If you plan on riding a bicycle at night, a bicycle front light is an absolute necessity. Being seen at night is vitally important to your personal safety. There are several types of bicycle lighting systems available. You can buy battery lights, which are fine as long as the battery last, but these can leave you stranded if they fail during a night time ride. There are also several types of dynamo systems available. Bottle dynamos are more traditional and provide a great means of generating power yourself. Roller dynamos and hub dynamos involve a complicated and expensive fitting procedure. A bottle dynamo is the easiest to fit, and these tiny generators have come a long way from the older versions that caused a lot of drag when riding at night.
Step 1 - Fitting the Dynamo
The first step is to fit the dynamo to the rear fork. It can be fixed onto either side but should be on the opposite side to the brakes to help minimize friction in one area and to cut back on the risk of tangling or interference.
The dynamo itself will fit onto a two-part clamp that can be tightened onto the fork. Place one half of the clamp at the rear of the fork and the other part on the opposite side of the fork. Place the bolts through the holes and loosely fasten the nuts on from the other side. The clamp will slip down the fork which is fine for now, as adjustments still need to be made.
Next, you need to position the dynamo. The small ribbed end needs to be against the sidewall of the tire when you ride (you will be able to move it away for daytime riding). Position the dynamo and bring up the clamp so that the protrusion of the dynamo fits into the scale of the clamp. Holding firmly, tighten the clamp by hand so the clamp doesn’t slip. When you’ve done this, tighten the nuts with the wrench so the clamp is secure. Now, move the dynamo to the daytime position so it’s not rubbing on the tire.
Step 2 - Fitting the Bicycle Front Light
Your bicycle might have a bracket for the front light already attached where the handlebars meet the frame. If you can use this, do so. If not, you’ll need to install the bracket that came with the bicycle lighting kit.
With your adjustable wrench, loosen the nut holding the handlebars in place, then slowly ease the handlebars out. Put the bicycle front light bracket over the threads and ease the handlebars back in before tightening the nut again, making sure the handlebars are set at the right height for you.
Now, attach the front light to the bracket using the wrench to tighten the nuts holding it in place (some headlights will attach to the bracket to the front forks without the need for screws, as they have a small hooking sleeve on the back).
Step 3 - Hooking Up the Lights
The kit will include a wire that plugs into the dynamo at one end and the bicycle front light at the other end. Plug them in and use the Velcro or rubber straps that came with the kit to secure the wire to the frame. Take special care to make sure the front wheel turns both ways without catching the wire. You will also need to check that you can pedal and shift gears without snagging the wire.