The last couple of posts bring up some interesting points, but y'all should understand that many of us in the Long Distance riding community have been dealing with these issues for years now. We've tested every possible light combination, and are always on the lookout for the next best thing. When something new does come up several folks will grab it and try it out, then report back to the whole community. So at this point we've pretty much got it covered, at least in terms of what works best for our needs.
I agree that a factory-designed HID is the best option, which is why I was glad to have that available on the GT. But a quality HID upgrade that keeps the point light source at the same location as the halogen bulb is also a very good addition. That worked well for me for years on two different LT's, and works just as well on the GT high beams.
As for flashing the high beams, I pretty much never do that. If they can't see me coming up behind with three HIDs already running, then they're already clueless and blind. And I'd much rather have excellent forward lighting for that 95% of the time I need it than worry about being able to flash-to-pass for that 5% of the time that might want to do that. And as I said, you can still flash-to-pass with HIDs just fine if you want to. They do come on very bright right at first, then just get brighter and brighter as you leave them on.
Honestly, I find that I'm more likely to have the HIDs running, dim them briefly as I pass a car (either oncoming or going my direction), then turn them back on again where they come to full brightness almost immediately. So my HIDs stay running most of the time and get dimmed only briefly as opposed to being off most of the time and only getting flashed occasionally.
I've actually had folks tell me that certain HID Driving lights are useless because they're so bright that they will annoy oncoming traffic well over 1/2 mile away. But I've spent hours on roads where there simply is no oncoming traffic, whether crossing lonely Nevada or Montana or climbing some obscure mountain at 3 a.m. On these roads, you're more likely to see deer and other wildlife than another car, so having all the lighting you can possibly get is a good thing.
So what Pete and I are looking at is the factory HID low beam and Gen 3 PHIDs for close-up illumination (both of which I have been running for tens of thousands of miles with great success). And upgraded HID high beams for medium/long illumination (the factory reflectors are good but the halogen bulbs just don't throw enough light), plus the new Gen 4 PHIDs for looking way down the road (these things are scary bright with an excellent throw of light).
So if you're the type that only occasionally uses your high beam, then none of this excess makes sense. But if you're consistently outriding your high beam, then augmenting that not only makes sense, it becomes a safety issue.
No, none of this is cheap. And having 7 forward-facing HIDs really is overkill. But when you do the kind of miles that we do over the kind of terrain that we ride, you naturally go after the best lighting you can find. And a lot of it.