Vizi-Tec brake light modulator install

Vizi-Tec Supabrake BMW 3 tail light modulator

Vizi-Tec SupaBrake-3 BMW tail light modulator

Good:  Plug ‘n play, just as advertized.  BMW Canbus electrical system compatible.

Bad:  No installation instructions included.  Online manual lacks make- and model-specific instructions, and there are no photos.

A couple of my BMW riding friends put me on to the Vizi-Tec brake light modulator.

That’s one of the many benefits of belonging to a motorcycle club.  Club members are typically just as ardent and hardcore a riding enthusiast as you are, and like you, they’re always scanning the world of accessories that make motorcycling that more enjoyable.

Belonging to a motorcycle club is like having a team of product researchers on staff, constantly scanning motorcycling’s latest offerings.

And so it was with the Vizi-Tec tail light modulator.  Last year, riding friends Denis and Louise found this device and installed them on their respective BMWs, a 2014 R1200RT and a 2016 R1200RS.  And recently, I discovered that another friend, Gilbert, had installed a Vizi-Tec modulator on his K1600GT.  All had expressed complete satisfaction with the product.

Installation is less than 'straight forward.' The modulator does not come with instructions. The online manual lacks detailed instructions and has no photos. The modulator attaches to the RT's brake light connector under the tail piece

Installation is less than ‘straight forward.’ The modulator does not come with instructions. The online manual lacks detailed instructions and has no photos. The modulator attaches to the RT’s brake light connector under the tail piece

Vizi-Tec SupaBrake-3 BMW tail light modulator

The SupaBrake modulator is an ‘intelligent’ electronic device that ‘flashes’ the tail light when the motorcycle’s brakes are applied.  However, there are algorithms that vary the number of flashes (or pulses) and the duration of the pulses, depending on speed and the time between brake applications.  The device is also configurable by the user.

If there’s one thing I’m paranoid about when riding, it’s being rear-ended.  Recently, I added the BMW OEM brake light kit to my topcase.  Now, with the SupaBrake modulator, I’ve increased the conspicuity of the RT to vehicles approaching from the rear by having the topcase brake light and the SupaBrake pulsing brake light.

Good service

I ordered the Vizi-Tec SupaBrake-3 BMW online from the company, based in California.  Cost was $US 115.00 plus $US 9.50 for US Postal Service surface mail.  The package arrived in Edmonton 11 days after ordering.

Installation on 2014 BMW R1200RT

My good friend Gilbert kindly offered to ‘help’ me install the SupaBrake modulator on the RT.  I trust him.  He’s an experienced medical imaging equipment technician, as well as a hands-on motorcycle maintenance guy who fettles two BMW motorcycles, a late model GS and a new S1000XR.

Although correctly advertized as a ‘Plug ‘n Play’ device, ‘we’ found that in addition to removing the rider and pillion saddles, we had to remove the RT’s topcase and passenger grab rail to gain better access to tail piece.  Inside this tight space, the RT’s tail light connector is affixed to the rear of the tail light housing.  You have to squeeze the sides of the connector between your thumb and index finger by feel alone, to release the connector.

Once the brake light connector is free, its simply a matter of plugging one end of the SupaBrake-3 modulator into the tail light assembly, plugging the other end of the modulator into the RT’s connector you’ve just pulled off the tail light, and the modulator is ready to go.

The modulator kit comes with two zip ties which Gilbert, the ever fastidious technician, used to keep the wires (including a Clearwater Light module for the fork-mounted auxiliary lights I installed last year) neat and tidy.

Success

We turned the RT’s ignition switch on and the tail light came on, as expected.  We then tested the hand brake and foot brake separately.  Each brake application tirggered a series of tail light flashes, followed by a steady, ‘on’ light.  In stop and go traffic, the SupaBrake is programmed to NOT flash each time the brakes are applied.  There is a ‘grace period’; there is a minimum time required that the brakes NOT be applied before the device is programmed to flash the tail light again.

Also, there is a nice ‘forced flash’ feature; the rider can ‘force’ the modulator to flash the brakes under certain circumstances, such as when the bike comes to a stop and and there is no traffic approaching from the rear.  Then, once traffic approaches the stopped bike and the rider wants to ‘flash’ the brake light, you simply release the brake and re-apply the brake immediately (within 0.50 secs.) and the brake light will flash again, then hold steady ‘on.’  Very nice.

Programmable

Apparently, the Vizi-Tec SupaBrake modulator is programmable so the user can alter numerous variables, such as the ‘grace period’, number of flashes, duration of flashes, etc.  But none of my 3 BMW riding friends have found the need nor have the desire to alter the device’s standard settings.

Highly recommended

I’m a big fan of conspicuity, and the Vizi-Tec SupaBrake tail light modulator is an excellent device for making one more visible in traffic, especially to drivers following the motorcyclist.

In traffic, I typically used to ‘flash’ my brake light when at a stop and vehicles were approaching my six.  Now, the Vizi-Tec modulator takes over this function and does it automatically.  I like it.

Vizi-Tec makes the brake light modulator for numerous motorcycle makes and models.

Their website can be found here.

 

 

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