Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Measuring the SP PD-8 hub

UPDATE January 2015: You can now find a technical drawing with measurements here.
CORRECTION: Please note that an earlier version of the post claimed that the center-to-flange distance is 32mm. I've corrected that to 22mm. Sorry for the confusion.

I'm getting read to build up new wheels with my recently acquired dynamo hubs. In my previous post, I had posted the manufacturer's stated dimensions, but I realized that they only provided the pitch circle diameter and the flange diameter--the latter being irrelevant for determining spoke length--but not the center-to-flange distance and also not the spoke hole diameter.

The best instructions for measuring a hub come from Roger Musson, author of a popular book on wheelbuilding. Fortunately, he has made this part of the book freely available. All you need to take the relevant measurements are calipers and a ruler. Musson suggests to drill a piece of wood, so that you when you insert the hub's axle the wood will be flush with the locknuts. If you're building a lot of wheels this probably makes sense. As an alternative, you can just measure from the end of the axle and then subtract the easily measurable distance between axle end and locknut. Then use the ruler to measure the distance between the wood/axle end and the inner side of the lower flange (what Musson denotes as x). Then turn around the hub and repeat the measurement on the other side, giving you the y value. With the SP disc hub that's a bit tricky, as the diameters of the two flanges are different. Musson's suggestion is to use a small piece of cardboard, mark it, and then measure on the cardboard. I was in a bit of hurry and thus just eyeballed it with the ruler after seeing that x and y would likely be the same for this hub. X and y are not the actual values needed for calculating spoke length, but they allow you to calculate the desired value by subtraction from half of the over-the-locknut dimension of the hub, z in Musson's system. On modern front hubs for regular bikes you don't really have to measure this, as it is a standardized dimension at 100mm. For the PD-8, x and y equal 28mm (32mm-4mm for the distance from axle end to locknut), yielding a center-to-flange dimension of 22mm on each side.

The flange diameters can directly be measured with calipers. Just make sure to measure from the centers of the spoke holes. The PD-8 comes out to 52mm and 58mm. The spoke hole diameter is a bit tricky to measure: The inside jaws of regular calipers tend to be too big for such small holes. I measured 2.7mm, but as most hubs use 2.5mm holes I'm assuming this is a measurement problem.

Now you can plug your values into the spoke length calculator of your choice and voilá! I recommend Karl Stoerzinger's Freespoke or the DT Swiss calculator.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

First impressions: SP Hub Generators PD-8 and PV-8 (updated)

Wouter Scholten's website is a great resource for all hub generator lighting issues. He extensively tests almost all models of hubs and lights on the market in real world settings, and he is also unusually well-informed with regard to the introduction of new products. A while ago, he wrote about a new player on the hub generator market, Shutter Precision Ltd. from Taiwan. As the name implies, they started as a supplier for digital cameras and then later moved into bike component manufacturing. While the company itself has little name recognition, they are (presumably) the suppliers for two better known companies, Velo Orange[1] and Supernova.

After having introduced their switchable dynamo (in my opinion a solution in search of a problem), at the 2011 Taipei Cycle Show SP announced what would be the lightest generator hub, the SD-8 (disc brake)/SV-8 (rim brake). These two hubs, however, only are rated to a power output of 2.4W in a 622mm wheel, making them not street-legal according to the German StVZO requirements. However, they also announced a slightly more heavy model rated at 3W, the PD-8 and the PV-8. The technical specs and the prototype tests by Wouter sounded promising, and when Wouter's shop, Gambiet Fietsen, offered them for pre-order in September I went in for two generators, one disc, one rim. The disc one will replace my Shimano DH3-N80 on the Cross-Check which I unfortunately messed up while trying to re-grease the bearings, and the PV-8 will be part of a second front wheel for Gunnar, finally allowing me to turn him into a real brevet bike.

The hubs arrived yesterday, at a total price of 180 Euro shipped. The actual wheelbuilding will have to wait for a little while longer, but I wanted to share some pictures and impressions.
PV-8 in its original packaging. I'm not sure if all the color and spoke count variants are or will be actually available.

The hub looks quite similar to the current SON 28...

...but it does have the same terminal as Shimano hubs

Here you can see the German K-certification wave, making the generator street legal in Germany

The weight pretty much exactly matches the claimed weight.

Both the disc and non-disc version of the hub match their claimed weight of 390 g and 410 g, compared to 440/460 for the new SON 28, 490 g for the Shimano DH3N80, and 399 g for the Supernova Infinity S (center lock disc mounts). Only the SONdelux at 390 g (rim) and 395 g (disc) can match this, but at a significantly higher price point.

SP claims that the new generators do not only excel in weight, but are also "the most efficient" generators (this refers to the 2.4W ones) and their product sheets has a couple of graphs that show the generators to be more efficient than the SONdelux. I'm somewhat skeptical about those claims and am very much looking forward to some independent testing.

Measuring the dimensions of the hubs is a bit tricky with the tools I have and I've only been able to find the manufacturer's numbers for the 2.4W version. Probably they're going to be the same for the 3W, but I'll confirm this with Wouter or measure myself. The bearings are sealed cartridges and I'm not sure if they are user-replaceable.

I think that's all I can say for now. Once I have the wheels built up and ridden them a bit, I will post an update.

Update 2011-12-16:
In the meantime I've found the website of SP's distributor, and their catalog lists the relevant dimensions as follows:
PV-8 PD-8 (non-disc/disc side)
Spoke P.C.D. 52mm  52mm/58mm
Flange diameter 60mm 60mm/66mm

They also have "replacement instructions" on their site that might contain instructions on how to replace the bearings. Unfortunately, the document is corrupted, though, and can't be opened. I've sent them an e-mail and we'll see if I hear back.

[1] If I remember correctly, the Velo Orange switchable dynohub got some bad reviews. At any rate, they no longer seem to sell it.
[2] There is also a 2.4W version, called SD-8/SV-8, suitable for those on small-wheeled bikes or those who don't care about the extra power/street legality in Germany.