Product: Busch and Müller USB-Werk
Cost: €64.90 (28th November 2016)
Duration used: 170+ days
Purchased from: ROSE bikes
Probably the most simple USB charging device
Splash-proof caps protect connectors from water
Built-in cache battery improves charging experience
The USB female connector can easily become damaged
Doesn’t seem to function well connected directly to phones or bike computers
Installing the B&M USB-WERK
Installation is simple and B&M provide all the necessary connectors and cables you will need to get the device working on your bike. What comes in the box is more or less the following:
- a female USB adaptor
- the USB-WERK itself
- caps for SON and Shimano dynamo hubs
- a velcro strap for securing the female USB adaptor to the frame
- rubber bands for attaching the USB-WERK to your frame
Installation is then very simple:
- Simply insert the wires into your dynamo hub (included connectors for SON and Shimano hubs), bend them backwards and attach the respective cap to complete installation at the hub
- Next, run the cable up your fork, attaching included cable ties at appropriate points to ensure the cable does not stray into the spokes. Mount the USB-WERK to your frame and attach the input and output connectors. That’s it! You’re ready to plug in a USB device to the female output port.
Charging with the USB-WERK
The USB-WERK has a built-in cache battery with a capacity of 150mAh, enough to ensure constant charging in most situations. Your dynamo first charges the cache battery which in turn discharges a constant current via USB into your chosen device. B&M claim that this makes for seamless charging of devices directly from the USB-WERK, but we choose to charge a larger battery pack instead. We do this to avoid damaging connector ports from constant vibrations of the road; we damaged the micro-USB ports on our phone and GoPro by having the cables plugged in whilst riding! Also, if anything were to malfunction with the USB-WERK, at least we will not ruin an expensive piece of equipment.
Don’t expect huge amounts of energy from the USB-WERK unless you are cycling really considerable distances each day at speeds greater than 15km/h. Our hub, the Shutter Precision PV-8, only outputs current from 8km/h, which can be a struggle to attain when climbing mountains! On days like these, the USB-WERK doesn’t see any action and we make use of the solar panel instead. Thin tires and a light bike will make using any dynamo charging system more profitable, but that isn’t always an option when you are on a fully-loaded cycling tour.
Simplicity is a key feature of the USB-WERK. Everything has been done to make the user experience as easy as possible, right down from the included accessories in the box to the USB output cable. Busch and Müller offer a much more advanced system, the E-WERK, with tweakable voltage designed to power a diverse array of bicycle mounted devices. The USB-WERK is a stripped down version of this, designed to do exactly what it says on the tin.
When our solar panel malfunctioned and we were unable to charge via solar, the USB-WERK stepped up to the challenge and, even biking just 3 hours a day, we were able to keep our Garmin GPS and one mobile phone fully charged without needing to invade somebody’s home for mains electricity. This is a big deal in places where there might not even be access to electricity. For that reason alone, we feel that the USB-WERK is a good investment for any world tourer living entirely off the grid.