Friday, September 20, 2013

Blinded by the Light

Finally, I got every thing buttoned up last week and Lucy is running again! It's amazing how difficult a bike can be sometimes.

A simple addition of driving lights gave me an excuse to catch up on some overdue maintenance such as a radiator flush, however removing and reinstalling the tank several times to do so caused me to break a fuel fitting which required replacing said fittings. Which in turn gave me an opportunity to have my mechanic check the valves and replace the fork oil while I waited for parts to arrive.

I spent all of last Friday morning poking, prodding, cutting and slowly picking away at the plastic fuel fittings from the metal flange.

Removing plastic from the metal flange


Once the first one was out I attempted to very carefully remove the second fitting with a 19mm socket. I knew deep down what I was in for and as I ever so slowly turned the socket counter-clockwise it became easier and easier to turn, then suddenly it was too easy to turn... sure enough the second fitting broke and I was back to poking, prodding, cutting and slowly picking away at the plastic again.

2nd fitting broke

At least I knew what I was doing this time so the chore went a little faster.

All clean!

All cleaned up and ready to install the new fittings. I skipped down to the post office to pick up my treasures.

oooohhhhhh.... shiny!

Assembly went smoothly, I put the tank back on without the fear of breaking the fittings and got the battery in and bodywork back on.

Now to wait for darkness to test my lights. I rolled her outside, pointed her up the street and hit the switch.

WOW, those are bright! Let's see... if I aim this one down a little bit and this one to the left just a tad.

Headlights low beam

Headlights low beam with ADVMonster lights

Nope, still bright. Oh well, we'll see how many drivers I can blind during my commute.

Drivers seem to be used to LED lights as only one vehicle flashed their lights at me all week, a pretentious BMW driver with projector beam headlights at that. Really?!?

The lights did vibrate loose so I had to add lock washers to the mounting clamps and blue Loctite threadlock to all the mounting bolts and to where the light housing separates.

Thanks for the photo Mattsnook 
The lights produce a much brighter, white light than the headlights and draw very little power, but they do draw power. So much so that I have to decide which one auxiliary unit to use at a time as not to max out my wimpy little 350W charging system. I can run the lights if I keep my heated grips on low or run my grips on high if I shut off the lights, how frustrating and I haven't even entered my heated liner into this combination yet.

Let's see... liner off, grips high, lights off or liner on, grips low, lights off or liner off, grips off, lights on or liner off, grips low, lights on.

Or buy a Tiger Explorer 1200 with a 950W generator......

I suspect I'll be driving the car much more this winter than previous years, my commute is now just over 10 miles longer and the microclimates between home and work can differ significantly.

Happy Autumnal Equinox everyone!!!

Well, it's a marvelous night for a moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies
And all the leaves on the trees are falling
To the sound of the breezes that blow
And I'm trying to please to the calling
Of your heartstrings that play soft and low...
~Van Morrison


  1. Nice that you were prepared for the other fitting to break. The new ones look a lot better than the original. Stainless?

    Thank you for taking the night time photos with the new lights. Did you wire them in so they would be controlled by your high beam switch or separate switches for each light?

    I think that your charging system is larger than mine but I decided to take a slightly different approach, at least for the winter. How many watts? Surely more than 280...

    1. The new fuel fittings are chrome plated brass, much more stout than the stock plastic ones.

      I wired the lights to a one way switch so both are either on or off, I considered a DPDT switch but that would've given me one light or the other, not both. The only way I could think of doing one light or both is to install two switches and I wasn't up for that much wiring.

      The charging system on the '05 Tiger 955i is a mere 350 Watts and the bane of my existence.

    2. 350 watts! And here I thought I was the only one with an anemic charging system at 280 watts. Are aftermarket systems available? Or is a Tiger 1200 the best way to get the 950 watt system?

    3. I couldn't find any aftermarket stators available. I suppose an auxiliary battery tucked into one of the panniers might work like you did with your sidecar. hmmmmmm

  2. Brad, with those lights you will be noticed by every alien in the orbit (not sure if it works on earthbound cagers, though).

    I am glad that I don't have to worry about heated equipment, and the power they might draw from the bike... I don't have any of this ;-)

    1. The lights work great in the daytime too, I turned them on yesterday afternoon to command attention at a busy intersection.

      You don't need heated gear, you on your Vespa 300 Super Sport are hot enough to melt hearts.

  3. Troubadour:

    I like those coupled fittings. Much better design, stronger and comes apart easier. Now if they break you will be in deep doo doo

    If you are going to be driving more, then I am feeling very sorry for the one whom you took the car from . . . (snow tires for Max ?)

    I like those lights. I was thinking of a set for my Vstrom . I wanted to mount them on my lower forks so they turn with the wheel as my Fairing are fixed

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. The new fittings are pretty tough, they are tapered thread so I had to be careful not to over tighten them and damage the flange.

      The one from whom I took the car insisted I do so and will catch the bus at the cross street 4 houses down and drops her off across the street from her work. Although don't think I haven't considered putting TKC80 knobbies on her bike.

      I thought about mounting the lights to my lower forks but was afraid of additional unsprung weight the constant vibration.

  4. Nice output on the lights! As to plastic fittings, what a design fail. I guess it's cheaper for the manufacturer but still....

    Not to say URAL didn't put plastic fittings on my rig, they did....and I carry spares or have replaced said fittings. Only difference, mine were much easier to get at.

    Glad you're back on the road.

    1. Manufacturers must keep costs down, I suppose they never realized how often the tank would need to be removed considering every major service point is under there short of an oil change. I did find they improved the design on the next model year.

  5. Excellent!

    I've had my share of important plastic bits break too. Always frustrating.

    But, hey, shiny new lights, and now the gas fittings are solid.

    1. Isn't plastic fun? Makes you wonder what the engineers in R&D were thinking. But you're right, shiny new lights and the gas fittings are solid.

  6. Chrome-plated brass fittings... Much nicer than the brittle plastic ones! They should last the life of the bike now. A larger charging system out put would be nice. Especially if you plan to run heated gear in the dark!

    1. I'm surprised Triumph didn't design a better charging system considering the Tiger as an adventure bike has been around since 1993. I suspect heated grips and heated gear were still in their infancy 8 years ago and has only recently gained in popularity.

  7. Love the bright lights -- something that would be useful during night rides in our deer infested region. Alas, my Vespa just doesn't have the generator power to handle them.

    Steve Williams
    Scooter in the Sticks

    1. You should look into battery operated LED bicycle lights, I pass a gentlemen on a bicycle every morning and his helmet light is bright!

  8. Nice! I have been thinking of adding some running lights to my bike, just a little extra brightness would be awesome. Personally I think you should get the new tiger......


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