Bright Ass Lights

For my first blog entry on my newly redesigned site, I’m going with a review on a fairly cool product with very little information available at this point - BrightAssLights for Harley Davidson motorcycles.

In short, the thing lives up to its name. But wow, the ‘net is void of information on this thing. I ride a 2008 Harley Davidson FLHX Street Glide. One tail light, no real (legal) options for more light to the rear. And we all know how having more light back there can make the difference when you’re out riding on a summer night.

The only information out there is “Yeah, it’s really bright” and that’s just not enough for me. So as soon as I knew when the UPS guy was coming, I arranged for an analog light meter and tweaked my digital camera for manual shooting (photos here).

Here’s why I think empirical evidence is so hard to find...

I’m not an expert on optics - artificial or human - but I know that red lights are used in dark areas because they affect your night vision less than full-spectrum light (as the iris reacts differently to light across the spectrum). I almost have to assume that camera CCD’s and light meters share this to some extent as the “numbers don’t add up” - Even the photos don’t quite show what my eyes were very obviously telling me.

The photos on the Bright Ass Lights photo page on this site (will open a new browser window) tell a different story than the eyes. First off, the “stock” setting on the tail light of the BAL1R is, in my opinion, not bright enough. The second step (3% over DOT if I recall) is very nice. Third step (10% over DOT) is a whisker hot, but undoubtedly the choice for a lot of daytime riding. In my opinion, the photos, as carefully as I tried to make them show the difference, just don’t. Perhaps it’s the camera’s sensitivity (or lack thereof) to saturated red light. You can plainly see the tag light stays at the same intensity from photo to photo (until the blazingly bright brake light set on “stun” where the entire garage was awash in a R-27-ish glow.

Save my incoherent ramblings for a moment -

The light arrived only several days after ordering and took all of around 1.5 minutes to install. I’m not “one with my tools” - For the most part, I’m dangerous with them. But there are a few occasions where I think you lose “Man Points” - One would be changing out the mufflers on a HD Touring model. But even that takes a certain amount of “don’t f*** up” going on. This thing, on the other hand, is two screws out, pull the plug / plug it in, two screws in. Absolutely nothing to it. Barely more difficult than changing the batteries in a child’s toy.


UPDATE 1: MAY.03.2009

Went for a nice long ride today with a ridin’ buddy. Sunny day (perfect day, really), said it looked great. Easily visible as a taillight, attention-getting but not irritating as a brake light. Same deal - Up close, nothing to it (which is great because...) far away, it’s one bright-ass-light.