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 Less expensive driving lights?

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john123
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craigory
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craigory
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PostSubject: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 1:48 am

I am in the market to get a pair of driving lights, and I need some help with a few questions. Your experiences will help me a lot.

I am primarily looking for driving/fog lights which will light my path down the road. I think that any kind of driving light (either wide or narrow beam) will make me more visible to other drivers, but I would prefer to have a narrower beam. It's not a hard-and-fast requirement though. I know that most driving lights have a wide beam.

Dennis' light bar looks great, but I want to mount my lights a lot lower on the bike. I would really like to get the MotoLights, but they are so dang expensive! I am looking for less expensive alternatives. If I can find a less expensive variety that will strap-mount to the forks that would be ideal. If not, I would be happy with mounting them to the sides of the front fender (anybody else do this?).

Has anybody had any experience with either PIAA or Martin Fabrication lights? Can you suggest any other brands of reasonable quality that I should look into?

Thanks in advance!
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 4:21 am

Craig, if you go to the search function and put in driving lights, you'll find lots of information and maybe ideas that you never thought of. Lots of real good info. Try it, you'll like it. It's interesting to see what worked and especially what didn't for others.
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john123
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PostSubject: Martin fabrication   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 9:53 am

Good morning

Martin fabrication is a great way to mount lights on the forks. when looking for lights, check JC Whitney and Wal-mart.

I just bought some from JC that have a graphite look to them and are blue when off but give a yellow light when on. The fog has not started yet in California so I don't know how well they work but they look fantastic.
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 10:27 am

craigory wrote:
I am primarily looking for driving/fog lights which will light my path down the road. I think that any kind of driving light (either wide or narrow beam) will make me more visible to other drivers, but I would prefer to have a narrower beam.

In the fog, the narrow beams will be visible to others, but not very useful for you ... like using your highbeams in the fog.

Comparing lights by how much useful (and where the light projects), I found to be almost impossible without pictures. Non-of the electrical nor lighting measurements comparisons would show what visible light you would have.

[quote="craigory"]Has anybody had any experience with either PIAA or Martin Fabrication lights?/quote]

From my reading (what I recall ) ...

- PIAA had longevity and quality concerns
- Martin Fabrication had weathering problems where the outside flaked and looked poorly ( I was interested in reading/researching these lights )

I believe there similar cheaper knock-offs to the ADVrider ( additional 10% discount ) LED lights from http://www.advmonster.com
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Daboo
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 1:00 pm

I think you also need to decide what you want out of the lights before buying any. What is your purpose in adding lights?

Fog lights need to be mounted low. They have a wide flat beam pattern. They also don't light up the road far away either.

Driving lights need to be mounted as high as possible. They have more of a pencil beam. They could be thought of as something between the low-beam and the high-beam light.

If you just want something to be seen by other drivers, then you could get by with mounting them down on the side of your fender, or even using Dennis' light bar and aiming them such that they don't blind someone at night.

For my own purposes, I didn't care about being seen. That seemed to be working just fine. I wanted to see the road in the rain at night. I also needed a light that could be used in traffic. I went with LED lights that have a thin pencil beam and are very bright. (Cost was $66 each and they only draw 10 watts each.) I ended up making something like Dennis' light bar and mounting them as high as I could. In addition to having lights that let me see the road...they work great for being seen as well.

Chris
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 01, 2011 1:15 pm

Go to Pep Boys, Auto Zone, or any auto store for lights. i put 2 sets on my BMW.
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craigory
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 02, 2011 12:10 am

All,
Daboo asked what my purpose was in adding the lights, and that really made me think. I was pretty vague before because I didn't have much clarity on it myself. I guess I wanted everything, and that wasn't very bright (pun intended). I re-read the comments from honda_silver and Daboo in order to get some perspective.

I ride year-around regardless of the weather. In my part of California it doesn't snow, but it can rain heavily at times. During the winter my commute is often in dark conditions, sometimes combined with rain, and always combined with traffic.

I want lights which will help me see the road better in the dark and in the rain, and that will be seen by other drivers without blinding them. In order to see the road better the lights need to be mounted higher on the bike so that they shine downwards – not down at the forks as I had originally envisioned. It sounds like a narrower beam will work better for this because it will concentrate the light directly in front of the bike and a little farther down the road. I think that any kind of driving light will improve visibility to other drivers, and the ability to point higher lights at a downwards angle should help with not blinding them.

That just leaves making a choice of a driving light with a bright narrow beam. I'm interested in hearing what others are using for this purpose – specifically narrow beam. Dennis mentioned the Optronics Platinum Burners 55W (available from JC Whitney), and said that it was easy to switch out the quartz bulb to a narrow beam type. Dennis, can you elaborate a little more on this? I also noticed that you had a black pair in some of your photos. What were those, and did they work well? Daboo, you mentioned that you got some good LED lights. Can you provide the model and vendor where I could find them. Other threads have mentioned the ADVMonster Model 30 Spot Lights. Has anybody had any experience with those?

Everybody else please jump in if you have found something reasonably priced which works well as a spotlight beam. Thanks!

Craig
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jalthar
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 02, 2011 2:51 am

I have solution for you.
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honda_silver
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 02, 2011 10:12 am

craigory wrote:
I want lights which will help me see the road better in the dark and in the rain, and that will be seen by other drivers without blinding them. In order to see the road better the lights need to be mounted higher on the bike so that they shine downwards – not down at the forks as I had originally envisioned. It sounds like a narrower beam will work better for this because it will concentrate the light directly in front of the bike and a little farther down the road. I think that any kind of driving light will improve visibility to other drivers, and the ability to point higher lights at a downwards angle should help with not blinding them.

That just leaves making a choice of a driving light with a bright narrow beam.

I do not believe that is your only choice Wink

Another choice is to get the ADVmonster Model 44 wider beam and brighter and control the brightness with a Pulse Wave Modulator (PWM). I believe they have a version which on low beam controls the brightness and when you turn on the high beams it turns the lights on full intensity.

If you read this really long thread from ADVrider ( http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=607184 ), you will see that others have successfully resolved the blinding concerns.

Two points to remember with a narrow beam:
1) The "bright" light is strongly focused to the center of the lane ... with little to no light on peripheral. Vehicles from the side (unless they are looking directly at you may not perceive you. Kind of like looking at a flashlight, if you look at flashlight from the side you will perceive illumination. Versus if you look at the flashlight straight on you perceive more than just the illumination the direct light gets your attention. Which would you notice more ... flashlight from the side or flashlight in the beam area??

2) Does not provide any illumination to the side of the roads. If you have any wildlife ( big or small ), then you need better peripheral illumination to avoid dangerous wildlife interactions.

As I recall the ADVmonster model 44 has 80% of the beam in the direct forward area and 20% of the beam for the rest .... which helps to avoid blinding others. Positioning the lights is important and if necessary and controlling the intensity with a PWM can help resolve the rest.

So it helps to analyze your specific requirements and needs.

Some people have even mixed the lights with Model 30 on left and model 44 on the right ... so there are lots of options.
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Daboo
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PostSubject: Re: Less expensive driving lights?   Less expensive driving lights? I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 02, 2011 12:14 pm

craigory wrote:
...I ride year-around regardless of the weather. In my part of California it doesn't snow, but it can rain heavily at times. During the winter my commute is often in dark conditions, sometimes combined with rain, and always combined with traffic.

I want lights which will help me see the road better in the dark and in the rain, and that will be seen by other drivers without blinding them. ...Craig
Craig, I think our situations are very similar. Like you, I commute year around. The sun goes down early as far north as I am in Seattle, so I'm often riding at night.

Most of my 60 mile commute is on the freeway and in well lit areas. But there is an area on I-5, where there are no overhead lights, and when the rain is coming down, the pavement just soaks up all the light. It is like riding blind. If there was a tire carcass on the road, I'd never see it till it was too late.

Sanjoh at ADV Monster sells three LED lights. The Model 44 and an unnamed and less expensive model are both flood lights. I ruled them out because of them being a flood light. My high beams are like a flood light and work exceedingly well...but I can't use them most of the time because of traffic. I didn't want something to supplement them like the flood lights, that also could not be used in traffic. And while seeing the side of the road is nice on a country road, I'm riding on the freeway where I don't expect a deer to make it across four lanes of heavy traffic to where I'm riding.

What I wanted was a nice tight beam that could be focused only in my lane with minimal spread to the sides. If I could find that, I wouldn't be blinding the drivers in the lanes next to me, nor the oncoming traffic on the other side of the freeway.

I settled on the Model 30. It is advertised as a spot light, not a flood light, and it is a nice tight beam. ADV Monster has some nice pictures to give you an idea of the beam pattern. These two pictures sold me on them. You'll find the pictures on the "Detailed Description" tab at their website.

Beam pattern in the pool 30'x15'
Less expensive driving lights? 1c527c13
Less expensive driving lights? 0737dfae

I wrote a review of the lights and how I installed them at BurgmanUSA. http://burgmanusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=53668 You can find more pictures there, but here are a couple of the beam pattern.

Without LEDs.
Less expensive driving lights? File
With LEDs.
Less expensive driving lights? File

What I think is important here in the second picture, is where the Model 30 beam pattern is. There is some additional lighting in the low beam area, and some lighting on the periphery. But the main focus of the beam is that dark area beyond where the low beam hits. That's the place where we are constantly over driving our headlights.

That beam is also tight enough that you won't bother drivers to the side of you on the freeway, or in the opposite lanes. I believe a flood light, like the Model 44, would.

Here are two sources I know of that I would recommend.
  • ADV Monster. http://stores.intuitwebsites.com/hstrial-QualiRegResou/-strse-8/Model-30-LED-off/Detail.bok Use the code, "inmate" when checking out to get 10% off.
  • 24x7 Diy. http://24x7diy.com/index.php/cPath/23 TechArtGuy wrote a review on some flood lights he bought there on BurgmanUSA. http://burgmanusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=53401


Chris
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