Are there LED based dynamo powered lights suitable for night time MTB riding on singletrack?

Likely they would need to have:

  • High Brightness, likely 500 lumens or better. Not sure how that translates to LUX used for most dynamo light ratings.
  • Standlight Mode providing several minutes of light while stopped
  • Be able to produce a relatively consistent output with varying levels of speed.
  • Weather resistsant to handle wet / muddy conditions

    I'm currently using a battery system, but I'm looking for a non-battery alternative that will handle extended night time use without recharging for events such as 24 hour races and off road tours where I might not have a power source to charge lights.

  • 1
    • lux is, by definition, lumens per square metre. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux So unless you also know the light distribution (beam angle), you can't directly compare.
      – armb
      Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 13:08

    2 Answers 2


    i have been using the Supernova e3 Triple for night-time singletrack missions for the past two winters.....all I can say is awesome, completely awesome. 870 Lumens. bright.

    I used a Shimano Alfine dynamo hub and built a complete 'night wheel' with a DT 4.2d rim, it has rubber and a rotor mounted so swap-over time is very quick. We have months of mud, ice and snow here and never once had a problem with the high quality Supernova connectors.

    I cannot recomend this set-up enough. with the E3 rear light you are also nice a safe for the Asphalt connectors between the trails.

    good luck.


    I found two seemingly solid options for dynamo powered lights suitable enough for night riding. However, I havn't had any personal experience with either, but both claim to be up for the task.

    SuperNova E3 Triple

    Exposure Lights Revo Dynamo Mk1

    Both of these put out about 800 Lumens and offer a paired rear light which is chained through the front light, so they are powered in tandem.

    For touring, I'd probably also use The Plug II to charge my portable devices during the day time. I'd likely try and use a switching setup to enable/disable the usb charger at night when the lights are in use.

    • nabendynamo.de/produkte/led.html is probably also worth a look. You can see from the linked nabendynamo.de/service/pdf/ar_11-12_2008.pdf that the much higher lux claimed compared with the Supernova E3 (older model, not the triple or Pro 2) is at least in part because the Supernova had a wider beam. So for off-road use, I suspect the Supernova would be better (and the Triple better still - of course it's also more expensive).
      – armb
      Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 13:18
    • Link in english: nabendynamo.de/produkte/led_en.html
      – Benzo
      Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 18:15
    • A lot of lights for the German market are limited by StVZO (german vehicle laws) that restrict light output. Additionally, I think this light has an asymetrical beam pattern that is not optimal for off road riding. It is designed to throw light far, but not too high up (to avoid shining too much light at drivers and other cyclists). This isn't optimal since for off-road riding, you prefer to have a beam which will illuminate branches hanging down at head/chest height.
      – Benzo
      Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 18:24

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