Thread: Night riding?
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:37 AM   #10
manfromthestix
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Joined: Dec 2004
Location: Lexington, Virginia
Oddometer: 2,149
I love riding at night but like most folks was leery of the critters, idiots, drunks, etc. that are more of a problem at night of course because you just can't see all that well or far. My BMW 1150GS has pretty good stock lights but they were still not up to the task even with HID bulbs. I did a lot of research and finally landed on the low-mounted, tune-able LED Clearwater Lights "Glenda" cruising lights:



These things are AWESOME! They light up the road very well, extend my vision dramatically, REALLY light up any reflective stuff out there (signs, arrows, reflective paint, etc.) much better than the standard lights, and have proven to be bombproof and waterproof even when fully submerged riding through water crossings. I looked at high-mounted lights but decided against those because you either have to aim them away or to turn them off when other traffic approaches or you'll blind them. These lights are wired into my stock lights and go dim on low beam and high on high beam. The output of the LEDs can be tuned to whatever percentage of maximum you want when they're on low-beam and they automatically go to 100% output when you switch to high beam - fantastic when riding in traffic. Of course these would be subject to getting hit by rocks etc. if you're riding off-road with them, but I don't do much single-track or truly rough stuff with the Big Pig (I've got a WR250R for that ). I mounted the low-beam output dimmer under my left hand guard where I can get to it easily and it's out of the weather (little black knob with a blue line):



I've noticed that on-coming traffic can see me better during daylight as well - it's been a dramatic improvement in that regard. Here's the website if you're interested:

http://www.clearwaterlights.com/

I also wear gear with reflective elements (but not hi-viz) and have 3M reflective material at crucial places like the backs of the hard cases. 3M makes a material that is colored in daylight (black, red, yellow, etc. to match what you stick it on) but is highly reflective at night and even shows up at certain sun angles during the day. I don't have a photo of it on my GS luggage, but here it is on an RT I used to own:



It's black during the day and super reflective at night and can cover a very large area. I bought some red and black in 4" by 60" rolls, I think from Galls.com but it also comes in larger sheets and many colors. Here's a link to one site:

http://www.cutterpros.com/3M-Vinyl-R...tive-15-01.htm

Good luck with your efforts to light up the night! Once you get comfortable with your lights and other visibility needs it really is a whole new world of riding enjoyment.

Doug
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