New Parts from SON

SON has introduced a few useful products that have us quite excited. First, there is the 12 mm Thru-Axle Adapter.

You may know the dilemma: As the days get shorter, you really want to equip your bike with generator lights, but you don’t want to invest in a hub that soon may be obsolete. Your current fork has quick release dropouts – with or without a disc brake – but your next bike probably will have a thru-axle.

Enter the adapter: Simply slide it into your thru-axle hub, and you’ve effectively converted it to a quick release. You can use it even on a rim-brake bike. And when the time comes, simply remove the adapter and install the hub in a new fork with a 12 mm thru-axle. This ingenious widget works not only with generator hubs, but with all thru-axle front hubs.
Traditionally, SON lights have connected to their generator hubs with two simple flat spade connectors. These connectors have been trouble-free, and if they ever loosen, they can be fixed by the roadside.
However, some cyclists remove their wheels frequently and prefer a simpler, more elegant connection. SON’s new coaxial adapter (above) has been engineered to provide reliable service for decades of hard use under the toughest conditions. That means that we finally don’t have to worry about electrical connectors any more – in the past, they were the most failure-prone parts of a randonneur bike. The adapter (top) plugs onto the spade terminals of the hub, and then you connect the light with the neat coaxial connector (bottom).

SON’s Edelux lights are available with the coaxial connectors pre-installed. The adapter for the hubs is included, too, so it’s a plug-and-play solution. (And if you ever feel you’ll want the spade connectors instead, they are easy to install.)

The new coaxial connectors are such a breakthrough that you’ll want to use them wherever you need to make removable electrical connections on your bike. That is why we offer them separately, as males, females and complete sets.

The last new product is for everybody who wants to charge cell phones, GPS and other devices while riding. It’s a simple splitter box that you wire into the lighting circuit, anywhere between the generator hub and the headlight. Plug in the included coaxial connector, and you are ready to charge. You can use whichever charger you prefer (not included). After you solder your connections, the box gets covered with heat-shrink tubing. Just make sure that you wire the splitter box so the socket points downward. Otherwise, water can run down the wire and into the connector, which won’t be so good in the long run.
All these new products are available now. Click here for more information.

12 Responses to New Parts from SON

  1. Stephen Poole September 5, 2018 at 5:09 am #

    How thick are the coaxial wires and are they likely to fit through commercially available forks with wiring holes, for instance those from CoLab, Rodeo Labs, Salsa, Specialized, etc?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly September 5, 2018 at 7:35 am #

      The coaxial wire is 3 mm in diameter. All the forks with tunnels for wires that I’ve seen are designed for SON lights, so their tunnels are large enough.

  2. Peter September 5, 2018 at 5:38 am #

    Can you expand on how to use that splitter box? What would I do, say, to charge my phone? Could I just cut the wall plug off of a charging cable and wire on the coaxial plug instead?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly September 5, 2018 at 7:38 am #

      You’ll need a dedicated charger that is designed for hub generators. There are many companies offering them. In the past, the problem was usually how to wire it into the connection of the headlight. This solves that issue very nicely.
      We’ve also talked about putting a USB output on the headlight itself, but the current flow can be intermittent. Not only when you stop, but also when you climb at low speeds, the charging current can go on and off multiple times. This isn’t good for the batteries of the devices you charge. So you need a small battery or other way to buffer this, and that doesn’t fit into the headlight…

      • Peter September 5, 2018 at 3:19 pm #

        Will you sell chargers, or is there a recommended model?

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly September 5, 2018 at 10:35 pm #

          There are so many chargers, and the technology is evolving so quickly that we haven’t yet decided which one we like best. We only sell things that have proven themselves in the long run…

  3. Julian September 5, 2018 at 6:49 am #

    These look good — one question — will these work with non-coaxial 2 wire leads?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly September 5, 2018 at 7:34 am #

      The connectors are designed for coaxial wires, but they work with any wires. You’ll need to be a bit creative soldering the wires to the connectors.

  4. velo lumino September 5, 2018 at 8:20 am #

    Nice to see that SON has finally upgraded their connectors. I would disagree that “These connectors have been trouble-free”. I have had more customers than I can count on two hands who have bent the spades on their SON hubs from accidentally removing the wheel before disconnecting the spades, and have come to me to devise an alternative solution. I’ve long held that spade terminals are not designed for repeated connection/disconnection. Good to see that SON has finally addressed this problem. Their solution looks elegant, although I have not tested it firsthand.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly September 5, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

      We’ve used SON hubs since 1999, on many bikes, and like others, we’ve forgotten to unplug the wires when removing the front wheel. If the connectors are installed properly, they’ll pull off the spades on the hub without damage.
      I think the issue is how to install them correctly. We’ve had a test bike where the connector pulled off the wire instead of coming off the hub. The issue there was that the heat-shrink tubing wasn’t installed in a way to take the stresses. Years ago, we did a blog post on how to install the connectors properly.
      However, the new coaxial connectors provide an alternative that will appeal to many riders. Choice is good!

  5. Rick Thompson September 5, 2018 at 11:30 am #

    So what is the recommended method for wiring up an SL hub? Mine is a steel bike, one side of the hub is connected to the fork (ground), and the other to a wire routed through the fork. On the Edelux light, the case and the coax outer conductor are connected, so it is grounded to the frame by the mounting screw. The Compass taillight is also grounded by the case. As temporary connection, I have the hub wire and both light wires connected by a wire nut, and all grounding is through the frame (the coax outer connector is open). This is working fine, is it OK to keep it like this (with a better connector than the wire nut)?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly September 5, 2018 at 10:34 pm #

      Your wiring is no problem, so you can keep it that way. I use the same basic setup on my bikes, with a switch in the steerer tube to switch both lights on and off.