Somewhere along the line I decided that I needed additional lighting on the front end of my RT. The stock headlight is OK and I don't ride that much at night, but the area I live in is heavily overpopulated with white tail deer. Anything that can help you spot them on the side of the road is worthwhile.
I was also interested in increasing visibility from the front. I'd already installed the BMW Supplemental Rear Brake Light (63000445578) with the 2005 and up R1200RT specific harness (61000445579), on the back end so I think I'm covered there. The idea of creating a "triangle of light" on the front of the bike was very appealing.
I looked at a large number of auxiliary lighting kits of halogen, HID and LED variety. Eventually I settled on LED due to the relatively high output and low power consumption. While more expensive than some halogen kits they are still less that many HID kits. The LEDs are also simpler to install with no ballasts required.
I wanted a clean installation on brackets that look like they are designed for the bike, rather than a tack on. I was hoping to avoid spoiling the line of the bike as much as possible.
Eventually I settled on the Clearwater Glenda Led kit for canbus BMWs, with BMW R1200RT specific fork mount brackets. The few reviews I was able to find were positive and it seemed like the lights would be high quality. The brackets actually attach to the front fender mounting locations as you will see in the pictures that follow.
The lights are expensive but patience payed off and A&S BMW offered a 15% off sale on everything, plus free shipping and a couple of ROK straps thrown in. That helped to ease the pain a little.
Here is a look at the contents of the Clearwater Glenda kit.
|Clearwater Glenda Kit cables and Brackets|
|The Glenda LED lights|
The power cables on the back of the lights are permanently attached and include 3 wires in each harness covered by a black sheeth. The Clearwater Instructions warn not to connect these directly to the battery or damage to lights may occur.
The other included wiring is a battery cable with ring terminals and a fuse holder at one end, and the canbus compatible relay on the other. No additional wiring is required.
There is also a dimmer at the end of one cable. This is used to reduce the brightness of the lights during routine driving so as not to blind oncoming drivers. The wiring harness includes a lead that is connected to the high beam circuit. This connection allows the lights to be operated at full brightness on high beam and then automatically return to normal on low beam.
|Dimmer Assembly with Bracket|
The first order of business is to remove the left side tupperware. Like with most work on the RT, its the only way to get the wiring and other components. If you need help with that you can watch this YouTube Tupperware Video or search the forums for instructions.
Once that was out of the way I took a look at the mounting location and installed the lights loosely on the brackets and then the brackets onto the fender mounts. They will need to be adjusted later.
|Note the 2 fender mounting points|
|Left light attached to the bracket and mounted to the fender mounts|
|Battery Harness Routing|
|Canbus Relay Installed|
|Shrink Wrapping Splices|
|Outer Shrink Wrap Over Splices|
|Connections to Headlamp connector Low and High Beam Circuits|
This was my first thought for where I wanted to put the dimmer. I did not want to drill any holes in the bike to mount the dimmer. I quickly determined that this would not work since it interfered with the wiring harness for the left switch assembly when turning lock to lock.
|Trial Dimmer Location|
I settled on removing the bracket and mounting the dimmer directly on the wiring harness for the left switch assembly. I don't expect to need to adjust it frequently, but its in easy reach if I need to. the recommendation from Clearwater is to set the dimmer to about 20% and let it go to full brightness on high beam. Reports from other users appear to confirm this setting.
|Dimmer Control at Left Control|
Here are a couple of shots of the finished installation on the Clearwater LEDs on my R1200RT
|Clearwater LED Install Closeup|
Clearwater LED install complete on my 2010 R1200RT
The lights,brackets and wiring seems to be well thought put and well made. The light output allot of light and the dimmer / high beam combination is a nice feature. They seem to complement the bike, as much as any aftermarket light can, without ruining the lines of the bike.
My only nitpick is the number of wires that need to be spliced and stuffed up into the nose. This area is very tight and it seems like every farkle I add needs space in this area. Also the kit could be installed easier if there was some sort of waterproof connector that everything plugged into instead of the posi-twist splices.
Thanks for reading. This article is for informational purposes only and remember your mileage may vary.
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