Lightening the load.
Dealing with power challenged motorcycles.
As motorcycles get more advanced they also need more power for themselves. This can leave less power for the rider to add the accessories we like. We will examine the priorities and needs of a long distance rider and attempt to help you get the most you can from what you have.
Why? Where does the power go?
Current motorcycle electrical load includes the normal lights and indicators. Newer motorcycles made for touring applications will often have the added loads of electric fuel pumps, electronic fuel delivery, abs sensors, the computer tying these together. Some motorcycles are now fly by wire, and must have correct voltages to deal with all the input the computer receives. Some motorcycles have electric assisted braking, electric center stands, electric windsheilds and self adjusting suspension.
In the long distance community, the normal priorities are:
When upgrading safety items the largest consumers of power are lighting. Recent tecnological advances on low power high out lighting have become available through HID (High-intensity discharge) lamps.
You can save about 25 watts and get better lighting by going to a HID lamp.
HID should not normally be used for high beam lamps because of the start-up time.
Focusing can be a problem. Putting HID bulbs into a standard headlamp can be a problem. The pattern and cutoff needs to be the same as original.
Most LED lamps are designed for replacement of turn and brake lamps. A typical 1157 bulb can chew up 25 watts while the equivalent LED 3 watts.
Riding long hours in all kinds of weather requires that the rider be prepared for hot and cold weather. In cold weather we often resort to heated clothing. This includes jackets, pants, gloves and socks. Using a rheostat (Potentiometer) will waste precious watts. Instead, these should be controlled with an electronic switch, like a heat-trollertm or Gerbing’s Portable Temp Controller. These use very little power, passing it on to the controller item digitally. You can use them for:
If you are getting short on available power, the following are the first items to either not install or the first to turn off.
Entertainment items (radio, ipod, etc)
Tight connections and large wire will help you get the most power to the device that needs it and not just heating up the wire that delivers it there.
Minimum wire sizes
This chart is for short wire runs. be sure to fuse each wire appropriately.