The FJR1300 has the most awesome stock headlights of any bike I've owned, and I've owned quite a few in the last 40+ years. However, I decided to add some aux lighting anyway to better fill in the sides of the road ahead. I mostly ride in Washington, Idaho, Montana and Canada, where deer (also elk and moose) are common, and being able to see them at night when they are most active is vital to my safety.


Photo courtesy of Dean Tanji

I like the idea of more for less, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights offer exactly that. I found some nice ones at Micatech for about $400 that include everything I need (except for some special mounting brackets) and use only 85 watts in total. For brackets, I bought some Top Gun light brackets from FJRGoodies.com.

Mounting the Top Gun Light Brackets

Here's one of the Top Gun light brackets. It mounts under the rear view mirror, and has a small arm which attaches to the fairing at panels "B" and "C" to stabilize the mounts. I tried riding with the lights mounted and the little arm not screwed to the fairing, and the lights vibrated quite a bit. With the arm attached they don't vibrate at all. FJRGoodies assures me the arm won't fatigue the plastic where it attaches if the bolt isn't torqued down too tight.

The above photo shows the two nuts that hold the right rear view mirror on. Remove them, and the mirror comes right off.

The light brackets go between the mirror and the fairing, and are held in place by the same bolts and nuts that hold the mirrors on. This part of the installation is very simple and straight forward.

The Top Gun brackets are predrilled to fit the PIAA 910 lights favored by many in the LDR community. I had to modify them slightly to adapt the HID brackets to them.

Mounting the HID Lights

The Micatech HID lights as delivered are configured for automotive use. To make them easier to mount, the ON/OFF switch is a remote (the kit comes with two remotes) which signals a radio receiver and relay in a black box about 3"x4"x4". I discarded the receiver/relay and the remotes, and cut off about 4' of the wiring harness.

In the wiring harness are three wires: red, blue and black. The red is for +12v, the blue is the ground, and the black is...

Here's the right side HID light mounted tentatively underneath the light bracket. The lights are interchangable, left and right. So on the right side, I ran the power cord below the light and drilled a small hole in a rib on the underside of the light. I cable-tied the power cord via the hole I'd just drilled. This isn't necessary on the left side as the power cord comes out on the right side of the light.

Above you can see the left side HID light mounted on top of the light bracket.

The owners of Micatech came by to peruse my installation, and made a valuable suggestion regarding where to mount the ballasts. I'd been having trouble deciding where they would best fit.

You can also see how the lights look mounted both above and below the light brackets. I decided to go with the on-top-of-the-bracket arrangement, for both asthetic and functional reasons.

Bill (of Micatech) discovered that the ballasts would fit almost perfectly as shown in the above photos, using the stock HID mounting hardware. They are attached by the stock brown/gray Phillips screw just above the top edge of the ballast. It is a snug enough fit that no other attachment is necessary.

Same story on the left side, mounted using the opposite side's Phillips screw. You can see the little arm from the Top Gun light brackets protruding from the left. This one was tough to get lined up properly.

I had to run the power cord from the lights to the ballasts, and decided the neatest way to do that was to cut a slot in the edges of panels "B" and "C". Then I cut a rubber grommet, and wiggled it and the cord into place, with the results shown above.

Here's how it turned out. Looks fairly neat, I think. And with the foot or so of cord stuffed behind the panel, it's fairly easy to get the panel off without having to mess with the cord.

 

The above photos show the small bracket I made out of aluminum (and painted black) to hold the waterproof toggle-switch to turn the HID lights on and off. It's mounted using the unused left rear view mirror mount in the clutch lever perch.

I also added a small green LED which I found at Radio Shack. It's wired into the switched side of the power and has its own tiny ground lead. It uses virtually no power, and lets me know when the lights are on, even in the daytime.

Because my HIDs are really low-beams, once I turn them on I leave them on until daylight (or until I stop for the night). If I had mounted driving lights instead, I'd locate the switch in an easier-to-reach location, as I'd be frequently turning it off/on to avoid blinding oncoming traffic.

The Micatech guys sell an "Autoswitch" for about $50 that you can wire into the left handlebar control. It makes the turnsignal cancel switch do double duty. Push the turnsignal cancel switch briefly and it cancels the turnsignals (assuming they are on). Hold it down for longer than 0.8 seconds and it toggles the auxiliary lights ON or OFF.

The End Results

 

Low beams: stock on the left, with the low-beam HIDs on the right. The HIDs are much "whiter" than the stock lights. The color accuracy of the digital camera I used (an Olympus C3030) suffers somewhat in low light situations like this.

 

High beams: stock on the left, with the low-beam HIDs on the right. You can't see much difference between the low and high beams in these photos, even though I could see a huge difference when I took the shots. Also, the bike was on the centerstand, so the high-beam is aimed much lower in these photos than it is when I'm sitting on the bike.

Copyright © 2003, by H. Marc Lewis. All rights reserved.