Using Automotive Lamps for Motorcycles? | ANSWERS

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Q:I want to increase illumination at might and improve daytime visibility by adding lights to my 2006 Star Roadliner. When pricing motorcycle passing lamps, they run up to $250-plus. Why can't I simply mount $50 automotive driving lights to my fairing and pocket the difference?
Theo Guss
Via E-mail

A:You might be able to use automotive lamps, but the fact that you asked suggests you may not have the knowledge to make this modification without problems. When you order a light that is made for your model motorcycle, you get one that has been tested on your machine. It is the correct voltage, draws power that your bike's charging system can handle, is mounted in a way that will not compromise handling, and has directions and connections that mate with your electrical system. Do you know what load the charging system can handle? Where you can safely tie into the wiring harness without compromising electrical performance and waterproofing? Answer those questions and you can probably use automotive lamps.

Tween Rides

Tim Carrithers "Tween Seasons" (Street Savvy, May) had lots of great advice to help keep the "shiny side up" during early spring riding. I would just add that when you put your bike up for the day, wet a clean rag and wipe any road film/spray off the parts you want to keep shiny. Here in Colorado, a mix of chemicals is used to de-ice the roads in the winter. Water from the melt can be very corrosive. I learned that the hard way.
Steve Nelson
Fort Collins, CO


Das Boot

I have a problem and need your help. I'm 6-foot-7, and want to start doing track days, but I can't find any size-17 motorcycle boots! (I'll wait while you finish laughing.) I have e-mailed all the manufacturers I know of, and called some (I got a lot of laughs), but all resulted in, "Sorry, we can't help you." I am at a loss for what to do; please let me know if you have any ideas.
Mitch Needles
Taylors, SC

None of the high-end boot companies have anything that will work for you because the demand is not there. Current boot technology calls for many molded parts to keep the profile slim. Bill Berroth of Sidi importer Motonation says that some racers even prefer their boots without toe sliders to gain an extra centimeter of cornering clearance! Because the parts are molded, having a modern plastic/textile boot custom-made is virtually impossible. Bob Rathcamp of Gaerne mentioned that his company makes custom motocross boots (in fact, he’s waiting for some size 22s to arrive), which is possible since off-road boots are sewn to the sole. Unfortunately, off-road boots are too bulky for sportbikes.

Your best option may be Bates. In addition to custom leathers, Bates makes old-school custom leather boots. These go up to a size 16, and because their sizing runs large, that might fit you. On the company website ( is an order form with very specific instructions for tracing your foot. Once Bates has these measurements, they should be able to tell you whether they can fit you. Bates also has representatives at various roadraces, so you may be able to get professionally measured.