Keeping the lights on over the long bike kilometers

Keeping the lights on over the long bike kilometers

I do a lot of long distance cycling. This can often mean 18 hours in the saddle between overnight checkpoints that requires battery life for my lights, phone and GPS.

I’ve been looking for solutions for this and currently I use a combination of Fibre Flares (80 hour AAA battery life), battery packs and a 11mAh USB charger. This all adds a lot of weight to the bike.

When I stumbled across the Tigra Sport BikeCharge Dynamo on MobileZap I thought it’d be the next on my list of things to try.

The Good

The idea of getting to dump a lot of batteries and chargers is incredibly appealing, it’s the reason that a lot of town bikes have them and a lot of Audax riders (ultra long distance) use dynamos. The downside with a lot of dynamos is that they generally are a pain to install, expensive or noisy with a lot of resistance.

The great thing about the BikeCharge is that it is incredibly easy to install. There’s no need to replace a hub or spend ages aligning the mount – it just pops on your existing axel.

I had the thing installed within minutes.

The BikeCharge also has a built in USB charger and front/back lights with a handy switch that you can mount to the handlebars.

The Bad

Unfortunately it was quite noisy because it didn’t seem to fit well to my wheels. It is also had more resistance than I was expecting.

The Ugly

While it looks small in the photos it is actually quite big and heavy.

Conclusion

I think this is perfect for a town bike or a run around bike because you’ll always have a light at night. However if you’re going to put in some decent kilometres I think that the battery packs or a high end dynamo will have to be the choice because of the noise, weight and resistance.

I think the BikeCharge is going to live on my hybrid that I lend out to people and use as my backup bike.

In my next phase of this journey to find a power solution I’d like to try the solar panels. They won’t work at night but they could help the phone and GPS get through a multi-day event – plus they’d also be great for camping.

Yours in trying to figure out the right bike setup,

Luke

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