New Eyes for the FJR

Light, we need more light captain!

Truth be told, the factory/stock headlights on the Yamaha FJR1300 are pretty darn good.  I did replace the factory bulbs with some ‘better’ brighter halogen bulbs when it was new.

I also added lower fork mounted lights.  Initially MotoLights[TM], but in 2009 I won a set of Glenda Clearwater lights at the Eastern Owners meet.   These lights (as well as the moto lights), while they do illuminate things up close, and fill in the void near the bike, they really don’t throw any appreciable light down the road.   The are mostly ‘see me’ lights.  Lights there for the benefits of others so they can see me.   The lower mounted lights help break up the ‘single’ light that makes distance harder to judge and make me stand out more.  They help, a lot, but people will still pull out in front of me, even with my high viz jacket.

Anyway, on to today’s project.   While riding rallies that require us to ride 24 hours a day we ride at night a lot.   Often on twisty mountain roads.   It’s often darker than dark.  While the stock headlights are good, it’s still pretty easy to out ride your lights.

With the upcoming Void Rally and others on tap, specifically the 2012 MD2020 which will be almost ALL mountain roads I decided it was time to add some Auxiliary Lighting.


The number 1 self contained HID for this type of application is the Soltek Fuego’s.  While they have gotten cheaper (now $320 each instead of $500 each), a pair is still north of $600 plus hardware.

The next best thing, is the Chinese Knock Off’s.   They can be had via Amazon for $120 each or there about.  Hella also offers these same lights with their name on them.

So $240 sounds a whole lot better to me that $600.   Allegedly they put out about 90% of the light of the Soltek’s at less than 1/3rd the price. 

I lucked into a deal and got a pair used from an FJR forum member.  

The next puzzle is where to mount them on the FJR.  The FJR doesn’t really lend itself to lots of mounting spaces, and these lights are LARGE.

The standard approach is using a set of brackets that mount the lights under the mirrors, using the mirror mounts.   That works well for some of the smaller lights but doesn’t work real well for these larger lights or the Solteks.   The other problem with that location is that a simple parking lot tip over (and I’ve had a few in the years that I’ve owned the FJR) will likely break or smash one of your $300+ lights.

I was struggling to find a solution, then ran into Alex’s Brackets.  These brackets were made specifically for these lights or Solteks.  Mounting them above the mirrors instead.  This is good for both tip over protection and getting the lights as high as possible.

I received my brackets, and a spare set of left hand controls off a wreck on ebay for cheap to mount the switch (in case I messed it up), and fabricated a wiring harness.

Since I do have the Twisted Throttle Mirror Extensions, I did have to ‘tweak’ the brackets a bit.   Nothing a little bench grinder can’t take care of.  Repainted them and viola Done.

Mounted them up today and now I can’t wait until it gets dark Winking smile


Had to increase the relief for the windshield.


Had to grind a little relief for the mirror extensions.


Had to come up with about a 3/8 inch spacer, ended up using 5 fender washers.


Touch up paint on the brackets and washers once finished.


Added this toggle switch to the back of my left hand controls.  This On-Off-On switch, turns the lights (On when the bike has power – Off – On with the High Beams).



More photos available on PicasaWeb.

The MD2020 Recap

Whew, it’s over… I’m exhausted.

Heading to York, Friday the 25th at o’dark thirty.

500 miles to York, PA, 1300 miles in the rally, 500 miles home. We could have and should have done more but unfortunate circumstances kept us from executing our planned route. It was very doable and would have scored us in the top 15, which for being noobs at this, would have been very, very good.
Out of 50 riders we finished 30th, which for our first Rally isn’t too shabby, especially after you consider our down fall.

Continue reading “The MD2020 Recap”

Indiana Ride


Saturday C and I took our first all day ride on the FJR. A little late in the season but there was an organized ride over in Indiana to “Beat the Gawkers” on a great route through Brown County. The plan was to enjoy the day riding and check out the beautiful scenery before the leaves turned fully and the roads were clogged up with old folks gawking at the trees.

The biggest issue was the temperature. It was a lovely 37 degrees when we left at 6 am. The day before I tried to prepare Claudine for just how cold that was going to be and gave her an out but she wouldn’t take it. It was supposed to be a couple’s ride, but a number of the wives opted out because of the temperatures. The cold doesn’t bother me because I have heated gear.

She said she would just layer up. OK.

I lost count of how many shirts and layers she put on but she did have two jackets. One of the biggest issues was gloves. But we worked it out.

The other excitement was installing a new intercom on the motorcycle which would allow us to be able to have conversations as well as allow us to listen to music. This didn’t work out as well as planned as we didn’t have enough time for testing and tuning.

We met a friend at 6:30am about 10 minutes down the road at McDonalds. At that point Claudine said it’s not that cold. I told her you haven’t spend 15 minutes at 65 or 70 miles an hour yet, hang tight.

We left there to meet up with other folks in Columbus Indiana. It took us about an hour and a half to get there. We hit some fog, which only made it chillier. But it was pretty sweet riding through the sunrise with a full moon in sight.

We hooked up at the Columbus, IN Denny’s and had to thaw out. Neither Claudine nor Kyle had heated gear and with a low of 37 on the way, perhaps lower at times, that’s down right cold.


At Denny’s we met up with others from the FJR Forum including the ride organizers and had breakfast.

From there we took some pretty tasty roads around Brown County and ended up in Nashville, Indiana where we had Pizza and some stuffed breadsticks at a pretty decent Italian restaurant.

After lunch we all split up and wandered our way home. 12 hours and 350 miles later we were whipped. 350 miles isn’t very many for only 12 hours but we ran a nice pace and enjoyed the surroundings. It was a long day but well worth it.