Auxiliary Motorcycle Lighting - Shine On - Buyer's Guide

In case you didn't get the memo, it's become much, much easier to see and be seen on today's motorcycles. The days of running weak, unreliable and short-lived incandescent bulbs on your two-stroke beater are long gone-technology has advanced to such a degree you no longer have to squint to see the asphalt at night. Light choices are mostly dictated by style issues or the specific requirements of your riding environment; the stock stuff is that good. Still, accessory lights beef up your conspicuity even during the day. They're also one of the easiest and consistently most popular aftermarket enhancements you can make to your motorcycle.

Additional illumination can enhance plenty of facets of your bike's personality. From a style standpoint, it can spruce up the dull spots, creating a certain bling your mount may have been sorely lacking; from a safety standpoint, it can save your hide by announcing your presence to addled cage drivers; from a financial standpoint, it can even add to your bike's resale value.

Of course, there are dozens of variations on the theme-you can get your shine on as a mountable system, such as a light bar, which incorporates several different light sources across a single unit; you can purchase a lamp as a single assembly with a bulb, lens and housing; or you can swap out your lens and/or stock bulb for more high-powered versions (LEDs, for instance). Lighting solutions that address the unique needs of two-wheelers are on the rise and are widely available at dealerships, motorcycle megastores and more and more internet retailers. New technologies include halogen, HID (high-intensity discharge), LED and xenon bulbs.

But before you start stringing xenon Christmas-tree lights all over your Fat Boy, keep in mind that laws pertaining to auxiliary motorcycle lighting vary from state to state; one man's high-visibility solution might be another's blinding beacon. We encourage you to check with your local authorities and Johnny Law before making any modifications.

Also remember that any time you add an electrical accessory to your bike, amperage draw on the electrical system increases. Ask yourself if your bike really needs 12 additional taillights, because its charging system may no longer be able to keep up with the load. Use a modicum of common sense and check your owner's manual or contact the manufacturer for suggested tolerances.

For additional advice on wiring up the job yourself, check out our article in the December 2004 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser, "Installing Electrical Accessories," at www.motorcyclecruiser.com/tech/elect/ and you'll be well on your way to getting lit.

Better Late Than Never
Clear Alternatives
We're told Clear Alternatives is the world's leading manufacturer of clear replacement OEM motorcycle lighting, with more than 100 applications for late- and early-model Japanese, American and European sportbikes, cruisers, ATVs, scooters and snowmobiles. The company focuses mostly on turn signals, taillights and replacement bulbs; turn signals are sold in pairs and come with amber bulbs (though no custom lenses are available at this time).

Representatives at the company were unable to provide images at press time; visit www.clearalternatives.com for more details.

Kryakyn
Even though Kryakyn was unable to come up with photos before we went to press, we happen to know the company stocks a vast selection of lighting accessories-bulbs, housings, bolt-on light bars, taillights and a trick VTX license-plate bracket. Its sleek plate mount serves two purposes: It slides over the eye-sore that comes standard on the Honda's fender, and it upgrades the stock turn signals with Kryakyn's exclusive Silver Bullets. The company says its Lizzard Lights accessories are also hot sellers. For additional lighting options and fitment applications, check www.kuryakyn.com.

Rivco Products
Rivco is highly regarded for its metal fabrications and designs, but the firm also stocks a variety of lighting options. Images were not available at press time, but you can check www.rivcoproducts.com for an assortment of LEDs, fender lights and replacement bulbs.