Author Topic: Honda VFR750FR Solstice Solo Installation  (Read 11181 times)

Fluke

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Honda VFR750FR Solstice Solo Installation
« on: January 06, 2012, 12:43:23 PM »
A big thank you to Glenn for spendng time on this Solstice Solo installation guide. Awesome job!


Vision X Solstice Solo auxiliary lamps fitted to a Honda VFR750FR

Here's my problem: I ride a VFR750F (hold on, I haven't finished) and, although its high beam is spiffing, when riding down a country lane at night, flicking to low beam as a courtesy to the oncoming Audi plummets my forward vision down a cliff as deadly as Beachy Head. So, following a dull afternoon pondering the pros and cons of high-intensity replacement headlight bulbs, Google guided me to world of LED auxiliary lamps. They're bright as Stephen Hawking, cute as Kylie, and promised to simply bolt on, which appealed to my minimalistic approach to motorcycle improvement. Bit costly mind, but we're talking about my safety here, I justified to myself.

Thanks to Dan at BikeVis, I soon became the owner of a pair of Vision X Solstice Solos with accompanying wiring loom. The lamps are gorgeous: all indestructible-looking aluminium castings, tiny allen-head bolts and that odour you only get off high-end electronics. The black-painted ally housings will fit into a two-inch cube, almost. And the loom convinced me, if I needed any more convincing, that this was a quality piece of kit, equipped as it was with relay, on-off switch and enough cabling to go where it must.

Only things missing were a pair of hangers to go between lamps and VFR, and a set of instructions telling me where to put them and how to put them there. But that's fair enough because every bike is different, and every biker has his own idea about where's best. I decided to fabricate a couple of brackets that sandwich-bolt between the mirrors and the fairing with a simple fold to create a platform upon which to mount the Solstice Solos, and worry about the wiring later.

B&Q had some suitable 1in x 1mm steel strip, and some time later - after a little cussing over snapped off bolt heads (on the aged Honda, that is, not the new lights!), and some sawing, drilling and filing - I had my hangers, shortly thereafter embellished with Vision X's finest. Next, the wiring.

First task with any spaghetti-like loom is to lay it out as neatly as possible and figure out what you've got. In this case, we had a relay from which there were two Deutsche connectors that went to the Solstice Solos, a cable to provide the main juice that's long enough to reach the battery on any bike, and another long cable with a toggle switch near its end. There were also a few cables finished with ring connectors that were obviously earths. And two of the cables were fitted with fuses, because this was a proper job.

I determine a plan. One: mount the relay up front near the lamps. It found a home pigging-backed on the bike's fuse box mount (on the right-hand side inside the fairing on the Honda). Two: route the cables neatly to the lamps. Check. Three: connect all the earth cables together. Check. Four: run the main power cable, the switch cable and a cable from the connected earths inside the fairing side panel and up behind the frame to the area beneath the seat and next to the battery. Check. Five: connect power cable to battery positive, earth cable to battery negative, and on-off switch cable to the brown lead (on the VFR, that is) that takes power to the rear light. Check.

So what does that give us? Well, the Solstice Solos receive power directly from the battery, but only when power flows through the relay, which is activated by the toggle switch, which in turn only receives power when the tail light is switched on. In short, the new lamps only work when the headlights are switched on, and they may be independently switched off using the toggle switch. The most incredible thing, though, is it worked.

One error I made was getting the lenses in the wrong orientation - with the 45/15-degree Solstice Solo lenses the "stripes" need to be vertical. Easily corrected. By the way, 45/15 refers to the "cone" of light from the lamps - 45 degrees of light fans out in the horizontal plane and 15 degrees vertical. The narrower vertical spread is perfect for dipped lights as the beam of light can be angled onto the road without blinding other road users.

For the future, I'd like to feed the Solstice Solos' cables through holes in the fairing, perhaps under the mirrors' rubber shrouds, just to tidy things up. At present the cables loop around the edge of the fairing. I also left the on-off switch in the cubby under the seat, because I ran out of time to mount it properly, but I'm not in too much of a rush to do it because I quite like the lamps switched on with the headlights. Besides, I'm not so keen on the toggle switch supplied, and I may get a more flush type. (That's not a criticism, by the way, just preference.) And lastly, at some point I'll paint the hangers black.

Do the lights do the job? Well, the reason I bought them, you'll remember, was to supplement the low beam. First impression is that the new lights really are as bright as I'd been led (no pun intended) to believe. So, not wanting to dazzle my Audi-driving fellow road users, before my initial on-road trial I angled the Vision Xs down somewhat. This gave a clear pool of light in front of the bike with much improved illumination to the sides, which is actually more useful than you might think. Carefully eyeing all other drivers on my maiden run, I detected no squinting or temporary blindness-induced erratic behaviour. I thus concluded that there was scope to tweak the lights upwards a tad to give maximum forward illumination whilst keeping the beam of light below car drivers' direct eyeline.

Verdict: I like them on all the time. During the daytime, the Vision X Solstice Solos improve the bike's visibility, much like BikeVis's bullet LEDs. After dark on unlit country roads, they're a vast improvement over the bike's standard low beam. This means I can maintain my pace rather than slowing down whenever I have to lose high beam. At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, seeing where you're going is so helpful when you're riding.

Cheers Dan.

Best regards,

Glenn
 







zeuter

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Re: Honda VFR750FR Solstice Solo Installation
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2012, 10:29:22 PM »
Wow!  what a great read, you should be writing for a motorcycle mag Glenn.