One is obscured by the seattube and the other by the crankset.

This stuff, literally called Goop, is super. You put some goop on each thing you're trying to attach, let them get tacky, and stick them to each other. I delicately put goop on the edge of the fender, set the wire in place, let it do its thing for an hour or two, then liberally put more goop on top of the wire. I laid the whole assembly on it's side on the workbench for the weekend. By Monday, it had fully cured and was ready to be tested and re-mounted to the bike to button up the rest of the build.

For the front, you want to make sure you leave extra wiring length for turning the handlebars - just like brake and shift housing. Instead of having excess just hanging around in the air, use a heat gun to achieve a nice coil to the wiring.

Wrap the wiring tightly around a fender stay or similar, fan a heat gun for a minute or so, and let it cool down while still coiled. Don't keep the heat in one place for too long. You risk melting the wire's coating. Wear work gloves, too. Do as I say, not as I do.

We also upgraded the brakes from cable actuated to Shimano Deore hydraulic. The lever feel is superb.

We added a Campeur Rear Rack for commuting and weekend trips. I lopped off one hole to lower the rack a bit.

Also custom bent the stay so that everything lines up without putting any stress on the connections.

All in all, this is a super build and would be perfect for any commuter or weekend tourer. You can check out the full build list here: https://velo-orange.com/pages/polyvalent-build-list-dynamo-with-hydraulic-brakes


Unknown said...

Lovely! But no matter how many dyno bikes with rear lights I make or look at, I'm never really happy. Gluing in a wire? What if the fender has to come off? What if you have a Rinko-style fender (or want one)? And, TBH, most dyno-power rear lamps are pretty wimpy compared to what you can get non-wired.

I've used Dynasnaps (bulky, don't work well with coax cable) and cable in unshrunk heatshrink (looks more like brake/shift cable), but... meh... On my city bikes I just use a battery power German rear reflector lamp and carry two spare batteries under the seat. It goes off on its own (motion sensitive) and batteries last months. You can use rechargeable AAs. No messy, fiddly unattractive wiring. On road bikes, I use a really effective rear lamp (See.Sense)

Surely there is a better way, but short of a complete redesign and custom build, I've yet to see it

Anonymous said...

Looks great, but just curious why you only lopped off one hole on the rack? Isn't that rack designed so that the highest platform thing sits right on the fender?

Andy said...

For cable ties around the frame, these end up looking a lot neater:


VeloOrange said...


I rarely ever remove fenders on bikes I don't travel with, especially on commuters. Battery lights are fine! There is a lot of utility to never having to charge or replace batteries.


I took one off because everything sat a bit better. I probably could have taken another off, but the struts would have angled up to the seatstay mounts, ruining the flow.

Billy said...

That's a gorgeous bicycle! Very similar to the All City Space Horse I had a local bike shop build up for me (Broadway Bicycle School in Cambridge, Mass): https://photos.app.goo.gl/GpBFqJGi3dyH3eD3A

I love the nice touches for the cable routing and the overall look and flow of the bike. I think it came out a lot more cohesive and cleaner than mine.

I have issues with my headlight flickering at low speeds, e.g. when walking on the sidewalk. I have a Shimano DH-3N72 dynamo hub and a Busch & Mller Lumotec Eyc T Senso Plus headlight. The flickering is pretty annoying, especially since I hate the super bright blinky lights that blind me when other people use them. Do you have any idea if it's the hub or the light causing the issue? Does this setup with the SON 28 and the B&M IQ-X do the same thing?

I definitely want to look into that SON 28 when it's time to replace my front wheel. Some number of winters will eventually do the rim in.

I also love the look of the VO fenders and am seriously considering changing over.

Anonymous said...

Dyno lights will flicker at walking speed. Live with it.

Jason Fury said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Will Mill said...

@Igor, the idea of "Gooping" the wire inside the rear fender's rolled edge is helpful -- thank you. The drilled holes are elegant; suggestions for sourcing the rubber gromets?

@Billy: I have the same dynohub and headlight combo as you on one bike and, yup, the "sidewalk blinking" is inevitable when the headlight's capacitor is discharged (start of the ride; not the end of the ride).

Igor Shteynbuk said...

@Will Mill,

I grabbed a selection from my local auto parts store because I wasn't 100% sure which size I was going to need. But you can definitely get them from our local hardware store or online.