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Hella 500 Fog Light Kit on R100/7

Hella 500 Fog Light Kit on R100/7

I love the look of the Airhead GS. I’ve seen pictures of the these Airheads with Hella lights on them and finally decided that Otus needed a pair mounted on his crash bars. As usual, my friends at Amazon were all too happy to sell me a set of lights, some bar mounts, and to keep from putting too much load on Otus’ stock charging system, I also ordered a pair of LED bulbs to replace the provided halogen bulbs. I’m really happy with the results!

The installation was surprisingly easy in spite of the car-focused wiring instructions. There were – at least in my head – three challenges:

  1. Where to mount the relay as my headlight bucket is pretty crowded with the Cyclops LED headlight bulb.
  2. Where to get switched power.
  3. What is #31?

I thought long and hard about all three of these and brought it all to a successful and shiny solution. Details, pictures, a blow-by-blow description of the work, along with a parts list, follow:

Buying the Stuff

The Hella 500 light kit was reasonably priced and available through Prime so that was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted to mount the lights on the crash bars so I spent quite a bit of time looking for a round clamp to fit the 1″ round crash bars. I landed on the GS Power Tube Clamp Brackets. They come in several sizes and I ordered the 1″ kit. The “sleeve” you see in the picture is actually a piece of vinyl that helps clamp the bracket tightly without scratching the bars. These are cast aluminum and I did have to drill larger holes for the light brackets the that was no big deal.

I could not find a Hella 500 kit that included LED bulbs. Another quick search of Amazon yielded this pair of H3 LED bulbs.

Installing the Lights & Wiring

Installing the brackets, the lights, and roughing in all the wiring went pretty well. I was more than a little confused about the blue wire being ground (isn’t brown the universal color for ground wire?). The other part that confused me was a portion of the wiring diagram. It listed all the relay and harness wiring clearly except for #31. There were several #31s in the diagram but that number was not in the installation key. After roughing in everything else I assumed #31 was ground so I grounded all the #31s. With everything roughed in (and a fire extinguisher at the ready!) I tested my work. My garage was awash in glorious LED goodness! Pretty sure that these lights, along with the Cyclops LED headlight, could give the sun a run for its money. I think Otus is pretty darned visible now!

The Relay

I agonized about where to put the relay. All of Otus’s wiring lives in the headlight bucket and the Cyclops bulb with its cooling fan and connector make things pretty full. The steering damper mounting brackets on Otus’ frame were another possibility but the relay and the harness were pretty crowded so I kept thinking, and thinking, and re-thinking. After a few days of thinking I landed on attaching the relay to the bottom of the right-side fuel tank stud. It pokes through the rear fuel tank mount insulator just enough to attach the relay. It also sits far enough forward that the relay fits pretty nicely. And the harness doesn’t interfere with the tool tray so that became the winner!

Dressing Down the Wires

There was PLENTY of wire attached to the harness (except for the that darned blue ground) so once I have tested the roughed-in wiring I got out the wire cutters, butt connectors, and heat-shrink tubing to dress everything down. I cut out several feet of wiring, got everything tucked, wrapped, and routed, and then butt connected and heat-shrink covered all the cuts. And, because I didn’t want to have to take it all apart again, I tested one final time before putting everything back together. The lights still worked so I was quite relieved and very happy with the results.

Collateral Enhancements

I did not anticipate the size of the switch provided with the kit. It is a round rocker switch .75″ in diameter. While the size itself isn’t a big problem, the fact that my gadget bar is constructed of .75″ square aluminum tube meant I had a size conflict. To resolve this problem I made another trip to the hardware store and picked up a length of 1″ square aluminum tube. I cut it to length (and made this one a big longer than the current one), drilled a .75″ hole using a “step” drill, and re-mounted my phone, USB power, and garage door opener to the new, thicker, and wider gadget bar.


This project turned out really well. The lights really light up the road at night and make me hella visible during the day (yeah, I did that). Oh, and they also look hella cool (since I’ve already gone there I figured why not do it again…). Your mileage may vary but if you’re thinking about adding auxiliary lights on your machine, this was a fun and relatively inexpensive way to do it!

Parts List

Pictures or it Didn’t Happen

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Anatomy of a Proper Tank Bag

Anatomy of a Proper Tank Bag

First I was all about the tank bag. Then I modified my tank bag by adding power outlets. But a couple of years ago I felt the need to eliminate the tank bag. I even wrote about it here, and I wrote about modifying what took its place here. Unfortunately nothing I did made the wrong tank bag right. There – I said it – I had the wrong tank bag to begin with so no amount of futzing and modding would make it right. You might recall that I eventually found a proper tank bag for Outs and wrote about it here. As I tend to do, I got excited, snapped a picture, wrote a little, and then went for a ride.

Recently I’ve been thinking that I need to better explain why my new tank bag made me reverse my decision to completely stop using a tank bag. Here it is – in pictures and words.

How The Bag Mounts

This tank bag works because the base is formed specifically to fit Otus’ tank. The way the base attaches to the tank ensures it stays tight and the nifty cut out in the center allows me to refuel without completely removing the bag from the bike. Check out the following pictures to see what I mean.

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The Storage Compartment

This tank bag works because the storage compartment is tapered to match the contour of the tank while creating a flat top. While the slope to the back tends to allow the contents to slide down into a pile, the flat top allows you to see whatever you put in the map pocket. An optional divider and rain cover were still with the bag when I bought it from the original owner. The next set of pictures illustrate why this bag is the right accessory for Otus.

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What’s In My Tank Bag

The contents of a tank bag are generally quite personal and based on the rider’s needs and tastes. The collection of goodies in my tank bag include the following:

  • The latest version of the MOA Anonymous Book
  • Maxpedition E.D.C. pocket organizer
  • two pens
  • tire pressure gauge
  • Moleskine notebook
  • ear plugs
  • AA battery powered head lamp
  • AA battery storage box (before anyone says anything about the battery box being empty I had the batteries in the charger during this photo shoot!)
  • Wunderlich Folding Oil Funnel
  • zip ties
  • side-stand foot
  • Olympia cold-weather gloves

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The actual contents may vary from time to time but this is what I generally carry in my tank bag now that I use a tank bag.

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proper tank bag

proper tank bag for a proper Airhead

I’ve had several tank bags on Otus but I’ve never been happy with any of them. In fact, two years ago I swore off the idea of using a tank bag entirely and started storing everything in my top case. While fuel stops were much easier, I had to develop new habits and places for my gloves, ear plugs, etc. I adapted and even got used to not having a tank bag. Today, however, my opinion changed. Here’s why.

A Purpose Built Bag

The reason I’ve disliked every tank bag I’ve ever owned is a simple – I’ve always used “universal” tank bags. Today a friend pointed out that a couple of genuine BMW tank bags purpose built for Airheads were listed on the local Craigslist. I pondered the listing, talked to the seller, and decided to go have a look. To ensure this would be no impulse purchase I didn’t stop at the bank to get the cash. I went to his house to inspect the goods and I was impressed with what I saw. The bags are purpose built for the shape of the Airhead tank and the one I ended up purchasing clips to the “seams” on the bottom edge of the tank. And to get to the fuel filler I simply unzip the bag and I can add fuel! This is a very nice tank bag and it solves the fitment issues I’ve always had with universal bags. I should have figured this out sooner but thankfully I have a very stubborn friend who likes to remind me that my opinions are wrong when they don’t match his.

All kidding aside, this is a very nice tank bag and it looks so very proper on Otus.

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hacking the Wolfman enduro tool bag

wolfman enduro tool bag hack

Let me make one thing perfectly clear – I love my Wolfman Enduro Tool Bags. I asked for a pair of these for Christmas – one for each bike – and mounted them to each bike’s top case. They are exactly what I wanted in terms of size, shape and capacity but there was one thing I wanted to improve – I wanted the sides of the bags to be rigid so it was time to hack the bag.

Continue reading “wolfman enduro tool bag hack”

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Mad Max-style Handguards on Strix

handguards for Strix

Some people think handguards, like tank bags, are required motorcycle accessories. I added a set of handguards to Otus, and because Strix is supposed to be a more modern version of the grand old man, a set of Barkbuster Storm handguards got ordered for the young man as well. Installation wasn’t as easy as on Otus because of the brake lines on Strix. I don’t think it will be a problem but the fitment was snug to say the least.

Continue reading “handguards for Strix”

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Wolfman enduro tool bag

tank bag elimination

After the 2015 riding season, and with the addition of another motorcycle, I’ve decided that I need to eliminate the tank bag. There are several contributing factors:

  1. each fuel stop required removal of the tank bag.
  2. because I electrified Otus’ tank bag I have to do a bit of unplugging to get the tank bag out of the way when refueling.
  3. a tank bag on the oilhead – at least the one I settled on – looked kinda stupid on the bike.
  4. the bag on Otus didn’t look right on Strix either.

Continue reading “tank bag elimination”

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iphone6+ cradle

iPhone 6+ on the r1150r

One of the many things that makes motorcycle riding and touring fun is adding farkles to your bike. Otus is modestly farkled up to suit my riding style, needs, and my definition of complete. Now that I’ve added the r1150r to the stable I am compelled to add the same/similar farkles to this machine so it’ll support my riding and touring needs. So, first things first – I added a mount for my iPhone so I can have it handy while riding. To mount the phone to the bike I needed a few pieces of mounting hardware:

The instrument cluster on the new bike is quite different from Otus so I had to futz with the positioning of the mount so I could still see everything. I really won’t know how things are working until I’ve put a few miles on the bike with the phone in this position. The one thing I do know is that futzing is the constant companion of farkles.

Farkle Futzing – one of my many hobbies. This is phone farkle futzing. Lots of F sounds today.

And apologies for the awful pictures.

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