Guide to Accessory Lighting for Cruiser Motorcycles

Enlighten and brighten your motorcycle with these accessory spotlights, turn signals, running lights, LEDs, and replacement headlights for cruisers. From the October 2005 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine. **By

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 from the December 2004 issue of Motorcycle Cruiser, Installing Electrical Accessories, and you'll be well on your way to getting lit.

**Arlen Ness Ness-Tech Eyeball Billet Headlight **

The Nesses are probably better known for their skill with a grinder rather than wire snips, but that doesn't mean the company's lavishly styled accessory lineup doesn't make room for some high-end lighting. Radical headlight designs for 2005 include the Eyeball Billet Headlight, a chrome-plated 4.5-inch unit bearing a strange resemblance to the human eye, which comes with a single-beam lamp with a 55-watt HZ3 bulb and lens. It retails for $300. Another new unit, the Battistini headlight (designed by Rikki Battistini, the COO of Arlen Ness), bears Battistini's unusual signature hole designs drilled into the housing and visor. Included plastic inserts can be painted to match any bike. The Battistini light is supplied with a standard 5.75-inch lamp with a 55-watt H4 bulb; check www.arlenness.com for more details, applications and pricing.

**Baron Custom Accessories Ultimate Light Bar **

Baron's line of aftermarket accessories has grown by leaps and bounds in the short time we've been tracking the company, and now it has added a series of lighting solutions to its large catalog of bodywork and engine upgrades. The firm's latest light source is the Ultimate Light Bar, a unique system designed to streamline a cruiser's bulky stock passing-light setup, cradling the headlight while still providing excellent illumination. The light bar can be installed onto your stock front turn signal mount and comes complete with chromed billet driving lights and indicator lights as well as mounting hardware and wiring. The mount system also allows for adjustment of the forward light projection angle. The unit is available for Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha cruisers and ranges in price from $289-$349; see www.baronscustom.com for applications, details and more light accessories.

Big Bike Parts Amber Turn Signal Conversion Kit

Accessory purveyor Big Bike Parts brings to the table an easy-to-install and inexpensive upgrade for your turn signals. The LED Amber Turn Signal Conversion Kits give your stock OEM turn lamps a unique clear-lens look, and the LEDs are significantly brighter than stock lights, so there's added safety value. LEDs last longer while drawing less voltage than incandescent bulbs. Each turn signal contains 21 LEDs and comes with lamp No. 1157 bulbs. Big Bike Parts also stocks a selection of marker, running and spotlights. The company doesn't sell direct, but you can contact it at (888) BIG-BIKE or visit www.bigbikeparts.com for dealer locations and more options.

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 (including some with a chrome finish. Turn signals are sold in pairs and come with amber bulbs (though no custom lenses are available at this time). Visit www.clearalternatives.com for more details.

**Cobra USA Steel Light bars **

Cobra has always been a top dog in the world of cruiser add-ons, so it's no surprise the company offers a vast selection of lighting accessories, too. You can choose from spotlights, light bars and lighting details for almost any metric cruiser. Company reps tell us all their light bars bolt on to the stock triple clamps without difficulty, so there's room for stock (and even some aftermarket) windshields. Included solid mounting hardware allows you to retain the original turn signals. The light bars retail for $260; chrome-plated snap-in visors are available separately, as are sealed-beam lights, spotlight assemblies and spotlight rims and housings. Check www.cobrausa.com for more options and applications.

Harley-Davidson Genuine Accessories Chrome Auxiliary Lighting Kit

Harley-Davidsons seem to draw more than their fair share of aftermarket lighting accessories, so it's good to know you can have them in Genuine Accessories form. There's a mind-boggling selection available for different models, and the Auxiliary Lighting Kit is one of the more popular ones. You can add a lamp kit (sold separately) to complete the custom look. The kit includes chrome lamp housings and chrome mounting brackets that match the contour of the triple tree and highlight the headlamp. The kit comes complete with the necessary wiring, switch and hardware for installation (bulbs sold separately). The product retails for $285 and is available in multiple variations, so be sure to check fit for your motorcycle on www.harley-davidson.com.

**Headwinds Super Brite H4 Lamp **

Headwinds is renowned for its vast spread of lights, bulbs, housings and custom light applications for both metric and American cruisers. New designs include a Honda VTX1800 front-end setup and a billet-aluminum mounting adapter for the Harley V-Rod. The Super Brite Lamp is another new product that caught (and blinded) our eye. Headwinds says it's the brightest legal candle you can put on your ride thanks to a new xenon gas bulb that produces 50 percent more light while decreasing glare, and a clear glass lens that increases the whiteness and amount of light that hits the road. Even with all this, the light is 60/55 watts (with the same power draw as stock bulbs), and best of all, it's DOT-approved and legal in all states. The light is interchangeable with existing SAE lamps found on Harley-Davidsons and some metric cruisers. Get it for $39; see www.headwinds.com for dozens of other lighting solutions for your cruiser.

**Jardine Billet Light Bar **

Known more for its decadent metal work, performance applications and exhaust pipes, Jardine nevertheless makes a fine showing in the lighting segment of the cruiser market with a well-turned-out billet light bar configured in spotlight style and projector beam versions. The cleanly designed bar lets you add additional running lights for better illumination. The billet-aluminum unit comes prewired and is finished in bright chrome for a stylish shine when mounted (it also includes 30-watt spot or 25-watt halogen bulbs). Prices start at $293; check www.jardineproducts.com for fitment.

J&P; Cycles Chrome Cateye Mini LED Marker Lights

J&P; Cycles is a clearinghouse for any number of brand-name motorcycle accessories, and it offers a wealth of lighting solutions for both American and metric cruisers. The company says the hot items this year are its Chrome Cateye Mini LED Marker Lights, a welcome option for riders looking to add a complementary touch of custom lighting to their bikes. The lights come with your choice of high-output amber or red single-filament LEDs. You also have a choice of amber, red or clear lenses. The lens measures 1 x 1 inches, and the chrome steel housing is 2 inches long. The lights include a universal three-eighths-inch stud mount for custom mounting and are sold in pairs. Check out www.jpcycles.com for a gaggle of other lighting options.

**Kuryakyn **

Kuryakyn 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 Kuryakyn'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.

**Lockhart Phillips Electropods **

Lockhart Phillips' emphasis is primarily the go-fast sportbike market, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have a few select goodies with which you can trick out your Fat Boy. Emerging this year from the LP R&D; skunkworks are the ElectroPods lights, featuring ultra-bright LEDs. Lightweight and easy to install, the LEDs work with all 12-volt applications. There's also a nice selection of marker lights, high-end xenon bulbs and other illuminating options for your scoot; check the entire selection at www.lockhartphillipsusa.com.

Metric Thunder Light Bar Kit

In addition to stocking a bundle of lighting solutions from other manufacturers, Metric Thunder also offers a new custom light bar kit to replace the bulky stock controls on the Suzuki I500LC or C90. You can situate the brackets a number of different ways, such as next to your headlight or below the triple clamp. The kit includes a stylish billet chrome-plated dual-light mount, a set of small bullet turn signal lights, a set of large bullet driving lights and a universal wiring harness. Installation instructions are included, and the kit sells for $250, with free shipping in the continental United States. See more application details and other light options at www.metricthunder.com.

**Muth Signal Mirrors **

The Muth Signal Mirror phenomenon isn't limited to just motorcycles—the blinking safety-glass concept has spread to cars, trucks and semis, too. The Signal uses high-intensity lights to give rearview mirrors a commanding visual feature. When a turn signal is activated, a flashing chevron appears in the corresponding side mirror to alert drivers in the blind spots around your bike; mirrors provide normal function whether the turn signals are activated or not. The LEDs in the mirror illuminate a fifth of a second faster than conventional incandescent taillights, which is said to give the guy tailgating you an additional 17 feet of reaction distance when traveling at 65 mph. Mirrors are available for most American and metric bikes in chrome-plated and wide-angle versions; prices start at $149. Check for details and applications at www.muthco.com.

PIAA Corporation USA xtreme White Kit

PIAA's lights are seen in enduro races and rallies the world over, but all its technology eventually trickles down to street models, too. The company's Xtreme White kits, for example, are now available for cruiser applications. The setup features a 55/110-watt H3 bulb, a stamped-steel chrome-plated housing with tempered glass lenses and an auxiliary high-beam pattern for long-range illumination. The kit also includes a wiring harness, relay and switch and retails for $169. Check out the new XTRA halogen bulbs PIAA offers, too, for greater output without increased amperage draw. In fact, there are far too many items and applications to list here. Check it all at www.piaa.com.

Pro-One Performance Ellipse and Mini Square

Pro-One is all about custom motorcycle accessories such as radical rolling chassis, stretched-out forward controls, chunky triple trees and the like. Still, you can find some illumination for your chopper if you dig deep enough. A few of the slicker ones we came across are from the Fatherland—such as these brand-new solid-billet headlights imported from Germany, designed and machined by the legendary Fred Kodlin. They're available in two styles, Ellipse and Mini Square, and retail for $525; the chromed-billet mounting assembly is sold separately. Get all the application details and other ideas at www.pro-one.com.

Radiantz LED Lighting

Radiantz has been at the forefront of automotive/motorcycle LED lighting for years now, and its catalog continues to grow. LEDs use 10% of the power required by normal incandescent bulbs, and since they have no filaments, they're not susceptible to failure due to the constant vibration found on every motorcycle. LEDs increase safety by illuminating faster than incandescent bulbs, and they run cooler, draw less power and are physically smaller than conventional bulbs. Many LEDs have a 100,000-continuous-hour life span, too. Radiantz claims to use these advantages to design the most unique and brightest LEDs in the industry. There's a slew of custom applications for both cars and bikes, so your best course of action is to check it all out at www.radiantz.com.

Rivco Products

Rivco is highly regarded for its metal fabrications and designs, but the firm also stocks a variety of lighting options. You can check www.rivcoproducts.com for an assortment of LEDs, fender lights and replacement bulbs.

Signal Dynamics BackOff XP Brake Light Module

Signal Dynamics specializes in a wide variety of aftermarket LED, running, marker and brake lights, but it's probably best known for its BackOff XP Brake Light Signal Module. The unit's compact solid-state circuitry converts your motorcycle's ordinary brake lights into an effective visual warning, emitting three short flashes and one long one when the brakes are applied. The new XP unit allows you to program a different five-flash sequence as well as use an emergency flasher option. The BackOff module comes in a compact, weather-resistant heat-sink case that's 2.25 by 1.6 by .6 inches, so it can be squeezed into any number of mounting points. An adhesive pad on the back holds the $40 unit in place (the new XP BackOFF Module is shown; Signal Dynamics says the standard BackOff is being discontinued). See www.signaldynamics.com for more application details and other light products.

RESOURCES

Arlen Ness
(925) 479.6350
www.arlenness.com

Baron Custom Accessories
(760) 731-1200
www.baronscustom.com

Big Bike Parts
(888) BIG-BIKE
www.bigbikeparts.com

Clear Alternatives
(866) CLR-LENS
www.clearalternatives.com

Cobra USA
(877) 206-3349
www.cobrausa.com

Harley-Davidson Genuine Accessories
www.harley-davidson.com

Headwinds
(626) 359-8044
www.headwinds.com

Jardine Products
www.jardineproducts.com

J&P; Cycles
(800) 318-6847
www.jpcycles.com

Lockhart Phillips
www.lockhartphillipsusa.com

Metric Thunder
(866) 744-7900
www.metricthunder.com

Muth Signal Mirrors
www.muthco.com

PIAA Corporation
(503) 643-7422
www.piaa.com

Pro-One Performance Mfg.
(909) 445-0900
www.pro-one.com

Radiantz
(714) 223-1422
www.radiantz.com

Rivco Products
(888) 801-8222
www.rivcoproducts.com

Signal Dynamics
(800) 785-1814
www.signaldynamics.com

_For additional evaluations of, comparisons of, and shopping advice for motorcycle gear and accessories, see the Accessories and Gear

Arlen Ness
Arlen Ness
Baron
Baron
Big Bike Parts
Big Bike Parts
Clear Alternatives
Clear Alternatives
Cobra
Cobra
Harley-Davidson
Harley-Davidson
Headwinds
Headwinds
Jardine
Jardine
Kuryakyn
Kuryakyn
Lockhart Phillips
Lockhart Phillips
Metric Thunder
Metric Thunder
Muth
Muth
PIAA
PIAA
Pro-One
Pro-One
Radiantz
Radiantz
Rivco
Rivco
Signal Dynamics
Adam Campbell photo