I've been meaning to post about my auxiliary lighting, as I get quite a few questions about it. Note that I take lighting very seriously, as I do a lot of nighttime miles and I want to see as much of the road ahead as possible. Like anything else, the good stuff isn't cheap, but neither is smashing up the bike in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere.
I am running four HID driving lights in addition to the BMW factory Xenon low beam. These are mounted on a custom bracket that a friend and I welded up in his garage. I played with mirror mounts for a while, but the angles and depths were weird, plus I couldn't get anything quite strong enough to hold the larger, heavier lights. The Jimmy Mounts are good for small lights, but not all that strong (and crazy expensive), nor do they allow enough room for anything with a decent sized reflector (and thus a larger light body).
The four ballasts are mounted on the shelf in front of the ABS module, where some folks have mounted a Stebel horn (my horn is mounted under the right side panel instead).
So while I would have preferred a higher mounting location, what we came up with has been working fine for the last 60K miles or so.
Note that the links given below are the places that I actually bough each of the lights from. In all cases, these are smaller vendors who understand motorcycles very well, because they actually ride themselves. And they've all given great service, from my initial questions, through the ordering and shipping, and into after sales care. These are the type of folks that I like to do business with.
The upper oblong lights are the 3rd Generation Philips HIDs
. They give a great width of light, but not quite enough down-road punch for me. I'd say at best they reach about as far as the stock high beams do, with just a bit more brightness than the factory halogen bulbs. Which isn't quite enough for how I ride.
So the right one is aimed farther down the road but turned out towards the right ditch and trees (to catch those pesky deer), and the left one is aimed slightly more centered and down just a bit, to minimize glare to oncoming traffic. That allows me to fill in the holes left by the stock HID low beam, but still keep them on full time in most situations. Any sort of divided road, like an Interstate or a local highway with a dedicated middle lane for left turns gives enough "clearance" so that 99% of drivers aren't bothered. I will dim them just as I come up to pass a slower car in the right lane (or else flood their interior with HID brilliance
), but they go back on as soon as I pass their front bumper. If car and pedestrian traffic is heavy when passing through small towns I'll turn them off, but if it's very late and the streets are empty I'll leave them on, which means I can usually see into shop windows and a bit down alleys and such.
The lower round lights are the newer 4th Generation Philips HIDs
. These put out a simply awesome amount of illumination. Think of football stadium flood lights. Seriously. In fact, I can't use them if there is any oncoming traffic in the next 1/2 mile or more. But if I'm alone on the highway (which is reasonable frequent given the miles I do, especially at night) then I have daylight at the flick of a switch. Or if I'm climbing some random mountain in the wee small hours (also reasonably frequently for me) then I can see not only way down the road, but out through the trees and beyond.
Trust me, when the 4G lights are on, I can't even tell if my high beam is active or not.
The only thing I'd still like to add is a set of low-wattage amber fog lights somewhere down on the forks. This gives much better penetration in dense fog where you can't run the brights due to back-glare (remember that comment about climbing mountains in the wee small hours?). It also gives that daytime triangle of light to catch the brain-dead cager's attention, and the amber makes it stand out even more (besides having better fog penetration). In fact, I already have the lights (a set of Hella FF50's with their fog lenses
), but I've yet to work out a suitable bracket.
Well, that and a FLIR infrared night vision system
'13 Dark Graphite Metallic K16GTLD, 24K miles and counting...
'09 Magnesium Beige Metallic K13GT, 60K miles miles and counting...
'02 Mauve Metallic K12LTC, 106K miles and sold
BMWLT#145, IBA# 366, MOA# 111996, SCMA# 24032
All lower 48 states plus Alaska on the K13GT in two weeks . . .
Some people see the gas tank as half empty. Some see it as half full. All I care is that I know where the next tankful is coming from...