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 Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination

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PostSubject: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 24, 2010 2:51 pm

Last year I purchased a used 2006 Honda Silver Wing and am totally pleased with my selection of scooter with the exception of adequate range of illumination of the normal driving head light as explained below:

Problem: The design of the normal head light mounting has the windshield garnish extending over the top of the light reflector which causes the beam of light to be top clipped to a range of approximately 25 - 35 yards. I find that moving in excess of 25 mph means that I am over-running my visibility and must resort to the high beam which naturally irritates oncoming traffic. This precipitates an unsafe night driving condition which I would like very much to alleviate.

Has anyone encountered and corrected this condition? Is my problem simply corrected with a headlight beam adjustment or must I consider auxiliary lights for adequate night time visibility?
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dspevack
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 24, 2010 5:31 pm

You can aim your headlight as a unit. Check your manual for the location of the screws, or the subject is probably on the board somewhere so do a search.

Several of us have replaced the standard bulbs with Xenon H.I.D. light systems. Do a search for more info.

Dennis B makes a real nice bracket to add additional lighting as well.

Dan
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 24, 2010 5:33 pm

LKXcountry wrote:
Problem: The design of the normal head light mounting has the windshield garnish extending over the top of the light reflector which causes the beam of light to be top clipped to a range of approximately 25 - 35 yards. I find that moving in excess of 25 mph means that I am over-running my visibility and must resort to the high beam which naturally irritates oncoming traffic. This precipitates an unsafe night driving condition which I would like very much to alleviate.

Has anyone encountered and corrected this condition? Is my problem simply corrected with a headlight beam adjustment or must I consider auxiliary lights for adequate night time visibility?

https://www.silverwing600.com/silver-wing-topics-f3/dual-headlights-on-the-new-swing-t1115.htm?#9280
https://www.silverwing600.com/silver-wing-topics-f3/dual-headlights-on-the-new-swing-t1115.htm?#9288
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 24, 2010 7:17 pm

Thanks for the information. I obviously did not do a good search of the forum to find answers to my questions.

I think that I will try the Hi-Beam on at night all the time and check out the reaction of on-coming motorists. If I don't receive a favorable reception then I will additionally pursue the HID lights or installation of auxiliary lights. Dennis B. does have well made products.

Leon
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MikeO
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 25, 2010 6:07 am

What exactly will be the benefit of either installing brighter ordinary bulbs or HIDs if one is riding with eyes glued on the patch of light 35 yards in front of the bike?
To raise the dipped beam to increase the distance raises the problem of dazzling on-coming traffic so one might as well ride on main-beams all the time.

I suspect the problem for many riders and drivers is that of Fixation.
So many accidents are caused by riders not looking far enough ahead - on bends, for example, when the rider is looking at the bend rather than the exit point.
Over here, 40% of biker fatalities are caused by riders crashing into the back of other vehicles.
It's my opinion that they are fixated on the back of the vehicle immediately in front and not looking beyond it into the distance.

When riding at night in unlit areas one should be looking far beyong the pool of light thrown by the dipped head-lights. Not to do so means that any night vision one may have is reduced to zero until such time as it is safe to switch to main-beam.

I have poor night-vision and avoid riding at night on unlit roads but do not watch the dipped-beam pool of light.

I understand that there are hazards (moose wandering out into the road, for example) in certain parts of the US, something with which I don't have to contend as a rule, but adding even a Super-Trooper to the bike will not make things any easier.
Develop the 'looking past the lights' technique; I'm sure that's the key.

I hope this will be read in the spirit in which it is meant.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 25, 2010 9:18 am

Mike, I don't disagree with anything that you said but I do have a complaint about the method that Honda designers choose to satisfy the requirement, either legal or otherwise, for not blinding on-coming drivers.

The design of a vertically clipped low beam puts a distinct line in front of you at about 25 to 35 yards. There is ever decreasing light intensity up to this line (as expected) and then an abrupt loss of light beyond the line. The problem as I see it is that this clear demarcation, light then no light, invariably draws your attention, the fixation that you suggest, which inevitably leads to rear ending accidents or failure to sight obstructions ahead.

Again, in my opinion, Honda would have made a better choice if they had reduced the intensity of the low beam light or independently aimed it away from the on-coming traffic. This method of head light operation has been with me for 50 years of driving and it is difficult to change habits of visual scanning ahead for conflicts that have been developed without accident in my driving experience. The horizontal line of light/no light is a distraction that should not be there.

I appreciate all the inputs to this problem and I think that because I rarely ride at night that I will exercise the option of riding to the outside of the lane with the hi-beam and see how that works. It definately provides adequate long range coverage and now I must evaluate what risks it poses to on-coming traffic.

Leon
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 25, 2010 10:11 am

MikeO wrote:
What exactly will be the benefit of either installing brighter ordinary bulbs or HIDs if one is riding with eyes glued on the patch of light 35 yards in front of the bike?

One of the benefits of the HIDs was that provided better light in the "box" upfront which help to identify hazards you would have missed before.

The SWing is my primary vehicle and I do not have luxury of when or where I drive especially with my children.

Another benefit of the HIDs was that it provided a magnitude better
peripheral lighting. With the OEM light the peripheral lighting was terrible, I did not see a majority of the wildlife on the sides of the road till I just about passed them on the side ... which is very dangerous. With the HIDs (even just the low beam), I have been able to spot all of the wildlife before I passed them and take appropriate actions.

MikeO wrote:

To raise the dipped beam to increase the distance raises the problem of dazzling on-coming traffic so one might as well ride on main-beams all the time.

From the manufacturer, the US SWings are (must be intentional or legal prevention) aimed very low ... the UK SWing may not have the same aiming from the manufacturer. Which is why we could run with the high beams ... with the high beams on the focus beam was not anywhere near the horizon, but on the ground still close the SWing.

If the headlight is aimed low (motorcycle or car) raising the headlight does not mean dazzling on-coming traffic ... a correctly aimed headlight does not mean dazzling on-coming traffic.

MikeO wrote:

I suspect the problem for many riders and drivers is that of Fixation. So many accidents are caused by riders not looking far enough ahead - on bends, for example, when the rider is looking at the bend rather than the exit point.

The US SWing may not have the same low beam reflecting lens that the UK SWing has. The US SWing low beam is the worst low beam of any vehicle I have driven which is a lot of vehicles. The US SWing has a pattern that puts all of the lighting in a visible box. The top of the low beam cuts off all light (no secondary peripheral light past the top of the visible light box. The sides of the low beam cuts off the majority of light providing only a small amount of peripheral lighting causing problems that I mentioned above.

Based on the low-beam design and low aiming from the manufacturer looking past the top of the low beam was just dark ... so it is not a problem with fixation. The moment I switched high-beams (still aimed low) I was able to use all the available light so I was not fixating ... just lacking light. With the low/high beams on, but still aimed from the manufacturer riding in the outside lane from oncoming traffic ... I had very very few people flash their lights.

I have never read from any UK or Europe SWing of the misaligned high/low beam or visibility pattern of the low beam ... so the problem could be unique to just the US SWings.
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 25, 2010 12:34 pm

I accept what you say - as I said, I hope what I said was taken in the right spirit.

The HIDs discussion never seems to take into account the effect they have on oncoming traffic.
In the UK there are many illegal systems available cheaply on the Internet which people are fitting without looking at the whole picture.
I am convinced that even the factory-fitted ones do not take into account the differing heights of other drivers and riders - what may be OK for the driver of a similar car is not for a bike rider whose eyes are considerably higher in relation to the road and may, therefore, be dazzled by even properly adjusted lights.

I venture to suggest also that the top of the beam is deliberately cut off on the Silverwing (and probably other vehicles) precisely for the reason I suggested; that one is expected to look beyond the pool of light and not be distracted by light bleeding into the line-of-sight.

Slightly as an aside, I was surprised that when we imported our bikes into Belgium, I had to make no alterations to the lights on my Piaggio X9 but Ed had to buy a new headlight unit - €600.00 worth - for his BMW so that the dip-beam dipped to the right instead of the left.
I recall now that the brightness of US vehicle headlights was always inferior to those on vehicles in the UK and take the point that brighter bulbs are in order if they are legal where you live.

I can say for a fact that the standard dipped headlight on the Silverwing has guided me safely at night on all types of unlit roads here this winter and at speeds consistant with the speed-limits; on motorways in France it's 80mph.
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination   Head Light - Limited Range of Illumination I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 25, 2010 1:06 pm

MikeO wrote:
I accept what you say - as I said, I hope what I said was taken in the right spirit.

I do not have a problem with anything that has been said.

For me it is important to ride as safe as possible ... so I try to make sure that all of the information/choices are are available to others so they can decide what is safe or best for them.


MikeO wrote:
I recall now that the brightness of US vehicle headlights was always inferior to those on vehicles in the UK and take the point that brighter bulbs are in order if they are legal where you live.

Now that you mentioned this ... I remembered reading this a long time ago.
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