New SON Generator Hubs!

We are excited to announce the latest SON generator hubs. The biggest news is the connector-less SL system for thru-axle hubs: Now you can remove your front wheel and its generator hub without having to disconnect any wires, even with a thru axle.

The system consists of three parts: The heart is the SONdelux 12 generator hub. The SONdelux is the lightest generator hub in Schmidt’s program, and it has the least resistance, so it was a natural choice for this application.  The flanges are spaced as far apart as possible while still leaving room for the disc rotor and caliper.

This hub has proven itself for many thousands of miles. What’s new is the lack of external connectors for the lighting wires. The current is transmitted via the axle (positive) and an insulated ring that is pressed onto the axle (negative). Like its counterpart with external connectors, the connector-less SL hub is available in black or silver.

The hub mates to a special dropout. By the way, the machining traces that form the funky pattern in the photos can be removed by your framebuilder. Above you see the outside, which looks like a standard stainless steel dropout for 12 mm thru-axles (12 x 1.5 mm thread).

It gets more interesting on the inside, where one dropout has a recess…

… into which an insulated contact plate fits. As you install the hub, the axle connects to the dropout for the positive contact, while the insulated ring on the hub mates to the dropout’s contact plate, which is insulated as well. A wire goes inside the fork leg from the contact plate through to the lights. That way, you provide a path for the current to flow from the hub to the light without any exposed wires that can get snagged or break from repeated flexing during installation and removal of the front wheel.

We have a small number of contact plates and dropouts in stock, with more to come once production catches up with demand. And of course, the connector-less SL system has been available for non-disc hubs all along, and we have those components in stock, too.

That isn’t all the generator hub news! Many modern rear hubs are black, and we are now offering SON hubs and lights in black to match. We’ve worked with Schmidt Maschinenbau to make our favorite hub, the SONdelux Wide-Body, in black, too. The black hub is available in the standard and connector-less SL versions, with 32 holes. This is a one-time production run, so quantities are limited. If there is sufficient demand, Schmidt will make more for us, and in other spoke counts, too.

We also have the SONdelux Centerlock Disc for quick release forks in black…

… and the Edelux II headlight for hanging mounting. (We’ve been stocking the ‘standing’ Edelux II in black all along.) Now you can choose between silver and black components when equipping your bike with the best and most reliable generator lighting.

All these products are in stock now. For more information or to order, click here for hubs and here for lights.

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into the high-performance components we need for our adventures.
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8 Responses to New SON Generator Hubs!

  1. Hi Jan, I know this will seem like a quibble on my part because most readers will have understood what you were referring to, but I don’t think it’s accurate to refer to SON’s new connector-less SL system as having ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ hub and fork contacts. This would infer that the hub is a DC generator, when it is in fact an AC-producing alternator (current changes direction all the time). Or at least all my SON hubs are, and I understood that this AC production was a characteristic of its internal claw-pole construction. Mind you, I am unsure myself of the appropriate terminology to use in referring to each side of an AC circuit! I’m just aware that some people tend to get a bit confused and anxious about issues of polarity (as well as about ‘excessive voltage’) when it comes to ‘dynamo’ hubs, LED lighting etc. Sam.

    • You are correct, of course. During the drafting of this blog post, I played with different wording, trying to convey the idea of the connector-less connection in an easy-to-understand way. ‘Positive’ and ‘negative’ is easy to follow. If we want to be pedantic, we could claim that it’s also technically correct, albeit only for a split-second until the alternating current’s polarity changes… For the user, whether the hub produces DC or AC is fortunately of little importance – unless they want to design their own LED headlight.

    • Francisco says:

      The ‘sides’ of AC systems are called phases. In a single-phase system the terminal connected to the ground (or to a major mass such as the bicycle’s frame) is called the ‘neutral’ or the ‘return’ and the other terminal is the ‘phase’.

      • That is technically correct, but when I asked a few acquaintances during the drafting of this blog, the term ‘phase’ didn’t mean much to most. ‘Return’ is a little easier to understand, but ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ is simpler. My goal was not to give a lesson in electrical engineering, but to explain the system to readers who are less technically inclined.

        As far as the connectors are concerned, it doesn’t matter what type of current runs through them… If you were building an e-bike with a DC battery on the bike and a small motor in the hub, you could use the SL system to transmit DC without external connectors, and then you’d have a positive and negative.

  2. Dr J says:

    The SL version is very nice but I chose the non-SL hub for my new bike for the sake of compatibility. With SL hub you are limited to a special SL-compatible fork only. The hub won’t work with any other fork type. It likely won’t even spin, since if you install SL hub in an ordinary steel fork, the hub will short out. The non-SL version has none of these problems. You can reuse the hub in another bike, another fork, etc.

    • Yes, the SL hub needs a custom fork. So it’s really intended for a custom bike, where the wheel stays on the bike. If you intend to swap wheels between many bikes, use the standard version – or make sure all your bikes have forks with SL dropouts! 😉

      With the quickly changing standards of disc brake hubs, it’s likely that each bike requires a different hub standard, and in any case, the rotors will rub on the pads unless you do what my friend John Bayley did – he used shims to space each rotor on his wheels to exactly the same position, so he can interchange wheels without having to adjust the brake pads.

  3. alexei says:

    How big in “one-time production run”? We, folks in Europe also want the black hub, but it’s too late for Christmas.

    • Compass placed the initial order that made the production of these black Wide-Body hubs possible and received the bulk of the production. However, I believe that Schmidt made a few extra black Wide-Body hubs, which will be available via other dealers and distributors. Not sure how many, and whether they are all sold out yet…

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