It was a stormy day at CityBike World Headquarters when the power went out. Editor GS Aerostich rode his fancy black Beemer into the office and turned on his giant Clearwaters to light our way to the breakroom. I like things that make motorcycles more conspicuous and I have a healthy appreciation for break time, so I decided to look into a set of Clearwaters for the ole Utili-Duc.
Clearwater offers many size (and price) options, but since the Utili-Duc can also be dressed down into a sporty mode, I decided a set of their latest, littlest lights, the Glendina, would be subtle enough to fit—and fit in—just about anywhere on the bike.
The Glendinas arrived in a box with everything I’d need for the install except tools: extra-long wires so I would have many placement options, Posi-Tap connectors, mounting brackets, hardware, and a set of slip-on covers with clear and yellow lenses.
The instructions are fairly straightforward, although Ducati was missing from the common wire color list. I’m pretty sure Editor Goddamn Ducatis took some white out to my manual before handing the box over.
Now, after years of owning old Italian vehicles, touching anything electrical makes me extremely nervous. I once hung a keychain on a non-working bulb holder in the glove compartment of my old Alfa Spider and blew out the whole dash.
So I wasn’t keen on cutting wires on my Duc to get these lights hooked up, fearing one wrong move could Chernobyl the whole harness. The Posi-Taps lessened my worry, at least a little, but given my distrust of Italian wiring harnesses and tendency for MacGyver-style fixes, I enlisted the supervision and skills of the Mister, who won’t allow half-assed shit in our house and is OCD about wiring.
We first had to figure out the wiring for the headlight. The Glendinas don’t have a separate dimmer switch—they’re always on with your headlight high and low beam—so we mapped out which wire was which using a test light.
Smaller auxiliary lights are often mounted low on the fork tubes. I decided against that, mostly because I didn’t want to look at wires running down the fork tubes, although I guess I could have run them with the brake lines. Instead, I decided to mount them on either side of the headlight, just above my turn signals, using the headlight bucket mounting points.
We did a quick mockup to make sure it would work. The holes in the included brackets lights were a smidge too small, but nothing a quick drilling couldn’t fix. That was the only adjustment to the out-of-the-box setup we had to make.
I cut the housing on the headlight harness, separated the wires and screwed a Posi-Tap connector into each one. Easy. I then ran the wires from the lights and connected each to the other half of the corresponding Posi-Taps. I requested approval from my supervisor and once my work was deemed tidy, wrapped the wiring with his favorite RTV tape to protect the connections from weather.
I sat on the bike with my supervisor standing in front of me to work out the angle of the beams, only temporarily blinding him. Once we were happy with the position of the lights, I tightened everything up—good to go.
I went with the yellow lens covers instead of clear for overall conspicuity and because they’re significantly more noticeable in fog and rain—not because Editor It’s Always Sunny in Front of My Bike runs yellow covers on his bike. Thankfully, my choice was confirmed during a post-install shakedown run: riding around town, it seemed like I was noticed more by drivers even in daylight.
Night riding is radically changed for the better. In areas with few street lights, I normally can’t see shit even with my high beams on. Now the whole area in front of me is lit up.
I’m really happy with the Glendinas. They feel solid, substantial and well-made, they’re a big improvement over my stock headlight alone, and at $279 for the basic universal setup, the cost is reasonable. Plus, Clearwater is located right here in The Sac and can help with installation if needed.
$279 to $329. Learn more and get your own at ClearwaterLights.com.
This story originally appeared in our June 2018 issue.