The SpiderLite folding LED light hits all the hot buttons: it’s cool, it’s unique, it’s interesting, it’s useful and on top of all that, it pumps out a lot of light.
Worthy of a webBikeWorld review, for sure.
There’s just one problem: this review is going to take a couple of installments, because I couldn’t quite get everything figured out the first time around, which I’ll explain in a bit.
Nevertheless, it’s a very interesting product and even though we usually wait until we have all the bugs worked out on an installation before publishing and article about it, I thought you might like to know more.
It’s been a while since we checked out the latest LED lights so I wanted to see if there was anything new and interesting happening for motorcycle brake lights or turn signals. And since the Ducati GT1000 is new to the webBikeWorld stables, it would become the perfect victim for an LED makeover.
I recently attempted to replace the GT1000’s stock 1157 dual-filament tail light and brake light bulb with one of my favorite LED cluster lights not too long ago, but the 1.85″ LED didn’t fit through the small light bulb receptacle in the GT1000’s brake light red lens housing.
I considered having the entire red lens filled with LEDs, similar to the project we commissioned for the brake light on the BMW R65, but I didn’t feel like giving up the GT’s entire tail light assembly for the 2-3 weeks it might take for the installation.
While researching other potential LED brake and tail light ideas I found this intriguing Spider LED light. “Spider LED light” isn’t really technically correct but seems to have become the street name for the product; it’s really called the “SpiderLite X2” folding (or expanding) LED light .
This is one of those “why didn’t I think of that” products that has generated a lot of buzz in the custom car world. It recently won two SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) awards for Best New Exterior Accessory and Best International Product (it’s made in Canada).
The idea is relatively simple: a folding LED that plugs into the bulb socket and which can be inserted into a tail light or brake light, where it expands to offer much more light, spread over a wider area, than a single LED or even an LED cluster light (or, in theory, the stock incandescent bulb).
Most single LED “bulbs” don’t always offer the light output of the tried-and-true 1156 or 1157. And it’s difficult and expensive to remove the entire tail light and send it out to fill it with a custom LED assembly. Thus, the SpiderLite is a sort of compromise that’s better than the single LED light but nowhere near as complicated or expensive as a custom installation.
So the SpiderLite seemed like a perfect solution. I was hoping that I could slip the folded Spider light through the 1″ (25.4mm) hole in the GT1000’s lens, where it would unfold and provide cool LED lighting for the brake and tail light.
OK, that’s the theory anyway. The problem is fitting the compressed SpiderLite through the hole in the red lens on the GT1000’s tail light. This is the first time I’ve experienced a real head-scratching problem when fitting an LED; normally, the red lens acts as a cover on the tail light and there should be adequate room inside to insert either an LED replacement light or the SpiderLite.
My guess is that installing a SpiderLite most motorcycles probably have “normal” red tail light lenses and won’t experience this problem. But I discovered that when folded, the SpiderLite is 1-1/16″ in diameter (26.99mm) and it will not fit through the bulb hold in the red lens on the GT1000. I toyed with the idea of grinding out the small inner lip on the red lens, but I decided instead to order a new one to use for this experiment just in case it doesn’t work out.
The SpiderLite is available in three and five arm versions to fit a variety of standard brake light or tail light bulb receptacles, such as the 1156, 1157 and the 3156 and 7440 and other “wedge” type press-fit bulbs.
The SpiderLite shown here is the red LED, five arm, 2.8″ diameter (open) 5X2BYDA model that fits the 1157 dual-filament bulb. In addition to considering the folded diameter of 1-1/6″, it’s also necessary to consider the arc that the arms pass through as they swing from open to closed.
I’m not yet sure if this will be an issue when or if I finally work out the problems with getting the folded SpiderLite through the hole in the GT1000’s lens, but I think it may be close because the height of the lens from front to back is marginal in terms of opening the SpiderLite inside.
Other LED manufacturers recommend using red LED lights for red tail light lenses; in other words, they recommend matching the color of the LEDs to the color of the lens that will be covering the light. This means using red LEDs for a tail or brake light and yellow LEDs for turn signals, so I ordered the red LED SpiderLite shown here.
I was able to mount the SpiderLite on the GT1000’s bulb receptacle and shot a couple of photos of the running light and brake light and it looks great. It seems extraordinarily bright, but I’m not sure if it will be as brilliant after the lens is mounted over it. Too bad there wasn’t a clear lens option for the GT1000!
The five arms spread out the lights and give the rear of the bike a unique look and the 30 LEDs seem to really grab your attention.
That’s about all I can report for now, I’m in the process of ordering a spare lens for the bike and I’ll grind out the hole to fit (I hope) the SpiderLite and will report back. But if your motorcycle has a different style lens and if you think the SpiderLite will fit, you may want to give it a try.
wBW Product Review: SpiderLite X2 Spider LED Light
Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details). Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.
From “T.E.” (11/10): “Regarding the LED tail light, I installed one as well but used a different “bulb”. Here’s my install (photo gallery here) and it was VERY easy (plug-n-play) and most recommend it. I’m now thinking about using this in my VW Bus as it gives me a warm-fuzzy safety feeling.”
From “E.C.” (6/10): “I still went ahead with the Spiderlite 5-arm LED lights because I think they look just great. However I did not face the issue you had. It went right in with really slight sanding around the taillight bucket rim
and some adjustments on the connector.
It looks awesome. It’s really bright at night with stock lens on. But the five arms got obscured a little due to the
deflecting edges on the stock lens, here are some pics of the light under the broad daylight.