Well, I finally decided it was time to “be seen” instead of heard on the Road King and ordered up a set of caliper mount Motolights from Tina H. at Motolights in Ohio.
They should have been the first thing I installed, as I remain convinced the “triangle of light” they provide can easily be the difference between being seen by a motorist or cut-off by one.
I say that for a couple of reasons. First off, I’ve had them installed on my ’03 BMW R1100S since day one and I could sense right away I was more visible to oncoming and cross traffic than I had been on all of my previous, non-Motolight equipped motorcycles. Pre-motolight, it was rare for a week to go by when I wouldn’t have a motorist pull-out or cut me off on my motorcycles. However, to this day I don’t think I’ve had even a close call since moving to the BMW R1100S with its Motolights in 2009 or on our ’04 BMW R1150RT during the year that we owned it. In fact, the Motolights were the first thing I added to the R1150RT!
Ref. the photos below, you can barely notice the black Motolights on the blue & white R1100S’ front brake calipers. However, the brushed aluminum ones on our ’04 R1150RT’s front brake calipers are bit more pronounced.
Sadly, it was vanity that kept me from installing Motolights on the Wide Glide. I could never figure out where to mount the lights where they’d have the correct placement to achieve the proper “triangle of light” without looking like something that’s not supposed to be on the bike. Of course, without that added conspicuous visibility, getting cut-off became a far more frequent occurrence on the Wide Glide. The same has been true of the 2013 Road King since we began riding it in August. No more….
I should probably admit right up front that our Road King is decidedly untraditional in the eyes of most Harley purists. It lacks the ubiquitous “passing lights” that flank the headlight and has more of a cruiser look with the turn signals up on the handlebars and just that single, art-deco locomotive headlight. Now, to be fair, I did upgrade the turn signal/running lights to Custom Dynamics’ very bright, amber LEDs and they went a long way towards increasing our visibility on on-coming and merging motorists. However, I’m thinking that in addition to adding rider safety the Motolights will also be something of a modern example of how new technology can improve on the value of supplemental lighting from both a functional perspective as well as the visual perspective. Note: It will make more sense when I get the lights and install them… Just trust me on this!
I’ve decided to go with chrome light housings down on the calipers and, by golly, there won’t be any hiding them! I’d thought about going with the black ones in the hope they’d be nearly as invisible as the ones on the R1100S. However, after visualizing it over and over again I finally decided chrome was the right call as everything else on the front of the Road King is chromed. My decision was confirmed as the right choice by Miss Debbie who also thought the chrome would look more appropriate: glad I got that right, after all… it’s her bike!
So, I’m thinking the Motolights will be right at home as a modern implementation of the passing lights that actually put light where it’s needed the most – down low on the road – while also helping to make the bike more visible and easier to gauge distance and speed to motorists, something passing lights don’t really achieve: they simply become part of the blob of bright light out there somewhere in the distance. They’re definitely not your traditional Road King accouterment, but neither are a lot of things on the CVO model.
FWIW: Trains used to have just one massive light too, until someone realized the very same triangle of light Motolights create helped people in the path of an on-coming train gain the needed perspective to gauge its distance and closing speed, greatly reducing the number of collisions.