The R1200RTW gets Clearwater Lights, Ilium Works risers and Wunderlich tank protectors

2000 Lumen Clearwater 'Darla' LED lights mounted on RT's front fork

2000 Lumen Clearwater ‘Darla’ LED lights mounted on RT’s front fork

Fork-mounted Clearwater Lights hopefully increase conspicuity, forming a light 'triangle' so drivers can more easily see the bike in oncoming traffic

Fork-mounted Clearwater Lights hopefully increase conspicuity, forming a light ‘triangle’ so drivers can more easily see the bike in oncoming traffic

The BMW National MOA rally we attended in Billings, MT in July was a terrific opportunity to browse the numerous vendors.

If somebody in the world makes an accessory for BMW motorcycles, chances are they had a vendor at the rally.

For Canadians, this rally is the best way to see and handle various products often available to us only through mail order.  Not only does the rally give us a chance to talk to product representatives (will it fit my model?  How does this item work, exactly?  Is it available in other colours?  etc.), but many vendors had their products on sale, discounted especially for the rally.  And if we buy the product  on site, we don’t have to pay the sometimes onerous shipping and customs fees to Canada.

Clearwater Lights

I was keen to pick up a set of Clearwater LED lights.  My riding buddy Robyn had purchased a set at the MOA Rally a couple of years ago in Salem, OR and had the Clearwater technicians do the installation.

The fork-mounted lights form a light ‘triangle’ (with the headlight), hopefully increasing conspicuity and enabling drivers to more easily recognize a motorcycle in oncoming traffic.

I had contacted Clearwater Lights about a month prior to the rally and they were already booking installations, so I scheduled an installation of the Darla 2-in. fork-mounted LED lights.

The ‘rally price’ was $US 600 plus $US 150 for installation.  Pricey, yes, but one of the nice features of the Clearwater system is the lights are fully integrated into the R1200RT’s Canbus system and is controlled through the bike’s left handlebar-mounted multi-function control wheel.

Billie was one of Clearwater’s four technicians installing lights at an outside tent.  I felt sorry for these guys.  Daytime temperatures were 34-35 degrees Celsius and the open tent didn’t even have a fan for cooling.  Maybe these California-based techs are used to the heat.  Most of our Canadian gang suffered and complained.

Interestingly, Billie was the tech who installed Robyn’s lights in Salem, and I remember admiring his skill as he put the lights on Robyn’s RT.  It took him almost 4 hours to complete the installation on my RT, and I’m happy to have paid for a his very professional installation.

How the Clearwater Darla LED Lights work:

The LED lights are dimmable, and Clearwater recommends setting them at 50-percent power for use as Daytime Running Lights.

The lights turn on automatically when the bike is started.

To adjust the Darla’s brightness:

  1. Push signal light ‘cancel’ switch
  2. Hold multi-function wheel ‘out’ (left) for 5 seconds (Darlas will blink indicating they are ready to be adjusted)
  3. Rotate multi-function wheel to adjust brightness; each detent increases or decreases brightness by 10-percent
  4. Push signal light ‘cancel’ switch to ‘set’ desired brightness

Other features of the Darla LED lights:

Other nice features of the Darla lights are they are connected to the RT’s high beam and horn.

  • Turn the RT’s high beam ‘on’ – the Darlas automatically turn on at 100-percent power
  • Press the ‘flash-to-pass’ switch and the Darlas turn on and stay on at 100-percent power while the switch is depressed
  • Press the horn and the Darlas rapidly flash at 100-percent power while the horn is depressed

The Clearwater ‘CANopener’ system integrates seamlessly with the RT’s CANbus electrical system and multi-controller wheel.  The only feature this system lacks is an indicator on the bike’s instrument panel to show the auxiliary lights are on.

Ilium Works handlebar risers

Ilium Works handlebar risers were the next item I wanted for the RT.  I’m 5′ 7″ and the R1200RTW’s bars were a little too far forward and low for me.

Ilium was selling their ‘bar risers at the rally for $US 105 and I grabbed a set.  The company was offering installation ($US 50), but my friend Denis who had ridden with his wife Louise to the rally, also from Alberta, said he’d bought a set for his bike and had rented the special tool ($US 15) needed for installation.  “I’m installing my set at the hotel tonight.  Come over and I’ll put yours on, too”, he said.

Left side, Ilium Works riser for R1200RTW

Left side, Ilium Works riser for R1200RTW

Right side, Ilium Works riser for R1200RTW

Right side, Ilium Works riser for R1200RTW

Denis performed the handlebar-ectomy in the parking lot of the Billings Best Western Hotel, and noted the extraction of the handlebar bolt (using the puller tool) was much tighter on my bike than on his.

A late start meant Denis was finishing the job in darkness.  We were huddled around the bike using a couple of penlights.

He fired up the RT to check if all the controls were properly located, and the bike was mysteriously fast idling.  After a few minutes of tightening and loosening pieces, he found a 6-pin connector to the fly-by-wire throttle had dislodged, and once it was reconnected, the bike ran perfectly.  The riser installation took less than one hour.

With the new Ilium risers, the RT’s seating position is a very good improvement, allowing me to sit more vertically.  But it’s not quite perfect.  I’d prefer another one inch closer reach.  But I’ll adapt.

Wunderlich tank protector pads

Wunderlich's 5-piece tank protector pad set

Wunderlich’s 5-piece tank protector pad set

This was one of those impulse purchases.  I had wandered through Wunderlich’s large indoor display numerous times, and hadn’t been had the protectors on my wish list.

I had noticed the RT’s tank was showing some rub marks from my jacket, and thought I might as well check to see if Wunderlich had a tank protector pad.  They did and it’s a very nice, thick, soft strip made of ‘rubber-like’ material.

I thought I might as well buy it because it’s here and available.  If I procrastinate and wait until I’m back in Canada, I’ll have to order it and pay shipping.  So let’s buy it, and save money! I put the tank protector on my credit card and thought, hmm, $55 bucks U.S. is pretty pricey for a tank pad, but I guess that’s what you pay for ‘BMW stuff.’  Back at the hotel I opened the package and was surprised to find the tank protector pad kit contains 5 pieces – one piece for the rear of the gas tank and two knee pieces for each side.  All in all, the $55 price wasn’t so exhorbitant after all.

I installed the kit in the parking lot without any difficulty.  The adhesive on the back of the pads allows you to gently place the piece on the clean surface and re-position it if required.  When you’re satisfied with the positioning, press down firmly.


  1. Just purchased Sargent seat and feel like my arms are fully stretched to reach the handlebars. I am 5’7 and was thinking of the Bar Backs. Any more feedback you could share. Please send me private email.

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