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'08 12RT Headlights - how are good are they?


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Dumb question, right? Well, the reason I'm asking is I just pulled the trigger on an '08 RT and I have to ride it 1300 miles to get it home. Are the stock lights adequate for interstate riding at night, or should I plan on daytime only riding until I can upgrade the lights or add aux lights? Comments?



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They'll be fine :-)


Well as long as you're not riding I-10 thru TX in which case, keep to the daytime.


Some of us are anal about lighting (says the guy with over 16,000 lumens on board) but most people are fine with stock lights. If you're really concerned, pull the existing ones and replace the bulbs with some Silverstars which will give you a brighter/whiter light than the stock bulbs.


Have fun out there and be careful.

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Stock lights the road well, but I've found I go through bulbs about every 9 months....

I now have the HID kit on the low beams, and they are working well. Same light, just no burned bulbs. High beam is still my 100W bulb, so I can see farther on the mountain roads around here.

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I think the answer to your question is obvious.

Haven't you noticed all the BMW bikes that are parked on the side of the road after dark?



Besides, 1300 miles is two easy interstate days w/out any riding in the dark.

Safe trip.

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Yes, they are more than adequate. I've had more than one person asking me if I was riding with high beams on because the headlights are so bright. Consider that headlights are set at the factory (or by the dealer upon pre-delivery) quite low, so you'll probably need to adjust them a little if the previous owner hasn't done it already.

If you like me prefer your lights to be as white as possible there are many bulbs on the market that won't break the bank and install is as easy (or hard) as changing a bulb.


If, however, you want to have more light on the side of the road (to spot local wildlife making an attempt on your life), you'll need to invest in some additional lightning.

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Afternoon Miles


As mentioned above the frontal lighting should be just fine for normal riding speeds on the freeway or back roads.


My 1200RT has some of the best OEM lighting with stock bulbs & reflectors.


Just a bit limited when leaned way over in the very dark as the light beam cutoff takes the light beam off the travel path due to the bike's lean but once you stand the bike back up all is good again.


Only complaint I have with my 1200RT is at very high speeds (above 90mph) on dark back roads the frontal lighting is limited enough that I am basically outriding the lighting but that is expected as no other bike I own is any better with stock lighting.


Look at the picture below as there is a white lever on your left (up under the dash) that flips the light beam up or down to compensate for a higher or lower rear ride height adjustment, or added passenger weight, or camping gear on the rear seat.


You might have to play with that lever to get your light beam where you need it, or twist the nut in the middle for a permanent adjustment. A lot of 1200RT riders don't know about that flip lever & complain about he frontal lighting when all it needs is an adjustment.



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a couple of points


First, virtually all RT lights from the factory are set wrong so check yours.


Yes the RT has better lights than most bike- after all its dual lows. Whether that's enough depends on conditions and speed. Personally, I want more at highway speeds but younger eyes may think stock is fine.


If you want more after the above you basically have two choices- uprated halogens or HIDs. The best halogen choice is the 65W Osram from Candlepower- 40% more than stock with little extra heat. There are no 100W bulbs that deliver full output on stock lighting and they may trip the ZFEs monitoring and shut off anyway.


If you learn to hate replacing bulbs, HIDs work pretty well with the RT reflector which isn't true for all bikes. More output than any halogen by far.


See what you think of what you have before messing with it.

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The while-riding headlight height adjustment knob on dashboard that I think 1st appeared on the R1100RT disappeared from 2005-2009 R1200RTs, but returned with the 2010 facelift (camhead) models.


For the 2008 model under consideration it will be good to verify headlight beam height prior to starting out.

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