The Reactor is on Outside Magazine's very short list of NAHBS highlights!
Note that the Reactor works with all dynamo hubs. The article mistakenly says "virtually all dynamo hubs".
We had a great time exhibiting at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Louisville this past weekend. The show was March 6-8, although we hit the road Wednesday morning (March 4) and finally returned on Tuesday night (March 10). Quite the journey.
We also got some press at the show. Here's a link to the NAHBS blog:
and Dave explaining the Reactor and Revolution on YouTube!
Some more articles should be available soon, we'll add links as the stories appear.
Some pictures of our booth, which featured our new interactive dynamo charging demo:
And nice to see a Reactor in the Co-Motion booth. It's available as part of their Pathfinder package - a SON28 dynamo, Edelux II headlight, and Reactor charger!
An excerpt of a full gear review from BikeHikeSafari.com:
Read the full article here:
I’m a big fan of bike touring and commuting, and I hate having to rely on others, outside equipment, and general mooching. This includes searching for electrical outlets at lunch stops, paying extra for electric hook ups at campgrounds, and carrying pounds of extra batteries when on a tour. Another thing I’m a big fan of? Dynamo power! The only thing better than powering forward on a bicycle is using that power to juice up your essential gadgets.
In 2010 I discovered modern dynamo power in the form of a SON Dynamo hub. I had a wheel built up with a Salsa Delgado rim to the dynamo, with the express purpose of using it on my touring bike in the summer and my commuter the rest of the time. Right away I purchased a dynamo powered headlight and the Busch and Muller e-werk charger. Long story short, in 2013 it was time for an upgrade.
As technology has evolved, just about everything can be charged via USB. There are a few products on the market that are ideal for cycle tourists. Personally, I need to be able to charge my iPhone, iPad Mini, Garmin Edge 705 GPS, and a few rechargeable headlights and tail lights. Two ideal products for charging all of these and more are the “Revolution”, by SineWave Cycles of Cambridge, MA, and the USB-Werk, made by Busch & Muller and available in the U.S. from Peter White Cycles in New Hampshire. Both devices are designed to harness the power of a dynamo hub to charge USB devices.
Ordering, and Out of the Box
Ordering each of these is easy. Order online from SineWave’s website, or from Peter White’s. Your LBS can also obtain these for you. But, out of the box, there are a couple key differences. The Revolution does not have any connections for dynamo hubs included. You are to purchase the little connectors for Shimano or SON separately, then connect them. The USB-Werk includes connectors for both Shimano and SON, so everything is right there. This is kind of an important point, as I didn’t know that the Revolution didn’t include the actual connectors for the hub. I had extras, so no big deal, but if you need a Shimano connector and wait to order this until the last minute before a tour, you’re sunk. Point goes to B&M here.
The USB-Werk comes with a huge assortment of connection options. Cords for everything: micros usb, male to female usb, iPhone (old and new), etc. The Revolution simply has a regular usb input as part of the device, so you can plug any regular usb cord into it. Equal points for both devices here.
I am not an electrician. I’m an avid cyclists, pretty self-sufficient, and a heckuva bike mechanic. I am pretty dumb when it comes to wiring, amps, volts, even polarity. The B&M comes with a multi-page booklet that assumes a base knowledge of electronics and wiring (perhaps this is core-curriculum in Germany?) So even though it comes with an instruction manual, I didn’t find it very helpful. The Revolution comes with virtually no instructions, which in some ways is even clearer. So neither product gets extra points here. Both are pretty even, and neither is great. Both could come with a “how to wire this device and not fry your gadgets” manual for dummies like me. Even score.
On the Bike
I took a little time to create a “first ride” video for the revolution.
You’ll see there that I have not directly plugged a fancy device into my Revolution. Rather, I have a Lime Fuel external battery with “pass through” charging plugged into the device, then my iPhone plugged into the battery. This is a safeguard. I’m paranoid about frying an expensive device, so this method serves two purposes. If something goes wrong, I’m more likely to fry a $30 external battery than a phone or gps worth hundreds. Additionally, when I’m done riding for the day, I have a fully-charged extra battery that I can use to charge up another device. This is especially helpful as many GPS units and lights do not operate while plugged in. Charge the phone and battery while riding, then charge the other device from the battery while in camp. Win/win. Both dynamo chargers can do this.
So it’s easy. Plug your device into your charger and ride. You’ll get a steady trickle of juice. I will say that the logistics of actually having things plugged in and cords strewn about the front of your bike can be tricky. You’ll need either a handlebar bag or frame bag to store your device, and be careful to route wires so they don’t snag on anything or mess up your steering. While both devices claim waterproof properties, let’s face it – you’re hooking up expensive electronic devices to USB inputs out in the elements. I’m too chicken to actually try to charge something in the rain. I can say, however, that the charging units themselves have stood up to rain, snow, sleet, and general wear and tear with no problems.
I have about 2000 miles on these units this season. While I never made it on an extended week-long tour, I did use both on many commutes and day tours. I love the ease of being able to ride long distances without having to charge anything, and the knowledge that I can ride all day, then charge stuff up around the campsite.
I LOVE the simplicity of the Revolution. Hook it up, then plug your stuff in and go. That’s it. I also love its size. It’s a bit smaller than the B&M, and it tucks nicely out of the way. In my case, I have it mounted under the downtube.
The USB-Werk comes with everything you need and more. I like that it comes with a variety of connectors, and that it came with options to connect with different brands of dynamo hubs.
As a person who has worked in bicycle shops off and on for more than 25 years, I’m big on accessible and understandable customer service. While Busch and Muller is a reliable company with a sterling reputation, and Peter White Cycles is a great resource, you just can’t beat being able to actually communicate with a product’s inventor. Such is the case with SineWave. I sent an email to the company, asking a few questions about the product, and received a detailed reply from the president of the company. What?? Yeah, that was cool. He IS an electrical engineer, and a touring cyclist, so he gets it.
So my verdict is to buy the Revolution. It’s a great, simple, effective product, and you just can’t beat the customer service that backs it up.
Ride hard, ride safe, and remember that a clean bike is a happy bike!
Last month my wife and I flew to Venice and cycled through Croatia, making it as far as Albania before heading home. We stuck mostly along the coast and camped just about every night. I'd heard good things about the area but I was still surprised by how beautiful the water and towns and mountains all were. Crystal-clear water! Seaside cliffs! Palm trees!
My wife took a Revolution while I used a Reactor. Despite fewer daily biking hours than past trips we had no problem keeping a phone, iPad, and battery pack charged each day.
Thanks to Doug Migden for relying on his Revolution during the Giro Ciclistico delle Repubbliche Marinare, a 2200 km brevet in Italy! You can check out his review on crazyguyonabike.com:
or just read it here:
On June 1 of this year I completed the inaugural Giro Ciclistico delle Repubbliche Marinare, a 2200 kilometer brevet in Italy. In 2012 I finished the 1625 km 1001 Miglia without GPS navigation. Navigating that 2012 event by cue sheet alone was a nightmare so I decided to use GPS navigation in 2014. After purchasing a Garmin 800 it became apparent that powering the Garmin for 2200 kilometers would be an issue. Fellow Seattle Randonneurs had bad experiences with another brand of USB charger frying their Garmin due to excess power output. However, David Dean, the owner of Sinewave who is also an electrical engineer, assured me his charger would not harm my GPS or any other device because it was designed to prevent excess power output. I then purchased a Revolution primarily to charge the Garmin 800 in Italy. For me the Revolution was perfect. The Revolution weighs a mere 37 grams and measures 14x35x54 mm in size. It was easy to use, small, lightweight, durable, and completely reliable. On my 2200 km brevet it was worth its weight in gold so I think the $120 price tag is quite fair. Additional product specifications are available on the Sinewave website at http://www.sinewavecycles.com
My Revolution has been mostly used with a Schmidt SONdelux dynamo and Anker mini lipstick sized external battery, with pass through charging, in conjunction with an Edelux II headlight which is piggybacked onto the Revolution. I have also used the Revolution with Schmidt SON 28 and wide body SONdelux dynamos. I have not found any practical difference in using the Revolution on these three models of Schmidt dynamos. I was concerned that the SONdelux might not have enough power output to charge and use the light at the same time based on information from Peter White, the US distributor for Schmidt. However, the SONdelux did just fine powering both the Edelux II and Revolution at the same time, even when climbing, throughout the 2200 brevet in Italy and on a prior 1000 km brevet. I was also concerned that the wide body SONdelux might not allow for enough room between the hub and fork for the piggyback connector set; however, I used a wide body hub on the 1000 km event and this was not a problem.
I do recommend using an external battery and pass through charging in conjunction with the Revolution for two reasons. First, the Garmin 800 has visual and audible warnings when an external power source turns off. When one stops or slows down below the power output threshold these warnings are activated which is both annoying and distracting. Pass through charging eliminates this issue. Second, it's nice to have a fully or mostly charged external battery ready to go at all times if a smartphone or other USB charged device needs juice when the bike is not moving.
The Revolution has gold plated contacts and is sealed in epoxy so water is not a problem with the charger itself - although getting the Garmin's connection contacts or innards wet is a concern. The same concern applies to external batteries. The work around is to disconnect the Revolution and external battery from the Garmin during periods of heavy rain and hope the rain stops before the Garmin's charge is depleted. I'm currently having a custom vinyl cover made that will act as a type of protective awning and attach to my handlebar bag. Time will tell how that works out. Another rain option is to carry a back-up Garmin for the all day and night type of prolonged downpours. There were only a few downpours on the 2200 km brevet and I only had to disconnect power a few times, for a few hours or less each time, in order to keep the Garmin completely sealed up and dry. However, the Revolution USB charger itself will not fail when wet.
The Revolution performed flawlessly throughout the 2200 km brevet which was completed in just under 7.5 days. The event was long and hard and it was totally sweet to not have any GPS or phone charging worries. As such, the Sinewave Revolution USB charger gets my highest recommendation.
A few weeks ago we shipped the first handful of Reactors and we've received our first feedback from the road! One user already relied on theirs in the Oregon Outback - quite a testament as this 360-mile bikepacking ride is fully self supported and a failed charger would quickly leave you without a phone or GPS.
You can follow his blog at theflyingarrow.wordpress.com. He's also posted an excellent step-by-step installation guide, including pictures! This is so good that it will probably become our official installation instructions:
Dynamo, aka “generator,” hubs are a great way to power bicycle electronics. You never have to worry about carrying spare batteries for your lights, and if paired with a dynamo USB charger, you’ll never have to worry about keeping your smartphone/GPS charged. The problem I’ve found with dynamo USB chargers, though, is that the reliable models are not modestly priced, and the modestly priced models are not reliable. Enter Sinewave Cycles (formerly Brite-Bike Labs) of Cambridge, Mass.
At the Philadelphia Bicycle Expo, I was lucky enough to meet Dave Dean, the resident electrical engineer at Sinewave. I told him about the frustrations I had with the effectiveness (rather, lack thereof) of low-priced USB chargers, and then he told me about the Revolution. It’s a no-frills dynamo USB charger that is as functionally effective as it is solidly built, all at a very reasonable price. My old USB charger struggled to charge my phone, even with the wireless network disabled; the Revolution boasted “best in class” efficiency. My old USB charger burned out on a long downhill (Rabbit Ears Pass); the Revolution has high speed overload protection. My old USB charger was corroded after a few rainy rides; the Revolution has a gold-plated USB connector so it won’t corrode, and it’s 100% waterproof, so rain is no issue. On top of all that, it also has a one-year warranty on materials and manufacturing.
Needless to say, I was impressed by the specs, but I wouldn’t be sold until I gave it a try for myself. When a sample arrived on the Philly Pedals doorstep, I was eager to take it for a spin. Here are my test results, as well as some overview information about the rides:
Phone: LG G2
Hub: Shimano Alfine
Concurrent Power Draws: Supernova E3 Pro 2 Headlight, Supernova E3 Taillight
Installation Time: 5 minutes (less if you don’t have lights to add it to)
Duration: 5 hours
Starting Battery Charge: 95%
Final Battery Charge: 86%
Running Features: Mobile Network, GPS
Running Applications: Strava, Google Maps, Pandora
Results: The Revolution requires a constant minimum speed of 3.5 mph for a slow charge, and 9 mph for a normal charge. The first half of this ride involved a lot of stops and starts while riding through Upper Darby and other burby areas. The battery dipped to 81% at its lowest, but after a long stretch of no stop lights, it charged back up to 86%. Worked as described.
Duration: 2.5 hours
Starting Battery Charge: 70%
Final Battery Charge: 82%
Running Features: GPS
Running Applications: Strava, Google Maps, Android Music
Results: On the ride out, I used all of the same apps and features as I did the day prior, except without having my phone plugged into the charger, and it drained my battery from 100% to 70% in 2.5 hours. Upon reaching Oaks, I plugged my phone into the charger, disabled my mobile network, and then switched from Pandora to locally stored music. Just by disabling the mobile network, I was able to get a 12% positive charge even with frequent stops and starts.
After two days of riding with this charger, I was sold. It delivered a solid charge when maintaining a constant speed of nine mph, even while running GPS, the mobile network, and a bunch of apps (Test 1). When motion wasn’t constant, it was still able to charge up a phone with ease when the mobile network was disabled (Test 2). Also, please take note that all of this was happening while sharing the electricity from my value-priced hub with a 3.0 amp draw from my lights. There was no need for compromise with this charger; I could have everything running at once.
The Sinewave Revolution will enable you to maintain a full charge while running a GPS-driven ride tracker and streaming audio all day. That kind of performance should appeal to cyclists that enjoys long rides as well as commuters that like to pump up the jam on the way to work. Most importantly, it should appeal to everyone that realizes how important a charged phone can be in a tight spot.
Finally, in Sinewave news, they have just released the Reactor. This sweet baby fits into the top of your steerer tube (the top of your fork), making your bicycle one with the machine. It’s pretty slick.
We were in Charlotte, NC this past weekend at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. We had a great time showing off the Revolution and announcing our new charger, the Reactor, which is now open for pre-orders.
Check out this article written by Gizmag!
By Ben Coxworth
March 17, 2014
While companies such as Dahon and Nokia already offer products that let you charge your phone with power generated while cycling, both systems do somewhat clutter up the handlebars and stem. Sinewave Cycles' new Reactor, however, is mostly integrated into the bike's existing steerer tube, keeping external hardware to a minimum.
The Reactor's electronics are contained within its cylindrical body, which sits down inside the tube. A single power cable runs from the bottom of the unit, and out through the open bottom of the tube. It then follows one of the fork legs down to a third-party wheel hub generator, which supplies the power. A bottle generator (the kind that leans in and rubs against the side of the tire) can also be used.
At the top of the Reactor's body, a metal USB port protrudes out the top of the handlebar stem, taking the place of the stem cap. A short USB cable can be run from it to the user's smartphone, which is affixed to the bars via a user-supplied mount.