Is seven years long enough to accurately assess a product or group of products? Or just an excuse for a long (long) overdue review?
Use of many ADVmonster LED products over this extended period has proven many things, including the fact that while appearing deceptively lightweight and (thus) fragile, they really aren’t and, their versatility for a wide range of requirements and applications.
Whether using M-series LEDs as single trail lights or in combination sets to point the way ahead and help define what is usually lurking on the edges the lights provide seamless reliable performance on a daily, monthly or yearly basis.
Other than one new LED that had a stretched wired inside the protective sheathing, none of the lights, no matter the form factor, have failed in any way over time, distance and a few motorcycles.
The non-functioning LED was quickly replaced by ADVmonster – a support approach that has been evident over the years.
With highly efficient LEDs, white light output, typical low power consumption, long life, robustness and low cost the ADVmonster LEDs are the real deal although often overlooked as a viable solution.
Why this long term review of ADVmonster LED lights? Its actually a cleverly disguised excuse seeing as how this submission was originally supposed to have been done about three years ago!
But there is nothing like taking the long-term view of a product or products – the information and opinions formed over years rather than a month or two can be very enlightening, especially related to performance, flexibility, reliability and of course, durability.
Since somewhere around 2010, multiple ADVmonster LED products as singles, matched pairs or combination sets have been and are installed on virtually every motorcycle in the home fleet.
Over the years, I have installed more than a few more ADVmonster LEDs onto other motorcycles and four wheelers for fellow riders and power sports enthusiasts.
Needless to say the ADVmonster LED products have been joined by other related products available on the market, all installed for short and long term evaluation and of course, personal use.
I first saw the ADVmonster LED lights at a rally attended one summer long ago and after discussing their attributes with the users, visited a few forums that had related posts and then the company website.
ADVmonster is a company based in southern Florida. They carry a small but comprehensive line of LED lighting, mounts, wiring and related products…and one or two unique pieces as well.
Some of the products, like the original M-series LEDs have remained as offerings through the years while other form factor products have been introduced or shuffled out to broaden the overall line and keep things fresh.
And shortly after returning home from our travels that summer long ago, two sets of LEDs were ordered from www.ADVmonster.com, beginning a longstanding relationship regarding use of their LEDs and related products that continues to this day.
The current list of ADVmonster products include the F11 Fog Light (single or pairs); M5 LED Spot for Tail Tech X2 adaptation; the M20 LED as a single or pair (with or without harness); and, the M30 – M44 – M55 and M60 series.
The F40 lightbar that was procured when it was first released has since been replaced by the smaller but more effective SS25 lightbar – more on that later.
And there are other LED and lighting related products available on the website along with technical resource information, etc.
This review covers most of the M-Series LEDs and the two lightbars, all of which were procured, installed, tested and generally abused on a wide variety of motorcycle over a number of years for on and off-road use; all have survived to this day.
M-Series - the original M-series lights, including the M30, M44 and M60 LEDs sets, are housed in identical black round housings measuring 70mm long and 55mm in diameter.
The only discerning feature is the number of LEDs in the housing and (perhaps) lens appearance.
Principle differences, other than the number of LEDs used are output and power consumption.
Like most modern LED components and based on typical Wiki ratings, the LEDs will last 35,000 to 50,000 hours or over four years of continual use!
An O-ring provides a solid seal between the housing and the threaded lens section with its shatter resistant lens. A 100cm (39in) lead and flat mount pivoting stainless steel bracket are standard.
Heavy duty brackets are available as an option, along with Clear, Amber and Red replacement lenses and for added protection, Xpel Light Protection Covers in Clear and Blue.
Basic performance specifications for utilized products:
· M30 - three Cree XP-G LEDs, 10-degree Spot beam, 1500 lumen output, 5500K colour temperature, consumption of 0.85A (10.2W) each
· M44 - four LEDs, 30-degree Wide beam, 2000 lumens output, consumption of 1.8A (22 watts) each
· M60 - four Cree XM-L T6 LEDs, 30-degree Wide beam, 3600 lumens output, consumption of 2.4A (28 watts) per unit
A later offering that is not longer listed was the M62 featuring dual Cree XML-T6 5500K (cool white/vertical daylight range) LEDs in a rectangular cast aluminum housing measuring 108 x 63.5 x 63.5 mm (xx x xx x xx).
It had 15- degree Spot beams and 1800 lumen output with power consumption rated at 1.2A (14.4W) per unit.
An appreciated feature of the M62 is that small modular joiner pieces provided in the kit allowed multiple units to be joined similar to the Denali LED modules…but I never did buy another one before it disappeared from the website.
F11 LED Fog Light Set – the module features a single Cree XML-U2 LED rated at 1100 lumens output with consumption listed at 1.0A.
Its 15-degree beam is a great compromise between Spot and Wide, providing an elliptical shaped pattern with an upper and lower cut-off unlike the normal more conical beam; amber or clear lens are available.
The small square black aluminum housing is O-ring sealed and (IP67) water and dust proof rated. A PMMA shatter-proof lens is used. Each module has a 100cm (39in) lead, mount and mounting hardware. Typically sold in pairs.
F40 LED Light Bar – no longer available, this four Cree XM-L2 LED light bar was the first light bar purchased from ADVmonster, but not the last.
Featuring a heavy-duty heat sink oriented aluminum housing (IP68 rated) and AR-1 coated polycarbonate lens it made for an outstanding single product for those ‘night into day’ lighting solutions.
Output was listed at 4000 lumens and 5500k colour temperature, with power consumption identified as 38W. The light bar came with lightweight side mount bracketry to aid in its installation.
Two variants were available - one with four 10-degree spot beams and the other featuring two centre two LEDs spot beams and two outer 30 degree flood beams for very bright and very broad coverage – this is the configuration I now having residing on the shelf.
Although I never tested the straight 10-degree Spot configuration it seems to have been a popular choice while available.
The second variant option was and remains my preferred solution; the two inner Spot and two outer Flood/Wide lens configuration is truly an outstanding full coverage light.
SS25 LED Light Bar – literally half the size of the F40 lightbar, the newer smaller lower profile form factor SS25 is powered by five XP G2 Cree LEDs at 5500K colour temperature.
Featuring a lightweight but tough (ask me how I know) aluminum shell, the unit is IP68 rated. Output is listed at 2300 Lumens and power consumption at 2.0A or ~27 watts.
The lead terminates in a two-wire Deutsch connector with a mating connector and wire lead pigtail section provided to facilitate hook-up.
Outside of its size, the next best feature is the ability to tailor output using any combination of the 15-degree Spot or 30-degree Wide lenses.
My favourite has a Wide or flood lens on each of the outer positions and three inner Spot lenses for a long reach focus beam in the middle and wide lateral white light for the perimeters; thankfully I got extra lenses to play with...
In now having two of these little gems the first one procured will stay mounted between the forks on the 1998 R1100R sitting just above the lower Telelever assembly. Many riders don’t even notice it is there - until its turned on.
The newest one, purchased at half-price, is being added to the 2017 R1200GSW Rallye, installed in the same basic position as on the R1100R using a set of ADVmonster sourced brackets.
Light Mounts - while other third-party brackets are available, along with the previously identified economical stainless steel clamps, ADVmonster has a few mounting solutions available.
Two of my favourite are the (very) heavy duty clamp mounts with 49-54, 66-71 and 76-81mm diameter options or the more versatile lighter-weight flexible fork clamp mount pieces available in 35-43, 42-50 and 48-55mm diameters.
Where space and clearances are at a premium, the flexible fork clamps work extremely well, especially around the lower fork legs and their ability to conform to the fork shape allows an absolute perfect fit.
Rotary LED Dimmer with Hi-Beam Bypass – this small, easy to mount, and easy to use digital dimmer, detailed in the wBW LED Dimmer Feasibility Study is a perfect companion for managing one or two sets of ADVmonster LEDs.
I have also used the dimmers with their integrated easy to use harnesses with other brands of LEDs, - all successfully and with minimal PWM modulation issues.
Over the years there have been far too many separate installations and varied configurations used to go into detail here so a general description of the what and the how is provided for the following motorcycles (some present, some replaced).
1998 R1100R – a length of 0.75in square aluminum was custom cut and drilled to provide a horizontal light bar, attached to the fork legs just above the front fender with two Five Star 200-63 (1.94 to 2.18 in) stainless steel clamps.
This homemade cost effective solution supported an M30 (Spot) beam unit on the right and an M44 (Flood) beam unit on the left wired in as a combination set.
The pivoting brackets secure directly to the top surface of the light bar providing vertical and horizontal adjustment.
Switched power was originally supplied from a V1 Rowe Electronics PDM-60 module residing under the seat with a ADVmonster dimmer mounted on the left handlebar nacelle for output management.
Two years ago the light bar was removed and the LED modules moved down lower on the fork legs, held in place with a set of the lightweight conforming stainless steel mounts identified in the Light Mounts section.
At the same time, the reliable PDM60 was replaced with an Arboreal Systems Neutrino ‘Black Box’ system with its PWM modulated circuits, so the digital dimmer was no longer needed.
The Neutrino Black Box system, well covered in previous wBW reviews, allows the user to interact with and manage connected accessories using the Bluetooth link and smart-device app (iOS and Android).
2012GS and 2015 GSW - while the 2012 has been superceded by the 2015 model, both GS machines utilized the same LED lighting albeit with minor changes regarding mounting approaches and output management.
The favoured and enduring set-up utilizes a set of the venerable Denali DM1 LEDs mounted on the front forks, used primarily as always-on DRLs while an ADVmonster M30/M44 combination is mounted on the right and left sides of the Wunderlich and Touratech Upper (tank) Bar kits.
The 2012GS utilized the original Arboreal Systems Dispatch 1 along with an ADVmonster dimmer on the left handlebar tied in for output modulation.
Once the newer Arboreal Systems Neutrino systems came along, the whole set-up, including installation and management became far simpler with the BB systems providing PWM output over all circuits, just right for modulating output of front and rear-facing LED lighting.
2014 F800GS Adventure – originally brought home late summer of 2013 as a Launch Release rendition, this is now the most enduring and personally coveted machine in the home fleet – its longevity in occupying space in the garage is a BIG clue as to how good it really is…
Lighting-wise, a single M44 Wide beam LED is mounted to the left fork leg as a trail light, held in place with an bargain-priced stainless steel Five Star 200-66 (2.13 to 2.37in) clamp and the usual ADVmonster pivot bracket.
The bracket keeps its alignment even with some hard pounding but has enough flexibility to move if hit (strange thing that) rather than breaking. Checking on and tightening the hardware is on the weekly checklist although adjustments are seldom required
Higher up, the smaller GS Adv with the big fuel cell sports an M30/M60 LED (narrow/wide beam) combination.
The modules are mounted on the right and left sides using Denali ‘L’ brackets (TT SKU: TWT-00-013-001) for separation and overall adjustability. Longer hardware for the headlight mounting points rounds out this fitment.
This high output combination provides a bright white swath of light useful for auxiliary augmentation on or off the road. And no matter the time of day output is readily varied using the PWM output of the installed Neutrino BB V2 (now upgraded to its new ‘Element’ flavour).
2014 R1200GSW – this machine didn’t reside in the garage that long, but it was the recipient of more than a few accessories, including the ADVmonster F40 light bar, mounted just above the front fender between the fork legs, a placement that leverages BMWs Telelever design.
Rather than shelling out major $$ for a set of after-market fork brackets, the economical and expedient route was again taken in using two Five Star 200-63 (1.94 to 2.18in) stainless steel clamps and two Denali ‘L’ brackets (per above) along with stainless steel hardware (always).
A 10mm spacer on each side bridged the gap between the brackets and the LED housing with M8 socket screws and flat washers used to tighten everything together forming a very strong mount - all for around $60.00 CAD.
Purchased just before the 2014 left the fleet, a set of lightweight F11 LEDs with Amber lenses were mounted using a pair of slotted (8mm) DrySpec Siderack Accessory Mounting Brackets (TT SKU: MBK.00.806.10000.B) for great adjustability.
The brackets were secured to the SW-Motech light bar but on the upper side while the Clearwater Erica modules hung off the bottom; common mounting hardware was used which didn’t compromise individual system adjustability.
2016 S1000XR – another short term member of the family fleet, this versatile speed machine was well accessorized as featured in the wBW S10000XR Blog postings. While specific postings regarding the lights weren’t done, the XR wore an ADVmonster M30/M60 combination for a period of time, while the slim discrete SS25 lightbar resided under the front beak.
2017 R1200GSW Rallye – coming up to the present, the newest member of the home fleet is becoming well accessorized with no shortage of systems providing power and management of five front and rear-facing auxiliary lighting systems.
The latest variant of the Clearwater Lights CANopener system runs Darla and Erica LEDs, while the HEX ezCAN accessory management system managing the Stebel horn, front and rear LEDs (with deceleration programming) and USB power outlets.
Power for everything else including a test set of rear-facing LEDs is provided by the new Arboreal Systems Neutrino Black Box Aurora that is jam packed with tried-n-true and new features and capabilities. A review on the Aurora and its Element sibling is in the works.
And being added to this mix is the second ADVmonster SS25 lightbar – a small but powerful package; its ability to customize output using the swappable Spot and Wide lens layout is hard to beat for versatility and effectiveness.
I long ago had initial reservations about the flat ring brackets and pivoting mounting plates that are made of lightweight stainless steel.
But in using both the standard and the thicker heavy-duty mounts over the years I haven’t discerned a real difference, less some increased piece of mind over time.
But, for mixed-use heavy-duty applications the heavy-duty brackets are a good investment.
The M-series modules mounted on the lower fork legs of the original F800GS and now the F800GSA continue to survive some pretty good poundings off road and on our local streets…
Using simple inexpensive stainless-steel clamps along with some additional 0.25 fine pitch (28) nuts) and the supplied LED brackets has proven to be a strong, expedient and cheap solution for many mounting requirements, especially the light weight ADVmonstter products.
Other than single trail mountings and the light bars, all the other LEDs are fitted as combination pairs - each having varying output and lens coverage, typically with the M30 (narrow beam) and either an M44 or M60 (both wide beam) mounted on the right and left sides respectively.
This right/left combination provides extended fill and side coverage and a focused beam ahead, similar to the output of the Cyclops Adventure Sports Optimus Prime LED lights.
While output management is now provided by the Arboreal Systems Neutrino Black Box or MotoBrain systems, the three original ADVmonster dimmers are still providing seamless reliable service on other rider’s machines, no matter how cold, how hot, how dry or how wet it may be.
Admittedly they do typically require creation of an extension harness, but the wires are clearly marked including the one for the high beam bypass connection if that feature is desired.
All the ADVmonster LED products used and in use have more than proven their value over the years and my (current) favourite is the SS25 light bar – a single component solution to so many auxiliary lighting applications.
It is usable at reduced output for DRL purposes and can be quickly modulated upwards to cope with the way ahead - the Wide/Spot combination doesn’t leave any blind spots that’s for sure.
The small reliable F11 LED set with their amber fog lenses are great for use at any time for increased conspicuity in combination with the stock LED lighting and the always-on Darla units. By themselves they provide a highly visible and highly useable beam.
Once installed none of the ADVmonster LEDs or related products have ever left us in the dark. The only failure of sorts, discovered with a new module during pre-installation testing was found to be a strained wire inside the harness housing - the LED was quickly replaced by ADVmonster.
Outside of a couple of models now sitting on the shelf awaiting their next assignment, the rest, depending on when they entered service, have survived up to seven years.
I can’t say that about some of the other lighting, including LED products procured or supplied for testing over the years, including some with much higher prices.
Relatedly, support from the owners has always been first rate and as motorcyclists they stay involved with and in touch with the community at large including maintaining a presence on various on-line forums.
Admittedly their product line does change from time to time and a couple of my favourites have disappeared, although in the longer term, their replacements have been equal or better and that is the why it should be.
The lights can also be found, usually unmarked, on various sites, but their build and specifications will match those of the branded ADVmonster products.
Bottom line – given the typical cost of a single LED or set, with or without a harness of some sort, the ADVmonster LED products have been and remain an outstanding value, enhanced by great support from the ADVmonster team..
|wBW Product Review: ADVmonster LED Lights|
|Manufacturer: ADVMonster||List Price: varies by product, discounts and clearance pricing may apply|
|Warranty: One year (Confirmed)||Made In: USA and China|
|Review Date: July 2017 (years in the making)|