CW EVALUATION: Clearwater Lights Darla and Erica Light Kits

Auxiliary illumination for BMW’s R1200GS.

Clearwater Lights in-use action photo

Modern motorcycles like our 2014 long-term BMW R1200GS Adventure have excellent LED headlights that punch a nice hole into the abyss. But what if you want to absolutely obliterate all of the darkness on that lonesome highway?

Clearwater Lights has just released two high-quality kits for the R1200GS/A that do just that. Better yet, they integrate with BMW's CAN-bus system via Clearwater's CANopener, allowing an wide range of functionality via the GS's flash-to-pass (FTP)/high-beam, wonderwheel, horn, and turn-signal cancel switches.

We mounted a pair of Erica lights to our GSA’s crashbars (utilizing the accessory fog light mounting locations) and a pair of Darla units to the lower fork legs pointed outward at a 30-degree angle for lighting up corner entries.

Clearwater Lights in-use action photo close-up

The lights can be synced to the high-beam/FTP switch, so you can quickly turn them off for oncoming traffic. You can also preset daytime, nighttime, and high-beam intensity thanks to the BMW’s photocell light sensor. Both pairs of Clearwaters can be dimmed in 10 steps (100 to 10 percent), the least powerful of which is more like a running light. Another great safety feature: Hitting the horn button can additionally strobe the lights.

During the day, we typically used the Darlas (and occasionally the Ericas) as marker lights for better conspicuity. Then, at night, we would unleash their full wrath via the high-beam switch. Both pairs feature a flood pattern, the Ericas providing a reflective range of up to 2 miles, while also illuminating the edges of the road quite well. As responsible riders, we only used the high-beam/full-power setting when we were sure oncoming traffic was well out of range or nonexistent.

Lighting up the night like this isn’t cheap, but if you want some of the most powerful and best-integrated illumination solutions available, Clearwater’s kits can’t be beat.

UPS DOWNS
Clearwater Lights www.clearwaterlights.comPRICE: Erica $989; Darla $649 * Unparalleled controllability * Amazing output * High-quality construction * Having to learn a new set of “key strokes” to control * Vulnerable in a tip-over * Highly effective, yes, but a lot of money for accessory lighting

SPECIFICATIONS

Darla Light Kit

• Three LED bulbs per lamp

• 2,000 lumens each

• 24-watt draw each on high

• CNC-machined aluminum

• 2.2 x 2.4 in.

Erica Light Kit

• Six LED bulbs per lamp

• 6,000 lumens each

• 60-watt draw each on high

• CNC-machined aluminum

• 3.7 x 2.8 in.

In-use action photo #1

In-use action photo #2

In-use action photo #3

Darla Light Kit photo #1

Darla Light Kit photo #2

Erica Light Kit.

Mounted Darla and Erica Light Kits.