Look after your lights

Don’t get left in the dark as long summer days start to fade away

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week in Mcn -

1 Get your head­light aimed Start by mea­sur­ing the bulb height from the road. Stick a piece of tape hor­i­zon­tally on a wall at that height, then an­other ver­ti­cal piece 35cm above and down to the floor. Align the front wheel square with the ver­ti­cal line and roll back 3.8m. Sit on the bike, and turn dip beam on. For bikes with a bulb up to 85cm off the floor, it should be 2-8cm below the line. Those higher than 85cm should be 5-10cm below the line. 2 Is it time for light­bulb mo­ment? Keep­ing all lights clean is a sim­ple step to help en­sure you’re seen. Even if you don’t wash your bike, wipe mucky lights down with a damp cloth or sponge. Polishing with sil­i­cone spray helps re­pel fu­ture dirty spray. Con­sider get­ting a qual­ity bulb too – look up the cor­rect bulb type for your bike and find an up­grade. A slight bluish tinge can help other road users dis­tin­guish you in traf­fic. 3 Aux­il­iary light­ing A sim­ple move on twin-head­light bikes is to change the wiring so both il­lu­mi­nate to­gether on dip and main beam. Other­wise, spot­lights or ad­di­tional run­ning lights can be used. White LED strips on hand­guards, mir­ror stalks or fair­ing edges can help make your bike a more dis­tinct shape. Spot­lights with full-size bulbs help with for­ward vi­sion, but en­sure they won’t daz­zle on­com­ing driv­ers.

4 LED by ex­am­ple No­ticed how most new ve­hi­cles have LED lights? Not only are they small, light­weight, cheap, cool-run­ning and draw a min­i­mal amount on your electrics, they also emit a crisp, dis­tinct light. Af­ter­mar­ket LED in­di­ca­tors, bulbs and com­plete light units are worth con­sid­er­ing to back up im­proved head­lights Ð of­ten you can find di­rect re­place­ment for fil­a­ment-type bulbs. 5 For­ward vi­sion Ad­e­quate light­ing is only half the story, your vi­sor is just as cru­cial. In­vest in a new one and take care when clean­ing to get the long­est life from it. En­sure anti-fog in­serts are fit­ted prop­erly and kept in good con­di­tion or they can re­fract light and blur vi­sion. Fi­nally, ap­ply­ing a bead­ing chem­i­cal to the out­side helps rain run off and main­tain vi­sion in the rain. 6 Hi-vis gear Yes, it can look spoddy. But it will help in low light, es­pe­cially in traf­fic. Yel­low/or­ange el­e­ments are of more help in the day Ð you need re­flec­tive stripes to pick up on lights at night. A vest is a big help, but a brightly-coloured hel­met with re­flec­tive spots or stripes max­imises your vis­i­bil­ity. For the fash­ion con­scious, re­mem­ber hi-viz can al­ways be re­moved in the day. 7 You are what you eat If youõre go­ing to be rid­ing a long way in the dark, youõll need to call on ex­tra re­serves of en­ergy to stay alert. Donõt reach for the en­ergy drinks. Theyõre a short-term fix of caf­feine, su­gar and dis­gust­ing chem­i­cals. Look for slow-re­lease en­ergy and pro­tein be­fore­hand Ð por­ridge, oats, whole­grain foods, whole­meal bread, brown rice, quinoa, beans Ð healthy, ba­si­cally. 8 Be heard If your bikeõs hooter is a fee­ble tooter, in­vest £20 in a beefier dual-tone job­bie to make your­self known. Thereõs also the ar­gu­ment that loud pipes save lives. Highly de­bat­able, but re­plac­ing a whis­per-quiet stan­dard ex­haust with even a road-le­gal af­ter­mar­ket si­lencer can change the tone and help you be heard above traf­fic, road­works and Ra­dio 2. 9 Keep on run­ning Err on the safe side with fuel range Ð donõt run the bike down to fumes. As dark nights are usu­ally ac­com­pa­nied by wet weather to some ex­tent, en­sure your elec­tri­cal sys­tem is ready for rain by keep­ing it clean and pro­tected with di­elec­tric grease on con­nec­tors and ter­mi­nals. If you sus­pect any prob­lems, in­ves­ti­gate and re­pair if nec­es­sary be­fore set­ting out.

NEXT WEEK Carry a pil­lion with­out giv­ing them a fright

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