VO Switchable Dynamo Hub

VO Switchable Dynamo

Velo Orange has their new switchable dynamo hub in stock. By turning the clutch plate on the side of the hub, the magnetic dynamo is disengaged, allowing the hub to run totally free. This is a great looking piece with a high polish finish and sealed bearings. Available in 32h or 36h at $130.

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Disclosure: Velo Orange is a sponsor of this website.

18 Responses to “VO Switchable Dynamo Hub”

  • Andy says:

    I guess having the option is always good, but I like that my headlight is always on. I wired it differently so that not even the switch turns it off – when the wheel moves, I have light.

    I flipped over a car mid-afternoon once, before I had a dynamo. Had I used a light, maybe they would have seen me, who knows. Since then, I saw no reason not to leave a light on for extra visibility.

  • Jammy says:

    Andy, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea for a city bike. Though if you’re building something like a rando bike you want to keep it as efficient as possible and being able to have no extra resistance is a big deal.


    The hub itself looks great and I can’t wait to hear user feedback!

  • Andy says:

    Jammy, I hear you on that, but the efficiency loses on hubs are negligible these days, and they aren’t zero-benefit either when you have a constant running headlight. My Shimano DH-3N80 out of the box had a small amount of drag, which was only noticeable by spinning the wheel and not while riding. After riding it for 10 months, I had to replace a sheared bearing, and in the process I readjusted the nuts. Now it just keeps spinning. I’d be more concerned over the added weight on hills than the resistance loses. I’m glad to see VO priced it reasonably, as long as quality and resistance are on par with Shimano/SON.

  • ranny varley says:

    Seems like a good idea from an efficiency standpoint, thought it’s a little heavier than the existing offerings from Shimano and SON. Weight does make a difference in wheels, though probably more with rims and tires than hubs. I had a SON on a Brompton and always found the Brompton took considerably more energy to move from point A to B than my standard 700c wheeled bike without dynohub. I had attributed this to 16″ wheels, but perhaps the dynohub added enough drag to make the Brompton feel noticably less efficient. In side by side coasting tests with other bikes – including a 20″ wheeled Bike Friday, the Brompton did not do well.

    Anyone else have this experience with dynohubs?

  • Frits Burghardt says:

    Does this help?
    This was 2005, so I presume more recent dynamos run lighter.

  • John says:

    Hi ,In answer to Ranny Varley I have a big Dutch Bike which is quite heavy an Azor Crossframe with a Shimano Dyno Hub and Schwalbe Marathon Tyres. It is a great Bike but you would not bring it Touring because of the weight and Carting it up steep Hills but grand for City Cycling. I have gone 20 Mile trips on it so long as I do no Steep Hill Climbing ,it is fine.

    The Bike is Heavy and the Tyres are heavy but the Dyno Hub seems fine it does not seem to slow me up. I also have a Brompton with a Bottle Dynamo that rubs off the rear Wheel no problems with this it does not slow the Bike down. In spite of what some People say about Bottle Dynamo’s the Rain does not affect it .

  • ksteinhoff says:

    Like Andy, I run my lights night and day. If there’s any drag, I don’t notice it or I’ve gotten used to it on my SON-equipped Long Haul Trucker.

    Nice to see another entry in the market, though. I expect my SON to outlast me, so I don’t expect to be buying one anytime soon.

  • John B says:

    I noticed all of VO’s own branded products (Velo Orange and Camp Cru) are 20% off on orders placed from this Sunday March 13th through Saturday March 19th, to celebrate their 5th anniversary. No need to enter any special code. See the VO blog for full details.

  • Joseph Eisenberg says:

    For most bike riders, even with the dynamo on there is little noticable difference. Modern hub dynamos use about 9 to 10 watts max with the lights on, at higher speeds, and as little as 4 watts at low speeds. When the light is off, the drag is even less, only 1 to 4 watts depending on speed and the hub (versus 1/2 watt from the bearings in a good-quality conventional hub). Even slow-speed cycling uses 100 watts for wind and rolling resistance, so each watt is less than a 1% difference in speed. [Source: http://www.bikequarterly.com/VBQgenerator.pdf

    Certainly if you are doing a 24 hour race or long-distance event, where a 1% difference in speed over 12 hours is important, it might be worth the extra cost and complexity to use this hub to save 1 watt during the day when the light is off. But for the usual commuter or transportation cyclist, you might as well leave the light on all the time, which will only slow you down (or increase your exercise) by 4%.

    Personally, I leave the light on all the time. That way, I never forget to turn it on at sunset, and the extra visibility during the day (especially when it is overcast) can’t hurt.

  • Patrick says:

    In Germany they build the Renak Hubdynamo, like the VO it’s switchable, the looks are more like a regular front hub (a bit thicker).

    Effienciency when turned on is less than that of a SON or the better Shimano’s.

  • charles says:

    I just ordered one and will be putting it into my A719 rim on my Long Haul Trucker. I live in the country with hills and open roads and like the feature of being able to switch on and off at will depending on weather visibility and traffic conditions. I like the low initial cost and sealed bearing feature. Only time will tell if this hub holds up. If I can get 15,000 miles out of it it will be worth it, in my opinion.

  • Mike Shoup says:

    I can’t say this seems to be really all that worthwhile. I have used Shimano, SRAM and Sturmey Archer dynamo front hubs, and don’t think I really lose any pedaling efficiency at all. I’d trust a brand like Sturmey Archer over Velo-Orange. Though, I do have some VO parts.

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  • Taylor says:

    I’m having trouble seeing the market for this hub. Someone that is obsessive about the incredibly minimal drag when normal dyno hubs are turned off, but then doesn’t care about the 700g weight? I can’t say I’ve ever noticed any drag at all from having my SON 20R on or off, or vs another non-dyno hub.

  • Andy says:

    Taylor, that’s what I was thinking. There’s also no data that I’ve seen on the drag of this hub while it’s on. IMO, there’s no point to switching a hub off unless it actually has considerable drag when it’s on. I’ll eagerly wait to hear how it compares once people start using it.

    Basically, I’d rather use the nearly-zero drag off a Shimano at 450g than carry 750g in a switchable hub of the same price.

  • MSRW says:

    Velo Orange tends to make nice things at favorable retail prices, so I’m sure that this hub will be pretty decent.

    But the other issue no one has mentioned yet is the added complexity of the mechanism for switching off the dynamo. Simple is good in bicycle parts, and given the absolutely minimal resistance in the best hub dynamos like the Son 20R, I’m wondering if this is a solution in search of a problem. I have 20 R’s on all my bikes (except a tandem that has a regular Son hub), and I’m not able to notice ANY meaningful resistance, even when riding fast in groups with local racers.

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » March’s Greatest Hits says:

    […] VO Switchable Dynamo Hub […]

  • Daus says:

    I have two, the 32h and 36h version. I recently laced up the 32h version for a mixte. Build quality is excellent. It is being used for a Lumotec IQCYO light. Some more details below:



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