Sinewave Beacon 2 Evaluation –

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Having used the unique all-in-one USB-charging dynamo gentle over a variety of years, Cass wires up its successor, the Sinewave Beacon 2, for a long-term evaluate on the steep and bumpy roads of Mexico. Learn on for his ideas after virtually a 12 months of utilizing it on multi-day bikepacking adventures and day-to-day transportation…

With further motion images by Logan Watts

It’s changing into ever more durable to justify investing in a dynamo-powered gentle and charger given how reasonably priced large-capacity energy banks have turn into and the way succesful USB-charged illumination might be. And but, there’s nothing fairly like the sensation of self-sufficiency from producing your individual gentle supply, and, within the case of the Sinewave Beacon, vitality too. Having a method to light up your approach and cost electronics completely affixed to your bike – with no lights to suit or plugs to hunt out – continues to be very alluring, particularly for lengthy distance bikepackers, racers, and those that use their bikes for transportation.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

The brand new Sinewave Beacon 2, fitted to my handlebars utilizing a Dr J0n Mission Management and a GoPro adaptor.

I’ve run the unique Beacon V1 for a variety of years, taking it on a number of large journeys with none points by any means – together with a crossing of Bolivia’s salty Salar De Uyuni and a few burly mountain driving within the Andes. The Beacon has lit my approach after I was hustling for campsites at nightfall, and it’s helped preserve my Wahoo and iPhone topped up regardless of rare or unreliable charging factors. Outwardly an identical, the Beacon 2 is equally rugged, albeit with some helpful enhancements and refinements on the within.

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  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

My unique Beacon has seen a number of journeys in South America, shrugging off typically difficult situations and inclement climate. For probably the most half, I used it to prime up a Wahoo Factor and an previous iPhone.

Like the unique Beacon, the Beacon 2 is made within the USA and is equally lovely to carry and behold. There’s a USB-A output for charging gadgets and a DC enter – extra on that later. Its inside workings are encased in a refined aluminum shell that’s very a lot designed for a tough life. The Beacon options a number of seals, electronics are potted in epoxy, and connectors are gold-plated. I’ve used mine in a variety of heavy downpours with none points, and it continues to chase away the worst of the all-invading dry season mud.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

The Beacon’s 10mm mounting tab is appropriate with {hardware} from B&M, Supernova, and Schmidt, or you possibly can run a GoPro adaptor and make use of a variety of third-party choices. Mine is discreet black however there’s a mess of eye-catching colours out there too – you possibly can even combine and match the again, center, and entrance for some additional zing. The end can also be actually robust. I took a giant spill on a path experience and while the Beacon 2 was knocked exhausting, and it’s barely scuffed.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

Regardless of expectations, the USB and DC ports are very immune to water ingress.

There are three modes to select from, all engaged by a small steel change: Full Brightness (750 lumens), Low Brightness/Charger Precedence Mode (150 lumens), and No Mild At All, through which output is devoted to charging solely. The charging circuit is just a little totally different from the Beacon 1; while peak energy is basically the identical, Sinewave say there’s improved charging at low speeds.

Like the unique Beacon, there’s a stand gentle. In case you cease at a site visitors gentle and also you’re in Low or Full Brightness mode, an inbuilt supercapacitor ensures a security gentle stays on. Though this gentle isn’t particularly highly effective, it does final for 5 minutes, and in contrast to the unique Beacon, it’s merely a case of flipping the change over to No Beam if you wish to flip it off fully, which is helpful for stealth tenting.

When it comes to what number of lumens you possibly can count on on Full Brightness, the Beacon outputs 100 Lumens at 5mph (8kph), 375 lumens at 8mph (13kph), 600 lumens at 10mph (16kph), and 750 lumens at 13mph (21kph), although there’s some variance relying on tyre dimension – bigger diameters, like my gargantuan 29 x 3.25s, requiring a bit extra velocity.

Apart from the USB-A used for charging gadgets, the DC enter is good for these instances once you want a number of illumination however you’re not pedalling quick sufficient to generate the complete 750 lumens – driving techy singletrack on a winter’s evening, for example. Not solely are you able to plug in an influence financial institution with the provided DC-USB cable, however any out there dynamo energy replaces battery energy till reaching a velocity the place it’s all supplied by the dynamo and the battery is not used. How lengthy the battery will final this fashion will depend on its dimension, in fact, which is defined right here. By means of instance, a ten,000mAh battery will present 10 hours of full brightness illumination, and the runtime on the Beacon’s low setting is about 4 instances longer, extending it to round 40 hours. Neither issue within the incoming dynamo energy, nevertheless, which is able to drastically lengthen this. If you’re utilizing the DC enter, there’s even a flashing mode.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

An influence financial institution can all the time be used to run the Beacon at full brightness utilizing the included DC-USB cable, regardless of the velocity that you just’re driving. That is nice for low, techy climbs.

Lighting and Beam Sample

When it comes to the way in which the Beacon works, there are three LEDs that come on, one by one, as you velocity up. At low velocity, one LED activates and brightens as the facility from the dynamo will increase. When that LED maxes out, the subsequent one begins to activate, till that maxes out, after which the final one begins to activate. This habits is usually clear to the rider, because it’s a really clean course of.

As for the beam, it’s symmetrical, spherical, and huge. This mix lends itself finest to off-road driving, the place the 750 lumens it pumps out do an amazing job at illuminating the street or path forward, with a cool white hue that’s simple on the eyes. It’s not, nevertheless, technically authorized for on-road use in all international locations, Germany being probably the most noticeable exception. In Kyle Ponce’s wonderful evaluate of the 700-1000 lumen Supernova M99 DY PRO, he factors out that its highly effective, non-symmetrical beam sample can also be StVZO-compliant, which implies you’re much less prone to blind street customers – particularly cyclists on a slender bike path. When it comes to my use circumstances, beam sample or legality hasn’t been a difficulty, as I’ve tended to make use of it after I’m caught out scoping out a campsite previous nightfall, or driving into dusk to make it to the subsequent city – instances that I’d beforehand have pressed my 200 lumen, USB-powered Petzl headlamp into service. As compared, utilizing a devoted bike gentle transforms these occurences into extra of a pleasure than a priority, and helps me really feel a lot safer too – operating the Beacon on my handlebars means I can simply nudge it downwards if I discover myself driving amongst different cyclists. Plus, switching over to the ‘Low Beam’ mode limits brightness to solely 125 lumens, effectively inside vary of many battery-powered commuter lights – which normally have a spherical beam sample too. Nonetheless, for those who’re commuting day by day on unlit bike paths, beam sample is actually one thing that’s value making an allowance for, whether or not you reside in Germany or not.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

(Fairly A lot) Flicker-Free

It’s the virtually full lack of flicker, even at sluggish speeds, that basically differentiates the brand new Beacon from its predecessor, and different extra highly effective dynamo lights too. While the unique would cease flickering at round 8mph/13kph, V2 successfully halves this, and stops flickering at 3-4mph/5-6.5kph. In the true world, this principally means it doesn’t flicker at any sensible driving velocity – the sunshine turns strong even for those who’re strolling the bike comparatively shortly. In use, I fully forgot I used to be operating a dynamo gentle. I might even sort out my native steep, cobbled climb, with none points.

I requested Sinewave’s David Dean to clarify: “You hardly ever pedal at a gradual 3mph – if climbing one thing that steep, with every pedal stroke you are inclined to push forward at some quicker velocity, then drop again to virtually zero earlier than the subsequent stroke, so slightly than flickering, the sunshine brightens and dims with velocity, however by no means actually sparkles. So, whereas “flicker free” won’t technically be the case, I feel it’s honest to say one thing like ‘no observable flicker at any driving velocity,’ however that doesn’t fairly roll off the tongue!”

This lower in flicker does, nevertheless, means there’s much less brightness at comparative speeds. In V1, most doable lumens got here at the price of that low-speed flickering. V2 not makes use of a 100% of the full out there energy to the LEDs. This has a bigger impact at very low speeds – when the dynamo frequency is decrease and flickering is often extra seen – and fewer at greater speeds. It’s a trade-off that I’ll fortunately take, as having a excessive output dynamo with no discernable flicker is an actual deal with.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

Even on this steep, cobbled climb, the Sinewave Beacon 2 is flicker-free.

Charging With the Sinewave Beacon 2

I could not experience a lot at evening on tour, however I do run a plethora of digital gadgets through the day! I exploit an iPhone with the Mapout app, my GPS is all the time recording or following a monitor and wishes charging day by day, I take a tonne of images on my digital camera, and I prefer to deliver alongside a small speaker and take heed to tunes!

Is it finest to cost a tool immediately into the Beacon, or cost an influence financial institution through the day, and discharge it into a tool at evening? I requested David Dean what he suggests: “The difficulty with charging at low velocity is that the USB output present decreases with decrease velocity, so the query is how the machine behaves when that happpens. Ideally, the machine simply reduces its present draw and continues charging with no matter present is obtainable. The annoying factor that some gadgets do is, as soon as the present hits some threshold, cease charging after which resume charging a second later, and that loop repeats. So there’s nothing elementary about smartphones, or GPS items, or energy banks, to power them to behave someway. Some telephones do an amazing job with charging from decrease present, and a few energy banks don’t. The advice to make use of an influence financial institution comes from the empirical statement that the majority energy banks do an excellent job of charging from decrease present, and in addition in the event that they do often cease charging at low velocity, they don’t beep or vibrate or activate their display when that occurs, so that they don’t annoy you or waste treasured energy. Alternatively some smartphones, GPS items, and many others, don’t cost effectively at low speeds, and after they hit that threshold they normally do a kind of buzz/vibrate/screen-on behaviors which might be each annoying and wasteful. So it normally comes all the way down to experimentation together with your specific machine – for those who decelerate and your cellphone or GPS retains charging, then it’s tremendous to simply cost it immediately from the Beacon. If it stops charging or fluctuates between charging and never, or retains beeping at you, then for that individual machine I’d suggest charging an influence financial institution as a substitute.”

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

Taking this suggestion to coronary heart, I tended to plug my 10,000mha Anker energy financial institution into the Beacon, and use it to cost different gadgets after I wanted to, together with my digital camera. However I did discover that when my Hammerhead Karoo 2 was plugged in immediately – which is notoriously sluggish to cost even from a wall plug and extra power-hungry than the Wahoo – in powersave mode its cost largely stayed fixed as I rode round. When utilizing its map or following a route – which usually has a noticeable impact on battery life – it dwindled far slower than it might in any other case.

As an experiment, I made a decision to restrict myself to a totally charged 10,000mAh cache battery and the Beacon on a multi-day tour – researching and documenting the hilly Vuelta de Santiago Apoala route – that will usually see me charging up gadgets as I’m going from out there retailers. The excellent news? The journey went as deliberate and all my treasured electronics saved operating! Moreover, not solely did I preserve every little thing topped up, however there was a sure satisfaction from being extra self-reliant, and in today of rising vitality prices, not being a burden on native companies. Exterior of this experiment, I’d usually cost up my energy financial institution from a wall outlet as and when the state of affairs introduced itself – staying within the odd resort, for example – and depend on the Beacon the remainder of the time.

There have been too many variables in my driving to know precisely how lengthy it took to cost my Anker. I’m additionally not the form of bikepacker who spends the longest of hours within the saddle day by day, and I prefer to cease to talk or take images pretty often. Cost trickles in through the day nevertheless it is a sluggish course of, a minimum of on the filth roads and throughout the form of crumpled terrain that I experience in Mexico. I additionally needed to be cautious that on lengthy, tough stuff descents, the cable didn’t by accident dislodge from the USB-C port of my battery, losing all these helpful, energy-creating kilometers.

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

Energy banks/cache batteries

Talking of batteries, selecting an applicable energy financial institution might be complicated too. What capability is finest? Is there a drawback to carrying a bigger energy financial institution or are smaller ones finest?

David Dean weighed in as soon as extra: “All USB gadgets work at 5V, and the Beacon’s charging present is about 500mA because of the limitations of the dynamo. So any energy financial institution you utilize, no matter capability, goes to be charged at 5V / 500mA, or 2.5W. What journeys up some individuals with a bigger capability is that it does take longer to totally cost the battery, however that’s solely due to the bigger capability – the entire vitality that you just ship to the battery through the course of the day can be saved, but when it’s 50% of a 5000mAh battery it would solely be 10% of a 25,000mAh battery. And since most energy banks use 4 LEDs to point cost stage, you would possibly experience all day, and put 2500mAh into that giant battery, however the LED indicator doesn’t go as much as the subsequent stage, and also you assume that it’s not being charged. However these 2500mAh that you just generated ARE in there! The one factor I’ve seen about some bigger capacities is that they generally have a better minimal charging present, like my instance about smartphones and GPS items within the reply above. So a 25,000mAh battery would possibly solely cost when driving above a sure velocity, whereas the ten,000mAh battery continues charging. Each batteries nonetheless draw the identical quantity of energy when they’re charging, it’s simply that the bigger battery may need some minimal as a way to preserve charging. This isn’t a blanket assertion about all bigger capacities, it’s actually simply pieced collectively from buyer emails the place an unspecified bigger capability battery didn’t cost, and a smaller capability did. I assume there are a lot of larger-capacity batteries on the market that cost simply tremendous at low speeds. My really helpful energy financial institution capability is 10,000 – 12,000mAh. I feel this can be a good steadiness of dimension, weight, and electrical capability, and appears to be sufficiently small to keep away from the above subject. No downside to make use of a smaller one if that’s what works for you, however I don’t see an excessive amount of benefit in utilizing a bigger battery most often.”

Most energy banks will both cost or ship saved energy to a tool, slightly than providing output as they’re charging. Nevertheless, extra specialist ‘pass-through’ batteries are additionally out there, and may iron out the problems skilled when immediately charging a wise cellphone or GPS from a dynamo, as described above. Nevertheless, notice that they’re sometimes costlier, endure from decreased cost cycles, and discovering ones that work effectively might be considerably hit or miss. Because of this, I’ve tended to go along with a extra generic mannequin and settle for the storage lack of charging a battery from the dynamo through the day, then charging a tool from it at evening. If anybody has any suggestions for at the moment out there pass-through fashions – like this one from Voltaic – please let me know, as I’d prefer to attempt one out.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

How about cable size? “USB cable size or high quality makes a small, however measurable distinction. My recommendation can be to make use of simply the size that’s wanted however to not stress over it an excessive amount of. In case your cellphone is in your handlebar bag, don’t use a 6′ cable. However I wouldn’t fear about it to the purpose of placing your machine someplace inconvenient simply to make use of a shorter cable.” Definitely, I’ve discovered that mounting the dynammo on the handlebars helps on this regard – it retains cable size brief, simple to entry, and out of the way in which from mud and muck.

Mounting the Sinewave Beacon 2

As talked about, the Sinewave has a 10mm mounting tab and might be fitted to your fork blade or crown, to a rack, or on the handlebars with the likes of mounts from B&M, Supernova, and Schmidt. I’m now a fan of Dr J0n’s Mission Management Deck, utilizing a further GoPro adaptor, because it locations the beam out of the way in which of the wheel, cables, luggage, and cockpit paraphernalia. The change is simple to get to and the entire unit is fast to put in or take away – when placing my bike in a bus, and even when flipping the bike the other way up to work on it. I can run my GPS proper subsequent to the Beacon to cost it, or route a cable right into a prime tube bag or stem bag with my energy financial institution. With the GoPro adaptor, you can too reap the benefits of every kind of third-party, out-front mounts designed for handlebars.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

  • Sinewave Beacon dynamo light
  • Sinewave beacon

Pictures: The unique Beacon, seen right here hooked up utilizing an Dr J0n Mission Management (simply eliminated for journey), together with a customized clamp on the handlebar, a Surly 8-Pack Rack, and to a modified Nitto M-18. The final three is utilizing a Supernova Multimount.


In case you’re new to the world of dynamo lights, there’s some preliminary setup required, depending on the dynamo hub you’re operating. For an SP or Shimano hub, you’ll must comply with these steps. The “scorching” and “floor” wire solely applies to the Shimano hubs; SP hubs don’t floor by means of the axle.

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

An older 135 QR SON 28 on a Tumbleweed Prospector, and my newer (and rather more costly) 150TA model, on a Jones SWB.

For SON hubs – which I’ve all the time run – this is what you’ll must do. Notice that the primary steps contain separating out the 2 wires of the coaxial, and the Beacon comes with that already accomplished. You’ll then connect the Schmidt spade connectors. David Dean’s recommendation: “Peter White (the SON distributor within the US) prefers to solely crimp, however that works finest if in case you have the official and costly SON crimper software. I personally like to make use of solder and needlenose pliers.”

The SP/Shimano is fairly easy for those who can deal with a wire stripper. The SON, with the crimping and or soldering, is a little more concerned, however any dynamo-knowledgeable bike store ought to be capable of assist out.

Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

$50 Deposit

Availability is one other subject, a minimum of for the subsequent few months. At present, Beacon 2 items are delivery out to current Beacon backorders (even these positioned for Beacon 1), so spring/summer season is the estimated time that these backorders can be cleared and Sinewave can be delivery new orders. Nonetheless, a minimum of it’s only a small deposit ($50) that secures your order, so that you received’t be too out of pocket within the interim.


  • Unbelievable construct high quality – sturdy sufficient for the longest and hardest of motorbike excursions
  • Compact, all-in-one system that’s very simple and intuitive to make use of, and transfer from bike to bike
  • Flicker-free lighting, at any driving velocity
  • Sufficiently vibrant for each filth street touring, with a low energy setting that’s perfect for being seen in a metropolis
  • Can be mixed with an exterior battery for a continuing 750 lumens on techy trails, which is nice for winter evening rides
  • Retains your energy financial institution topped up, helpful when resupply factors are few and much between
  • Elegant design with a number of enjoyable color choices!


  • Symetrical beam is much less suited to commuting on unlit bike paths
  • Costly – a minimum of when in comparison with a USB-charged bike gentle
  • Charging is comparatively sluggish, and really a lot depending on terrain and driving model
  • Experimention is required to determine what gadgets cost immediately, and when it’s finest to make use of an influence financial institution (or pass-through battery)
  • Stand gentle isn’t particularly robust, although it’s in keeping with different dynamo programs
  • Within the occasion that your dynamo hub fails, you’re out of luck (and light-weight)
  • Mannequin Examined: Sinewave Beacon 2
  • Precise Weight: 115g
  • Place of Manufacture: USA
  • Worth: $350
  • Producer’s Particulars: Sinewave Cycles

Wrap Up

The Sinewave Beacon 2 appeals to me largely as a result of it’s an easy-to-use, all-in-one unit, that may shortly be put in or eliminated, swapped from bike to bike, and is principally flicker-free. It’s compact in dimension, extraordinarily effectively made, sturdy, dependable, and oh so elegant. There are dynamo lights which might be extra highly effective than 750 lumens – just like the Klite Extremely V2 and the Supernova M99 DT Professional – however for those who’re a non-competitive bikepacker, I’m undecided you want stadium-style illumination, as good because it is perhaps to have on events.

Like different premium dynamo lights available on the market, it’s going to be exhausting to justify the Beacon’s preliminary outlay for those who’re contemplating prices alone, particularly for those who don’t already personal dynamo wheel (I nonetheless wince on the value of the Son 28 150TA). In spite of everything, you might purchase a 20,000 mAh energy financial institution to maintain all of your gadgets charged for days and days on the street, and a 750 lumen USB-charged gentle, for only a fraction of the worth.

However for those who can overcome that monetary hurdle, relaxation assured that this newest model of the Beacon works fantastically effectively, and can be of specific worth to the 365-days-a-year rider. For individuals who use their bike for each transport and adventures, having a dynamo gentle that’s completely out there to you is such a boon, and having the ability to preserve gadgets charged up as you experience might be refreshingly releasing.

When it comes to bikepacking, some will little question acquire extra worth from the Beacon than others, relying on driving model, the hours you set in on the saddle, how typically you’ve entry to charging factors, and the way a lot you really pedal previous sunset. However even for those who’re like me and don’t take into account your self a nocturnal rider, there’s nonetheless actual worth in being seen to different street customers on days which have proved longer than anticipated, once you’re making a touch for a metropolis at dusk, or for driving round a metropolis within the night. While I’ll all the time carry a headlamp on a bikepacking journey and a small wall plug for charging up an influence financial institution when the chance arises, I’m not scouring eating places and cafes for coutlets through the day and I really feel far safer after I’m utilizing the Beacon at evening. Finally, I’m glad to have some reassuring redundancy in my setup on the subject of lighting and charging, particularly as I exploit it each at residence and after I’m away.

  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light
  • Sinewave Beacon 2 Review, dynamo light

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