Owen Motoworks Lightbars
Motorcycle headlights tend to be anemic. Like many bike owners seeking to supplement this deficiency, I had long searched for an appropriate way to mount the lights on the "chin" of the bike underneath the oil cooler. This is a common setup on the adventure, or dual-sport, style of motorcycle, and several manufacturers already offer light mounting bars.
However, these mounting bars are exorbitantly priced for what is essentially a shaped piece of metal with appropriately spaced mounting holes. Worse, they all share a fundamental flaw. As any basic student of physics knows, the longer the lever, the greater force it will have at the fulcrum. Since all the light bars on the market are single-piece affairs that stick out considerably farther than much of the body of the motorcycle, they can act as levers in the event of a crash and increase the damage to the delicate components and frame in the front of the bike. When the light bars share mounting bolts with the engine oil radiator, as they do on many bikes, a small crash while exploring the backcountry could leave a rider stranded.
Attempting to avoid this eventuality, I took to designing my own light bars that would mitigate, by redirecting, the forces of an impact away from the motorcycle frame and oil cooler. Initially, I made a flexible mount out of a thin steel plate that would bend upward in a crash. While this solution works all right as a basic mount cobbled together in an afternoon, it really does not really meet the requirements for a tough, well-designed solution. So I got to work to make something better than any other light bar out there.
Thus, like many of my ideas, The Owen Motoworks Folding Lightbar was born over my almost obsessive compulsion to improve and tinker on my BMW R1100GS motorcycle. Seeking to reimagine this otherwise unnoticed component and create something that not only would provide a platform for auxiliary driving lights but also decrease the chance that a small crash could lead to catastrophe, I took cues from a car’s folding mirrors. I used TurboCAD to design a three-piece light bar that would fold from fully extended to tuck in under the fairing in the event of an impact. Eventually, Owen Motoworks Folding Lightbars will be able to fit as many motorcycle brands as possible without sacrificing their trademark functionality. My initial design thus incorporates mounting options for BMW’s R1100GS, R1150GS, and R1200GS motorcycles, arguably the largest market for this type of product. My first prototype constructed out of easily modified poplar served as a proof of concept, providing the confidence to move onto the next step.
To create a bar that will fold easily but remain fixed even over harsh terrain will require a couple prototypes to be machined. As I have put my time in the conceptual, design and initial prototype stages, this final prototype stage should be straightforward. However, between the tooling, raw material costs, and the machinist’s expertise, this phase is quickly draining my initial capital set aside for this project. While seeking new capital is very important at this stage, I am also aiming to hear from you – the potential customer – to get your feedback on what products and features you would like to see most.
Thank you to all who donate and those who have supported me along the way!
President and Chief Designer
Owen Motoworks President and Chief Designer