WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

Auxiliary lighting for the R1200GS: Hella FF50 Fog Light Installation

By James - 11/30/2012

I wanted to add extra lighting to the 1200GS. I have a headlight modulator for the day but I needed some extra lighting for night. That is why I chose fog lights. I can run them at night as long as the focused part of the beam does not shine in the eyes of other motorists. On top of the increased visibility to others, I also wanted to improve the illumination that the lights put out. It is a fine line between bright headlights that let you see and lights that sear the retinas of other motorists.

The Hella FF50s have some pros:

  • They are well made in Germany
  • The shape and materials match the BMW R1200GS design
  • The price is the best value for the money

I looked at Clearwater and Rigid Industries LED lights but at $400-$700 without mounting options, it seemed a little too expensive compared to the Hellas. I got the kit from Fernblau for about $160 after the currency conversion. It comes with brackets, wiring, electrical connections and an Autoswitch.

The only downside is that the kit (lights and brackets) I got come from Germany. It took about 10 days to show up but it was a little tough without help from Google Translate. Americans will need to order through the Web site, and then email to finalize payment through Paypal.

I utilized the Autoswitch that came with the kit and wired it to the turn signal cancel switch. Holding the switch activates the lights on or off. In order to wire it to the TSC switch, I had to remove the tank, which is surprisingly easy on a GS, and solder the trigger wire to the TSC wire. The other wire I had to tap into was a power source that was hot when the ignition was on but off when the key was out. I have a heated seat that is wired to the ignition so I used that. Past that it was just wiring up the relay and zip-tieing the wires out of the way.

Here is a video of the comparison of my low beam vs the Hella FF50s during my nighttime commute home and some photos of the lights.

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Removing the rear wheel from a V-Star

By James - 9/3/2007

My wife and I took a trip through the Southwest last year and unfortunately during the trip I developed a wobble. I tracked it down to the spokes and when I returned I put the bike in the back of the garage to deal with later. Well I was a bad owner and it was a year later when I got to it. So the battery was dead, I had lost the screws to the headlamp I was repairing and the spokes were still loose. So with Las Vegas Bikefest on the horizon, and me not wanting to ride the sportbike down there, I decided to get this thing back up and running. The shops that true spokes all wanted the wheel off the bike, so I had to learn how to do it. With the Clymers manual and my tools I figured it out. Here is how I did it. . .

You will need the following tools:

  • A motorcycle jack
  • Size 19 wrench
  • Size 19 ratchet
  • Size 14 ratchet or wrench
  • Size 12 ratchet or wrench
  • Torque wrench
  • Allen wrenches
  • Lithium grease

Unbolt the torque arm (size 12 bolt) . . .

. . .and unscrew the brake rod from the drum.

Move to the other side and remove the four gearcase bolts (size 14).

At this point raise the jack so that the tire is still resting on the ground but all weight is off of it. This will make the next step easier. With a wrench holding the right axel bolt (size 19) . . .

and another wrench on the left side, loosen the bolt.

With the nut loosened you can roll the wheel backwards disengaging the shaft. Roll the wheel back until it hits the fender. Then lift the jack so that you can get the wheel out from under it.

To install the wheel, remove the U-joint cover and lubricate the splines of the shaft and U-joint and reverse the steps to remove the wheel. But finger tighten all the bolts before turning to the proper torque.

The torque specs for each bolt is . . .
Rear axle nut - 92 N-m
Gearcase bolts - 70 N-m
Torque arm nut - 20 N-m

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