Motorcycle LED Lights: Useful or Useless?

custom headlightsMotorcycle LED lights have been around for a while, but after the release of Tron: Legacy, it seems like the industry is going into overdrive. But do those little glowing lights have a bigger purpose than just illuminating chrome?

There are a lot of superfluous products in the motorcycle world. Some people would even argue that motorcycles are secondary vehicles. Fortunately, I’m not one of those people, and LED lights don’t fall into that product category either.

There are a lot of benefits to using motorcycle LED lights instead of the factory lights. They use less energy, produce less heat, they are impact resistant, come in waterproof cases, and can last more than 10 times longer than traditional lights. LEDs can be used to light up your engine, but they can be also be used to give you brighter brake lights, turn signals, and headlights.

“LED Lamps are brighter and whiter in color and provide a superior light pattern over standard incandescent lamps,” Harley-Davidson says on its website. “Compared to the yellow light of a traditional halogen bulb, the LED lamp produces a ‘Daylight Color Impression’ that appears more natural to the user.”

LED lights can give you better vision at night, and can make you more visible to other vehicles. But these lights can be a little expensive, and they aren’t exactly necessary.

The LED Headlamp and Auxiliary Lamps from HD will cost you about $400. Add in some brake lights, turn signals, and a few LEDs to show off your engine, you could easily be looking at a grand in accessories.

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So are LEDs useful? Absolutely. But are they necessary? No, but without them, you can’t have your motorcycle look like this.

There are plenty of places that will install LED lights for you, and you can even get manufacturer kits that you can install yourself if you know a little bit about lighting.

You can check out some cool LED options at Cruiser Dynamics or SicHIDS.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Martin Heath, Capturing MotoGP One Frame at a Time

MartinHeathHave you ever wished you had open access to a MotoGP event without anything blocking your view? Imagine having open access to all the MotoGP race tracks and being able to see all the races just feet away from the track. Martin Heath, the leading MotoGP photographer, has this type of access. Martin Heath Photography is releasing two limited edition prints. The racers featured in these limited editions are Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi, the two riders that will be heading up the Ducati MotoGP team.

The Valentino Rossi series will feature him during his last season on a Yamaha. One print is from Laguna Seca’s Rainey Curve, with Rossi and his M1 draped in the special one-off Fiat 500 ‘Fans Faces’ livery. The second crystal clear image hails from Phillip Island, showing Rossi’s commitment as he peels into the infamous Lukey Hieghts.

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The Nicky Hayden series feature him in memorable moments. One print features a shot full of emotion as Nicky Hayden celebrates the 2006 World Championship victory for Honda at Valencia.  The second shot with the iconic backdrop of The Wall at Aragon in 2010. Nicky Hayden made a last-lap, last gasp move on Jorge Lorenzo to claim the final step on the podium – his first for Ducati.

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Martin Heath told allaboutbikes.com “Shooting wise, Mugello and Jerez are high up there as my favourites, but also Laguna Seca and Phillip Island. Because the air is so pure and unpolluted it gives a really nice, crisp, saturated image.”

Martin Heath is an award-winning photographer based in London, England. Specializing in MotoGP, he has been a pro photographer since 1998. Martin shoots in a unique and creative style using natural light to create his distinctive images. Contact information for Martin Heath Can be found on his website http://www.martinheathphoto.com

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

What does it take to beat a BMW S1000RR?

topgear_s1000rrWhat does it take to beat a BMW S1000RR? Well to start out you need a car with a price tag of $225,000. Next add an engine that is putting out 500HP and you have a good start. This car, an Ariel Atom V8, of course must be devoid of any creature comforts like a windshield; this option is being looked into. There you go, the basics needed to out run a BMW S1000RR.  The BMW S1000RR cost $13,800 and it does come with a windshield.

The folks over at Top Gear felt that lining up these two vehicles would make for good press. The hosts of this show are Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. I am sure they provided some deep insight as how this wonderful well priced car did so well in out running the BMW S1000RR, Top gear is known for testing cars; key word here is CARS, to their limits and providing some wonderful banter to fill in the empty spots in the show.

In Top Gear’s mind these are equally matched vehicles, the specifications and power to weight ratio may be close but they are not the same. This is equivalent to saying Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are close enough in height, so they have equal specifications. Top Gear is a great CAR show, so stick to what you know and discuss cars.

Courtesy of AllAboutBikes.com

Motorcycling in America – 1980

Life In America
1980 – The average income has increased to $19,500/year. The US boycotts the Moscow Olympics. Mt. St. Helens erupts. John Lennon is gunned down in New York City. 30% of US auto sales are now imports, primarily from Japan. We’re listening to Queen’s, Another one Bites the Dust, and Willie Nelson’s, On the Road Again. On TV CNN has just introduced 24-hour news. Fox and HBO are introduced, breaking traditional network monopolies. At the movies, The Empire Strikes Back, and Airplane are the films drawing our interest. The average new car costs, $7,609. The new Yamaha XS1100 will set you back $5,413. A gallon gas is going for $1.19/gallon.

Number One Motorcycle Trend For 1980:
Single shock, link suspensions are appearing on dirt bikes; Kawasaki has introduced their Uni-Track system on a production bike, and Honda introduced its Pro-Link system on a factory MXr at the Anaheim Supercross, soon others will follow and eventually the system will become standard in both dirt and street bikes.

European Brands
BMW: R100T Cagiva: WMX125. Husqvarna: 250WR. KTM 250 Enduro. Maico: M1 250, 250 Enduro. Montesa: Cota. 349.Moto Guzzi: V50. Moto Morini: 3 ½.

Asian Brands
Honda: CBX, CB400T, CB900 Custom, XR200, Gold Wing GL1100, CB125, CR125R, CR80, CB750C. Kawasaki: KDX175, KDX250, KZ550, KZ1300, KZ440 Ltd, KZ750, Z1 Classic, KX250, Vetter Mystery Ship. Suzuki: RM 25T, GS550GT, GS750GT, GS1100E, GS850, DR400, PE400, GS450S, PE250, GN400, GS1000G, GS250T. Yamaha: SX850G, XT250GYZ250G, SR500, YZ465G, XS1100, XJ650 Maxim I, IT250, Exciter I SR250, YZ125Z, IT175G.

North American Brands
Can-AM: Qualifier 250, 250MX. Harley-Davidson: FXB80 Sturgis.

Racing
Kent Howerton wins first “Superbikers” race at Carlsbad, CA on board a Suzuki RM400.

Brock Glover wins 500cc National AMA Championship.

Steve Eklund wins GNC, first privateer to win since Dick Mann in 1963.

Husqvarna, led by Larry Roessler and Jack Johnson sweep all five classes in Baja 1000.

Daytona – Graeme Crosby on a Suzuki wins Superbike race. Eddie Lawson wins 250cc GP class. Gina Boivard becomes first woman to qualify for the 200 miler on her TZ500.

Kenny Roberts wins 3rd World 500 GP Championship.

Terry Vance wins the IDBA Pro Stock Championship with a record breaking 8.82 quarter-mile.

Other Issues

All four Japanese OEs introduce water-cooling on their factory MXrs.

Both Harley-Davidson and Kawasaki introduce belt final drive systems; HD Sturgis and Kaw KZ440LTD.

Kawasaki introduces first mass production motorcycle equipped with fuel-injection, the Z1 Classic.

Editors express concern that with the rising popularity of cruiser-style bikes there are fewer sport and standard bikes available.

The “safety motorcycle” a rear steering contraption developed at a cost of millions of dollars by the NHTSA is declared by the SAE to be, “unrideable.”

The MSF releases data indicating that motorcycling is getting safer in terms of deaths per crash and crashes per mile, along with deaths per registrations.

MXL introduces a plastic boot to compete with Scott’s, unfortunately, it leaks.

All Japanese OEs have recognized the “touring” market and are providing motorcycles to meet the demand, though fairings and luggage for the most part is still an aftermarket purchase.