Depends on the brand and model. The SuperBrightLED I put in my 900 several years ago had to be red. The white is so bright that that when the brake light comes on, it washes out the red of the lens and looked faint pink. The website for whatever brand you go with should provide guidance.
I purchased 1156 and 1157 type LEDs from JDM Astar. The website appears to be down at the moment. Their brightest 1157 LED is now 2800 lumens, and comes in a RED color. If I were buying today, this is the one I would get. This one IS currently available on Amazon.
here's the deal on tail lights and brake lights, when you apply brake the vehicle behind you will react quicker when they see a difference between tail light to brake light, i mean contrast, the problem begins when the contrast between tail light to brake light has a low contrast difference and the vehicle behind your bike is not alerted quickly enough, my advice is to make that contrast between tail light to brake high, meaning that if you install a bright LED tail light and then apply the brake there is little to no contrast to alert the vehicle behind you, rather than going with LED lights in the rear install bulbs, i installed 2357 bulbs rather than LEDs, you want the vehicle behind you alerted to a variance between running light to applied brake light, the higher variance/contrast the better, LEDs are not known to give this higher difference, because both running and brake are both bright on LEDs, so the alert factor is minimal
If you are a new rider worrying about being tail-ended, the more important consideration is your position on the road in relation to others. Scan ahead, check your mirrors and don't ride too fast to process the road ahead faster than you can react. If you can't stop people driving too close to your rear at least have plenty of space in front of you. Pull over if need be. The stock tail light is adequate.
I agree that you need to be aware of your position at any time. You can have a star as a brake light but if the folks behind you aren’t paying attention it doesn’t matter. As far as bulb types go I have installed red 1157 LEDs with a strobe. Here’s a couple vids I posted previously comparing the white vs red LED. I also purposely took these vids with sun glare on the taillight lense.
I have a Kisin Tail Blazer which uses a bright halogen bulb, and when using the brake it flashes four times to comply with CA flashing limit law. Easy install - the electronic module and bulb simply replace the OEM rear bulb in the stock socket.
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