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#959936 - 05/05/16 03:17 PM Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW  
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Mike Offline
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Mike  Offline

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Chicago area, IL, USA
I'm going to start out with a tale of woe--last week the Clearwater Darlas with the CANopener 3 showed up. Everything included is of excellent quality--beautifully machined mountings, precision built lights, and an easy-to-integrate means of connecting to the CANbus. I mounted everything, fired them up, and one of the lights was messed up (only two LEDs illuminated, at a much reduced level).

This sort of thing happens. I've gotten stuff that was not quite right before, and the worst part is the anticipation of how much of a hassle it will be. It was late on a weeknight, but I fired off an email to Clearwater's Tech Support, and the next morning had an email from Glenn that a new light was on its way, offering his apologies. It arrived yesterday, I swapped it out for the defective one, and . . . Voila! . . . light! Lots of light.

I wanted to note this, because even with premium products sometimes things don't go quite right. I don't fault Clearwater for the fact that, against considerable odds, a defective unit ended up at my doorstep. You often get attitude or a response that turns out to be a significant hassle from a manufacturer. Not here. I couldn't have expected a better response. So, a tip of the hat for taking care of a customer.

As for the lights, they are awfully nice. Truly beautifully made, the setup also reflects the care that was put into designing them with the customer in mind. I'm sure that the standard setup is quite nice, but the integration with the CANopener is pretty spectacular. With a couple of simple steps, you can customize the brightness and behavior of the lights through the Wonder Wheel and other handlebar controls.

The lights are incredibly bright--at 2,000 lumens, each is roughly 1.5 times as bright (when 100% illuminated) as the RT's standard H7 low beam. Honestly, through, they seem much brighter than that, perhaps because of the whiteness of their light output. When I rolled the RT out of the garage and flipped on the high beams, the world lit up and a couple of streetlights clicked off as night turned to day (something that made me chuckle a bit). grin

This brings me back to programming. I have dialed the daytime level of the Darlas back to 20%; the default setting is 50%, and it just seemed to me as though they were way too bright at that level (I also have have Skene Photon Blasters on the forks, so I'm already well illuminated). The low-beam level of 30% seems good, but with a 15-degree beam spread, I may still play around with the low-beam level of illumination and/or the aim. Light is good . . . unless you blind oncoming vehicles.

Finally, I set the lights to strobe three times with horn activation. Personally, I'm among those who never uses my horn as a collision avoidance tool, but it seems as though this might be a helpful signal to vehicles you're passing. I'll have to evaluate this a bit, but the fact that there is the option to coordinate the low/high flash with your horn is pretty cool. You can also program the lights to strobe with your four-way hazard flashers, but I'm not so sure that Mr. State Trooper would appreciate the added conspicuity of this option.

So, overall, my rating is "Wow!" There are brighter lights offered by Clearwater, but I can't presently see the need for them. The extra lighting is excellent, the quality of the kit is exceptional, and--though I wouldn't wish a bum unit on anyone--the fact that they clearly care about the customer is a huge plus.

More info here. Buy 'em.


Mike The Moderator
Born to be Mild
#960008 - 05/06/16 03:49 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Mike]  
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TimRT Offline
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PNW
Great review. Thanks for the write-up!

#960674 - 05/14/16 03:01 AM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Mike]  
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Alexandria, VA
Excellent review. I have a set of Ericas and love them.


Steve B.
2015 BMW R1200RT
Alexandria, VA
#968209 - 08/15/16 07:51 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Mike]  
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Mike Offline
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I wanted to draw everyone's attention to the long-term Darla review that Moshe Levy has produced and loaded on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU84OBL-skQ

After a couple of years of use, Moshe reports that the Darlas still perform as they did when new. Since I posted my initial review, I have programmed the Darlas to strobe when I hold down the four-way flasher button. There's probably some temptation to misuse them, but I've found this feature to be handy on a couple of occasions, to give motorists warning of an impending hazard. It's easy to do, and it seems to work. If you get a Clearwater light set with a CANopener, I'd suggest activating this feature.


Mike The Moderator
Born to be Mild
#973679 - 10/26/16 03:20 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Mike]  
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Great_Kubuki Offline
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Madison, MS
Amazing story. My face to face experience with "Glenn" was totally opposite and I found him a total horses back side. Went to BMW national in Hamburg with credit card in hand and hope of putting a set "muddwaters" on my 08 GT the first morning of the rally. He gave me a 10 minute song and dance on why they could not put them on the bike and the fact it would need a "service", "diagnostic", and be shop installed...Hunh?? I walked away, shaking my head.. WTF? It was like we were talking two languages. You can strip a '07-'10 GT down to frame in about ten minutes and the battery is right on top. I have no idea what his deal with a GT was since I saw ten sets of "muddwaters" on other GT's and RT's out in parking lot. But I can tell you I will never deal with this guy or company again. Two hours later Twisted Throttle mounted a set of Denali's on the same GT and I was all set. They were cheaper than "muddwaters" and I went ahead and added an additional taillight. All the same day, all within 3-4 hours. No problems, no aggravation for techs and excellent customer service. Just thought folks needed a little reality on these very "hyped" lights.

Cheers,

Miles

Last edited by Great_Kubuki; 10/26/16 03:25 PM.

-Life's short....."Lead, follow, or get the [email]F@&*![/email] out of the way"



#973881 - 10/29/16 03:53 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Great_Kubuki]  
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Stafford123 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Great_Kubuki
Amazing story. My face to face experience with "Glenn" was totally opposite and I found him a total horses back side. Went to BMW national in Hamburg with credit card in hand and hope of putting a set "muddwaters" on my 08 GT the first morning of the rally. He gave me a 10 minute song and dance on why they could not put them on the bike and the fact it would need a "service", "diagnostic", and be shop installed...Hunh?? I walked away, shaking my head.. WTF? It was like we were talking two languages. You can strip a '07-'10 GT down to frame in about ten minutes and the battery is right on top. I have no idea what his deal with a GT was since I saw ten sets of "muddwaters" on other GT's and RT's out in parking lot. But I can tell you I will never deal with this guy or company again. Two hours later Twisted Throttle mounted a set of Denali's on the same GT and I was all set. They were cheaper than "muddwaters" and I went ahead and added an additional taillight. All the same day, all within 3-4 hours. No problems, no aggravation for techs and excellent customer service. Just thought folks needed a little reality on these very "hyped" lights.

Cheers,

Miles


So, because you had an experience you found unsatisfying you are slamming the quality of the product? I am sorry you had a poor experience with Glenn, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the light.

I am personally very happy with my Clearwater Darlas and Kristas. I commute year round and have to ride in the dark during the winter months. The Clearwater lights provide very nice and adjustable lighting that improves my safety. They are dimmable, so I can have different levels of light with low and high beams. And they integrate with the Wonder wheel.

I have also been very happy with the level of customer service provided by the company. I have always gotten quick and helpful responses to inquiries. I think they go out of their way to be helpful.


Jeff

Stafford, VA

2015 R1200RT Ebony
2008 K1200GT Blue (sold)
#973890 - 10/29/16 10:27 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Great_Kubuki]  
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Mike Offline
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Originally Posted By: Great_Kubuki
Amazing story. My face to face experience with "Glenn" was totally opposite and I found him a total horses back side. Went to BMW national in Hamburg with credit card in hand and hope of putting a set "muddwaters" on my 08 GT the first morning of the rally. He gave me a 10 minute song and dance on why they could not put them on the bike and the fact it would need a "service", "diagnostic", and be shop installed...Hunh?? I walked away, shaking my head.. WTF? It was like we were talking two languages. You can strip a '07-'10 GT down to frame in about ten minutes and the battery is right on top. I have no idea what his deal with a GT was since I saw ten sets of "muddwaters" on other GT's and RT's out in parking lot. But I can tell you I will never deal with this guy or company again. Two hours later Twisted Throttle mounted a set of Denali's on the same GT and I was all set. They were cheaper than "muddwaters" and I went ahead and added an additional taillight. All the same day, all within 3-4 hours. No problems, no aggravation for techs and excellent customer service. Just thought folks needed a little reality on these very "hyped" lights.

Cheers,

Miles


Glad to hear the Denalis are working out for you. They seem to be high quality lights. Not sure why there would be a problem with an '08 GT, but Clearwater only lists a couple of lights that are compatible your model.

If you dig a little further into their literature, they note that there are two versions of their system for the K12 GT, so I'm guessing that the issue was determining compatibility, and not just accessibility to the electrical connections. It may be that there were issues with connecting the CANopener with some versions of BMW's electrical system on bikes of that vintage. None of this excuses rudeness, but it suggests that there's not one universal plug and play for your model, and that it requires a bit more to determine which setup, if any, is compatible.

Like I said, just a guess, but the info online suggests that the requirement to run diagnostics before starting an installation perhaps resulted from the fact that the CANopener does not interface with every version of K12GT electronics.

I've generally heard very positive things about Clearwater's customer service. Always helpful to know the full range of experiences, though.


Mike The Moderator
Born to be Mild
#973905 - 10/30/16 02:47 AM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Mike]  
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mbelectric Offline
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SF Bay Area, CA, USA
Darlas here.

Clearwater delivered everything as promised. Seemless installation. Excellent quality. It all works as advertised. Love them. 5 bills is pricey, but these will last. Won't have to replace lamps like my 1150 RT Piaa's.

I also have the amber covers.

thumbsup

MB>

Last edited by mbelectric; 10/30/16 02:48 AM.

74 R90S
98 K1200RS
03 1150RT
04 DRZ400
15 1200RTW

......and a Jeep Rubicon

BMWMOA, ABC.
IBEW 332
#974182 - 11/02/16 04:35 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Stafford123]  
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Great_Kubuki Offline
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Madison, MS
Comments noted. I feel a company is measured by the people that represent it. Whether contractor, vendor or directly. The (Clearwater) vendor representative turned me off the product big time and for no reason. From what I have heard and seen written here on this post it may very well be a great product. I was REALLY looking forward to them, But again they are only as good as the people that offer themselves as the face of the company. It sounds like going direct and by passing the vendor (Glenn) is the way to go. And to be fair I wrote Clearwater to tell them what happened. There is simply no excuse to have this person representing them.


-Life's short....."Lead, follow, or get the [email]F@&*![/email] out of the way"



#974485 - 11/07/16 02:37 PM Re: Clearwater Darlas on an R1200RTW [Re: Mike]  
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RightSpin Offline
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South GA Mountains
Mike, I really like my Darla's. And, the canopener dookicky is genius! I didn't have to cut or splice a single OEM wire to install their setup. That's a big deal for me. Clearwater really put a lot of thought and engineering into their setup.


Steve

2016 BMW R1200GS
2003 KTM 625SXC (for sale)
1981 BMW R100CS
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