By Gary Klinker
June is here and we are entering the peak riding
season. BRC classes are filling at a very good
pace so far. We are adding new riders to the fold
and new ABATE members to the family. So far I have
had a chance to ride a lot of the roads in
southwest Wisconsin. That is probably one of the
best riding areas in the whole country. I'm
also looking forward to two weeks of riding in
North Carolina and Tennessee this month. That is
another of my favorite riding areas.
I would like to take time to thank everyone from
Region 7D and all the other parts of the state who
helped us with another successful Bike Show and
Swap Meet in Tomah. This was the 30th
annual event and it has always seemed like a big
family reunion to me. I would see many people once
a year at the show, and know that I would see them
at the next one. The region has decided that this
will be the last time we do the event. Thanks to
everyone for the support over the years.
A couple months ago I said I would have a product
review, but it got delayed. The new bike I got
last Labor Day weekend needed some personal
touches and since all I did in the fall was ride
it, I got to work over the winter. I wanted to
mount my auxiliary driving lights from the
previous bike and also add more rear lighting. I
found a product called a Hex EZ Can, made for late
model BMWs with liquid cooled engines.
It integrates into the electrical system allowing
full control with no extra switches or much added
wiring. It is also programmable with a laptop to
change its settings and operation. Since the bike
dash has a photocell for day and night brightness,
the aux lights can also be adjusted for day and
nighttime settings. They also have high and low
beam. When the turn signal is operated the LED
driving light on that side will go off to avoid
washing out the turn signal. You may have seen
this on some newer cars. The driving lights flash
when the horn is operated.
The added rear light is a small LED bar that
mounts right to the license plate bolts. It is
from Clearwater Lighting. It operates as an extra
tail light and brake light. The brightness of the
tail and brake function is also programmable. The
brake function has four different settings to
choose from. I use the one that flashes when the
brakes are applied before staying on solid until
the brake is released. Since the Hex unit controls
the brake light also, it will flash under hard
deceleration such as a quick downshift, even with
no brake application. It is pretty cool!
The point is, conspicuity is important for safe
riding. You want to do all you can do to be seen
in traffic. The extra front lights, along with
more rear lights and flashing brake lights will
make you stand out in the traffic mix. The
additional lighting to the front makes your
visibility for night riding a lot safer also.
Seeing and being seen are fundamental components
of any rider education program. Many of you are
saying "So what, I don't have that
type of bike." Extra lighting and reflective
material can be added to any bike to make it
safer. It is also very easy to do.
I'm not here to advertise for anyone, but
when I find good products and service I will
always be happy recommend them. Most of you know I
have always touted Aerostich products (http://aerostich.com
). Now I can say
that Clearwater Lights (http://clearwaterlights.com
) are very well
built and impressive. The Hex EZ Can unit came
from Twisted Throttle (http://twistedthrottle.com
). The delay in
this report was because the first unit I got did
not work properly. I worked with the tech people
at Twisted Throttle to diagnose the situation and
fix it. In the end I sent it back and they gave me
a replacement that works as advertised. They were
very good at tech help and customer service. Check
these companies for your riding needs.
Be visible out there and practice your braking and
riding skills every time you throw a leg over the
seat. Since we live in the North Country we have
to get our riding while we can. It is prime time!
See you on the road.
Klinker, Gary. "Light Review." ABATE of Wisconsin Newsletter Jun. 2017.