A big SON shipment

A big SON shipment

Months of hard work (and patience) are paying off, and shipments are arriving at our warehouse almost daily. Most of the Rene Herse program is in stock now. The latest arrival are SON generator hubs, Edelux lights and associated small parts, like coaxial connectors and dropouts for the ingenious connector-less SL system (above).

It’s fair to say that nothing has revolutionized long-distance cycling like generator hubs and headlights with powerful LEDs and shaped beams. These days, we can ride at night with the same speed and confidence as during the day, even on twisty mountain descents and gravel.

Generator hubs provide light whenever we need it, without having to worry about battery runtimes. Simply flick a switch, and the lights come on. The added resistance is almost unnoticeable – so little that even for the Oregon Outback FKT last autumn (when the nights were already long), I chose a generator hub over a battery-powered setup.

One big reason to go with a generator light is the beam pattern. There simply aren’t any good battery-powered headlights available. In the photo above, you can see two lights that seem very bright, because their round beams shine a lot of light into the camera. However, when you look at the road surface, you see that the layered beams of my friend Victor’s (at the front) and my bikes (yellow helmet) illuminate the road much better.

For car headlights, layered beams that evenly light up the road surface and project the light far into the distance are required by law. There’s no reason why we should accept any less on our bikes.

How big a difference does it make? I’ve descended Elk Pass in the Cascade Mountains on a test bike with a light that had four (!) powerful LEDs, but a round beam. My friend, with an Edelux II, had to wait more than 5 minutes at the bottom, wondering what had happened to me… On that same descent, Lael Wilcox told me she was looking at her GPS to figure out where the road was going, since her round-beam headlight made it difficult to see into the distance. (After that experience, Lael switched to an Edelux II.) With a good light, night-time descents aren’t just faster and safer, but more fun, too. The same applies when riding on flat roads or in the city – seeing cracks and potholes and not blinding oncoming traffic makes a big difference when you ride at night.

Further Reading:

  • The story of that night-time descent during the Volcano High Pass Super 600 km Randonnée in the sample flip book on the Bicycle Quarterly web site.

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