I took two extended trips on my VStrom this year (~4600 and ~5700 miles), and decided that a little extra illumination couldn’t hurt. Especially on those late nights on lonely, unfamiliar roads.
The first, and easiest modification was to replace the factory H4 headlight bulbs. I chose PIAA Extreme White Plus in the factory wattage of 60/55w (PIAA p/n 70456). These bulbs draw no more power, but put out a much whiter light, and are effectively brighter. They’re not cheap, but the improvement is well worth the $$.
I got mine through www.cyclegadgets.com
They aren’t the cheapest, but they are great folks to deal with, and really support the sport.
The next step was auxiliary driving lamps. I shopped around, and looked at a lot of options. One of the limiting factors was the electrical system on the VStrom. I figured with my electric vest, grips, gps, stereo, etc… that 55w lights would overload the system. PIAA has several 35w lamp sets, but the price (over $200 :shock
was holding me back. I definitely did not want the auto parts store generic lights. I have had a set of Hella 500 lights on my truck for a couple of years, and have been very happy with their output. The Hellas sell for around $65/set, and I figured I could use a set of PIAA 35w extreme white bulbs to fit within my electrical budget. The PIAA H3s are similar to the headlight H4s in that they put out a whiter light than standard bulbs, giving more effective light for a given wattage. The H3 bulbs were around $60, also through Cycle Gadgets, bringing the total budget in well under the price of a PIAA lamp set. The Hellas I got from www.summitracing.com
Now that I had lights and bulbs in hand, I had to figure out how to mount them. My original plan was to fabricate a mount on the SW Motech crash bars. After looking things over, I felt the lights would be too low, and set too far out. I ended up fabricating brackets for the lights off the factory fairing support. Total cost was about $3.50 for materials (5/8” tubing and a couple of mounting tabs), and a morning of fabrication. Here’s the details:
The first step is to locate and open up a hole for clearance in the upper fairing and mid fairings to allow the bracket to protrude. I used a dremel tool with a drum sander for this step. As you can see the bracket will be just behind and below the turn signal. The fairings are removable with the bracket in place.
The next step is to cut a piece of tube to length for the horizontal support. Fishmouth the tube to mount against the stock fairing support. Scuff the fairing support with emery paper for a good weld.
Lightly tack the tube in one spot, and then make sure your location/angle is correct. Tack a couple more spots. Wet towels should be used to protect the fairing, wiring and other parts from weld spatter. Disclaimer: I am by no means a professional welder, but it usually stays stuck together.
Next, we need to build a mounting bracket to weld to our tubing. I decided on a short vertical piece of tubing, with the mounting tab on top. Fit everything together at every step to make sure you don’t make an irreversible blunder. When you’ve got it the way you want it, tack it together.
Then you can weld it up, and if needed grind to the shape you want. My example is only one possibility. Use your imagination.
Mock everything up, making sure your fitting is good, then tack the bracket to the tubing. This tubing may look flimsy, but given the sizing, wall thickness and short length, it is actually quite stiff, and more than capable of supporting the minimal weight of the lamp assembly.
Weld everything up, and paint,
And you’re all finished:
I’m no master fabricator, but I was able to rig this up in about four hours with a mig welder, grinder, dremel and a few hand tools. If you are interested in putting auxiliary lights on your Strom, it would be easy to duplicate.