Friday, October 5, 2012

When The Sun Puts Out The Light I Join The Creatures Of the Night

Let me start by saying, a typical installation of an Lunasee ASL-1000 kit on 99% of motorcycles would take somewhere between 2-4 hours. The kit has everything one needs to fit it to your bike. Actually, more than you need. They include plenty of mounting hardware for a straightforward and simple aplication. My VFR750F has a single sided swing arm and required a bit of fabrication on my part to fashion the LED so it would light up the tape on the right rear side of the bike. This will also apply to Triumph’s sporting bikes, certain Ducatis and BMWs. So all you single sided swing arm owners out there, if you want to have this system on your bike, be prepared to whip up a mount for the side of your bike that is lacking a swing arm. Lunasee provides extra brackets to accomodate almost any type of installation. This is not a shortcoming of the Lunasee package as I see it, it will mount up to the vast majority of bikes with a minimum of fuss.

The instructions say if you can, enlist the help of an extra set of hands. I suggest you follow this bit of advice as it will make the installation process a whole lot easier. Can you mount the ASL-1000 on you bike using just hands that God gave you, certainly, just budget a bit more time for fitment. With that being said, I called on J.J. long time friend and one who shares my enthusiasm for all things motorcycle. We figured a Saturday afternoon would be the perfect time to get together, have a few laughs, drink a beer or two and scratch our heads and do a bit of chin rubbing as well. The front forks posed no problems, just removal of the front fender and couple quick measurements later we decided the medium brackets included in the kit were perfect for the job at hand. It was like they were designed with the 1996 Honda VFR forks in mind. With in an half hour, the front end was done. Wow, this is gonna be a breeze.
The left side, the one that holds the rear wheel to the bike was pretty easy as well. There is a suitable mounting point on the bottom of the swing arm. All we had to do was make a slight modification to the mounting bracket. The Lunasee people have made ease of reworking their brackets a very simple affair. Included in the kit are several paper templates that you cut out to work out any angles you may have to apply to your mounting brackets. And the brackets themselves are very malleable. You can pretty much form them to any angle you need. We used a vise and a hammer to make our bends, but we could have just as easily used the edge of a table and hammer, a couple pairs of vise grips and so on, you get the picture P.S. we used thread locker when mounting the LED units to the mounting brackets, I used red, but blue will do, I have a tendency to over do things every now and then.
Now we come to the right rear, this is where the chin rubbing and head scratching ensues. Everything over here does not move in synch with the rear wheel. You see, the wheel moves independently of virtually every piece on the right side. This is a problem because you need to have the LED that sets the tape you have applied to your wheel a glowin’ to be about, oh, a quarter inch from said tape. Now I’m not the type who wants only three out of four sides of my wheels to glow, so some figuring was in order.
As we twisted the caps from a couple more bottles of Yuenglings Traditional Lagers (Jim had recently returned from a trip to New York State and brought back some of Pennsylvania’s finest beer with him) we pondered our current quandary. That beer is VERY tasty, so it took all our combined will power not to pull out a couple of chairs and continue to sample the Keystone State’s flavorful product till we had lampshades on our heads. So instead of being up to our knees in empty beer bottles, we put our wants aside and commenced to formulate a plan to bring about a mounting platform for the right rear wheel. J.J. started to root through all his metal scraps for items we may be able to use to our advantage. Lesson here kids, keep a box of bits and pieces from previous projects no matter how much your wife wants you to throw them out. To her, that box is just a heap of ugly unusable junk, but we know better. To us, that box contains rare treasures that we will need at some point in the future to complete a project. What do you know, we find ourselves at one of those points at this very moment.


J.J. comes out with a bent up two foot piece of metal tubing and a nice piece of thin plate that will suit our needs nicely. We cut the tubing to lenght and fashioned a mounting bracket from the plate. After a couple more Yuenglings we decided the shock mount would provide our best option for a stable mounting platform. Lunasee provides a couple different brackets you can utilize in a situation like this, but in the end we thought making our own bracket would be the best route to take.

We took the two rear of the three shock bracket bolts off, made our measurements, and cracked out the metal saw, die grinder, drill and welder and initiated the business of building a mounting bracket. It was a pretty simple design and came together quickly. Although I don’t believe it will be on display at the Guggenheim, it’s not the most elegant bracket I’ve seen. Aesthetics aside, it turned out to be very sturdy, J.J. had did a fine job putting it together. After a couple coats of black paint, we mounted it and it pretty much blends in with the exhaust and other brackets.
We thought running the wires of the system through some tubing to route it past a couple of the areas that may pose a risk to the integrity of the coating would be a good idea. You can use almost any tubing you may have lying around. We used a combination of surgical tubing and some brake hose to run my wires through. Wiring your LED units to the control unit could not be simpler. We asked a five year old to do it and with a little coaching it took him about two minutes. It really is that simple to wire up. The only other item left to cross off the list is where to mount the on off switch. I was thinking about mounting it on the dash near the gauges, but decided on a spot near the tail light kinda out of sight as to keep people from doing the I wonder what this is for and pressing it and killing my battery while I’m away from my bike. Not that I’m paranoid or anything.
I have had the ASL-1000 on my bike for almost two weeks now. I wanted to see how durable it was before I wrote about it. So far it has functioned as advertised. I have subjected it to several road surfaces and weather conditions without a hiccup. I took it on a fifty mile ride on I-75 at extra legal speeds and the only problem that arose was all the low flying UFO reports made to local law enforcement agencies.
This is the first of a couple post I will be making on this product. I hope to make a video as well. So far I have to say I’m impressed with the quality and functionality of this system. I am always on the look out for products that make you more visible in this era of distracted drivers. More to come.

Update: I received a letter today 10/08/2012 from William Monk CEO of Lunasee about the fitment of the ASL-1000 to bikes with single sided swing arms. While I look forward to a challenge such as was afforded by the fitment of my ASL-1000 to the right side of my bike, not everyone is going to see it this way. Mr. Monk and the good people at Lunasee are well aware of this, and are working on and welcome any solutions those of us with single sided swing arms may have.

Here is Mr. Monk’s response to those of us with the challenge of mounting the ASL-1000 on our bikes with single sided swing arms.

1. We recognize that single sided swing arm situations are a challenge and that the included mounting hardware is likely not suitable for the side of wheels with no swing arm.

2. We already have available a custom bracket suitable for most BMW GS 1200 models – and are working on solutions for other BMW models.

3.When customers develop their own mounting solutions, we encourage them to share those solutions --- both with Lunasee and with other riders with the same situation (on forums for their particular bike etc.).

4.It is our goal to offer more single sided swing arm mounting solutions in the future, and to share solutions that others have developed and successfully utilized --- so that riders of bikes with single sided swing arms can enjoy the benefits of the ASL 1000.

Thanks,
William Monk

4 comments:

Chillertek said...

Now for the night photos or video.....

Gymi said...

Coming soon.

red said...

Great write-up! Looking forward to the night shots. Digging the VFR.

Gymi said...

Thanks Red,

I can say this is the first saftey related product that I have been excited about in quite some time. To me, it is well worth the cost of admission.

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