Erica... I love you!

[ Wednesday - October 23, 2013 ]

Finally, after clearing up a little confusion between Clearwater Lights and myself, Erica showed up at my front door.  No my wife is not jealous nor has she kicked me out of the house.  Darn, those 3.5" are bigger than I had thought, but I'm jumping way ahead here.  Let's start from the beginning...

I think it was about 1-2 months ago that I knew I needed lights.  This wasn't too long after trading in everything for the new 2013 R1200GS.  Knowing that winter months is riding in the dark, I figured I need a set of lights no later than the October time frame to make night time riding a bit safer.

When I say lights I'm not talking about just any lights.  I want state of the art earth scorching lights that can be seen from Mars.  Well, maybe not from Mars.  Earth scorching is kind of OK.  You know, the kind of lights that make vampires cringe in fear.  At the same time, the lights has to be manageable enough that I don't vaporize everything in sight.  Laser beam on demand please.  What comes to mind?  Well I know just the manufacturer to give me what I desire.  They're my good o' friends Clearware Lights.

I've been buying light ever since the F800GS.  That's around the 2009 time frame, but those were the small lights (Glenda).  Since that time, they've been busy.  They came out with the Krysta, and later the Darla, but the latest lights are absolutely crazy.  The Erica.  Yes they're bigger lights (60 watts each at full power), but given that the new 2013 R1200GS has a whoppin' 700 watts at 4-5K RPM, I'm not too concerned.  Plus I know the majority of the time, I'll be driving around with the lowest setting.  Otherwise I "would" vaporize everybody in sight.

What are the specs you ask?  Why it's just a meager 300 lumens at the lowest setting.  What's so retina burning about that?  Hold your horsy.  At maximum it's a retina singing 6000 lumens.  Big deal you say... well... perhaps this will put things in perspective.  A 55 watts Xenon HID outputs between 4500-5000 lumens.  How is the Erica better than a Xenon HID?  The Erica only consumes 5 more watts to be 1000 lumens brighter.  That's might efficient.  Another point of reference... a standard H7 halogen output between 1000-1500 lumens.  Pale in comparison to the Erica.

Mounting the lights weren't a big deal with the DSBP Auxiliary Light Bar, but wiring everything up was still a pain.  At one point the instruction for the Erica says that I have to drill into the fairing to install the light switch.  While this make it look nice, I just don't have a lot of places to drill into the bike to install the switch.  Not only that, I don't want the fairing to be so difficult to remove from the bike because of all the wires.  Nice concept but it's just not a practical in real life.  Instead I created a work around.  It's called a small aluminum piece and Velcro.  It's not the prettiest, but it works mighty fine.

It clear the forks by 1/4".  Hokey but good.  Not to mention no hole in the fairing.

In terms of the radial brightness knob, the 2013 R12GS just doesn't have the same mirror assembly bolt.  It can't be mounted in the same manner as the F8GS nor the hex-head R12GS.  Here too I had to adhoc the knob install.  I ended up using 3M double sided indoor/outdoor tape along with a 90 degree aluminum piece to mount the knob on top of the instrument panel.  In this way the knob is out of the way but still reachable if I want to adjust the brightness.  To say the least, both of these adhoc solutions ended taking a lot of my time just trying to figure out where to put the hardware.  Clearly the Erica power switch and knob mount kit was intended for the hex-head R12GS.  This is the only gripe I have against Clearwater Lights.  Then again, I'm likely to be one of the first people with the 2013 R12GS that is using the Erica.  Perhaps by the time you get this kit for your 2013+ R12GS, the mounting hardware will be correct.

It actually stays on there very securely.

It doesn't even wiggle when the knob is turned.  Nice...

And here is the overall results.

The two small lights, where the OEM LED headlight heat sink would go, are Denali LED lights.

With the two Erica lights in place, it no longer makes sense to use the Denali LED lights.  I kept the Denali lights just in case the low beam headlight goes out.  That way I can still have three light to make myself stand out as a motorcycle instead of pretending to be a weird looking car.

Here is a video demonstration of the Erica lights in action...

Using the radial knob only takes the lights up to 50% overall brightness.

The Erica in the lowest 300 lumens setting.

After two weeks worth of riding in the dark, no car has thus far flashed me to tell me to turn down/off the lights.  At nearly $1K, it's expensive, but you know the saying, "You get what you pay for."  I love these lights.

[ Update - November 21, 2013 ]

Will you look at that?  I had it all wrong.  The alternator for the new LC R1200GS is only 510 watts.  The old 600 watts or 700 watts is for the hex head GS/GSA respectively.  I guess cutting down the number of spark plugs from two to one really made the bike more power efficient.  Still, 510 watts is plenty of power for all of the lights.

Written on: November 12, 2013
Last modified: November 21, 2013