I recently purchased a used front wheel that was built with a Shimano DH-3N80 dynohub, the latest (or at least one of the most recent) iterations of the venerable Shimano design.
For around 10 years, I’ve been riding a DH-3N70, which has worked amazingly well, and which formed the basis of my review here. I assumed that the changes over time were primarily cosmetic. I was wrong.
First, weight. I have held both my original fron wheel (DH-3N70 laced 32x with butted spokes to a Velo Orange PBP rim, and DH-3N80 laced 32x with unbutted spokes to an H Plus Son Archetype rim, both with Velox tape) and the latter wheel, even though the specs for the Archetype make it slightly heaver than the PBP (a nominal 470 grams v. a nominal 450 grams), the the newer wheel felt lighter, perhaps due to the 50+g weight drop in the DH-3N80.
Which is all very well, but does a net difference of an ounce make all that much difference?
More important is that the notchiness of the 3N80 is significantly reduced without any noticeable lessening of power output. The hub simply turns more smoothly, both with and without the lighting system engaged.
Also notable is that the power connector (the plug is the same one used on all of the Shimano dynohubs) clicks on much more securely. In fact, it takes a little work to get it off, which is not a bad thing.
And, finally, a confession. I really like the Archetype rim. It’s the best-feeling, most solid rim I’ve ridden in quite a few years. This one happens to be black, which rather showy white lettering, but the combination of that rim and a blackwall tire actually looks pretty good with aluminum fenders. I may be building a new rear wheel soon…