Dynamo Powered Taillights
All dynamo powered taillights are steady-on taillights. They have no flashing mode, unlike many battery taillights, since flashing taillights are illegal in Germany, where these lights are made. There is some evidence that bright flashing lights mesmerize drunk or sleepy drivers, and I suppose that's not so good. And for group riding, such as brevets, flashing lights can be quite annoying for riders behind you. All Busch & Müller taillights, whether battery powered or dynamo powered have built in reflectors, for added safety in the event of wire or battery failure.
I do recommend that you use both a dynamo powered taillight and a battery powered taillight, if at all possible. If a wire should fail to the dyno powered taillight, the battery taillight is a backup. If your batteries fail in cold weather, the dynohub should still be working, and powering the wired taillight.
But if you can only have one type of taillight, it should be a dynamo powered taillight if at all possible. I've read the complaints about wired taillights. What if the wire breaks? What if I need to take my bike apart to transport it? These arguments seem silly to me. If you don't take reasonable care of your bike, things are going to break, or go out of adjustment. Just as with your brake cables, you need to be sure that your light wiring is in good condition. And if you need to frequently remove the rear fender or rack that your taillight mounts to, it's very easy to install quick connectors for the taillight wire. Radio Shack sells several types, and we sell very nice gold plated quick connects from Supernova.
For those folks who are concerned about the durability of the taillight wire, I now have extra heavy duty co-axial wiring available, the same wiring Wilfried Schmidt uses for their headlights. I have it in bulk, for those who want to make their own taillight wiring, and I have it in 1.9 meter lengths, complete with connectors attached for the headlight, and the taillight. Also, we can make up a taillight wire of any length, with the connectors your lights need. Just let us know.
Supernova lights are not fully compatible with other brands of lights. You can't mix and match Supernova headlights with other brands of taillight, and while you can use Supernova TL2 taillights with other brands of headlight, you won't have a standlight, since the Supernova taillights are dependant on their headlight for the standlight function. Supernova lights come with tough wiring for the taillight that is hard wired. They do not use the same metric connectors as used by Busch & Müller, Wilfried Schmidt and Spanninga. Also, Supernova taillights do not have a reflector.
"Plus" is Busch & Müller's designation for a light with a standlight; "Standlicht" in German. The "Standlight" provides light for several minutes when you stop. The power for the light comes from a capacitor inside the taillight which is charged while the bike is moving. The Toplight Line Plus, Toplight Line Brake Plus, DToplight XS Plus, Toplight Mini, Seculite Plus and 4DLite Plus all have the same "Standlight" feature as the many B&M headlights, except that the light is as bright when you're stopped as when you're riding, since it's the same LED. We sell one dynamo powered taillight that does not have a standlight, the DToplight XS. We sell it for those people who would like to save money. It still has a large reflector area for added safety. So if you think you need to use a battery taillight in order to have a functioning taillight when you're stopped, that's just not the case. The "Plus" taillights remain lit for six or seven minutes after you stop, plenty of time for the light to turn green.
Unless otherwise noted, all dynamo powered taillights on this page are 6 volt. There are two exceptions; the Busch & Müller DToplight Plus 12 and the Busch & Müller Seculite Plus 12. These are 12 volt taillights, and only work with 12 volt headlights and a 12 volt dynamo, such as the Busch & Müller (B&M) Dymotec S12. The S12 is a sidewall dynamo.
All of the other dynamo taillights are compatible with 6 volt headlights and 6 volt dynamos, such as hub dynamos from Schmidt, Sanyo, Shimano, SRAM and modern Sturmey Archer hubs, along with sidewall dynamos such as the Busch & Müller Dymotec 6 and the discontinued S6.
All 6 volt B&M taillights are compatible with all 6 volt B&M headlights, all Schmidt headlights, the Spanninga Luceo XS, and all Inoled headlights (using the Inoguard). B&M taillights are not compatible with Supernova headlights, and Supernova taillights are fully compatible only with Supernova headlights. Please do not mix Supernova lights with other brands of lights.
6 volt components are not compatible with 12 volt components, no matter how much some people wish they were. ;-)
Issues with Headlights!
The six volt halogen headlights I sell all contain over-voltage circuitry which protects the bulb from excess voltage produced by the dynamo. The circuitry assumes a total load of 3 watts. 2.4 watts at the headlight and .6 watts at the taillight. If you can't use a wired taillight you must change the headlight's 2.4 watt halogen bulb to a 3 watt bulb. The 2.4 watt bulb will burn out quickly if there's no taillight attached.
Most early (2006-2007) LED headlights have a similar issue. They are designed to be used with a .6 watt taillight. They are more sophisticated than the halogen headlights though. While a halogen headlight used with no taillight and the stock 2.4 watt bulb will suffer a blown bulb very quickly, those early LED headlight used without a taillight will continue to work for many thousands of hours. But, it will run hotter without a wired taillight than it is designed to, and so it won't last as long as it would if you did have a taillight wired into the system. This is the case with the Busch & Müller DLumotec Oval and DLumotec Topal headlights. As I write this, 2013, these headlights have been discontinued for several years.
Those LED headlights that are not affected by the absence of a taillight are all Supernova models, Schmidt Edelux, and B&M Luxos, Lumotec IQ CYO and CYO R, CYO T and CYO RT, Lumotec IQ Fly and IQ Fly RT, and the Lumotec LYT.
Inoled headlights, when powered by a 6 volt hub dynamo, should only be used with a .6 watt taillight and the Inoguard wire.
Hey Peter! What about Supernova?
Since Supernova taillights should only be used with Supernova headlights, I've decided not to list them on this page. Please go to my Supernova dynamo lights page to see the Supernova taillights.
Rack Mounted Taillights
The rack mount taillights all mount to a horizontal bracket with two holes either 50mm or 80mm apart. I sell some brackets to allow mounting taillights onto racks without suitable mounts. The Tubus Cargo and Logo racks incorporate the proper mount for these lights.
Busch & Müller Toplight Line Brake Plus
This is the ideal taillight for the urban cyclist. The light from two very bright red LEDs is spread across the width of the light, and functions just like the brake lights on an automobile.
The Toplight Line Plus uses an interesting fresnel to spread the light from two LEDs into a line across the width of the light, providing increased surface area for the light, and making it more visible at a distance.
The Toplight Line Brake Plus senses when the bike slows under braking and glows brighter. It does this by monitoring the AC frequency from the hub. During braking, the AC frequency slows quickly, and then makes the LEDs brighter.
The Toplight Line Brake Plus has the usual standlight, and mounts to the rear of many racks. But unlike the other rack mount taillights, the Toplight Line Brake Plus only has mounting bolts 50mm apart, unlike the others which give you the option of either 50mm or 80mm. This taillight is narrower (92mm) than any other rack mount B&M taillight, making it more suitable for some of the new narrow racks. Even though the light's housing is narrow, the light you see at night is much larger than with other taillights.
There's a red tab on the bottom which you can press to switch off the standlight when you park the bike. This taillight can be wired using 2.8mm spade connectors which I stock or bare wire leads. A slider switch grips the bare wire leads. Either way you get a very secure connection. But you must use two conductor wire, power and ground. The mounting bolts do not conduct ground, so there is no chance of creating a short by using the wrong connectors.
At only 92mm wide, this taillight fits the newer, narrow pannier racks that are becoming more popular.
Toplight Line Brake Plus: $ 53.00
Busch & Müller Toplight Line Plus
The less expensive Toplight Line Plus has all of the features of the Brake Plus seen above, except for the brakelight function. Otherwise it looks and works the same.
Toplight Line Plus: $ 36.50
Busch & Müller Toplight Mini Plus
B&M's smallest rack mounted taillight. 92mm wide. The Mini has a single bright LED in the little housing at the top, and the rest is reflector. The LED glows red, of course. The taillight wire ends must have the little 2.8mm female connectors, which we sell. The mounting bolts aren't electrically grounded, so you must use a 2 conductor wire, but it means it's impossible to create a short. Let us know how long you need the taillight wire to be. We'll make sure you have the right connectors. You cannot wire this taillight without the proper connectors. There's no way to attach bare wires to this taillight.
No button to shut off the standlight. That helps keep the price low.
Toplight Mini Plus: $ 27.50
DToplight XS & DToplight XS Plus
The Busch&Müller DToplight XS Plus for 6 volt dynamos mounts on a rack with either 50mm wide studs or 80mm wide studs. Wiring not included. This replaces the DToplight Plus which I no longer import. As of November 2009, the XS Plus has been upstaged by the new Toplight Line Plus taillight. See above. I will continue to stock the DToplight XS Plus, for those people who prefer its distinctive look. But in my opinion, the Toplight Line Plus, at about the same price, is a better choice.
If you would rather save some money and do without the standlight feature, we also have the DToplight XS (6 volt dynamo). It looks the same as the DToplight XS Plus but without the Plus it has no standlight. The light will go out completely when you stop. Of course you still have the reflector.
The DToplight XS is the only dynamo powered taillight I sell that doesn't have a standlight. If you want a standlight, get the DToplight XS Plus instead.
DToplight XS and XS Plus taillights can ground via the fixing bolt on the left side. So, when running two wires, be sure not to create a short. Wire power to power and ground to ground between the headlight and taillight.
DToplight XS, without standlight: $ 22.00
DToplight XS Plus with standlight: $ 36.00
Toplight Flat S Plus
Our newest taillight is the Toplight Flat S Plus (6 volt dynamo). It's less expensive than any other dynamo taillight with a standlight. Compared with the DToplight Plus, the Toplight Flat S Plus uses a single LED instead of two. It has the same "LineTec" technology which uses a series of mirrors to spread the light from the LED across the width of the taillight, so you eyes see a line of light rather than a point source. This taillight, with a Dymotec sidewall dynamo, and a Lumotec headlight makes for a nice system for not a lot of money. 50mm bolt spacing. While the LED itself is small, it's still very bright and the optics makes for exceptional visibility. Wiring not included.
And here's what happens with the light ON. Keep in mind, this isn't quite how it appears at night. The LED is red, so while is appears in the photo that the LED is white, that's simply because of the way the image was exposed. To show the red reflector correctly, by setting the camera to expose for the reflector, the light from the LED is overexposed in the photo. Those bright vertical bars you see will be red at night.
Busch & Müller Toplight Flat S Plus: $ 23.00
Most of the taillights we sell have screw posts for the wiring. The double strand wire we sell from Busch & Müller has connectors on one end only, for attaching to the bottom of the headlight. And you then use the bare wire ends for the taillight attachment. But the Toplight Flat S Plus has only male connectors, meaning you'll need a wire that has female connectors at both ends. This doesn't exist all made up from Busch & Müller, so you'll need to make your own. We'll supply the standard double strand wire with connectors attached at one end, and some extra connectors. When you know how long the wire needs to be, just cut off what you don't need, and attach the loose connectors to the bare end. Or if you can measure beforehand, tell us the length and we'll do it for you here. Now you can attach the Toplight Flat S Plus to your headlight. Also, some taillights use the mounting screws to supply the ground connection. That's not the case with the Toplight Flat S Plus. It will not ground to a rack automatically. You need to use two wires, one for power, and one for ground, hence the need for a double strand wire.
We also have heavy duty wiring from Wilfried Schmidt.
4DToplight Senso Multi
The Busch&Müller 4DToplight Senso Multi can be powered by batteries or a 6 volt dynamo. Two LEDs in the center, and an LED on each side make for increased visibility. A three position switch allows automatic switching from battery power to dynamo power when you start and stop. In the "0" position, the light performs just like a dynamo powered taillight. It comes on only when the dynamo has output, and the headlight is switched ON. In the "1" position, if batteries are installed, the light is on. If the dynamo has output and the headlight is switched ON, the taillight is powered by the dynamo, When the dynamo stops or the headlight is switched OFF, the taillight runs on the batteries. In the third switch position, "S" or Senso, the light comes on for 4 minutes when batteries are installed and you first switch to the "S" position. Then, the light will remain ON if the bike is moving, and if it's dark out. When you stop, the taillight will remain ON for about 4 minutes. So in the "S" position, you needn't worry about the batteries running out due to the light staying ON all night when parked. Wiring not include. 118mm wide.
4DToplight Senso Multi: $ 44.50
DToplight Plus 12 (12 volt only!)
The Busch&Müller DToplight series have a single very bright LED inside the center lens. These are 12 volt taillights only for use with the Dymotec S12 bottle generator and Lumotec Oval Plus 12 halogen headlight. 118mm wide.
Busch&Müller DToplight Plus 12 (12 volt dynamo) taillight to be used only with the Dymotec S12 dynamo. Wiring not included. $ 68.00
Fender Mounted Taillights
Fender mount taillights require two holes drilled in the rear fender. The holes should be 5mm in diameter, one above the other, 20mm apart, center to center. Care should be taken to mount the light so that the brightest part of the beam is horizontal, putting it at driver's eye level. Where you mount the light along the curve of the fender determines where the beam is aimed.
I only recommend mounting my fender-mount taillights on high quality fenders such as Gilles Berthoud, or Esge/SKS. Some other fenders, particularly those made of only plastic, are too light and will easily break when you mount a light on them.
Busch & Müller Seculite Plus
The Busch&Müller Seculite Plus taillights can be wired into the system via connectors on the bottom of the headlights.
Busch&Müller Seculite Plus (6 volt dynamo). Wiring not included. $ 29.50
Busch&Müller Seculite Plus (12 volt dynamo) to be used only with the Dymotec S12 dynamo. Wiring not included. Available now: $ 51.00
The LED light is in the top clear section. The LED glows red. The reflector is below. As with all "Plus" designated lights, it has a Standlight.
In addition to the standard version with black plastic base, the Seculite Plus is available with a glossy chrome over plastic finish, as well as a matt looking finish. They're more expensive, and so not for the cyclist who just needs a safe taillight to help get back and forth to work. But if you've got Berthoud stainless or Honjo aluminum fenders on your classy brevet bike, this will dress it up a bit.
Seculite Plus, Glossy Chrome-Look finish, Order part # B&M330CALK: $ 44.50
Seculite Plus, Matt Chrome-Look finish, Order part # B&M330C2ALK: $ 44.50
The Seculite Plus was designed to be mounted on a rear fender. But with the Cross Bracket, it can be mounted on a rear cantilever brake stud.
Cross Bracket for mounting Seculite Plus on a cantilever stud: $ 3.52
People have asked me if the Cross Bracket is strong enough to hold our battery powered Spanninga taillight that you can see below. I don't know if it's strong enough or not. Try it at your own risk.
Busch & Müller 4D Lite Plus
The heavier Busch & Müller 4D Lite Plus (6 volt dynamo) fender mount taillight has a metal bar to help protect the plastic lens in case you get rear ended. As with all "Plus" designated lights, it has a Standlight. Wiring not included. 4D Lite Plus: $ 32.00
The 4D Lite Plus taillight is probably too heavy to be safely used with the Cross Bracket. Mount this taillight only to a sturdy fender, and position it above the brace.
Spanninga Pixeo Xs
The Pixeo Xs works with 6 volt dynamos and all dynamo headlights from Busch & Müller and Schmidt. It's shown here on the left next to the two battery versions.
The Pixeo Xb and Xba from Spanninga are battery powered taillights designed for mounting on a fender. If you already have a dynamo powered taillight on a rear rack, put your fender to work carrying another light. The Pixeos are ideal. The LED is on top and below is a reflector. The Pixeo uses 2 AAA batteries, included.
Available in two battery powered versions. The Pixeo Xb (pictured above on the right) has a simple On/Off button. Push it once, and the light comes on. Push again, it goes off. The Pixeo Xba (pictured above in the middle) looks the same, but adds an automatic mode. When in Auto, the light will switch on by itself, but only when it's dark, and only when the bike is moving. It has both a light and a motion sensor. The Pixeo Xs (on the left) has no switch, as it's controlled either by the tire driven dynamo, or the hub dynamo headlight's switch.
Pixeo Xs, for 6 volt dynamo systems only: $ 16.50
As of 2013, there's a second version of the Xs, called the Xds. The Pixeo lights have a black base; you can't see it in this photo. If you have a stainless steel or aluminum fender, it looks better to have a taillight with a chrome base. So Spanninga is now making the Xs dynamo taillight with a chrome base option, the Xds.
Pixeo Xds, for 6 volt dynamo systems only, chrome base: $ 18.00
Pixeo Xb, two position button type switch; On/Off: $ 12.50
Pixeo Xba, three position button type switch; On/Off/Auto: $ 16.00
We also have a pair of mounts for any of the Pixeo models. The Pixeo is intended for fender mounting. But Spanninga makes two small stainless steel mounts; one to attach the taillight to a rear cantilever brake stud, and the other to attach at a seatpost binder bolt.
Set of 2 mounts for Pixeo: $ 4.50
All taillights are LED types. They do not have bulbs to wear out. Since taillights do not need a tightly focused beam, LEDs work better than bulbs, since they are brighter than bulbs of comparable wattage.
This is a rear view of the DToplight XS Plus upside down. It's upside down so you can more clearly see the wiring connections on the left side. You feed the bare wire ends up into the connectors and then slide the little locking tab over to secure the wires in place. You see here two bolts coming out of the housing. When you receive the light there will be no bolts extending out. But there are four positions where you can push out the plastic and place the bolts from the inside. You can choose either 80mm spacing or 50mm spacing for the bolts. Here the spacing is 80mm.
Some racks like most Tubus models have a bracket on the rear to mount these lights. But some don't. So we have adapters.
Single Hole Mount
If your rear rack has a single hole in the rear that will take a bolt which faces in the direction of travel, you can mount this bracket into that hole and then you'll have the 50mm and 80mm mounting points for any of the Busch & Müller rack mount taillights such as the DToplight XS Plus above. Single Hole Bracket: $ 7.00
If your rack has no hole in the rear but does have either a top plate or some cross braces, this T bracket can be clamped to the top of your rack and then the taillight can be bolted to it.
Here's a DToplight XS Plus mounted on a T bracket using the 80mm bolt positions. T bracket: $ 5.50
Seatpost Binder Mount
If your bike has a seat post binder bolt that's big and not recessed into the seat cluster, you can probably use this bracket to mount a taillight on the seat post binder bolt. The hole on the left would be at the seat post binder. The hole is about 8.5mm in diameter. Seat Post Binder Bracket: $ 3.60
I sell several Tubus racks which incorporate a mounting bracket which will fit many types of Busch & Müller tail lights including the DToplight Plus and 4DToplight Permanent. The Tubus Cargo is a heavy duty tubular chromoly steel rack for extended touring and heavy loads.
On some bikes, you don't need to run two wires from the headlight to the taillight. Headlights and taillights can often get their ground connection through the frame. So often a single wire to the headlight and then to the taillight is all you need.
But there are some situations where you won't be able to do this. For instance, if you mount the headlight on the front fork crown with a steel mount, the ground link would have to pass through the headset to get to the taillight. With most headsets that's fine. But some headsets will not pass electrical current through them. Shimano cartridge bearing headsets, for instance, won't allow you to do this because the material used in the cartridges is an electrical insulator.
If you mount your headlight with either my custom handlebar mount or the R&M handlebar mount, it will not be grounded to the frame, and you will have to run a second wire. But that wire doesn't necessarily have to extend all the way to the dynamo. You could run a short wire to a metal part on the bike, like a brake bolt, and pick up ground from there. And some headlights and taillights won't connect via their mounts to ground, and must be used with dual strand wire. The Lumotec Fly and Lumotec IQ Fly are two such headlights, and the Toplight Flat Plus headlight also requires two leads to function.
Before placing your order, think about how you want to run the wires. If you have any doubts about whether the included wires will be sufficient, just ask. We'll figure it out together. It's best if you are near your bike when you call if you have questions about wiring.
Single strand wire, 185cm, no connectors on either end: $ 0.75
Single strand wire, 185cm, connector on one end: $ 1.72
Double strand wire, 185cm, connectors on one end: $ 3.18
Schmidt CoAxial Wiring
Our double and single strand wire is pretty good, and a good value if you're watching your pennies. But if you want the most durable wiring on your bike, you should use the Schmidt CoAxial wire for your taillight connection. It's the same wire they use for their E6 headlight.
Some headlights, such as the Schmidt E6 and Edelux, make their ground connection to the taillight via the base of the light itself, and the power connection via the same 3mm connector used at the taillight. Others, like the Busch & Müller Lumotec IQ Fly, have two 3mm connectors for ground and two for power, and the base of the light is molded plastic, no electrical connector at all. So the Schmidt CoAxial taillight wires are available for both types of headlights. Please specify what headlight you'll be using when you order a CoAxial taillight wire, so that we send you the correct type. Both types are available either with bare wire for the taillight end, with loose connectors, or with the 3mm taillight connectors already attached and protected with shrink tubing.
Schmidt CoAxial wire with ground and power connectors at the headlight end, and spade connectors at the taillight end. 190cm length. This is a very rugged wire, the exact same wire Schmidt uses for their headlight to hub connection, which has proven to be very durable for many years of hard use. $ 12.00
Schmidt CoAxial 190cm wire, same as above but with bare ends at the taillight end. 3mm connectors are included, so you can cut the wire shorter if you like, or just use it on taillights which don't have spade connectors. $ 10.00
Schmidt CoAxial wire by the foot, no connectors. $ 1.00 per foot. You can use this to extend a headlight to hub wire, or any application needing a durable coaxial wire. If you want to wire a taillight on a tandem, this is your best option. And we have all of the connectors you might need separately.
3mm connector for sidewall dynamo, headlight, or taillight: $ 0.32
The Distance Warning, or DIWA system for hub dynamos from Busch&Müller has been discontinued, and replaced by the Toplight Line Brake Plus taillight, seen above. We still have a few of the DIWA taillights. When used with any B&M, Philips, Schmidt or Spanninga 6 volt headlight (LED or Halogen) they work just like a normal taillight. DIWA headlights are all gone. But the taillights are a great deal at the lower close-out price.
DToplight DIWA Plus LED taillight: $ 30.00
Almost everything you need to know about pricing and ordering a lighting system can be found here. Remember to order wiring if you need it.
Check out the great variety of headlights for use with dynamos.
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This page updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Peter White Cycles