I am excited about the new Wide-Body SON Delux generator hub. It allows you to enjoy a super-strong wheel, yet roll along with the less resistance than other generator hubs. It is available now in limited quantities with 32 or 36 holes.
When Schmidt Maschinenbau developed the standard SON Delux generator hubs, they optimized the hub’s performance in every way. The Delux is the lightest generator hub, with the lowest resistance, ever made.
To minimize both the weight and the internal air volume,* the hub shell closely hugs the generator inside. The hub flanges are spaced just 50 mm apart, rather than the 60-70 mm of most front hubs. While the resulting wheel is strong enough for most applications, the hub looks slightly odd in standard bicycle forks with 100 mm dropout spacing.
In September, Schmidt introduced their new SON28 hub with wider flange spacing and a more powerful generator. While I was excited about the wider flange spacing, I don’t need (or want) the more powerful generator, which has more resistance than the Delux hub. Modern LED lights powered by the Delux hub are plenty bright even at low speeds. The SON28 may be useful if you ride slowly, and need to charge electronic devices like cell phones or GPS systems while you have your lights on.
Following the introduction of the SON28, I asked Schmidt whether they could make a wide-flange version of the Delux. My dream hub would combine the strength of the SON28 with the low resistance of the Delux. The nice thing when dealing with a small company is that things can happen quickly. In today’s mail, we got a few of the new Wide-Body Delux hubs (below on the left, with a standard Delux hub on the right).
The new hubs are even nicer than I expected. Schmidt managed to increase the flange spacing to 68 mm. This not only is 18 mm wider than the standard Delux hub (above left), but even 6 mm wider than the SON28.
Schmidt designed the “Wide-Body” hub shell so it fits tightly around the generator. There appears to be less air volume inside than in the SON28.* Not only does this improve the longevity of the hub, but I find the resulting gentle curves of the new hubshell very attractive. As usual with Schmidt, the aluminum hub shell is polished to a mirror finish. For the first time, a generator hub not only is functional, but beautiful. This is the generator hub I always wanted to have!
The features that distinguish the “Wide-Body” from the standard Delux hub (in parentheses) are:
- Wider flange spacing: 68 mm (50 mm)
- Stainless steel axle (aluminum with stainless steel endcaps)
- Weight: 412 g (386 g)
- Cost: $ 305 ($ 285)
All other specifications (power output, resistance) are exactly the same. For me, the very slight increase in weight and cost are a small price to pay for a much stronger wheel. (The steel axle also will provide peace of mind, even though none of the aluminum axles have failed so far.) Most of all, I prefer the appearance of the wider flange spacing, which makes the wheel fill out the front forks of my bicycle.
I cannot wait to build a wheel with the new Wide-Body Delux hub for my new René Herse. (I intended to have two wheelsets for this bike: one with 28/32 spokes for events, and one with 32/36 spokes for all other rides. Now I’m glad that I never got around to building the second wheelset with an old SON20 hub.)
Compass Bicycles has a few “Wide Body” hubs available right now, with more on the way. In a few weeks, we also should have Edelux lights for “upside-down” mounting, so they can hang from a front rack.
In other “bright” news, we now have the standard SON Delux with 28 holes (in addition to 32 and 36 holes), as well as the B&M IQ Cyo without sensors. The latter is the least expensive generator-powered headlight that uses the superb “IQ” optics and high-output LEDs. Click here for more information.
* The internal air volume contracts when the hub cools, sucking outside air (and moisture) into the hub. SON generator hubs feature a pressure compensation system that prevents moisture from being sucked through the bearings; most other hubs do not have this system.