Originally Posted by banditbiker
I am planning a trip to the west this summer and need to know which lighting would be the one to get, HID or driving lights. I usually do all of my riding in the north east and as we don't have too many wide open stretches where I ride I am not sure of what to get for the trip.
I will be riding through S.Dakota, Wyoming,Montana then Canada to San Diego,then across to Florida. A lot of the riding will be at night so I need the best lighting for this type of riding. I am riding a 2003 LT.
2003 K1200LTE - anthracite
2001 Suzuki Bandit 1200S Red
South Park Pa.
The key for night riding in the wide open spaces is down road reach. You need to see the road surface far enough ahead to have braking/swerving time to avoid anything on the surface, or a bad surface.
HID low beam, although one of the best additions you can make to the LT, does not help at highway speeds. HID high beam adjusted properly would help a lot, but good, well focused driving lights are even better. You want the driving lights mounted as high as possible so that can reach down the highway far enough but still be aimed slightly downward. If they are mounted low, then the beam is basically parallel to the surface and does not show things as you need it to. I had HID driving lights mounted under the mirrors.
Just be aware that many states have regulations that do not permit any aux. lights used on the highway to be mounted above the level of the headlight, but I have never heard of anyone on a motorcycle being cited for that.
If you do add good driving lights, wire them slaved to high beam so that when you have them turned on they go on and off when the high beam does. Do NOT use an Autoswitch on driving lights! I did that at first, but quickly learned that was not good. Every time I dimmed the high beam, I had to hold the turnsignal cancel switch down for a second to get them to come back on. When you have been riding with them on for a while, going back to low beam is dangerous as your eyes are used to the down road lighting and you cannot see well at all until they are turned back on. That second or two before you can get them back on covers a lot of highway at 80+ MPH!!! You need them back on the instant the oncoming driver gets to the point you will not blind them. When you get in areas where there is too much oncoming traffic to use the driving lights you have to slow down to be reasonably safe.
The toughest thing to do when riding at night is to keep your sight distance a little longer than your stopping distance. Most LD riders will admit they are often out of this safety range.