Amber running lights

What say you all about amber running lights?

I cannot see in the dark, because I am a human being despite what anyone else says. My bike has a headlamp and still cannot see in the dark, and it needs to, what with being a bike.

So I need some bright spot beam LEDs, and now I have crash bars I am much less restricted by the mount options. I removed the mirror mount ones today as they were not much good, and in many different ways.

Looking around, some lights feature a separate halo light around them. With a main beam hopefully (and stupidly optimistically) being bright enough to be too dazzling for use other than as a main beam, I like the idea of the halo as an always-on running light.

Then I came across these, where the halo is amber.

Five inches is probably too much for me, I doubt my gap is big enough for them to fit, so I am unlikely to get those. But they got me thinking whether ones with an amber light is a good idea.

They are legal and apparently some cars have them, though I cannot recall seeing any, but I am not so sure because of the obvious colour clash with the indicators. On the other hand, in the U.S. my bike has a dual filament in the indicator to use as running lights, though they are not wired for that in the U.K.

So good or bad idea, in general? (And any super bright spot LED recommendations will be welcome.)

IIRC the newer africa twin and the CB500F has the indicators on constantly as running lights

The Honda MSX has them too and loads of cars in America have the front indicators permanently lit unless they are indicating.

I wasn’t convinced that permanently lit indicators were any safer until I saw an MSX in my rear view mirror when it was dark and they made it much easier to see and also determine it was a bike plus judge how close it was. After that I’m all in favour of them.

For the same reason I converted my standard halogen dipped beam to HID with an on/off switch to prevent the ballast locking out on low voltage caused by the starter motor. Not exactly the same as THIS but something very similar. Note there are MOT issues with HID conversions although mine hasn’t been failed yet.

The HID is very good but there seems to be a dead spot in front of the bike so I added a pair of CREE LED U5 DRL’s. Again not exactly the same but similar to THESE. I have them set up so that the dipped beam does what dipped beams do and the DRL’s are set low to light up the full width of rural country lanes for about one car length in front.

I’d take a punt on those 5" lamps but would knock up a couple of cardboard cut outs to get a feel of how big they are first. You may find 5" DRL’s mounted on engine bars stick out too far with a risk of clipping other vehicles when filtering.

These are tiny enough to fit most places.

Running lights don’t need to project light onto the ground, they just need to be seen.

I know someone fitted ‘side lights’ on his van’s door mirrors. I’m not sure of the legality of it but he reports other drivers give him much more space than before, they make the van not just more visible but appear wider.

I had bikeviz bullets on my fazer. One took a stone to the front and blew out.

That’s why I buy cheap ones now.

Whereas the motto is usually buy cheap = buy twice, in this case it’s more buy twice = buy cheap :smiley:

Thanks all.

Good to hear from actual experience, @Joby, that they are not confusing to other road users and actually are beneficial.

@National_Treasure, my headlamp is an LED unit so anything there is a dead end. No third party replacement, and it would be expensive anyway. I judge its uselessness on that I can leave it on full beam and still not dazzle anyone. I did originally look at lights like yours, but I just do not like having to cycle through all the modes and in particular not being able to disable the flashing one. I want something I would have to dip!

The mirror mount ones I bought were actually good as running lights, bright and a wider beam. That is but for one of them failing so that only half of a LED worked, and the arms rusting on day one (though that can be fixed). This is why I am still looking at cheaper Chinese ones, so the risk is low if they are unsuitable or fail. Though @me_groovy’s point is also a good reason.

Good idea on making some cardboard cutouts though. Better than just the tape measure. Because the bike extends beyond the forks it has limited mount points. I do have mounts that can fit on the mudguard bolt, but they do not stick out far enough for 5" lights. If I can fit them centred on the crash bar, though then that is only 2" sticking out, so may be okay. I am yet to ride it with the panniers attached, and I am sure they must make it wider than that.

Just a shame the ones I linked have the flood beam across the middle and cannot be twisted, so they have to be mounted right way up. It would have been easier with the mount on the side.

Looks to me as if the ones you linked to cycle through three modes too (main, dipped + amber and amber only). Its simple enough to disable the three mode cycling by modding the CREE LED U5 DRL’s circuit board. Plenty videos out on the subject - search YouTube for ‘cree u5 drl’ and take your pick.

That one has no dipped mode, it simply has a three core cable: earth and one for the light and the halo so they can be controlled separately. Sadly it does not separate the spot and flood beams, the main light it is all or nothing. I have not seen any option with a high and low output option other than ones like yours. Bigger lights have separate flood and spot beams, but they were all far too big for a bike.

It turns out I do not own a compass, the circle drawing sort. Which should not be surprising, but I thought I did. Having hunted around with a tape measure it seems my water cooling fan is exactly 5", so I have now got a piece of cardboard. Goodness, it looks so much bigger than when I just held my fingers apart to gauge the size.

said the Actress to the Bishop


Look at all that space inside the crash bar.

5" lamps will look silly, but so did the 47L top box on a 125 and I ended up with no regrets about that. With a suitable bracket and leaving a small gap to the radiator I reckon I should be able to fit a 5" lamp with only 1" hanging outside.

(Unrelated, but the new rear tyre is now done so I am literally a rubberized nut away from actually riding it. Had to remove the side panel to remove the old lights, and when I went to screw it back on the rubber that holds it in the frame disintegrated. A pack of replacements are already in the post. Might be okay for riding around town, but would not want to risk it beingheld by just plastic clips on the open road.)

5" will be massive hanging off the crash bars


Another seller on Amazon has the same brand for £26, so I have taken the risk. In this case that risk seems less them failing once it rains but that they will look absolutely ridiculous. But if I can see in the dark, even if only until I find something smaller, then it would worth looking silly. And probably less silly than separate running lights and looking like the Blackpool Illuminations when riding at night.

Do you ride on a lot of unlit roads?

No yet, but only because I do not feel safe with my current headlamp output. Last autumn and winter were a real nuisance as I had to plan all my travel around daylight.

My dad had a stroke last September so I spent half the week staying at his house on the Lincolnshire coast, commuting to Boston every day to visit him in hospital. My sister did the same for the other half.

After he returned home and was able to take care of himself I settled into a routine of trying to visit him roughly every other weekend, until Covid intervened in spring. So I was having to plan my trips there so it was entirely in daylight, and ones back so I would reach London (usually meaning the the end of the M11) by sunset.

A couple of times I messed that up and ended up on the M11 after the sun had set, and that is not a fun experience when you feel practically blind. It i the one time I felt safer having a car right on top of me as I got to benefit from its lights.

But he is on his own now as my mam dies last August, so he is on his own now and this summer has been difficult for him with limited visits from my sister and me being unable to get up there at all due to shielding.

So whilst not something I particularly want to do much of, even with my best efforts it is unavoidable at times so I would rather do it safely. And being able to be a bit more flexible would make a big difference.


I completely get what you’re trying to achieve, having been in a similar circumstance family wise and also having a bike with a very poor headlight.
On my Fazer I upgraded the headlights to HIDs, it made a massive difference to what I could see on unlit roads. With main beam on it was like daylight at night, very effective!

There are plenty of smaller LED lights on eBay, I’ve bought a few of them over the years to add to my KTM (which also has a candle as a headlight) - still not got one that fits where I want it but the cheapish ones are pretty good in putting light, you just need to make sure you’re not blinding traffic coming the over way.

Hopefully they will dazzle, that would mean they are working! But as I do not need to dip the main beam I can easily do it to the LEDs by turning them off and on.

One of the attractions of those 5" light was it having both flood and spot beams, it is just a shame they cannot be controlled separately. But Few offer both independently, and they tend to be much bigger still, though obviously they are not intended to be surrogate headlamps. I am not relating the size to the output, though. More that many claim to be 20W, such as NT’s example, whilst these claim to be 96W, which is headlamp territory. And the bike has more than enough spare power.

But for £26 it is not a big loss if they are no good. As the bike is kept somewhere unlit then I could refashion them as work lights to plug into a 12V socket if needed. Admittedly not something I would need often, but there have been rare times I have needed to do something by torchlight.

The lights should be coming today, though a new switch is not due until Friday. So hopefully I will get a chance to mount them and get an idea of how they look, even if not wire them up yet.

But if no good, I will just look for something else. I can probably get through quite a few Chinese versions before even reaching the cost of, say, Denali ones.

The ones I have were advertised as 125W but I think this is only an equivalent output to give a comparison to a 125W halogen lamp, does that make sense? I think they are actually 2 x 15W or 2 x 20W.

looking forward to the photos