One of my goals when riding is to be as visible as possible. On previous bikes I’ve mounted PIAA driving lights and Hyperlites — LED brake light additions that flash when the brakes are applied for extra attention.
On the V-strom, I wanted to go a slightly different route, in part because driving lights can use up lots of watts, which are in relatively limited supply on the strom. And since I run with heated gear in the winter, I went with a low-watt option, LED driving lights.
After lots of web browsing, and cruising through local auto parts stores, I read about the plasma LEDs from PlasmaLED.com. The high-power model seemed just the ticket — waterproof, only requiring three watts each and super bright, for an LED. Keep in mind, I want increased visibility from other drivers as I’m riding, not extra light for riding at night. I picked up two of the 008 models for a little over $40 with shipping, and a few trips to the hardware store resulted in #4 bolts, lock washers, nuts and some metal corner brackets.
I had to do some drilling and cutting of the brackets to better match the shape of the lights, and mounted them to the reflector stem on the front forks. I wanted them as low as possible to create a triangle of light for oncoming vehicles to see me. I painted the brackets black (I’ll use a higher quality paint later), soldered a wiring harness of sorts and ran the wires to the batter via a fuse and simple switch (from Radio Shack) I installed in the dash. I wanted to be able to switch them off if I desire, and initially wanted to be able to have the lights on, without the bike switched on — for setting up camp or similar. Later I changed the wiring to a PC-8 fuse block using a switched fuse (from Eastern Beaver) since I was more likely to just leave the lights on after a morning commute sometime.
I was concerned the lights might move from all the vibrations and bumps a front tire receives, but after 400 miles, they’ve been just fine, and they are amazingly bright at night and during the day! Overall, I’m extremely happy, and they’re far less expensive in dollars and watts than PIAAs or other alternatives. Photos are below – you can click each one to see a larger version.
A few items that may help: