Clearwater Lights and CANopener for BMW Review

If you want to see better at night and be seen better by day as you ride your BMW tourer, consider installing super high-output LED auxiliary lights from Clearwater Lights. And use a CANopener.

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Unlike auxiliary wiring harnesses that are designed to circumvent BMW’s sophisticated CANbus wiring network, Clearwater Lights designed its aptly named CANopener module to leverage the CANbus network’s potential. This innovative wiring and control solution plugs directly into existing CANbus connectors on BMW’s K 1600 GT/GTL, liquid-cooled R 1200 RT and liquid-cooled R 1200 GS models with no modifications to the motorcycle. No tapping, no splicing, no drilling (tidy wiring fans, rejoice!). It’s also completely removable without a trace.

The CANopener makes it possible to control one or two sets of lights several ways. Slick engineering integrates the variable light output (dimming) capability of Clearwater Lights’ LEDs with BMW’s existing switchgear. For example, the “wonder wheel” Multi-Controller lets you control the lights’ output in 10-percent increments, from full brightness down to 10 percent. Using the high beam or flash-to-pass buttons, full brightness is available instantly.

Enable the Horn Activation Mode and your Clearwater lights illuminate at your choice of 100-percent output or strobe when you honk the horn. Hazard Flasher Alert Mode, developed for police and off-road use, flashes your Clearwater lights while you hold the bike’s hazard switch. You set your preferences for these features and more with simple commands, again using the bike’s switchgear.

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On my 2014 RT, I installed 24-watt/2,000-plus lumen Darla lights (for conspicuity) using Clearwater’s fork mounts, and 60-watt/6,000-plus lumen Erica lights (for supplementing high beams) on an aftermarket crash bar using Clearwater’s bar mounts. BMW’s OEM fog light mounts are another option, although some aftermarket components, like crash bars, use the same mounting points.

Aided by excellent instructions, the installation was straightforward. Removing and replacing the RT’s finicky body panels was the biggest challenge. I took time to carefully route wiring away from parts that move or get hot. When securing the harness relay behind the fork and upper fairing, a second pair of hands proved helpful (thanks, Andrew!).

Now hear this: Clearwater LEDs are ferociously bright. Aim the lights properly and dim them appropriately so you don’t blind oncoming traffic. Flash your high beams for 100-percent intensity and instant visual attention. Then, on dark roads, hit your high beams and light up the night.

Precision manufactured in the USA, Clearwater Lights LED lights and the CANopener wiring and control module come in bike-specific kits, including all necessary wiring, mounting hardware and whichever lights you select. Cost varies by model. Purchase directly from Clearwater Lights or at your BMW dealer.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Call (916) 852-7029 or visit clearwaterlights.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. A follow-up on my review. Recently I had to ride from a dinner back to my hotel along an isolated stretch of US 40 in southeastern Illinois. Not much out there but trees, corn and huge whitetails. At the edge of town it became profoundly dark. I hit the high beams. Those Clearwater Ericas are amazing… like instant daylight.
    Bones

    • I have the same set up the crash bars are made by Illiumworks for the RT 1200 LC and very easy to install. I mounted my Kristas the same way as seen in this article I live in Las Vegas and cruise the Desert at night and the lights light up everything for up to 1 mile and half away like daylight.
      Super easy to install.

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