I want to add some lights to my RT. How many watts are available and what are my options?

Jerry Cook fromTemple Hills Maryland notes "You have 700 watts available on the R11RT

300 for lights and my guess 75-100 for the vest (probably less) leaves you 300 for charging battery and electronics, you should be OK"

Barry P. Blank, Ph.D." <PsychB@concentric.net> of Roslyn Heights, New York was in touch with light manufacturer PIAA, and shared the following information: (along All the usual disclaimers.) "There is no problem in mounting the PIAA 1000 series vertically, "due to the unique ‘Touring’ pattern from the dichroic bulbs, with an even spread vertical and horizontally". However, it "is not unusual for the lamps to reach up to 400 degrees F, so it is important to provide as much airflow as possible." "Each 85 watt bulb will draw 7.087 amps." "Another option would be the PIAA 1200 Series. 2 Ĺ" in diameter, 55 watt system. Less draw, same "Touring" pattern and it is completely round rather than oval."

"In addition, the PIAA 1000s can be painted! (important to some of us). "Used (sic) Scotch Brite ™ pads to bring the surface to a dull finish and then applied (sic) acrylic paint from a ‘rattle-can’ to match the paint on the vehicle."

"Solvents like the ones found in Loc-Tite ™ may damage the PPS housing, so I wouldn’t recommend to use a primer if it contains harsh solvents."

Mike <MikeP1977@aol.com> writes "Just picked up the R11RT w/new PIAA’s. They look OEM IMO. I got the new "Platinum- 1100X" series. These are very much like the 1200’s only silver/metallic rather than black, ever so slightly smaller/lighter, and pack a bit greater punch as they are rated at 48,000 candle power vs. the 1200’s which are rated at 36,000. The 1100x is also a tad more streamlined w/rounded front rather than the 1200’s flat face. Slightly less drag coefficient I’d guess, but mostly I liked the way they looked.

"The 1100x’s (kit part #1192) look stock to me cause other than the chrome ring round lens, their metallic body has very similar lines and color/appearance to the engine (259?) head fin coolers. They are mounted in the roundels and are adjustable up/down and side to side. They throw a wide circular pattern and I got ‘em at New England Auto Acc. (suggested by PIAA corp.) I talked to Dave at N.E.A.A. at 1-800-732-2761. They cost $175.00 plus $5-10 shipping (had ‘em rushed)"

"These lights are 55 watt each, but PIAA’s claim is that due to design, they throw off 85watts each and are similar in appearance to the HID’s in that light thrown is very white...I AGREE and am happy with the lights though I’ve only got 25 miles on ‘em at this point. If this changes I’ll let you know."

"I chose to use the wiring/switch provided by PIAA. The switch is currently (maybe temporarily till I get feel for it) velcroed to my RCU "shelf". The lights are wired such that they can be switched on/off as long as bike is started (key turned), but turn off automatically when bike/key is turned off."

"Also installed "runnin lites" for rearward conspicuity. It hooks up to tail lites and lights up the entire rear end of bike (all of rearward tail lens/signal plastic)...very very bright red but retains amber turn signal. I like ‘em."

Jon Zurell <jazurell@apk.net> offers an easy solution for rear running lights: "I re-wired the whole rear light assembly using dual filament fixtures in all 4 openings. In doing this I have 2 red running lights and 2 amber running lights. Then there are two red brake lights and 1 turn indicator light for each direction. You can get dual filament sockets at any auto store that will insert and snap in. They don’t fit as air/water tight as the BMW ones, but have not been a problem. Do not hesitate to e-mail me if you need further clarification.

Mitchell Patrie < patrie@mediaone.net>, our resident CAD guru has developed a schematic and instructions for creating your own light mounting bracket that looks great and works well:

pat-sketch1.gif (60181 bytes) For full details and instructions, and step by step photos, visit Mitchell's web site at http://people.mw.mediaone.net/patrie/lights.htm

Fernando Belair <febelair@aol.com> has four lights on the front of his bike:

FEB1.JPG (64296 bytes)

Fernando writes "My lighting project began with a two-part plan. First, I wanted to be conspicuous, to be quickly noticed as I split lanes in SoCal rush-hour traffic so cars would ease over in their lanes and give me a little extra room. Second, I wanted to be able to ďlight upĒ those who are in the ozone as they drive, and wouldnít notice if a 747 landing behind them. After much research, I realized one set of lights wouldnít do the trick. I needed two.

After much discussion with CBT imports (a division of California BMW/Triumph in Mountain View, CA --- www.cbtimports.com ) I settled on a set of 1253 PIAA Ion Crystal 55-watt yellow fog lights which I was to mount on my RTís fairing, in place of the BMW roundels. However, when they arrived I noticed that their bases were slightly wider than the indentations where the roundels had been. This meant that there was going to be a gap between the base of the lights and the fairing where the roundels had been. While CBT assured me that the thick double-sided tape provided with the PIAAs would fill the gap, and that the standard screws were plenty strong and that they had seen dozens of RTís with these setups, it wasnít sanitary enough for my liking.

I had a machinist cut 4 aluminum discs, the same OD as the roundels and 3/32Ē thick. These I had black anodized. Total cost about $40. I used these to fill the gap between the fairing indentation and the lightsí bases, as well as used them as backing material on the inside of the fairing. Properly drilled to allow wire passage, and with the fairing indentation slotted to allow up-and-down light adjustment via rotation, the 1253ís were installed.

The second set of lights I chose were a set of PIAA 1082 clear driving lights. Unlike the legal 55-watt fog lamps, the 1082ís are 85-watt lights and are only used when needed. These were mounted on EMP Design Brackets (no website, but you can e-mail Pat at empdesigns@prodigy.net -- they cost about $80). The brackets are beautiful and snake out from between the RTís mirror housings and the fairing.

Deciding on switchgear only took one look in the dealerís microfiche. I selected the European right side switchgear, which has a sliding, 3-position switch. My bike is wired so that I can have headlight only, headlight and fogs, or everything on, depending on switch position. Couple this to my PIAA Super White halogen headlight bulb, and Iíve got a great system that serves me extremely well in traffic. One side benefit is that the position of the fog lights is not too far off from the turn signal position on the old CHP Kawasakis. So, at night, or in the early morning when Iím on my 65-mile commute to or from work, people often mistake me for a cop, and boy do they get out of the way in a hurry! Of course, a polite wave as I pass makes sure they give me the same courtesy when they see me time and again.

Overall, Iíve got between $500 and $600 invested in my system and it was money very well spent."

For those of you who are less inclined to create your own brackets and mounting systems, There are several commercial vendors that sell mounting kits for the RT for placing your lights in a variety of positions:

Dallas Motorcycle Accessories makes a bracket that will put your PIAAs just under the oil cooler. E-mail for info and prices to ezymount@bmwr1100rt.com

EMP Provides a mount that places the lights above the mirror housing - similar to the RT-P. Contact EMP Designs . I have been told that certain states, including California, have vehicle codes prohibiting this sort of lighting set-up and that folks have been ticketed for having them. Something about having auxiliary lights mounted above the headlights. Fernando has this setup as pictured above and has had no trouble with the law about it so far.

Motolights mount on the RT's forks. Info at www.motolight.com 

To see how these and other lights look on the RT, be sure to visit the Custom Gallery

Back to Top

Is it worth it to get one of those headlight covers? What is available?

        In this case,  a picture says a thousand words:

 Got_HLC_small.jpg (1947 bytes)  After seeing this bike at Missoula, I went went over to the Aeroflow booth and bought one of their HLC's.

Jeff Dean <jeff.dean@worldnet.att.net> uses Aeroflow’s inexpensive headlight covers on his RTs and R1100GS. He does not claim that they have saved his headlights, but says he would rather not have to confront that expensive proposition.

At the 1999 49'er rally, I saw an RT that had a headlight cover by Ventura:

venturaHLC.jpg (166102 bytes)