I want to see where I’m going – J.W. Speaker Adaptive Headlight
Have you ever been cruising down a road at night and thought, “Man I hope there isn’t something in my way around that corner!”? There is now technology out there that can resolve that intimidating issue. I recently had the opportunity to install a J.W. Speaker Adaptive headlight on my 2013 Ultra. The first question that comes from most people is, “What does adaptive mean?”.
High-end car manufacturers have been using similar technology for years. As you turn the steering wheel some of these vehicles have extra lights that shines on the area that you are turning toward instead of a standard headlight which only shines light out in front. Using this concept on a motorcycle was much harder to accomplish there is no steering wheel to get the feedback. If you have studied the action of turning a motorcycle, you really turn the handlebars slightly away from the direction you want to go as you lean the bike into a turn.
When I first heard about these headlights, I was very skeptical. I am the type of person that sometimes gets stuck with thinking that it can’t be that good if I can’t figure out how it works. J.W. Speaker has developed their adaptive headlight with many sensors inside that can sense speed and lean angle using built-in gyros. As your bike leans, the light senses your speed and lean angle and starts to add light in the area you are turning into. I can’t say that I know how it does it, but I can definitely say, it knows where you are headed and how fast you will need those extra lights. Doing a slow less aggressive turn with a lesser lean angle will tell the light to put on one or two of the extra lights because that is all that you need. When you are throwing the bike into a high-speed turn with a “touching-the-floorboards” heavy lean angle, the light knows you need it all and turns on all five of the extra lights. It’s like someone took your headlight and pointed it exactly where you wanted to go.
I have been riding for over 30 years, my eyesight (especially at night) has gotten worse, and I have found myself not enjoying night riding anymore. I am not a super aggressive rider, but I do still enjoy a nice twisty road, even on my bagger. I will admit, there are many times that I hear the scrape of the floorboards while leaning into a turn. I have a road on my way to the office that is one of these “fun to ride” roads but, I arrive at the office, most mornings, at least an hour or so before daylight. It wasn’t until I installed this light that I felt comfortable enough to ride the bike in the dark, very close to the way I ride it on a bright sunny day.
Anyone that has taken an advanced riding course has heard the terminology of target fixation. This phenomenon is something that can be used by all riders and even car drivers to help you direct your vehicle to where you want it to go. That subject is a very long conversation in itself but the reason that I bring it up is that when you use target fixation to your advantage, it can build confidence and make you a better rider. The J.W. Speaker Adaptive Headlight can help you focus on where you want to go at night. I enjoy using my new J.W. Speaker Adaptive headlight to light the way into my turns and change the unknown and unseen into a more comfortable and safer place to ride.