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Thread: auxiliary light recommendations

  1. #1
    1-2-3-Kick It criminaldesign's Avatar
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    auxiliary light recommendations

    Hi All, I have an '88 R100RS. I'm looking into purchasing some additional lighting as my night riding could be a bit brighter and cover more area (time for the deer to start jumping).

    I checked out the PIAA, but I'm not really in a position to drop too much cash on lighting but I don't want to be riding with clear xmas lights either. What's anyones thoughts on these or anything comparable/affordable? Thanks, H
    Houston Mac
    '88 R100RS Saboteur
    MOA# 144652 | Airhead# 11105
    www.hhmcreative.com

  2. #2
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Here you go:)

    A couple ideas! First, you better give your charging system some thought, as to how much draw it can take and still keep the battery fresh. A good "voltmeter" on the dash will always keep you informed as you ride. Its one of my best features I ever added to mine, the voltmeter. R100/7 here and I also added the Omega alternator system at 400+ watts output vs. the standard BMW 280w. Just some thought and your stock alternator WILL drive some lights, but know the stock bike has limits here.
    Lights: I've had the PIAA's and YES, they are pricey and good stuff. BUT, you can find replica's, nearly exact look a likes at many many auto parts stores and I did this for my last KLT. For 45$, my Kragen Auto Parts had the exact same lookalike PIAA's, with 35w, H4 bulbs, easy to replace when needed. BOY what a deal and I used them for 6 years without fail. Whatever light you find, be sure it has a common bulb found nearly anywhere, because I've seen many lights with bulbs hard to get! I think the PIAA's have a 55w bulb, but the above mentioned deal I found with the 35w ones worked very well for me for years. My '95 R1100GS had the PIAA's and the only set I ever used. Very good, but I too want to save some money when I can. Happy Trails, Randy

  3. #3
    1-2-3-Kick It criminaldesign's Avatar
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    auxiliary light recommendations

    Thanks polarbear, appreciate the insight. h
    Houston Mac
    '88 R100RS Saboteur
    MOA# 144652 | Airhead# 11105
    www.hhmcreative.com

  4. #4
    2003 K1200LT rvb1019's Avatar
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    Have you considered switching the headlight to HID. I purchased PIAAS and HID for my 03 LT. Once I installed the HID, I realized I didn't need the PIAAS for seeing. I sold them straight away. If you want to see, go HID.

    If you want to be seen, motolights on the front brake calipers are the way to go. It gives you three points of light for other motorists to see you! They give you a little more visibility but their benefit is to have other drivers see you.

  5. #5
    Registered User Bob_M's Avatar
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    The Aerostich catalog has some HID lights that have come down in price quite a bit.

    Ditto on evaluating the charging system before adding the lights.

  6. #6
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Hella FF50 Driving Lights

    They are inexpensive and light up the road very well. I paid as little as $30 for my second set; I have a set on each of my motorcycles.

    Although impressive to some and annoying to on-coming traffic, paying hundreds to light up the road where you won't be for another 60 seconds doesn't make a lot of sense.

  7. #7
    Registered User ArthurKnowles's Avatar
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    I agree that the charging system is the first thought to consider when it comes time to add additional lighting. Having said that, HID lights are always better. HID uses 35 watts vs 55 watts for standard bulbs and offer 3 times the light intensity.

    I personally would recommend upgrading your headlight to HID first. Then add auxillary lights. If you go that route, then consider the Trail Tech SCRM16 lights. I've added both to my R1100RT and am very happy with the results. But if I could only do one, the HID upgrade tothe headlight offers the best bang for the buck.

    I used VVME.COM for my HID upgrade. Cheapiest price I could find with good quality, but the shipping can bring the price up. Best to order multiple light sets if you really want to save money. FWIW, I purchased a set to upgrade my LT's high beam too. Both upgrades worked very well and I sold the second ballast/bulb set to help recupe some of the money I paid on the upgrade.

    If you do buy HID, 4300K is the best (brightest/whitest) color. My TT lights are 5300K though and I honestly cannot tell the difference in color. They all look bright white with just a tinge of blue. 6000K and up though you start to lose brightness.
    2009 Titan Silver Metallic R1200RT (Sierra BMW/Zonta Club raffle winner)
    1996 Cirrus Blue Metallic R1100RT (Garaged)
    2006 Magnesium Black Metallic K1200LT (sold)

  8. #8
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    I've also been told that a relay for your headlight can increase the brightness noticably. They can be had from Eastern beaver. Jim also sells accesory outlets as well as other electical wirring. Very neat installations and quick srvice, shipping. Be careful you don't use too much power on your airhead. You may need to upgade your charging system otherwise.

  9. #9
    Alps Adventurer GlobalRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrn View Post
    I've also been told that a relay for your headlight can increase the brightness noticably.
    A relay to increase brightness? Thats news to me. I use a relay to handle the current that a normal switch can't.

    If you want bright, you want as few voltage drops across contacts as possible and as little voltage drop (*) in your wiring which is why you use multi-stranded wire and the correct gauge.

    (*) based on memory, a 0.5 volt drop from your source to the load in a 14V system is what is accepted, and 1V drop in a 28V system, at least in aircraft.

  10. #10
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I am currently riding a k75RTP and an R1150R. Both have 700 watt alternators. I have Motolights which I run "full time" as conspicuity lights in the daytime, and as low-beam lights at night. I have 55 watt H3 driving lights (PIAA 510 on the K75, Pilot brand on the R1150R) which run with high beam at night.

    On my F650 with its puny 400 watt alternator I don't have auxiliary lights. If I do put them on this bike they will be HID because of the electron efficiency vs light output. I really like the concept of the new self-contained (integral ballast) PIAA HID lights. But the $$$ is a bit off-putting. Other HID stuff is available at lower prices.

    If I was trying to outfit an Airhead with lights, and still wanted heated clothing, etc. I'm afraid HID would be the way I would go - even the $$$ considered.

    A lot depends on how you ride. Lots of traffic, stop & go, and short trips are a lot different than start and ride tank-to-tank, as far as the alternator keeping up is concerned.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  11. #11
    BMW MOV Club Director ENFOMAN's Avatar
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    Once you had settled the charging issue, I had just found PIAA type knock off at Wally world w/ 55 watt bulbs drawing about 9 amps for the low low price of about $15.00. you will need to buy a 30A bosh type relay seperatly.

  12. #12
    Registered User R100RS's Avatar
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    Do the math on your charging system before you decide. Here are the calcs I ran for my airhead (same as yours):

    Ignition - 100W (estimate/guess?)
    Headlight - 55W (low beam) / 100W (my upgraded high beam - normal is 60W high)
    Taillight - 1W (estimated - I have LED tail/brake/license light)
    Handlebar heaters - 36W (I have Polly snowmobile handlebar heaters)
    Misc electronics - 24W (conservative estimate of 2A for MP3, Radar, GPS, mixer, etc)

    Total - 216W (low beam) / 261W (w/ my upgraded high beam)
    Max of alternator - 280W

    With my 100W high beam, I wasn't concerned with needing additional light with the high beam (it's plenty bright). I wanted to supplement my low beam to create a larger viewable area at night (especially close to the road). With my high beam on, I am basically out of capacity before adding any lights, anyway.

    So, if I used it only with low beam a single 55W driving light would push me to the edge, and I would be losing power at much less than optimal alternator output. A single 35W driving light would still give a small reserve.

    I opted to go with a pair of 55W each Hella FF50's along with a 700W alternator that has an R1150R wrapped around it. I run the FF50's all the time and it really lights up the road with 165W on low beam and the driving lights are mounted fairly high up and aimed so as not to annoy oncoming traffic.
    -Mike

    '02 R1150R
    '88 R100RS

  13. #13
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    I run Hella's on my RT and they really light up the road. Run them in the daytime as well.

    Never had an on coming car flash their brights.

    Left is on the yellow line. Right is aimed in the ditch to catch critter eyes.
    Ride Well, Ride Often, Ride to

    Charter Member "High Town" crew.

  14. #14
    Rob Mayes RJM2096's Avatar
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    Can't have enought lights

    Rob Mayes
    www.cyclecranks.com | 2000 BMW R1100RT (Current) | 2000 HD DynaWide Glide (Current)
    1985 Honda Magna V-65 | 1970 Norton Commando | 1966 Triumph Chopper | 1962 Honda 125 Sport

  15. #15
    Aspiring Profligate jeff488's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJM2096 View Post
    What kind of vehicle are all those mounted on?
    '04 Silver R1150RT "Big Oel". '05 Yellow KLR 650
    '00 Red Suzuki Bandit 600
    '65 Allstate/Puch 250 twingle
    "I just want somewhere to ride and food when I get there."

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