Supernova Infinity 8 dynamo hub  £185.00

8/10

Top quality dynamo hub. If you really need the on/off capability it's more or less the only choice. If not, consider the smaller Infinty S.

Weight 669g   Contact  www.amba-marketing.com

by Dave Atkinson   April 13, 2012  

Supernova Infinity 8 dynohub

The Supernova Infinity 8 is a superbly engineered dynamo hub with some clever technology.

Dynamo hubs just get better and better, and with the increase in power and efficiency of LED light units there's never been a better time to switch over to hub power and ditch the batteries. The Infinity 8 is built to last and performed extremely well throughout testing. Whether you need its USP - the ability to switch it on and off - will depend on how much and how far you're likely to ride.

First the science bit. Normal hub dynamos have magnets around the inside of the hub shell, and these interact with coils to produce the power. The Infinity switches things around with a magnetic core at the very centre of things. This, say Supernova, allows for greater output at lower speeds. It also allows Supernova to do something that other dynamos can't: switch off.

Normally your dynamo hub runs all the time, generating power even when you don't need it. The Infinity 8 has a rotating disc on one side; turning it allows the magnet to spin with the coils so there's no magnetic resistance. Running on triple sealed bearings, the Infinity is a smooth-running hub all the time and when you turn off the generator it'll spin free, just like a standard front hub.

Is that something you need? Well, that depends. For a lot of people, saving the 1-3W of drag that a hub would generate isn't going to make much difference, really. It's the equivalent of giving your tyres a bit more air. However, if you've got a 600km audax to do and you're running a dynamo hub anyway, the ability to switch it off through the day and run it only at night is going to be saving you a little effort for a significant amount of time, so it might be worth it. To be honest, most of the time I left it switched on. I was running the dynamo predominantly with Supernova's E3 Pro single LED front lamp and miniscule three-LED tail light, and they make pretty good daylight-running lights for the commute.

The best thing about the Infinity 8 out on the road isn't its on/off switch, but the fact that it's a high-quality, dependable energy source. It really does deliver lots of power at low speeds; you have to be going up something really steep before you notice the juice tailing off. It produces enough energy to turn the E3 Pro LED light (separate review of that coming soon) into a genuinely all-night-capable unit, and it'll run both that and a USB charger (I was mostly using a Biologic Reecharge battery but you could use the Tout Terrain Plug for a neater look), albeit with the light on lower power. If you're touring and you like to stay connected, then this dynamo plus decent lights and a USB unit will probably be all you need.

The Infinity 8 is drilled for a 6-hole disc so you can use it with your disc-clad tourer or your mountain bike; expect to see more and more of these and similar hubs at MTB all-nighters in the coming years as LED technology improves to the point where a 3W light is really all you need.

You'll probably see the MTBers opting not for this unit but something smaller, like the Supernova Infinity S, which shares the 8's SoloMagnet technology but comes with a centre-lock disc mount and no on/off switch. That hub weighs in at under 400g - quite a bit lighter than the 660g of the Infinity 8. The reasons that you'd pick the smaller hub over this one in an MTB setting - simplicity and lighter weight with almost the same output - will hold true for a lot of road settings too. The Infinity 8 is the daddy in terms of power but there's not much in it, and you may decide the on/off capability will suit your riding.

I'm not convinced, now I've tried it, that the switchable hub is a better option for me than the smaller one. What I do know is that either of them will be a very capable, long term solution to powering you through the night (and, via USB, through the day) and the design, construction and output of the Infinity 8 is hard to fault.

Verdict

Top quality dynamo hub. If you really need the on/off capability it's more or less the only choice. If not, consider the smaller Infinty S.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Supernova Infinity 8 dynamo hub

Finish: Gunmetal

Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Supernova say,

"A CLEVER INNOVATION

The new Supernova INFINITY 8 hub dynamo is an engineering masterpiece! It contains not one, but two revolutionary patented technologies: with its clever FREESPIN technology, the INFINITY 8 can be set to roll without any magnetic resistance, making it superior to all standard hub dynamos.The unwanted drag when the generator is running idle can be mechanically switched off by twisting the waterproof and easy-to-use dial wheel on its side. Simply release the power of the hub whenever you need it. This saves pedalling power by transforming the dynamo into a smoothly-running front hub.

POWER-UP NOW WITH ENDLESS POWER!

The second groundbreaking technological innovation used in the INFINITY 8 is its trendsetting SoloMagnet technology. While standard hub dynamos have magnets attached to the walls of the hub body, using only one side of the magnets, the INFINITY-series has a high-performance magnetic disc at its core that can effectively utilize both poles of the magnet at the same time. This technology gives you enough power for an optimal use of your light even at low speeds. This also allows you to power your GPS device or charge your cell phone or the Supernova Airstream battery light with 'The Plug' USB power supply even while riding slowly."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well. The on/off is a great innovation if you think you'll need it.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Well made and solid performance.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes although I'm not convinced I need the on/off

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Slight sidetrack - how did you find the tail-light on the standby power? I've got the same setup running off a SON, and on standby the tail goes out completely and the front is exceptionally dim. Supernova were happy to take them back for a look, which I meant to do back in November. Says something about the quality of the lights in normal use that I haven't yet done so...

posted by Darkerside [63 posts]
13th April 2012 - 7:53

15 Likes

I found it fine, it's not super bright but it's definitely on, as is the front light. you get a good few minutes of light.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
13th April 2012 - 8:52

20 Likes

Wonder whether the extra power required to push the additional hub weight of Infinity 8(even with the dynamo off) is equivalent to the drag of the dynamo on the Infinity S - at the very least, it makes the difference even more marginal for anything whether the weight matters (climbing, or a stop-start urban journey).

posted by step-hent [704 posts]
13th April 2012 - 9:05

21 Likes

What's the deal with servicing on these? Seeing as the cost is broadly in line with a Schmidt (SON) hub, the hardened audaxers and tourers will question whether or not the longevity is there in comparison. A schmidt has a 50,000km service interval and I know a fair few people who have sent them off for a service and they're still going strong heading towards 100,000km!

G-bitch's picture

posted by G-bitch [311 posts]
13th April 2012 - 9:08

17 Likes

step-hent wrote:
Wonder whether the extra power required to push the additional hub weight of Infinity 8(even with the dynamo off) is equivalent to the drag of the dynamo on the Infinity S - at the very least, it makes the difference even more marginal for anything whether the weight matters (climbing, or a stop-start urban journey).

without doing some complicated maths that i don't even understand, i'd guess that the answer is 'not quite'

you're right though, it's pretty marginal. I came into the test thinking i'd pick the 8 and now i reckon i'd go for the S, mainly because i often use a smartphone for navigation and on long rides it needs to be plugged in anyway

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
13th April 2012 - 9:09

18 Likes

Another sidetrack...Any chance of getting some generator-specific lights into your light tests? I use an edelux on my commuter, and would be really interested to see how it compares to some of it's battery-driven competitors.

posted by AlfCinelli [4 posts]
16th April 2012 - 15:48

17 Likes

that's on the cards too, although currently the problem is that we fix the bikes for the beam shots, and don't use bikes at all for the meter readings.

to test dynamo lights we need a different set up. but we're considering our options there Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7506 posts]
16th April 2012 - 16:00

21 Likes

Err, I'm missing something here. With a SON-based setup and the light turned off, negligible power is being consumed. I can't help feeling the disengaging rotor thing is a bit of unnecessary complexity.

Lift up the front of a SON-equipped bike with the light off and spin the wheel to see. It's a bit 'ratchety', but the wheel still spins for a while. Spin it with the light turned on to see the difference. I reckon it spins for ~10 times longer, so 0.1W-0.3W of power consumed. When I've been riding, I can't feel the difference in light-on vs light-off, never mind the much, much smaller losses due to a permanently spinning rotor.

posted by flobble [50 posts]
17th April 2012 - 17:21

21 Likes

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