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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
Photo by Igor Djokovic, camping above San Juan river, Arizona USA

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Igor Djokovic,
camping above San Juan river,
Arizona USA



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  #1  
Old 18 Oct 2020
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Spot lights

Q: How can you ID a Honda LED Headlight in the dark?

A: Hold it up to your ear like a seashell. If you can hear the ghost of Joe Lucas laughing its the real thing.

This morning I had a slow ride in the dark. The CB500X's headlight, after adjustment to stop it dazzling oncoming traffic remains useless. The beam is so flat you've simply a choice of which yard of road directly ahead you'd like to see. The CB's massive acceleration and braking forces are equally capable of moving the illuminated patch up or down the road at random

So, spot lights. I think I want one "pool" type to give a splash into hedgerows and a more focused type to get some light up the road. Do such things exist? Any recommendations?

Cheers

Andy
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  #2  
Old 18 Oct 2020
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Back in the day I had a couple of Cibie Oscar rally lights on a few bikes (initially an early GoldWing and then moved them onto other stuff). They were absolutely fantastic and lit the road up like daylight but obviously a bit bulky for smaller bikes. A lot of the led spotlights on the market at the moment advertise lumen levels that would put the Oscars to shame but the ones I’ve tried (cheap ones!) are nothing like as good - they lack penetration. I initially thought it was something to do with the size of the reflector - the Oscars were 8” and the spotlights about 2.5- but the led headlights on our modern Mini are about spotlight size and they’re great.

If you do find good aftermarket ones I would mention one thing. I wired the Oscars to come on with the main beam and that enabled a decent cruising speed - until I had to dip. Then I dropped down from 3 lights to one and couldn’t see anything at a time when oncoming lights were blinding me. I’m still looking for decent led ‘driving’ lights but all of the sub £20 Chinese ones I’ve tried have not been good enough
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  #3  
Old 18 Oct 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Threewheelbonnie View Post
...I think I want one "pool" type to give a splash into hedgerows and a more focused type to get some light up the road. Do such things exist? Any recommendations?
Hi Andy:

Such things do exist. When it comes to adding auxiliary lighting to motorcycles, you have a very wide range of choices. It's important that you determine ahead of time exactly what you want to accomplish (e.g. wide hedgerow lighting at 30 to 40 MPH speeds, narrow focused driving lights for 70 MPH plus speeds), then look carefully at the beam pattern specifications of various products to ensure you get the result you want.

The amount of lumens (light intensity) that an auxiliary light puts out is not as important a consideration as the beam pattern. In other words, if the lamp is illuminating the treetops rather than the road ahead, it doesn't matter how bright the treetops are, 'cause that is of no benefit to you.

Before you buy, determine what the alternator output of your motorcycle is, and what the typical electrical demand on your bike's system is when riding with the high beam illuminated (and the heated grips on, and heated seat, etc. if you have any of those additional loads). Smaller Honda motorcycles - the ones below Gold Wing or ST 1300 size - have very little additional electrical capacity. You can find the information you need about electrical loads & baseline current draw from a model-specific motorcycle forum.

If you inadvertently overload your bike's electrical system, you could soon have a burned-out alternator, or dead battery - either of which could leave you stuck at the side of the road at night, not at all a pleasant prospect. So "for sure", do the research on load capacity before you start looking for lights.

Michael
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Old 19 Oct 2020
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I mourn the days of the huge 10" headlamps of old. The first ludicrous headlights I remember seeing on a new bike were the two pin-holes in the fairing of the first Yamaha Fazer.

I've only fitted aux' headlights on my GS and they did a wonderful job of broadening my view of the road on full beam, but not for use with oncoming traffic.

Paneuropean's advice seems sound and the point of spare capacity is a good one. So much so that I think LEDs are the clear choice.

I'm an electrics neanderthal so I won't bother making recommendations on specs, but I will on layout.

Could a set of these (or something similar) fit under the front fairing without interfering with the mudguard under fork compression?
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  #5  
Old 19 Oct 2020
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Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
If you do find good aftermarket ones I would mention one thing. I wired the Oscars to come on with the main beam and that enabled a decent cruising speed - until I had to dip. Then I dropped down from 3 lights to one and couldn’t see anything at a time when oncoming lights were blinding me. I’m still looking for decent led ‘driving’ lights but all of the sub £20 Chinese ones I’ve tried have not been good enough
A good point - I used to run big Cibie lights way back when too, and the only solution I found was a spot for distance and a flood on high beam, and a fog on low, or I also played with just keeping the flood set low and on always.

I also tried two lights set up high, and crossing over - when leaned over, they lit up the corners nicely.
Today I'd be looking at LED's only, the lower amount of juice they require for even more light is amazing and useful - you can just add more lights, or an electric vest, gloves, seat or whatever you like, depending, as noted, on your alternator output.

Adding up the numbers is a great start to make sure you're still charging, but best in the end is to hook up an ammeter and see if it is really still charging - or losing - and at what RPM! Old airheads were useless below about 3500 RPM - and there was a lot of trouble with them in the early days when they arrived in North America with charging issues - constant dead batteries. Turned out North Americans were using to loooow revving bikes, and rode the BMW's the same - and they were always undercharging.

On LED's - no expert here - but my understanding is that there is a very wide range of quality and output. Shop carefully!

YMMV - experimenting is the only way to get it right.
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  #6  
Old 6 Nov 2020
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I have been using LED lights for years on all my bikes
Cost about £15 for a pair , and last a long time
I just wire them to my dip beam, and go off on high beam, no need to fit a relay .
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Old 6 Nov 2020
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Originally Posted by badou24 View Post
I have been using LED lights for years on all my bikes
Cost about £15 for a pair , and last a long time
I just wire them to my dip beam, and go off on high beam, no need to fit a relay .
Can you remember where you got them, or failing that have a picture of them? Now that winter's here I'm back on my annual auxillary lights quest.

Most of the cheap Chinese LED auxiliary lights I've come across are not just on / off but have a high / low / flash sequential setup that makes them close to unusable. There's a raft of YouTube videos showing you which chip to cut from the circuit board to fix that but my circuit boards never look like theirs.
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Old 6 Nov 2020
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These don't flash

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Biqing-Moto...F0K746N8EGNVDM

Andy
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Old 6 Nov 2020
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Mounting brackets are Pooratrek as the originals have no adjustment.

Andy
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  #10  
Old 6 Nov 2020
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e/bay £14.99 a pair
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  #11  
Old 6 Nov 2020
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Andy - those look just the job. They're about the same size as the three unusable ones I've got sitting in a box on my desk but you get the choice of ordering them as single on/off mode or the flashing mode. I saw that a couple of the reviews complained about the flashing mode so either they didn't click the right box when ordering or the on/off only option has only recently been introduced. Either way I think I'll be getting a couple - always assuming you've been happy with yours.

You've not had any problems with them have you? I only ask because I put the first two I bought seven or eight years ago on my little Suzuki for the Elephant rally only to find they both packed up after a few days. When I took them apart afterwards I found that the same capacitor on both circuit boards had snapped off with vibration. I resoldered them and fixed them in place with hot melt glue and they were fine afterwards (till the flashing mode drove me mad) but it taught me not to take the construction stds for granted - they were Chinese after all.


Badou - do yours look like Andy's or are they square ones? I had a look through Ebay for whatever was available for £14.99/pr but there were hundreds of them, mostly quite large and pictured on trucks. If yours are not like that I must have missed them.
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  #12  
Old 6 Nov 2020
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I have used these for years . non flashing . last a very long time .
e/bay item no....124416962306.....heavenumbrella £ 14 29 for 2
Keith
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  #13  
Old 7 Nov 2020
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I've had mine fitted for all of 300 miles, so saying I'm satisfied is hardly a serious endorsement

On the last bike I had that needed them (NC750S) I used the Cree clones with the Hexagonal metal cage and sure enough during the last winter one got stuck in flashing mode, so your concern is justified. The other failed shortly afterwards.

As the choice seems to be Chinese tat or £150 professional stuff there is tough choice. I'm working on the theory a UK seller would at least replace duff out of the box ones and there is a 50/50 chance working tat will see me through to the next bike in 2023.

Andy
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  #14  
Old 7 Nov 2020
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Most of myne have lasted aoprox 2 years / 30,000 miles
Just buy 4 for £ 30 and replace
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  #15  
Old 7 Nov 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badou24 View Post
I have used these for years . non flashing . last a very long time .
e/bay item no....124416962306.....heavenumbrella £ 14 29 for 2
Keith
Many thanks for that link - they look equally good. Just goes to show there's so much stuff on eBay there's always something you'll miss. I've spent hours looking at lights there and not come across those ones.

I've also spent hours looking on AliExpress but my rule of thumb with ordering direct from China is that it's stuff with no moving parts only.
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