♫ My Flat Spot Has a First Name... it's Highway34 ♫
♫ My flat spot has a second name it's 34 some more ♫
- A parody tune by Polarbear
My new job has me commuting 22 miles each way, so fortunately I'm back on the bike. Unfortunately, my commute isn't as leisurely as it once was and now consists of riding the boringly straight, highly despised, four lane, death trap known as Highway 34 east of Corvallis.
So now with so many miles clicking away on such a straight road I must take into consideration joining the darksiders
|Relax Irondad, I'm kidding ;)|
One saving grace is that the highway is nearly empty at 5 o'clock in the morning and most of the traffic is headed in the opposite direction come 4:30 in the afternoon. I do get to wave at both Polarbear and SpartanBabe on the the way home, when I recognize their vehicles in the mass of zombie commuters.
It is also dark at 5 am which brings a new level of awareness or lack thereof and riding to work Wednesday morning a dead raccoon jumped right out in front of me. I was concerned with a semi-truck gaining on me from behind so I kept checking on him in my mirrors. "So where are you not looking when you're looking in your mirrors?" In front of you. "And where do most accidents occur on a motorcycle?" In front of you.
Now I've hit suicidal squirrels and bold birds before, but they're pretty small and don't stand much of a chance against 700 lbs of bike and rider at speed. Unexpectedly hitting an already deceased raccoon the size of a medium dog will pucker your butt and upset said 700 pounds in a heartbeat. I didn't have time to slow, brake or swerve and surmounted the obstacle nearly slamming the bars out of my hands, I certainly appreciate Newton's Law thus keeping her upright. Needless to say, I was no longer concerned with my mirrors the rest of the ride in. Thoughts of self preservation took over.
An early morning commute means colder temperatures, however I have been able to beat the few degrees of temperature drop at sunrise. I've been using my heated grips and heated liner but lately at a higher setting than normal, this of course demands more from Lucy's electrical system.... can you guess where this is going? Tigers don't have a robust charging system so on the way home I experienced deja vu all over again with a dead battery at the gas pump. No way was I going to try and bump start her this time and made a phone call to Trobairitz to come save me instead. A quick jump start from the car battery and I was headed home to put Lucy on the charger.
I spent Friday morning calculating power draw and my options. The easiest option is to disconnect or switch one headlight off, but I don't want to do that due to the afore mentioned raccoon. Nor do I want to mess with HIDs, wiring or ballasts... KISS. However, I do have the other lights to consider.
I'm of the mindset that electricity, like water, flows downhill so please feel free to correct me if I am wrong thinking out loud here, I may be missing or overlooking something.
The taillight and brake light require two 1157 dual filament bulbs which draw 21 watts each for the high filament and 5 watts each for the low filament.
The 5008 signal light bulbs are 10 watts each and with a Kisan Signal Minder which not only self cancels the signal lights but also run the signal bulbs as running lights. I estimate these four bulbs are constantly drawing 5 to 7 watts each.
This equates to a draw of 30 watts just cruising along, the numbers jump when braking and signaling. At a stop, the taillight filament remains lit while the brake light filament ignites too, drawing a combined 52 watts (nearly the same draw as one headlight). Add the running lights and the numbers jump to 72 watts. Turn on the signal lights and the numbers jump again, albeit intermittently, to 82 watts!!!
Watts a guy to do?
A quick Google search, a hop to ADVRider.com and a skip TigerTriple.com to confirm... the answer may just be LED baby! I jumped over to SuperBrightLEDs.com and placed an order for six bulbs.
Four signal lights:
I hope to receive the bulbs in the mail this week and get them installed right away. I'll write up a report and post before and after photos and of the install. In the meantime, I'll turn my grips down and keep my liner on low.
The rampant raccoons however, are on their own.