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Thread: MOTOLIGHTS, PIAA's, or HID's

  1. #1
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    MOTOLIGHTS, PIAA's, or HID's

    I received a PM from a member and felt like my answer might benefit all so here it is with the member's id removed (hope I'm not being too austentacious (sp?):

    [quote]
    XXXX wrote on 12-12-2003 08:58 PM:
    Danny,

    You said that Motolight bulbs could be found in Home Depot, etc. But PIAA couldn't. I'm trying to decide which added light set to install on a new purchase, R1150RT, or if to go with HID. I haven't looked into HID yet. Just the difference in bulb cost would keep me from the PIAA if theirs is $45 or so. What advice or comments can you provide me? My email is XXXX Thanks for anything you can comment about.

    My answer:

    I know that the PIAA bulb's are pretty expensive, I think they are at least that much but can't say first hand. Some guys swear by them. As for HID, I did some "light" research on the internet into HID conversions, headlights, etc. There are some very technical sites out there that show that a lot of the conversions are rip-offs and that the normal headlight housing is unsuitable for HID's. This is all mainly in reference to automobiles but I think can safely be extropolated to bikes as well. As for a complete HID unit, there are also a lot of "faux" HID's out there along with some questionable marketing schemes in relation to blue lights etc. To make a long story short, apparent brightness has little to do with actual output of lumens. One light may appear to be brighter when you stand in front of it simply because it glares more instead of focusing the light where you need it. Also, there is a big difference in directing focused light far ahead and spreading out the light to provide "fill" light in the short and medium distances. I wish I could remember some of the sites I found all this on but they are on another computer (surely not at work! . I hope this helps but what it really does is show you how complex the issue really is. The backing of warranties by both PIAA and MOTOLIGHTS seem to be about on par with one another if you just read the posts on line. I like the ability to repair on the road just in case so I went with the MOTOLIGHT. My big need wasn't for long range light (02 R1100SBX), which I felt was more than adequate on my bike, but for fill lighting in the hard corners when I am really leaned over and the forward light cutoff seems like it is about 10 feet out in front of me because of the angle!

  2. #2
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of MotoLights- they did wonders for night lighting on my old K100RT. They punched a HUGE hole in the night, especially out in remote places where the useful light is what you bring with you.
    That having been said, PIAAs appear to offer more options for placement and mounting.
    During my nearly-a-year hiatus from riding MotoLight appears to have changed their mounting setup to be easier to install but the new caliper-bolt mount appears to offer even less flexibility in placement. I found that with the old band-style mounts I could put the light higher than suggested (which I found useful for keeping the light on the road through hills and turns) and I could angle the light soutward a tad, which gave a broader area of illumination that included the margins of the road and didn't waste as much light in overlapping illuminated areas (which happens when two lights are mounted so close together).
    But I still have MotoLights on my shopping list of stuff for the R100R, once the paychecks start rolling again someday...
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  3. #3
    R1100R "Traveler" DesertRider's Avatar
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    Motolights are nice, but they're not terribly powerful. The bulbs are small MR16 consumer bulbs such as those used on halogen reading and decorative lights, and that's really what's nice about them: They don't draw much current (6 amps for two lamps), the bulbs are cheap (less than $10 at any hardware store), and the light output is low enough that you can run them as conspicuity lights day and night. I have Motolights on my R1100R and they work fine for the purposes I wanted: Conspicuity lights that I run all the time, and some supplementary illumination, particularly in case I lose the headlight beam while on a dark road some night, in which case the Motolights will give me enough light to pull over safely.

    But Motolights are not bright enough to be driving lights. They will not provide a lot of illumination way down the road at night (though they may provide a useful bit of side lighting, if you want that). If you want a long, powerful beam, get some real driving lights such as PIAAs, Hellas, or other true driving lights.

    One nice thing about Motolights is that because they use the common MR16 consumer bulbs you can get them in an endless variety of colors, beam patterns, and wattages. Go to a hardware or lighting store and see the huge variety of MR16 bulbs available -- you could do some really cool things with them.
    DesertRider in sunny Arizona, USA


  4. #4
    SNOONE
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    I have recently installed motolites and am very satisfied with what they do.

    The bulbs are cheap, but if I remember correctly I think that motolite will replace any bulb N/C for the lifetime of the lights with the original owner.

  5. #5
    Subzero Scooter Idiot oldcarkook's Avatar
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    I have PIAA 80s mounted on my R11RT on mirror bracket mounts. I like them high because they have wide separation and it seems to prevent a lot of left turn jammers for what it's worth. I learned that some states have a prohibition on any driving lights that are mounted above the headlight, but it's not a problem for me on inspections. Be aware of that before you mount them up high.
    Experience is the comb that mother nature gives us when we are bald

  6. #6
    YO YO! LICK MY BRICK's Avatar
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    I also use MOTO lights and love them,and yes the bulbs are cheap,but be careful when you buy replacements,particuly higher wattage bulbs.I replaced my 35 watt ones that came with the MOTO lights with 50 watt ones.the 35 watt has a 8 degree narrow spot beam(NSP),I had to go to a electrical supply house to order 50 watt at 10 degrees narrow spot beam.Any higher wattage bulb that was avalible only came in wider beam or a 40 degree flood beam (FL) wich is what you find at home depot ect.I did not want a flood beam because I like to use my lights all the time , that means you will blind other drivers at night,and we know that is not a good thing. but if you don't mind turning them off every time a car comes in your direction go for it. the flood beam dose light up the road much better at higher wattages,but they don't work very well in the fog, and don't throw the light down the road as far as a narrow spot beam would.You can put up to a 75 watt bulb in each light.Hope my to cents helps you.

    Keep it rubber side down
    Jayson Vilett 1993 K1100RS silk blue

  7. #7
    looking for a coal mine knary's Avatar
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    small reminder: there are other options other than piaas and motolights. (and often cheaper)


  8. #8
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    I got great results from the Motos with the stock lamps by mounting them way up high on the fork leg, as high as I could without interfering with the reflectors or fender. I then angled them down at the road so that the spots were about as far out as a headlamp spot, maybe just a smidge more. I then angled them outenough to give good margin lighting and separate the spots from overlap. The high location also made them more effective on less-than-flat roads.
    The Motos were a HUGE improvement over the K100RT's headlamp, which was like a candle- or two candles when it was on highbeam. They not only punched a huge hole in the night but got several comments on their daytime-conspicuity brightness as well.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  9. #9
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    Motolights, PIAA's or HID's

    I just put a pair of Hella FF50 lights on my GS, just like in the picture Scott posted. I picked them up on Ebay (new) for $45 and the price included shipping, which was quite a savings over anything I could find from PIAA. I just took a look on Ebay and they're available for even less now ($39). They're very bright.

  10. #10
    Gary99
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    I have Motolites, and I think they are a good short range light useful in turns, but they are not the answer to night lighting completely. Also have an HID low beam. The combination of the two solves about all problems. Recently put the 55W narrow angle bulbs in the Motolites, but do not have enough night riding time with them to offer an opinion. A point of concern is my 35W floods were burning the lenses. I run the Motolites all the time as conspicuity lights, and they seem to do a great job at that. Think that it is the triangular pattern that does the job in this respect, and not particularly the wattage.

  11. #11
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by knary
    small reminder: there are other options other than piaas and motolights. (and often cheaper)

    Thanks for that tip some months ago.

    The FF50s are all I needed and at the price they went for, you can't beat them.

  12. #12
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Not a cheaper option, but anybody have any experience/opinion with the lights Saeng is offerring now, I think called Night-Cutters or something like that?
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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