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Motorcycle Driving and Fog Lights

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Driving Lights

Extra lights can serve several functions on a motorcycle.

Generally, auxiliary lights come in a few different types. Which type you would choose depends on your purpose. Here's what different types of driving lights can do for you:

When choosing driving lights, you must also consider how you're going to mount them. The ST1300 fairing is very tight against the various parts of the bike, and not at all structural. You have only a few options:

The ideal position for white lights is at your eye level, just behind your eyes. Of course, you're not going to be mounting your driving lights on your helmet, so we must find a suitable compromise. The further away the lights get from eye level, either above or below, the more your lights will cast strange looking shadows that will confuse your depth perception. This is a much more serious problem off road than on road, but even on the road it is something you should think about.

The ideal position for fog lights is low, about a foot or so off the road. The low mounting position minimizes direct reflection of light back into your eyes, so you get the least possible glare.

In this section I list some mounting options first, and some light options second.

Clearwater Lights Clearwater Lights
Clearwater Lights makes high performance LED lights with mounts. Made in the USA with options up to 7500+ Lumens (6.25 times brighter than standard car high beams), dimmable and high effieciency and durbility. $500 to $1050.

Motolight driving
Motolight driving lights. About $300.

Ron Majors driving light mounts Ron Majors driving light mounts
Ron Majors driving light mounts Ron Majors driving light mounts Ron Majors driving light mounts
Dick Seng "Ron Majors" driving light mounts. About $80, mounts only. These mounts are for PIAA 910s. The mounts require that you cut a notch in the underside of your mirror housing. PIAA 910s are very bright and very good for high speed driving, especially in the west. However, they are 110 watts each, and are illegal for on-road use. None the less, the 910s are quite popular. 860-871-2892

PIAA Driving Lamps PIAA Driving Lamps
PIAA Driving Lamps are a bit on the expensive side, but have a reputation as being quite good. PIAA makes two interesting beam patterns, the "dichroic" which is in between a high beam and a low beam and has a 35° beam spread, and the "driving" which has a 20° pencil beam. The narrower beam reaches farther. PIAA lamps require custom mounting brackets.

PIAA 910 PIAA 910
PIAA 910 about $235 / pr, 110 watts ea. Narrow beam, 20°.

PIAA 912 PIAA 912
PIAA 912 about $260 / pr, 55 watts ea. Narrow beam, 20°.

PIAA 1000x PIAA 1000x
PIAA 1000x about $185 / pr, 55 watts ea. Medium beams, 35°.

PIAA 1100x PIAA 1100x
PIAA 1100x about $185 / pr, 55 watts ea. Medium beams, 35°.

PIAA 1200 PIAA 1200
PIAA 1200 about $170 / pr, 55 watts ea. Medium beams, 35°. PIAA says these are discontinued, but they are still widely available.

Hella Driving Lamps come in two interesting beam patterns, the driving light which has a 20° pencil beam and the fog light which has about a 90° beam. The narrower beam reaches farther. There are no mounts available for Hella lamps at the time of this writing.

Blazer Driving Lights
Blazer Driving Lights about $17 / pr at Wal-Mart. 55 watts ea. 3"H x 5 1/2"W x 2 3/4"D. 20° beam width. This is a lot of light for very little money. They are roughly comparable in performance to the Hella 100s at about a tenth the price.

Blazer Xtreme Driving Lights
Blazer Xtreme Driving Lights Xt-859 about $25 / pr at Wal-Mart. 55 watts ea. Mount easily on your forks as marker lights. They are roughly comparable in performance to the PIAA 1000s at about a sixth the price.

Ring Driving Lights
Ring Driving Lights about $50 / pr in the UK. The lights are mounted with screws going through the light bracket and the fairing into an alloy plate above the plastic, making a sandwich of metal with the plastic in the center. The alloy plate is approximately 2" by 9" and 1/8" thick. Photo by Graham Hibbs.