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The Saga of my Denali D2D LED Lights

When riding at night – being able to actually, you know, see? …is a pretty big plus. Since I have the Void Rally coming up where I will be spending a large amount of time riding in the dark, it seemed like a no brainer to get some extra illumination. So a few weeks ago, I got a set of Denali D2D LED lights for my Tiger.

Wiring the lights up required pretty much taking all of the plastic bits off of the bike and running the wiring under the tank and into the block under the seat. So, doing all of that neatly required a couple hours. It wasn’t a hard job, it just took some time because we were doing it for the first time. When I say “we”, I mean Kenny. My job was to be annoying and hold the gas tank up, which I did flawlessly if I do say so myself.

Imagine our surprise to find that at the final stage of installation, screwing the second  lamp onto it’s pivoting bracket – that the screw wouldn’t bite. It just spun in the bracket. What the heck? The light seemed to have a machining defect that wouldn’t allow it to slide fully into position and sit flush against the bracket, making the screw too short. Great.

We sent an email to Twisted Throttle where we’d bought the lights and explained what was happening. They requested some pictures of the light showing the issue, which we sent and they sent us an RA for the single lamp. They said it was no problem, apologized for the trouble and let us know they’d send us a new single light.

After checking to see that they received our returned light, there it was: Oooooh, sorry. Backordered.  The availability showed a date of mid-October. That wouldn’t help me on my rally but there was no point in freaking out. What can you do? Stuff gets backordered.

Kenny, my angel, decided to take one for the team and buy a second set of lights to put on his Tiger. The thought being, he would order a set so I didn’t have to be crippled by my backordered light. He would give me one lamp out of his new set and then take my replacement when it came.

Three days later, Kenny’s set of lights showed up. He took one of his new lamps out and installed it on my bike. Angels sang, birds tweeted, all was right in the world. Mostly.

A few days after that – my original replacement light actually showed up, too. Kenny had already gone through the process of setting up the wiring on his bike and put the bracket in place so that when the replacement light came it would be a basic plug in with all of the leg work already done.

You Have Got To Be Kidding

The replacement light would not slide fully into the bracket and the screw wouldn’t bite.

I think it might have taken every once of self control that Kenny had for him not to go all Hulk Smash! and splinter the light on the garage floor.

Instead he did a little grinding, a little drilling so that it would attach. A “light tap” for its high tolerances just didn’t cut it.

Fine, whatever. We now have two sets of working lights.

Both of which apparently have an intermittent slight flicker in one lamp when running on the low beam. Oh, COME ON! 

What would cause the lamps to flicker? Is it worth sending the lamp back again? For $350+ bucks you’d think I wouldn’t have to even ask this question.

Kenny took a video of his light flickering while the bike was idling in our garage and sent it to Twisted Throttle. They sent him another RMA.

We’ll see if his replacement light has any issues.

What a pain. :-?

[UPDATE]

Based on Ken’s questions in the comments – just a little recap in case anyone has suggestions:

  • Both of our Tigers have intermittently flickering lights.
  • 1 Tiger has 2 lights that flicker, the other, only 1.
  • Flickering occurs at idle when the bikes are running.
  • Flickering occurs at varying RPMs while riding.
  • Flickering only occurs on the ‘low” or 40% beam, high beam does not flicker.
  • Flickering does not occur when the key is switched on but the bike is not running.
  • TT suggests a “light tap” will allow the screw to seat… eh, that wasn’t the case for us.

[UPDATE #2]

To recap, my Tiger has 2 light pods that pulse or flicker intermittently. Kenny’s Tiger has only 1 light that flickers, the other light is fine.

Tonight, Kenny took his 1 good, non-flickering light and put it on my bike. It did not flash on my bike either. The “good light” operates as it should, no matter where it is plugged in, on either bike.

My bike with Kenny’s ‘good light’ and one of my original flickering lights on the low beam:

 [UPDATE #3]

Okay, so… A couple phone calls and emails back to the guys at Twisted Throttle~

The first tech suggested that they would sending us a newer version of the harness, which apparently uses a plastic box instead of metal and has new innards. He thought that might help kill the issue.  The suggestion was that the metal box might be causing some problems.

After talking with the tech, Kenny took a look at our bikes once more and found that his Tiger already had that updated plastic box harness, my Tiger did not.

Another follow up call with another tech letting them know about the harnesses. During this call, the tech mentioned that the Tiger was known to have a dirty power issue causing problems with these lights. Uh, what? 

If there was some knowledge of a “known issue” why wasn’t it mentioned right out of the gate? Or noted on the website? Or why would there be RMAs for parts to be returned or  someone saying they’d send new wiring harnesses? If it is a known issue – surely there would be an appropriate place to mention a workaround on the website or on one of the previous calls or emails, no?

So, yesterday Kenny did a little testing. The light only flickered on low beam when the high beam wire to the controller was wired in. If the highbeam wire was not wired in, the light would not flicker on low beam.

The Fix:

Wiring a relay off the headlight to the high beam power on the controller. That’s it. A hack fix putting a relay in front of a relay (in the controller).

Were you hoping for something more complicated? :)

Let There be Light!

Tonight, my Tiger’s Denali D2D lights shined on low beam with no flicker. I could have wept. It was the greatest day of my life, since last time.

So, through all of this, the folks at Twisted Throttle didn’t give us a hard time, they were pleasant, tried to be helpful and they were really good with being open to returning things. The techs took time to talk things through with us when we called.

When all is said and done my only complaint is really - if there was some knowledge of a known issue with the Tiger, just include what needs to be done at the time of install somewhere. It would have saved a shitload of time and troubleshooting.

GoPro Candids: You Choose the Ending

Remember those choose your own adventure books that were popular in the 80′s?

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful, smart and charming girl who liked to ride motorcycles. Did I mention she was really beautiful? And thin! Very thin. Her hair smelled like strawberries and her smile sparkled with the essence of starlight and unicorn glitter.

The beautiful and (very) thin motorcycle girl had a boy she was sweet on. He was nice.

Often the two sweethearts would find themselves on motorcycle adventures in places that were far, far away from their home. They would dance along countless corners in unison and visit things like muffler men, shoe houses and goats on the roof. The girl with the strawberry scented hair would squeal with delight as they would pull up to place after wacky place. The boy…

You Choose the Ending:

A.) Excited by yet another stop at a kooky roadside spot, reached out to hug the beautiful (and thin) motorcycle girl and said – “Gosh, I just love all these roadside attractions. Especially in the pouring rain!”

B.) Had it up to here with the foolishness and got caught on video trying to force choke the (beautiful) girl for dragging him to another stupid flippin’ place in the freakin’ rain!

C.) [You supply the ending]

;)

Into the Void: GPS Coordinates – The Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of

Last night I dilly-dallied in the foggy space between sleep and wakefulness. It is in that murky world where I find myself troubled by things that are close enough to be real. I guess you could say it’s where my stress and worry get a workout.

So last night my dream-thoughts were occupied by having problems with my GPS and getting route coordinates into a usable format for Garmin’s Base Camp software.

Some people dream of soaring among the clouds and being able to fly. Me? I’m dreaming about f’n spreadsheets.

I’ve talked before about what a hideous beast my Zumo 450 had been with its intermittent bricking problem. With The Void Rally on the horizon, I will be relying on a GPS to route and keep time for me. I just didn’t feel confident that the 450 would work every time, so I got a new Garmin 660.

I’m hoping with all my might that I don’t find myself wanting to punch it in the face, too.

Having a device that works is of course just a piece of the puzzle that will be the Rally for me. As a first timer, a rally virgin, if you will – let’s just say I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m plagued with self doubt and fears that I am going to just cock this whole thing up.

Will I be able to stay awake?

Will I have the stamina to do a saddle sore?

Will I put together a decent route?

Will I be eaten by a bear, alone in the dark of night on the side of the road somewhere?

All valid questions, right?

I can only surmise that based on my dream – being able to put together a decent route is high on my subconscious worry list. Why can’t I be more confident?

 

Oakley Fast Jacket Sunglasses with Transition Lenses

There are quite a few helmets out now that have built in flip-down sunshades in them. My Shark Race-R helmet isn’t one of them. Since I prefer not to use a tinted visor, that means I often wear sunglasses in my helmet.

With its “Easy Fit ” space for glasses wearers, my helmet accommodates the arms of glasses without any pinching or pressing. That makes comfort a non-issue for me.

Visordown might think I’m committing crimes against motorcycle fashion but… who cares?

Instead, I am taking my fashionably-challenged-ness to a whole new level of hideousness. Yes, that’s right. I’m talking about Oakley sunglasses.

I’d long thought Oakleys were only meant for those steroid-laden robot men from the gym that can bench press my car. I suppose I was wrong. I lift things up and put them down.

I am now the proud owner of a pair of Oakley Fast Jacket glasses with Transitions photochromic lenses. They transition from nearly clear to tinted when exposed to UV light.

For me, it is much faster and more compact to change and store these glasses when compared to swapping different helmet visors. I can also use them for other outdoor activities. Win!

And they make me look like a cyborg, so there’s that.

The glasses do not darken while riding in a car. I specifically asked the salesperson if there would be any issue with the lenses not shading while wearing a helmet. He said that the should work fine assuming my visor doesn’t block UV rays. Makes sense. ::crosses fingers::

Are you a sunglasses or tinted visor wearer?

It was Christmas in July – I Finally Got New Motorcycle Boots

After lusting after them for about 6 months, I finally broke down and bought myself a new pair of motorcycle boots.  They are those Sidi Adventure GORE-TEX numbers I was yammering on about the other day.

I used my mathematical powers to decide that because they were recently discounted by $150, that I would be a fool not to buy them. That’s like 463% off of their original $650 retail price! I may have rounded that percentage a little funny but I think we’ve already established I’m not so good with math.

Too much for the office?
Too much for the office?

I may not know math, but I do know shoes. And these babies… foxy. In a Mad Max sort of way, which is the way I like it.

Aside from being waterproof sexy bitches, these boots also provide me with a little welcomed lift on the Tiger. Since I have to tippy-toe on the big girl bike, I’ll happily take any help I can get.

Crossfire, Adventure and Vertigo ~ I guess you could say that I’m a Sidi girl, huh?