When it comes to night riding, a good dynamo wheel can mean freedom from constantly replacing or recharging your batteries. Older dynamo hubs typically had a lot of drag and weighed slightly less than a solid block of metal. Thanks to newer technology from companies like Biologic dynamo hubs are much lighter, and don’t act like a resistance trainer while pedaling. Slower to catch on in the US, companies like Cantitoe road are now offering high end dynamo wheels for tourers, randonneurs,  commuters, or anyone else who wants light up the way with a simple, reliable power source.

Check out Cantitoe’s hand built Joule 3 dynamo wheels, next.


At the heart of the wheel is the Joule 3 dynamo hub – a lightweight generator hub from Biologic. Designed to be one of the most efficient dynamo hubs and have the least possible drag, the 416 gram hub is also claimed to be one of the lightest dynamo hubs on the market. Cantitoe uses a DT Swiss TK540 rim and DT Swiss 2.0 stainless spokes to create a hand built wheel that weighs 1200g for a 700c/29″ size.

The wheels are available in silver or black, and in 32 hole disc brake or rim brake trims. Pricing starts at $400 for a silver 700c dynamo wheel and varies according to options. Cantitoe also offers the hubs for sale if you want to build up your own wheel. Never tried before? Check out Cantitoe’s how-to video below to see how it’s done.


  1. “Designed to be one of the most efficient dynamo hubs but still have the least possible drag” – someone doesn’t know what “efficient” means, it seems. Replace “but still” with “and”, and you’re closer to a good sentence. A highly efficient dynohub has low drag, for a given light output. Less efficient = more drag.

  2. What happens when your rim ices up in a blizzard (like here in Denver)? A couple of my commutes last winter ended up with literally no brakes and barely one gear, as ice had filled in the cassette (not gonna pee on it, sorry). Horses for races…

  3. Cantitoe Road here (Tom Petrie) to respond to initial comments:

    Gunnstein, Noted your comment that rim dynamos have zero drag when they aren’t in use. We sell rim dynamos too (I use one on my personal commuter bike) and I appreciate their binary function. However, these new Biologic Joule 3 hubs have so little drag, you really don’t notice the drag. If for you any drag will always be an issue, we also sell the Jouile HG hub where you can disengage the magnets when you don’t need electric power. This is a cool feature, but it’s more expensive and the hub is about 200 gm heavier than the Joule 3. With regard to the Velogical rim dynamo, it’s a really cool little piece, and at 50 gm, deliciously light. But it’s pricey at Euro 150 (about US$200) and I’d worry that the drive ring would wear quickly (it looks like an O-ring). Nevertheless, kudos to Velogical. However expensive and fragile it may be, it’s a beautiful engineering piece.

    Ryan, Hub and rim dynamos both have merits. I’ve got about 2000 miles of night time commuting over 3 years on my on my side-mount dynamo, enough to wear out 2 drive rings. It probably has more friction than the Velogical (see above) but it has zero friction when it’s not in use (i.e., in the day time). The best new hub dynamos have very little drag and the juice is always there.

    Snakeboat, A hub dynamo works regardless of conditions. My experience with side-mount rim dynamos has been that they work in all conditions too. While I can’t speak for the Velogical dynamo, the AXA one we offer has never failed me regardless of weather conditions and I commute in Ft. Collins, CO in the same miserable conditions you’ve got in Denver, so I speak from experience.

    David…if it’s dark and you’re in a blizzard…yeah, having no light is a pretty big problem. Maybe it doesn’t trump hypothermia, but it’s up there.

    Ace. Thanks for your kind words.

  4. Hey it’s sourced turn-key outta Taiwan. so what. It’s the same thing Supernova does.

    That being said this is a fantastic dynamo and I ran one all winter on my trail bike for night rides in the snow and ice with ZERO issues. also have had one on my commuter for more than a year with same great results.

  5. Glad we have a small company in the swabian part of germany producing < 400gr dynamo hubs in fine mechanical quality for years now. With this hub and 20 spokes a 390gr rim dynamo wheels around 900gr are possible.

  6. Cantitoe Road / Tom Petrie:
    Kudos to you and Biologic for bringing dynohubs to more people, and for giving SON/Schmidt some competition on price and performance. Dynohubs are excellent, I use one on my commuter and would have on the tourer too if not for the fact I have two wheelsets on it. That makes the tiny rim dynamo a great solution. Also the cost of €150 is cheap compared to a new wheel with a dynohub – yours is $400, SON/Schmidt probably even more. Wheels from Shimano can be had for much less (€60 on my commuter) but their efficiency is also much worse.

    I’m sure your AXA dynamo is much cheaper, but it’s an infair comparison since that unit probably doesn’t have the same efficiency. As far as I know, the top league in dynamo efficiency these days consists of SON/Schmidt, Biologic (Joule 3 only), and Velogical, all at 70-75% peak efficiency.

    Velogical o-ring life is 5000-7000 km, says the manufacturer. I carry spares, it’s not as if they weigh anything, and in an emergency on tour any hardware/plumbing store sells replacements.

  7. I run a PD-8 also, its been brilliant, so no neg press for me.
    If this is PD-8 or similar they are on a good thing.
    PD8+32 spokes+ZTR IronX=955g

  8. Gunnstein, Thanks for your kind words about Cantitoe Road. Son/Schmidt make great products, in fact, they’re the reference. However, we’re interested in providing more affordable products without sacrificing quality or efficiency. I believe the Joule 3 meets that standard.

    I’m a big believer in dynamo lighting. Compared to battery lights, they are dependable, you never have to worry about recharging a battery, they’re green (even rechargeable batteries eventually go into the landfill) and I take pride in “making my own juice” just as I take pride in getting around under my own power. This isn’t to dismiss battery-powered lights, certainly they have a place, but I think dynamos deserve much more recognition than they’re getting in the U.S. market and we hope to change that.

    I’ve ridden side-mount dynamos since the 1970’s and I’ve been riding the AXA side-mount dynamo for the past 3 years. Yes, there’s noticeable drag when you’re using it, certainly more so than with the Joule 3 hub dynamo, but it’s not like the drag you feel with older or really cheap dynamos. It’s relatively cheap, dependable, you can switch wheels, and, in the day time, there’s no drag at all! For a utility commuter bike, I think it’s perfect. For a high performance commuter bike, the Velogical dynamo seems like a little jewel. Even though it’s about 5X the cost of the AXA, if performance is the first criteria, it seems too sweet to resist. I intend to buy one for myself and try it. I’m still skeptical about the longevity of the o-rings, but you’re right, it’s easy to keep a spare in your pack.

    Grino, Your clear-eyed comment is a great start to my weekend. I intend to ride home, open a refreshing whole grain beverage, and raise the glass to you. Cheers.

  9. Has anybody done tests on the Joule HG that would be comparable to those found in this report?

    I know lots of folks will give a “qualitative” answer regarding drag but it’d be nice to see something more quantitative. I’d like to get some sort of dynamo device for charging batteries while bike touring. However I find that any added drag while not that noticeable for a short time, 1/2 hour maybe, over a full day’s ride it can get to be quite tiring, especially when you’re a petit 5′ 2″ gal trying to keep up with a much stronger hubby.

  10. While the Joule 3 and SuperNova are both sourced from Shutter Precision, it is entirely possible, in fact likely, that Biologic and SuperNova specified different build levels in terms of things like bearings and seals. Like any other OEM, SP has their own line but will make variants for anyone willing to buy a large enough number. @Tom Petrie, do you have any way of knowing what Biologic specified?

    @Caryl, the Autumn 2012 issue of Bicycle Quarterly has an updated test that covers the latest iteration of Shimano and Son hubs, as well as the Shutter Precision PV-8. Their take on the SP was positive, although they noted that at the time there was not enough longevity data to make a judgement about how they would last. Since then, the reports seem to have been positive about that as well, at least anecdotally.

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