But all these companies have one firm undeniable common point – the state filing fee. Each state has a fixed filing fee that any new business must pay to get incorporated. Given this is a constant, one might expect that most incorporation services simply pass this buck along to the customer. However, it is surprising (and disappointing) that some of these firms charge you 100% higher that actuals (sad smiley)
The Moonshine Lunch Run (MLR) is an annual motorcycle event to kick off riding season, and celebrate motorcycling in its purest form – overcoming adversity (weather, terrain) for the ultimate goal of human triumph through community and shared hardships.
Terry “Austin City Limits” Hammond (11/05/1957 – 11/19/2010)
Terry Hammond was a friend to everyone he met, but especially other long-distance motorcyclists. Even those he never met in person he counted among his friends, and his willingness to open his home and heart to any rider was truly epic.
Terry was a Midwestern gentleman, an eighth generation farmer, a family man, a committed Christian, a skilled tinkerer, a community benefactor, and a funny, funny guy. He could sing, cry, laugh and ride, and did them all with relentless enthusiasm.
The Moonshine Lunch Run was Terry’s concept and it meant the world to him, but it was never about him. All the work, all the effort, and all the love he put into this unique event was for the riders. As anyone who’s ridden to Moonshine can attest, it’s not about the ride, it’s not about the burger, it’s about the experience. For that experience, and so much more, riders everywhere thank Terry Hammond.”
Many people have had great success replacing the stock halogen turn bulbs on their vehicle with LED replacements. But there are some key pieces of information that need to be addressed, before the replacement can be done. Should one buy the LEDs locally, or online? What type of LED do I buy? What color? Hopefully this short write-up will help answer some of these questions, and add to my previous posts on using LED bulbs.
Buying LED Bulbs Online
Generally, across all consumer goods categories, the advent of online shopping has revolutionized the entire experience. It is my humble opinion that buying online is the best source for your LED needs. I’ve listed some examples :-
You can also, of course, buy specific LEDs from your choice of Amazon.com or Ebay.com as well. There are many good sources for LED bulbs. I specifically would like to call out ‘JDM A Star’, a retailer on Amazon, who consistently stock high quality LED bulbs. I have purchased all my LED bulbs over the last 2 years through them.
Buying LED Bulbs Locally
I’ve found that Wal-Mart tends to stock some of these LED bulbs (both 1156 & 1157 sockets) . I am sure that auto stores (Auto Zone, Advanced Auto Parts, etc) locally might also have these in stock, at retail locations. So If one wants to buy them locally, it’d be best to call up and enquire.
However, the key problem when buying from Wal-Mart /local store Is that you’d need to make sure it’s the latest technology bulb, and not an older version. How can you do this? The LED I used, bought from JDM A Star on Amazon, had 144 SMDs! I’m not sure you’d get this from a local store 🙁 that is my major concern buying locally. Wal-Mart or another store could order these in for you, and you’d have to call them up to check availability. How to choose a bright LED bulb (and what are SMDs?)
Most modern LED bulbs have a # of SMDs. The SMD (Surface Mounted Diode) is the little square diode you see on an LED bulb. The higher the # of SMDs , the more output on them. We’d like to get these higher output ones. LEDs may also have a projector lens at the front.
Example of low SMD count LED (older, probably less output in general…cheaper)
Below is an example of a newer LED bulb type, more SMDs, likely more light output and powerful
Projector lens on LEDs (the JDM A Star 144 SMD bulb, with the lens projector visible)
Also, the LEDs with more SMDs tend to be longer in length too. So one needs to make sure you these can be properly used in your particular ride. Generally they fit most bikes. Some unlucky bikes might have too tight a space, so use the respective manual/measure the space length available. The positive side is that most online retailers (especially Amazon) offer free returns.
A size comparison of my V Strom stock 1156 halogen turn bulb, vs the Amber LED replacement I installed
As you can see, the LED I used, bought from JDM A Star on Amazon, had 144 SMDs!
The Amazon-sourced LED Amber 1156 bulb I bought. It has a high # of SMDs 🙂
If you can get a similar number of SMDs from your chosen source, that’s great! As of early 2016, the 144 SMD count LED bulbs seem to be the latest tech. But even if SMDs are lower in count, you might get a brighter output (there are 48 SMD bulbs that are fantastic and much brighter than stock bulbs)
Also, make sure the right socket is in play. Two wire solutions are generally 1156 sockets, while three wire (rear tail brake combined) bulbs are 1157 sockets.
You need to choose the color you need based on the output, not based on the bulb housing! What I mean by this is, that if you’re buying turn bulbs, get Amber bulbs. It doesn’t matter of your lens housing is Amber or clear. You might be tempted to buy white bulbs if you’ve Amber/Red bulb lens housing…. Please do not 🙂 . The physics of light and how colors work, guides us to buying the color you wish to see.
How to choose color of LED | Does my Lens Housing Color Matter?
An Amber housing absorbs all other colors except Amber…. If you’ve a while LED rated for 5W, then only the Amber sub-component of that 5W light output is being transmitted by your housing. We don’t want that !
If you instead use an Amber LED bulb rated for 5W, then all that 5W output gets transmitted out through the Amber housing. This is what we need! More light, better! So always buy the bulb based on your need, not based on the housing lens color.
Hope this helps anyone trying to update their motorcycle/car/truck lights to LEDs.
Please feel free to bring any corrections or updated additional info if you have any. I’d humbly appreciate your feedback! 🙂
My Honda ST1100 had beautiful 3-wire turn signals (1157 socket) which meant that the turn signals could function as both ‘running lights’ and as ‘turn signals’.
This might not seem like a big deal, but on a 2-wheeler where you want to be seen as much as possible, having those running lights can be a huge visibility boost. My V-Strom unfortunately has a 2-wire (1156 socket) system meaning turn signals only blink when I activate the turn signal, and stays turned off at all other times…. this bothered me a lot.
The beautiful final result! (I’ve also added LED light strips on the handguards)
You need the Custom Dynamics blinker module, $30 shipped. You get two modules for the $30
I also bought a set of posi tap & posi lock connections to help me with tapping into stock wiring with minimal splice / cutting / soldering.
On the V-Strom, the left and right turn bulbs each have two wires. You can visually inspect them by looking into the front fairing, to the sides of the headlights.
Right side – Green wire (blinker) and B/W (ground)
Left side – Solid black wire (blinker) and B/W (ground)
The writing is pretty straightforward with the posi tap products. You can disconnect the connections between each turn wire (see the marked picture) and then use one blinker set for each side.
Wiring information for blinker module:-
Once the wiring is correctly done, just test it out to make sure things are working correctly. Once this final check is done, you can now go ahead and safely tuck away the wiring neatly with zip ties inside the fairing. MAKE SURE YOU CAN TURN HANDLEBARS WITHOUT DAMAGING WIRING !
Hope this helps anyone trying to get running and turn lights on their motorcycle. This works for any motorcycle with the two wire situation.
I finally got around to installing Ricks Mirror extenders from www.adventuretech.biz
Continuing on from my earlier article on the Windshield replacement, I look forward to seeing how much the dirty wind around my helmet has reduced. It had already reduced significantly thanks to the Givi – I can now listen to my favorite podcasts (On Point – Tom Ashbrook by NPR) on my Sena headset, which I could not do before while on the Stock windshield….
Removing the stock mirror – you actually don’t need to separate the two pieces like I did – Learn from my missteps ! 🙂
Rick’s extenders come with a nice spacer that sits atop the stock female thread on the handlebar
You simply put the space over the female thread, use Rick’s long bolt to secure the extended piece ; You need to use an 8MM Allen key to tighten up the bolt.
That’s it! Now you can screw back in the stock mirror stalk into the female thread on Rick’s extender. Done ! The improved visibility is nothing short of amazing.
The majority of Strom owners have experienced ‘buffeting’ on their rides, especially at speeds greater than 50 MPH. There have been numerous theories as to how/why this happens, but the common wisdom & consensus revolves around the following main reasons :-
1) Stock Windshield & mounting bracket locations cause ‘dirty’ turbulent air to flow up to the rider’s helmet causing a majority of the buffeting effect (potentially resolved using aftermarket brackets such as MadStad & aftermarket windshields)
2) Stock mirror stems are aerodynamically in a bad spot, and these add to the turbulence felt at the helmet (resolved by using different mirrors such as Aprilla Mirrors, or by using a simple genius mirror extender such as Rick’s Extenders)
When I got the bike, it already had the excellent MadStad Brackets on them. These help provide different adjustments to the windshield, and helps the rider find a good sweet spot tailored to their riding style, their torso/seat height etc. I had a horrid time on the freeway with the stock windshield 🙁 so I decided to get a taller touring one installed.
While researching potential windshield replacements, I decided on the Givi D260ST in particular for its excellent price ($119 shipped from Revzilla) and also because I did not need an adjustable windshield like the AirFlow ‘AF’ windshields given I already had my MadStad.
The Givi D260ST Tall windshield is 7″ higher than stock and rather wider too. I took some pictures that might help you get a sense for how much taller/wider this is compared to the stock.
Results – Part 1
1) So far, the buffeting/wind turbulence around my helment has already reduced significantly thanks to the Givi – I can now listen to my favorite podcasts (On Point – Tom Ashbrook by NPR) on my Sena headset, which I could not do before while on the Stock windshield….
2) The Givi had to be slightly coerced into attaching on the Madstad (fits tightly), nothing that should be concerning. Just a good tight fit!
The below pictures are self explanatory, and should be helpful to anyone looking to get this cheap simple windshield alternative.
I bought LED 1157 bulbs to replace the stock tail light bulbs. My intent was two fold : reduced power consumption, and higher light output.
I’ve found JDM A star to be a fantastic company and a reliable supplier of high quality LED products – I’ve used their LED bulbs for 3 years now, first starting with my Honda ST1100 and now on the Wee Strom.
A funky shield the seems to hover above one set of bulbs
Initial thoughts on construction of the ballast – positive. Looks waterproofed and well constructed.
I’ve attached a short video of the bulb below, and some pictures…it was raining the entire night so I got some video but it just looks funky and psychedelic ￼
YouTube video overview of LED
Pictures of the bulb/packaging
The “SHIELD” is clearly visible…
I finally got around to installing the LED Headlights a few days later – 😀 😀 spoiler : The lights are pretty good!
I’ve tried to document the steps below for the v strom, so that changing bulbs (to another halogen or new LED bulb) should be easy.
I read the procedure on the owner’s manual
Step 1 – Disconnect socket/power plug (3 point) from headlight
Step 2 – Remove rubber boot. This is a very simple process; at the top of the boot and around the boot, there are extensions/flaps of rubber that you can pull on. Gently pull them off all across the circumference of the boot, and it should simply come off.
After the boot is removed, you can see the H4 halogen held by the brass clip
Step 3 & 4 – undo the brass clip by pushing into it and over the edge holding it, and it swings open free. You can now simply pull out the bulb.
Bulb comes out easy, twist it and pull it out
The SHIELD on the LED now makes sense ! It’s very similar to the OEM bulb halogen shield….
Step 5 – place the LED bulb into the slot and out the brass clip back on. This step is tricky because you’ve to massage the clip over the big hump of the LED fan. But if you gently massage the clip over this hump, it gets over it. Just be a little patient 🙁 I took most of my time here
Step 6 – UPDATE : I’ve come to realize that you do not need to cut/modify the rubber boot, and that you can detach the fan base from the main LED, and put the rubber boot back on it, and then install the fan back on.
I went ahead and Cut the rubber boot! Please follow this only if you are unable to remove the fan base. Cutting this is easy. I just gauged the diameter I needed to cut by eyeing it…And I cut it off using a pair of heavy duty scissors
Another look at what I cut off
Step 7 – Slide the plug+ ballast through this cut hole, and push the rubber boot back on. it should be the same snug fit as before.
Step 8 – Final step! Connect the plug power into the ballast socket, and zip tie the ballast (it’s light weight..) to anything that clears the turning of the handlebars& forks. Be careful not to snag on anything.
Video – Comparison of light color difference between stock & LED
Video – Comparison of light beam pattern between stock (left) and LED (right side)
The LED beam is surprisingly close to stock beam pattern.
Video – Comparison of both LED headlights together, beam pattern, it’s very tightly grouped, not much stay lighting ! Looks really good together.
UPDATE : Ride Video Comparison
I’m plenty pleased with the light results. I hope this blog post helps anyone out there looking to use LED headlights :).
“Motorcycles – those sexy, dangerous machines! People who ride them surely are modern gladiators, fighting for their lives and avoiding deadly events every second they’re on their machine! They’re crazy people! I bet they’re also sexy & awesome! ”
The above description is a mild exaggeration of the standard Western view of 2-Wheelers & their riders – partially true (yes, especially that last statement) and partially folklore. Make no mistake though – Motorcycling is a dangerous means of transport/hobby and comes with inherently higher risk compared to alternatives. But like quite a lot of ‘risks’ in life, awareness of the same and means to mitigate them can help us enjoy that wonderful hobby/passion while minimizing the risk involved. We shall look at some of these ‘dangers’ and try to affix a number to the motorcycling risk, compared to driving a passenger car/4-wheeler.
Motorcycle Market Size in Developing Nations (India as example)
Things are very different in other parts of the world – For example, in developing nations, motorcycles & scooters are a much higher proportion of total vehicle sales, driven by the much lower cost of ownership of a 2-wheeler and the gradually improving road infrastructure. Taking the example of India, there were 16 Million 2-wheelers sold in 2014, while only about 1.8 Million cars were sold in the same year!
That’s roughly 9 motorcycles sold for every car sold in India.
Evaluating Risk in Motorcycling
The absence of an interaction with a motorcycle can create a wonder (fear) of the unknown. So is the conventional argument ‘Stay Away from a Motorcycle, It is Dangerous!’ true? Well, DEFINITELY YES.
A US NHTSA Study in 2008 showed that there were 72 fatal accidents per 100,000 registered motorcycles, while for the number was 12 fatal accidents per 100,000 registered passenger cars. This gives us fair idea of the higher risk involved in motorcycling. However, this risk does not take into account factors such as rider awareness, Helmet wear vs no helmet, and riding a 2-wheeler under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Lets take a look at that :-
The same 2008 NHTSA study gives us the following risk-related stats :-
1) 41% of fatal motorcycle accidents in USA involved NO HELMET
2) 30% of fatal accidents involved BAC (blood alcohol content) > 0.08, meaning they were Under the Influence of Alcohol
3) Among fatal motorcycle accidents involving 2 vehicles, 41% were due to a vehicle turning left/passing/overtaking while the motorcycle was going straight (the classic “I didnt see the motorcycle at all?” argument )
Ways to Mitigate & Minimize Risk
1)BE SEEN– Wear Hi-Viz attire, Helmets, improving lighting on the motorcycle (AUX Lights, running lights etc). Hi-Viz (high visibility NEON Yellow as an example) colors help catch the eye of the vehicles around you. Conspicuous lights on the motorcycle help you be seen better (most motorcycles have just 1 headlight, and is easily missed by oncoming traffic). Reflective Tape & Stickers help you shine through when other vehicles are near you.
2) BE AWARE – Every motorcyclist needs to be highly aware of the road situation around them. Heightened awareness comes from expecting the unknown; being ready for that car to jump out of the driveway even though they may be looking at you. 4-Wheeler drivers (including yours truly) are guilty of being distracted thanks to food, music, mobile devices, cozy seating & A/C etc.
3) UPGRADE YOUR RIDING SKILLS – The ability to lean into a curve feels great! But the same ability can also help you evade a lousy driver ahead of you incorrectly coming into your lane, or a nasty piece of wood/rock lying right in your path on the road ahead of you. Do the MSF Safety courses atleast once every Year or two. Do the Advanced course if you’ve already done the basic course. Skills can save lives.
I hope this article puts forth the many varied dangers involved in motorcycling. The awareness & knowledge of these dangers will hopefully educate you, and help you be a better rider/help you make the right decisions, so you can enjoy the beautiful sport of motorcycling.
Ending on a positive note – A video on Motorcycling Touring 🙂
Whenever I get my motorcycle gear out in November-through-March, especially at work, I generally face a common question/statement – “Oh Gosh! It must be terrible riding in the cold! Do you feel cold?”
Its not easy to answer that question with a one liner reply, and I shall explain why it is so; What does the question ‘do you feel cold’ mean? If I consider the overall state of my body, the answer is a straightforward NO 🙂 However, I will admit with an honest grin, that my neck and occasionally my nose do get cold.
Despite the ‘localized’ cold sensation, the riding experience is pretty much still a wonderfully pleasurable one. I spent a whole season in the great mid-west winter of 2014/2015 trying to figure out the best way to make motorcycling work during the cold times. When it snows hard (> 4 inches makes it dangerous enough for a 2-wheeler) and the streets are not cleared, there’s very little a puny one-wheel drive machine can do! 🙁 sigh. Submit to the powers of nature! (and rant at the City municipality for not pre-salting the streets enough…) But if there is no snow on the roads, then motorcycling is very very doable and enjoyable! (pardon my runny nose, dear friends)
These are some of the more important and useful tips I’ve come across through trial & error :-
Heated Gloves are the simplest & easiest upgrade, one that makes a great difference. You need to get a ‘Heat Controller’ that wires into the battery, and you get to control the heat setting using the heat-troller.
I’ve personally been hugely impressed with Gerbing gear; However, all the big name companies make excellent heated gear. Pick your favorite ones!
These are amazing ways to save those cold hands from getting too cold; even with the heated gloves, there is a chance that you are perhaps a little more cold-sensitive or that perhaps the wind chill is too great a factor that gloves themselves are not enough.
A face & neck warmer is again super useful especially under a pin-lock inserted full face helmet. The extra warmth helps a ton on long rides, when the cold can creep in through the thickest of helmets…. 🙁
Optional : A Good old woolen scarf around the neck
Thanks for reading the article! What other techniques do you use? please share your wisdom in the comments below! 🙂