Velo Orange Dynohub

6 05 2011

VO switchable dynohub...

One of the issues with dynohubs is that when you don’t need the power for your lights during the day you are still dealing with the drag from the hub magnets. Velo Orange is offering a sweet looking dynamo hub that you can switch on and off. When it’s on it provides enough power for any modern dynolight. When it’s off you just have the normal drag from high quality sealed bearings to deal with.

Not too shabby looking!

This dynohub looks pretty nice for $130.00. I’m going to grab one later this year and test it out to see how I like it compared to the SON and Shimano units I own.

I'm warming up to silver components...

Frame Spacing 100 mm
Spoke Flange Diameter 82mm
Center to Flange Left 20mm, Right 25mm
Flange to Flange 45mm
Weight 750g w QR, 685g no QR
Manufacturer Velo Orange
Material Aluminum Alloy
Finish Polished
Hub Bearing Type Sealed
Input or Output 6V, 3W



20 responses

6 05 2011
Brian Ogilvie

It looks nice, but given the low drag of even a cheap modern dynohub (like the Shimanos that go for about the same price), it seems to me like a solution in search of a problem.

6 05 2011

@Brian – first off it looks much nicer than the Shimano hubs if you are trying to build a classic styled bike. Second the drag of a Shimano dynohub can’t be fully discounted for low power riders. A few watts matters when you aren’t putting out that much power to begin with. Especially places like Canada where in the summer it’s light from 5am to 11pm so you may not need your lights often, but during the winter you may need them your entire commute.

Ultimately I’m happy to have a few options to choose from…as it stands now there are only 3 major brands and SON is too expensive for a lot of folks.

Nobody complains that being able to choose from Campy, Shimano and SRAM is too many choices in drivetrain bits…

6 05 2011

Look forward to seeing you put it to use and hearing your thoughts, even though we may have to wait to mid-next winter 🙂

If it could mount a rotor I’d already be running one.

6 05 2011

Hahaha…ya sorry for the tease. It doesn’t make sense to buy lights in Canada as summer approaches and we wake up and go to sleep with the sun up! I figured somebody out there might be building up a rando/commuter rig and might appreciate a head’s up!

6 05 2011

The price is definitely good. I will be looking for your review.
Thanks for the heads-up!

6 05 2011

IIRC this hub is made by Formula and designed by Shutter Precision of Taiwan. You can watch the videos that show the trade-off of their design (very low resistance when switched off, higher than average when switched on).

6 05 2011
Dolan Halbrook

It’s a neat idea, and it looks nice, I just wish it weren’t 1/2 lb heavier than a similarly priced Shimano 3N-80.

6 05 2011
Dolan Halbrook

Interesting – just visited the link posted above and they’re advertising their “2011 dynohub” which is supposed to be the lightest thing out there. I wonder how much of it changed?

6 05 2011

@Ratwell – that video doesn’t really show much given there was not the same input energy into each test and there was no comparison to other dynohubs. One would expect the results that were shown, but I wouldn’t take them to mean much beyond the general idea that not drawing power for the light provides less drag than when you do and disengaging the magnets completely provides less drag again.

@Dolan – Peter White lists the following weights:

Shimano = 680g [not sure if this is with QR]
SON = 575g

I’ve seen Shimano 3N-80 reviews that put the hub in the 525g range, but again not sure about the QR.

and VO lists the weight of their hub at 750g w/ QR and 685g w/o QR.

6 05 2011

Dolan – I think those are two different dynohubs.

6 05 2011
Dolan Halbrook

I was going off of here: and one other link I can’t find again that lists the 3N-80 at 485g. Even if it’s 525g with the QR, that’s 200g — close to a half pound lighter.

Yes, the 2011 model looks like a different beast altogether, though it also looks switchable.

6 05 2011

Other options include the SONdelux/SON20R, which is only 390g, and the Sanyo H27. The SONdelux isn’t cheap at $275-350, but is really efficient both on/off and has enough power for most LED setups (originally designed for 20″ wheels w/halogen lights). Disc version available. The Sanyo isn’t as efficient, but weighs around 575g and only costs $40, including the skewer.

Then again, the latest crop of battery powered lights are pretty compelling, with long run times and loads of power. And they work with any wheel!🙂

6 05 2011

Owning battery powered lights and dynohub lights – I’d much rather have a dynohub & light for most applications. I’ve run out of battery power with my head lights on many occasions even though I thought I had enough run time left. Plus there is the hassle of charging them all the time which is a cost unless you don’t value your time.

As far as weights go you’ll notice I don’t own a bike scale and never weigh anything I review. I’ve thought about getting a scale a few times, but come to the conclusion I don’t care how much something weighs within reason and I can judge what’s reasonable by picking it up.

I’ve got a couple Shimano dynohubs here [incl a 3N80] and a SON deluxe, but I didn’t weigh them before they were built into wheels so I can’t really confirm how heavy they are. When I get the VO dynohub I’ll see if it feels noticeably heavier when built into a wheel.

6 05 2011

All else being equal, it’s certainly a looker. I’m eager to see what they offer for wheel packages in the future. I wonder why they don’t have some up already.

6 05 2011
Steve Fuller

While I agree that lower power riders may notice the drag, I’d also offer up that lower power riders

A) Probably aren’t riding long distances (ie most likely commuters with shorter rides)
B) Won’t be too likely to drop the cash for dyno hub/wheel/light since their battery lights are probably sufficient for the riding that they do.

My $0.02 worth.🙂

7 05 2011

@SF – I think we are over analyzing the hub and who is going to use it, but what the heck!

Sharon is a low power rider. Her commutes are up to 20kms on days she goes to both job sites. Since she lives in Canada during summer months she doesn’t need a light for her commute, but does use her bike for night rides as transportation – say to from a party. In the winters she would use lights for almost every commute. She’s currently using a B&M IQ Ixon which is nice, but has the problem all battery lights do staying on top of the charging.

I can also see folks who want a classic looking bike with a dynohub buying the VO over the Shimano simply because the Shimano is quite utilitarian looking – fine on my Big Dummy, but not something I’d want to put on an elegant bike and the SON deluxe which is lovely and polished is pricey – especially if you are outfitting a bike that isn’t you main night ride.

Beyond that until we actually get a VO hub in our hands to check them out, ride them, etc… I can’t get too excited about all the speculation. I’m glad there is another lower cost dynohub option. I’ll be even more stoked it VO bundles this hub up in a wheel/light kit at a great price like they have other products.

7 05 2011
Steve Fuller


I guess that I honestly feel that the whole “drag while operating” thing is a bit overblown. Yes there’s drag, I’m betting that most people that ride regularly (and thus would be a target for purchasing this type of equipment) won’t notice it, no matter what their power output is. Definitely looking forward to your review.

9 06 2011
9 06 2011

Peter White has something similar on his site:

13 08 2011

Dutch review of the SP Dynamo:

The rest of the website is pretty thorough and very informative…

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