Mil-Spec Headlight upgrade for R1100GS (+long-winded build

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by CopperGreen, Dec 22, 2013.

?

Which version looks best/ would interest you?

  1. Carbon Fiber w/ running lights

  2. Carbon Fiber w/o running lights

  3. Brushed Aluminum w/ running lights

  4. Brushed Aluminum w/o running lights

  5. Black Anodized Aluminum w/ running lights

  6. Black Anodized Aluminum w/o running lights

  7. Happy with stock, thanks!

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  1. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    When I troll these forums I get a vicarious thrill listening to all ya with your new shinny toys and farkles aplenty.
    I remember those days fondly, and salute the new generation.

    “Mil-Spec, Dot Approved LED Headlight upgrade for R1100GS”
    Why bother? Well, since you asked…

    15 years ago I bought my current bike, an anniversary edition R1100GS. Before that, I owned a white, plastic tank '96 which I traded in for the upgraded tranny and, well, all the improvements of the later version. The tank hadn't started to blister yet (there were stories floating about) but for sure the tranny was acting a 'lil dodgy.

    The 1150 came and went. Often I had thought if I had just resisted, I could have gotten one instead.
    The 1200's appeared and again I looked on, jealous of all the new riders discovering the amazing abilities of the GS for the first time and finding outlets like this to share the passion.

    As the various generations of GS appeared, I stood back in the shadows, torn. By now I had bonded with the '98. We had been through so much together. We had circled the US, dipped into Canada and rode around the Great Lakes and into a bit of Mexico, too. Had countless, superb, camping trips- the bike loaded to the gills and still dueling sport bikes in the twisties.

    Every time a new model appeared I somehow resisted the urge for retail therapy by using every excuse I could muster. Reasons like "they're making them now for shorter riders (I'm 6'6")" or "they're getting too gadgety and complicated".

    I think the bottom line is I had anthropomorphized the bike to the point where the old girl was a living creature, capable of feelings. I could not abandon her. And besides, she had performed flawlessly. She had never stranded me. Even when she had a serious injury, she kept it to herself.
    That said,like with all relationships, you have ups and downs. Last year I succumbed to weakness and bought a K1600GTL.
    It was time for something different. Wow. Different indeed!
    I'll be honest and admit I descended into the dreaded “RFS’s, or, reliability fear spirals. "This bike is a hanger queen" I'd say. "It's gonna be in the dealer shop more than on the road."

    17k later and it's been rock solid. My GF prefers it of course.

    Compared to the K16, the ol'GS is starting to feel un-avoidably more like a bike from the last century. In a way, the 1100 is the Steam Punk generation of the GS series.

    Armed with this experience of the latest from BMW I'm really jealous of you lot with the LC '13s and soon the adventure model.

    Maybe in 5 years I'll dive in and get the latest and greatest GS. For now though, I'm truly blessed to have two extraordinary motorcycles in my garage.
    Wanna hear something funny? Even though the 16 has twice the hp and has sat radio and Bluetooth integrated helmet and ESA and TC, etc, etc. which bike do you think I want to ride?

    Knowing that I plan on riding the old GS around for many years to come, I invested in some long over-do maintenance. New fork tubes and seals, tranny overhaul, SS brake lines, clutch, splines etc.

    A glaring inequity between the two bikes appears when you ride at night. The 16 looks like a UFO from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”. Crisp, state of the art LED lights grace the latest bikes. Makes them just that much more noticeable and the headlights reach way out there.
    The antiquated halogen 55/60 watt in the 1100 might as well be a candle. When in traffic the lights from other vehicles completely wash it out (kind’a humiliating, for my part...). On dark roads it feels like anything over 45 mph and you’re out-driving the beam. The 1600 has, IMO, 80mph or so lights. YMMV.


    And here is where we come to the meat of this post.
    Continued...
    #1
    3xranger likes this.
  2. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    ...continued

    Having upgraded the turn signals and brake lights to LEDs, it was time to see what could be done with the headlight.
    In the past I had tried higher wattage bulbs, aux lights (keeping those) and settled with, up to now, an HID auto kit conversion.
    The higher wattage bulbs didn't cut it and burned out frequently. The HID was ok but the stock reflector didn't work very well so while the light was nice and white, the pattern projected was corrupt- the end result poor. IMO,YMMV.
    I also didn't like all the gak that went with the HID. Ballasts and trigger boxes and thick, either too long or too short hi voltage wires.
    A couple aftermarket outfits offered upgrades but they too were just last century filament tech.
    $300 + later and only slightly better and still slightly orange too. Sooooo yesterday!
    Then I stumbled on this...

    http://www.truck-lite.com/wcsstore/OnTheRoad/27450C_NP.pdf

    This got my attention.
    I ran out to the bike and took some fast measurements. There was a slight chance it could be adapted so I took the plunge and bought one.
    When it arrived I knew this was the answer! It didn't hurt that it was designed and made in the USA...and mil-spec, too.
    Looking at the current draw of the new led vs the old oem halogen indicated that no modification was needed to the bike harness like thicker wires or remote relays.
    The original h4 socket on the bike plugged right into the tail on the new led. Nice!
    Amp draw on low beam is about half and hi beam around the same as the stock halogen. Check!

    All that remained now was the fitment.

    Before continuing, a little about myself.
    I design things for a living. For the last 30+years I've been employed in the movie biz doing special fx. I have screen credit on several block busters like Jurassic Park, Pirates of the Caribbean, Iron Man, The Dark Knight Rises. For 4 years I operated my own shop. I was one of the first adopters of 3d rapid prototyping. Before that I was a tool and die maker in aerospace. The last 20 years I've embraced cad and for the last 15, 3d cad. (SolidWorks)

    Because of the variety of unique and diverse creations demanded by the “Biz”, I'm familiar with an broad array of materials and associated methods of manufacture. As an example, I designed the steel structures and integration of hydraulics for the big stone lifting blocks and walkways in the Bat Cave sequence of “The Dark Knight Rises”. I also headed the design and fabrication of the acrylic bat suit cabinet that elevated out of the floor of one of those blocks-on an elevator I designed.
    Back to the project.
    Based on the every shrinking number of 1100GS's remaining, the design of the adapter for the LED must reflect this. There is no point in investing time and energy into a design requiring special tooling, like injection molding. At this point even vacu-forming is over the top. So a simple, stacked plate design is the ticket.
    This is what I came up with...
    #2
  3. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    ...continued

    The advantage is it allows for straight forward, tried and true water saw technology.
    This made it easy to refine the geometry but also easily switch materials.
    Here are some pictures of the production versions. Based on feedback and costing issues the side daytime running lights have been dropped. I will have them on my bike and if someone wants them, I have an extra kit available. Of course I can cut more if desired.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #4
  5. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    Please forgive the crappy cell phone pictures. Also, it's really hard finding dark areas in Los Angeles!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The nitty gritty.
    I started this project because I wanted this for my bike. It was coming together nicely, so I thought others would be interested. I began thinking about offering it for sale as a way to perhaps cover development expenses and hey, maybe make some Sushi money.
    I got in contact with truck-lite and negotiated for wholesale prices. Turns out the wholesale price is $219 each. I bought mine on ebay for $169.00!
    It makes 0 sense to offer these in the kit. Not unless a bunch of us decide we want to try a group buy from ebay.
    The Truck-Lite part number is 27450C. Like I said, I leave this up to the individual to acquire unless we try to leverage with a group buy.
    The actual kit I'm offering runs $125 for the stainless steel version and $175 for the carbon fiber version. I think I'll make a 7075 aluminum and black hard anodized version too. I have a aux light bracket I made 17 years ago that is weathering nicely. No pricing yet.
    Any aftermarket product types reading this will recognize there is no profit here. Maybe if I sell 50 units I'll see a little green for the effort, but for now I'm happy because my bike is kitted and I might make other brothers here happy and safer.

    Edit. 6061T6 material used on aluminum versions. Price tbd.
    Second edit. The prices I quoted are not accurate. I'm new to this and I severely underestimated what was involved in doing this. Those prices don't even cover raw materials and cutting, let alone labor, hardware, assembly, etc. Hey, I'm a designer not a marketer. Don't worry, the Truck-lite and the adapter (TLA1100) set will still be hundreds of $ cheaper then the TT HID offering.
    #5
  6. GS Addict

    GS Addict Pepperfool

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,020
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast B.C.
    Nice work. I manufacture things myself and love this sort of project.
    I have seen many of those lights up north on the Alaska highway. They are awesome!

    Your bike looks very well kept, how many miles are on it?
    #6
  7. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    Thanx,
    Yeah, the reviews on amazon and other sites by cage drivers about this light are all 5 out of 5 or 10 outta 10.

    The bike has about 43k on it.

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. pwlindo

    pwlindo I can do this!

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    156
    Location:
    Beautiful Easton Connecticut
    Nice design work. I could be interested in one of your kits. Reviews on the light, like you said, are very positive. With this light do you find you don't use the aux lights as much?
    #8
  9. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    Yeah,
    I keep the covers on the aux light most of the time.
    #9
  10. guitstik

    guitstik Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
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    338
    Location:
    Eads, TN
    I can't wait.for.my prototype to arrive so that I can see if it looks as good on a black bike as it does on your red bike.:rofl
    #10
  11. mouthfulloflake

    mouthfulloflake Not afraid

    Joined:
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    22,446
    Location:
    N.W. Arkansas
    Very nice CopperGreen.

    thank you for taking the time to document and share with your brothers.

    :clap
    #11
  12. space

    space a.k.a. Jake

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,653
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    Los Angeles, CA
    Nice work!

    You've got me thinking about putting one on my bike. If only they made a 6" round rather than the 7". That would almost be a direct swap on my HP2.
    #12
  13. Poolside

    Poolside Syndicated

    Joined:
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    11,887
    Location:
    Silicon Beach, CA
    <BR>Great job, CG! Breathe life into the old tractor!

    <BR>
    #13
  14. hiup

    hiup Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    16
    I think that bike is gonna run forever :D
    #14
  15. Poway

    Poway SHED (Shit Head)

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    Formerly San Diego CA/ now P'Cola FL
    Outstanding job.
    #15
  16. vintagerider

    vintagerider Long timer

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    the west
    Nice work. Great to see a modern upgrade to the 1100 GS lamp. Can you give us fly by wire servos for the TB's too?
    #16
  17. AntonLargiader

    AntonLargiader Long timer

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    Nice! What do they weigh?
    #17
  18. guitstik

    guitstik Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    338
    Location:
    Eads, TN
    I should be receiving a prototype by the end of next week and I will be giving a full detailed accounting of the light and mount in the coming weeks.
    #18
  19. pacman6009

    pacman6009 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2009
    Oddometer:
    19
    Location:
    Down Under - Australia
    Looks great CG, well done?

    I love my 1100GS and can't see a time without her, that said I can't see at night riding her - your mod looks like the fix.

    Why did you drop the running LED's?

    Will you ship to Australia?

    Pacman
    #19
  20. CopperGreen

    CopperGreen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Oddometer:
    224
    Location:
    Los Angeles, Ca.
    First off,
    Thanx all for the compliments.
    And no, I like cable throttles on my adventure/zombie vampire apocalypse survival bike!

    Anton, you engineer you...the carbon fiber unit weighs maybe a pound and half over the oem lite. I shipped my drug scale off to location in advance and the kitchen scale maxed out on the oem light while weighing it. I will check my cad file and get a weight from it. When I collect my shniz I'll do a proper weight check to compare. (The cad is usually right on....) FYI, the lamp kit has a ring that fits outside the stock lite back housing, so the weight is carried by the whole magilla. The stainless versions are another pound or so. I'm trying to gauge interest before I buy a sheet of 0.094 7075 aluminum to cut up.

    As for shipping to Australia, it would be an honor and a privilege to know a 1100gs is fitted with this kit down under. I don't know what the shipping cost would be...
    The running lights are a pain to wire. If you can solder, I'll send the LEDs and you can connect. If you need me to do it, it may take a while as I am starting work on a feature and my time will be limited so you may have to wait a bit...


    Divide and exploit. Works every time.
    #20