R1200GS: Brake Light Upgrade

Lots of people claim that BMW ABS has saved their hide. The typical response to such claims is “how do you know?” In my case the situation was simple: I’m sitting in traffic, stopped, about 3 cars behind a car waiting to make a left turn. A 7 series BMW is coming up fast. Scarey fast. The 7 series driver finally noticed the stopped traffic and hits her binders, hard. I heard one chirp as her tires started to lose traction before ABS kicked in and got the car stopped—maybe 6 inches from my bike!

Like I said: BMW ABS likely saved my hide.

Anyway, that cemented the idea of doing something to increase visibility from the rear. I decided on the Brake! brand LED brakes as I’d seen them in action. The lights flash for a few seconds when the brakes are applied; a real attention getter. Cycoactive had them a few dollars cheaper than anyplace else I found so ordered them on a Wednesday afternoon. They were in my hand Friday after lunch. The packaging and contents looks like the following. If you look close at the image of the circuit board you can see that I’ve moved the jumpers from the NO ABS to the ABS position.

The lens is held on with two philips screws. As you can see below I didn’t need to remove the under-rack pack to remove the lens. The bulb is bayonet style and comes out with a slight twist. The only reason it took me more than a minute to remove the bulb was that I stopped to take pictures and give the lens a good cleaning.

I plugged the Brake! unit in and turned the ignition on to to make sure that the LED unit not only works, but works without throwing any system faults. No warning triangles. Good.

The unit comes with two self taping screws. The screws are used to mount the unit directly to the plastic reflector. It takes slight pressure to get the screws set. I was careful not to over tighten the screws as the plastic is very soft.

The picture on the left shows the bottom edge of the Brake! unit. You can see the clear LEDs that provide illumination for the license plate.

The final step is to replace the lens and once again make sure that everything is working. Yep. Just have to take the bike out for a ride and see if the drivers behind me act any different with the new lights.