by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
The PodMod is a modulator for the BikeVis Bullets LED accent lights.
The modulator causes a "twinkling" effect which enhances the visibility of the BikeVis LED lights.
The BikeVis "Bullets" LED accent lights (review) that we added to the Multistrada put out a lot of light for their tiny size and they definitely add visibility to the front of the bike.
Their small size also allows the motorcycle owner a choice of many potential mounting locations.
The BikeVis Bullets also easy to install, with only two wires to worry about: power and ground.
They use almost no electricity and they should last a long time.
The Bullets use one of the new emitter-type LED modules, which put out an amazing amount of light for their size. Everyone who has seen the BikeVis Bullets in action on the bike has been very surprised at the output.
So how do you make a good thing even better? Simply add a BikeVis "PodMod" to the mix.
A PodMod is a small modulator, specifically designed for the BikeVis LED lights, and made specifically for BikeVis by a company located on the island of Corfu, of all places!
When's the last time you bought a motorcycle accessory made in Corfu?!
The PodMod modulates the BikeVis Bullets at a very fast rate. BikeVis says that the modulated Bullets are on 92.5% of the time and off only 7.5% of the time on average.
This means that the light is modulating very rapidly, which effectively causes the Bullets to "twinkle" or "glitter" slightly -- just enough to make the lights even more noticeable, but not enough to realize they are being modulated or to dazzle the oncoming traffic.
The PodMod modulator does not cause the lights to appear that they are turning on and off. It looks more like the lights are shaking or vibrating more than anything.
It's not really enough to attract attention; just enough to add to the visibility -- perfect, I think.
We normally use the Multistrada 620 as a sort of "test mule" (although I doubt if the bike likes to hear itself referred to by that name) for evaluating electrical accessories
There are now enough wires from all sorts of different installations on the Multistradino that it honestly looks like someone dropped a big bowl of linguine under the tank.
This is due to the temporary nature of most of the wiring we use and less-than-clean installations and experiments with a lot of gear. Temporary connections, splices, sloppy electrical tape junctions, taps and dozens of Posi- brand connectors eventually take their toll.
Although I must say that modern motorcycles are fairly well loaded up with factory-installed wiring, hoses and connectors anyway.
I was looking at a friend's 1970's era Ducati the other day and what a difference -- the engine is all you see, a real beauty, hanging there for everyone to enjoy!
So one more installation on the Multi isn't going to matter much, and at least the fairing hides the mess. The PodMod doesn't take up much space anyway; it's a small cylinder, about the size of a BikeVis Bullet light.
How big? Well, I should have measured it but didn't. I should have taken photos of it but didn't. Fortunately, BikeVis had a couple of photos they kindly lent us!
The PodMod is wired into the BikeVis Bullets, so if I had to do it over again, I'd buy the PodMod with the Bullets and get everything wired up nice and clean from the start, although it isn't very difficult to splice it into an existing BikeVis installation either.
The PodMod has four wires, two on each side. A red and gray are the power and ground, and the other side has the black and black/white wires matching the Bullets. The idea is to connect the Bullets to one side and then the red and gray wires are connected to the "key on" power source and a ground on the motorcycle.
If you already have the BikeVis Bullet installed, simply disconnect the power and ground and replace with the red and gray wires of the PodMod instead.
The PodMod will modulate up to three sets of BikeVis Bullets (on one bike, of course!). So all of the black wires from the Bullets are spliced to the black wire on the PodMod, then all of the black/white wires are spliced to the black/white wire on the PodMod.
That's all there is to it.
If I was going to do a clean install using the PodMod, I'd splice the black ground wires on the Bullets together, then splice the black/white wires from the BikeVis Bullets together.
Then I'd solder a lead to each spliced bundle, then connect the leads to the PodMod with a Posi-Tap connector (review). I'd then mount the BikeVis Bullets and attach the PodMod in a hidden location.
The the red and gray wires on the other side of the PodMod are then connected to the power and ground. Remember, the power lead must be connected to something that powers up and shuts down with the ignition key.
I'm not sure if BikeVis will offer a kit with the PodMod already spliced in, but that would save some work and I bet it would be a popular option.
With the PodMod installed, the lights take a second or two to rev up when they're switched on before the modulating effect becomes apparent.
The farther away you move from the lights, the less obvious it becomes, but you do notice something -- it's just enough of a twinkle to get your attention, but not enough to make you stare, which would be undesirable.
The effect is very difficult to capture on video, and the difficulty in capturing the true effect was confirmed by BikeVis. The lights glitter so quickly that it doesn't get recorded during the standard 30 frames per second rate of a video camera (actually 29.97 FPS).
So Burn had the idea of trying it at 24 FPS, which gave us better results. Here's a quick 1:11 video showing the before and after PodMod installation on the BikeVis Bullets:
After using the BikeVis Bullet LED lights for several weeks, we're very impressed. They provide an inexpensive and easy-to-install route to improving motorcycle visibility to oncoming traffic.
The addition of the BikeVis PodMod modulator has the potential to make the BikeVis Bullet LED lights even more noticeable. The effect of the modulator is difficult to describe but we think it's perfectly suited to the lights.
It provides just enough "twinkle" so the oncoming vehicle notices, but without overwhelming glare.
As we mentioned in the conclusion of our BikeVis Bullets review, there's no magic solution to motorcycle visibility, so a layered approach to safety is probably best, by carefully considering all options.
But in our real-world subjective experiences and experiments with the BikeVis lights, we think they really do help.
Unfortunately, the topic of improved visibility for motorcycles with lighting, auxiliary lighting and daytime running lights hasn't been studied enough.
Here is a paper written by Michael Paine of Vehicle Design and Research Pty Ltd in Australia entitled "Daytime Running Lights for Motorcycles", hosted online by the Vehicle Safety Research Program of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Mr. Paine also wrote a brief article entitled "Daytime Running Lights for Motorcycles – an Idea and Research Proposal" for the November 2009 edition of Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety that may be of interest. The Journal also has several other motorcycle safety related articles.
See our BikeVis Bullets LED Lights review for comments on that product.