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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My business requires that I do a lot of back country road driving. The only light on the road is the ones that the vehicles supply. Until I bought my bike last month, I never paid any particular attention or differentiated bikes from cars or how it would be riding at night.

So what have I noticed at NIGHT the last month or so?

Unless bikes have really good lighting and very close, they look like a single point of light and there is NOTHING to indicate their speed or their distance. Some of you may not be aware of it, but the way you tell how fast someone is going at night is by the spread of the light to the surroundings building/vegetation. The light itself does NOT provide a speed reference.

Even if the bike has really good lighting, unless they are surrounded by objects that will reflect and indicate your speed, they still look like far away "point of light". The further away, the worse the problem. The closer the better...but how close does one to be to a turning car at night at 70 mph?

2....if you go off the road at night and crash, you will not leave a trace for anyone to help you. If a cars goes into a corn field, it's tall 5 foot high box that will cut a 6 foot wide swath, you will be a 2 foot wide corn row or narrow vegetation cut that no one will see thirty feet from the road.

3...Rocky Raccoon and friends partying at night may break my car spoiler andbe a really messy cleanup, but they will send a bike into the scramble and/or drop mode and/or disappearing act.

There may other reasons but THESE reasons have experienced and been in my face the last month or so. I bought the Strom to ride out to do field inspections but unless I know I will be out of the back roads before nightfall, I wont take the bike or the closest fleabag motel will supply a bed.
 

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Coons aren't so bad...

Actually as long as you are upright going in a straight line,Rocky (Racoon) shouldnt be a problem.I have run over 3or 4 over the years....:yikes::mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Actually as long as you are upright going in a straight line,Rocky (Racoon) shouldnt be a problem.I have run over 3or 4 over the years....:yikes::mrgreen:
I'm reporting you to PETA as we speak. :green_lol:

I haven't and I don't want to test it either.
 

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I commute yr round and I can get to work on a nice twisty road or the highway. When it's dark I'll take the highway for the reasons you gave, otherwise it's the backroad.

Ken
 

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Im not too fond of night riding in the city but I have to say fire roads with some good offroad lights getting to a camp site would be pretty fun. Mainly highway riding is what I dislike at night, the massive gouges in the asphalt snaking across the lanes from accidents or whatever... yeah when you feel your front tire drop in that rut at 70mph and starts tracking you towards the other lane it's not fun on a 275-300lb bike...lol
 

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I prefer dark unlighted areas, hard for me to deal with glare from some roadside lighting

I do ride a slower pace at night, never beyond the range of my headlights.

Winter riding at night is my biggest concern, until I can afford some $$$ HID auxillary lights, my biggest peeve with the V-strom is the measly 400w alternator



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My funnest rides have been in the pitch black, middle of nowhere, with nobody for miles. Now that's adventure.
 

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I'm reporting you to PETA as we speak. :green_lol:

I haven't and I don't want to test it either.
You should be able to ride over anything lower than the axle. Don't forget Rocky and his little bretheren will squish down when you hit them.
 

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Getting a SPOT for xmas. Saw it work live on a recent ride. Rider misread a turn and overshot into the opposite lane and hit another rider. Grim scene but nobody died. SPOT provided coordinates to emergency services. A big help in a remote area.

Deer are my principle worry at night; especially dusk and dawn.
 

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I like to ride at night during the summer because it is so much cooler. We rode through the TX panhandle at night this summer on our way to CO. Not only was it cooler, but the gusty 25+ winds were basically non-existent.

The bad part about riding at night for me is the bugs. The full face helmet and windshield are helpful, but I still don't like being pelted by them and having to wipe the guts off my helmet shield.
 

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I strive to ride those roads day and night. However nightime reqiures a higher level of caution, mostly due to deer, I most always keep it under 40 on hardtops with no painted highway lines, and on dirt roads I ride what I can but still keep it under 40 due to deer. Perhaps raising your headlight some may help out?
 

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Add a Pat Walsh light bar. Add yellow fog lights. Or put the lights on home made clamps on your crash bars. Drivers will be able to see you better and judge your distance better.

Electrical load management is always a problem. Extra lights plus heated gear can easily exceed our puny alternator's output. Do a load analysis before you spend a lot of money.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I prefer dark unlighted areas, hard for me to deal with glare from some roadside lighting

I do ride a slower pace at night, never beyond the range of my headlights.

Winter riding at night is my biggest concern, until I can afford some $$$ HID auxillary lights, my biggest peeve with the V-strom is the measly 400w alternator
I can NOT talk from experience about HID on the Strom and night riding. I have them in my cars and it's an absolute nescessity for what I do.

The only problem I can foresee is that HID's have a different bulb length and that can play havoc with the reflector design. We need to have members reports that also have a good understanding of light spread. "Lots of light" means nothing if we blind drivers or point two miles down the road and leave nothing for Bambi and friends lurking on the sides.
 

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Unless bikes have really good lighting and very close, they look like a single point of light and there is NOTHING to indicate their speed or their distance. Some of you may not be aware of it, but the way you tell how fast someone is going at night is by the spread of the light to the surroundings building/vegetation. The light itself does NOT provide a speed reference.
This phenomenon is why the triangular light arrangement was developed for trains, and it applies equally to motorcycles. Two auxiliary lights are arranged to form a triangle with the main headlight (or headlights, in the case of the strom). This layout helps provide distance and speed cues for motorists viewing the train or bike head-on. If the auxiliary lights are a different color than the headlight, it helps prevent the "single blob of light" effect at a distance. For conspicuity, yellow or amber aux lights also stand out against other headlights in traffic. See this thread for my setup, which is also shown in my avatar pic at the moment.

3...Rocky Raccoon and friends partying at night may break my car spoiler andbe a really messy cleanup, but they will send a bike into the scramble and/or drop mode and/or disappearing act.
For seeing better (as opposed to being seen), auxiliary lights should be mounted as high as possible. The light bars available from Adventure MotoStuff, Twisted Throttle, and Pat Walsh all place the lights at about the same height as the headlights (if you mount lights on top of the bar). A set of driving lights there will help you see the critters before they're right in front of you. You can aim the lights outward a bit to light up the roadside too -- but if you do that with the left one, be sure to switch them off for oncoming traffic.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
This phenomenon is why the triangular light arrangement was developed for trains, and it applies equally to motorcycles. Two auxiliary lights are arranged to form a triangle with the main headlight (or headlights, in the case of the strom). This layout helps provide distance and speed cues for motorists viewing the train or bike head-on. If the auxiliary lights are a different color than the headlight, it helps prevent the "single blob of light" effect at a distance. For conspicuity, yellow or amber aux lights also stand out against other headlights in traffic. See this thread for my setup, which is also shown in my avatar pic at the moment..
The amber lights is on my list of the next thing to do for the bike. I like what you did in that thread and I think I have a "sexier" solution. I'm going to take some mini lights and swap the bulb for some high intensity LED bulbs.

Something like this....for 20 bucks...



Along with something like this....for 15 bucks...

Super Bright LEDs ? Festoon Light Bulbs

Single source, forward pointing amber colour, on the forks (like you mounted). Frankly, some of the 100-200 buck "solutions" out there are a joke. 5 to 7 watts should be no problem for the existing headlight wiring harness.

My rear visibility with the "trailer" light is finished and frankly, it borders on too much.

For seeing better (as opposed to being seen), auxiliary lights should be mounted as high as possible. The light bars available from Adventure MotoStuff, Twisted Throttle, and Pat Walsh all place the lights at about the same height as the headlights (if you mount lights on top of the bar). A set of driving lights there will help you see the critters before they're right in front of you. You can aim the lights outward a bit to light up the roadside too -- but if you do that with the left one, be sure to switch them off for oncoming traffic.
I don't agree with that solution. First thing I'm going to do is mount some improved 55 watt H4's like Philips VisionPlus. Ultimatly, I think the HIDs are the solution. Not only are they far brighter, they also consume 20 watts less per side (for the amber lights).

I'm going to try some HID's and see how they work with the existing reflectors. I have found plenty of articles with "how too" but none have done the "wall test" (that I found). Writing a how to article is fine, but topping it off with a picture of a lit light bulb to show how bright it is, well, it's a joke. The real test is how the light disperses and how intense it is on a wall a couple of hundred feet in front of the rider.

I have to put my money where my mouth is. Make the changes and post some before and after shots.

Regardless.....

All the above helps but it hardly eliminates the inherent danger of those night rides. I have expensive German cages AND two cell phones AND proper lighting, but still weary. On a bike? Not by choice.
 

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If I commute (2nd shift) I have to ride those secondary roads at night.

I don't like the possibility of deer, but other than that it's great.

Here's what I do to mitigate the risks:

1. Secondary lighting, the "triangle of light" helps. Also lights up more road.

2. When approaching any oncoming traffic or anyone turning, weave in your lane....wag from side to side. Create lateral movement, drivers will see you better and gauge your distance better.

3. Go slow. Never ever ride faster than my headlights, and I scan the fields and ditches as I go for bambi.

I see a lot of deer but if I'm not hauling ass I have no problem avoiding them.
 

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Speaking of puny alternators, how much current is left over for aux lighting and accessories after the subtracting out for the normal load just to operate the bike? Is 200 watts pretty close or is it less than that? I am looking at some heated gear and lights and I am trying to figure out how much I have to play with. Does anybody make and upgraded alternator? What RPM is peak output for the alternator?

Speaking of running over animals, I submit that as long as they are less than the wheel base of the bike you have a chance. :yesnod: I have hit quite a few animals that where taller than the height of the front wheel. A quick twist of the throttle and I made high speed version of imitating the trials bike I used to ride. If it was with in the wheel base of the bike I had a good shot at climbing it.

As for doing a wheelie over an animal, I'm not joking. Its saved my butt several times. For a bike like the Vee you can't be going too fast to wheelie as it doesn't have the power and for the Wee, well I'd imagine even slower. Of course you could always rev and dump the clutch. Most of my past bikes could initiate a roll-on wheelie even at 80+ mph.

I had sort of a wild childhood. I did quite a bit of racing and a fair amount of street racing. When I attend university in the US, I was in Florida. Our campus was located basically next to the Daytona speedway. Whenever I got the chance to race there I would but there were only so many sanctioned events so what is a bored college student to do? Supplement his meager convenience store wages with a little street racing at night on the weekends.

Well one night we all went out to race. I was paired up against a guy from Tampa. It was a big money race enough that I could skip working at the 7-11 for a few weeks if I won. I took a quick run down our "track" to make sure everything was ok. Everything was clear. I came back and lined up. The guy was having some sort of issue with his bike. I didn't believe that as much as I thought he was likely cranking up the boost on his turbo GPZ750. It took him about five minutes to get lined up.

Finally he was ready and so was I. Hands dropped and off we went. I had just hit 4th gear and had a decent lead. Finish line in sight and I eased off a bit so as to save my bike. The win was in the bag. I looked back to see where he was at and no worries as I could totally shut off and still win. I looked ahead just and I was stunned by what I saw. It was a sea of red eyes.

Ever have that feeling that is so bad you feel your sphincter tighten up as things about about to get really hairy? This was one of those moments. I hit the brakes as hard as I could. The heck with winning the race. This was a self-preservation moment. Just before I impacted the animal immediately in front of me I cracked the throttle and lofted the front wheel.

Next thing I know I am being launched into the air at about a good 80 mph or better. Holey chit batman, we have launch! Guy next to me wasn't so lucky. He was so focused on apparently "running me down at the end" that he didn't see what was ahead. Thankfully my headlights were pretty decent but at those speeds they just tell you what you are going to hit, not what you might be able to avoid.

I came down pretty hard and impacted another one of these red eyed monsters. The guy next to me went down really hard. His bike was toast. Fortunately he wasn't killed. Not from the crash but by the massive group of alligators that had decided to come out from the swamp bordering the side of the roads as the asphalt was nice and warm.

I had done my quick check but by the time the guy got to the line, it was just long enough for them to crawl out and park themselves on the road. Moral of the story, watch out for alligators on back roads in Florida. This was my first encounter with them but it wasn't my last.

As for lights, I am definitely adding better lights. The Vee has great lights but I have a light bar and LEDs on order.
 

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Ride slower. Those backroad speed limits are NOT 70 mph, even in daylight. Slow down and live.

Good advise for cars or bikes with extra lighting too.
 
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