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Old 08-18-2014, 07:10 PM   #1
Kray OP
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[Product Review]Independent Cyclops H4 LED Bulb Review

Cyclops H4 LED Headlamp Bulb


Introduction:

Let me begin by saying I'm not affiliated with Cyclops Adventure Sports nor any other vendor. I am simply an average guy installing and reviewing this product.

I had high hopes for this LED bulb. I first learned of the Cyclops product via ADVpulse.com. They ran a fairly extensive review here and did a great job of capturing how it can improve the stock KTM lighting in the 990 Adventure model they tested with.

I decided I would reach out to Cyclops and see if I could get a test unit for both of my motorcycles - Honda CB500X & Honda CRF250L. After an initial email response from Cyclops I did not heard back from them. I decided I would risk the coin out of my own pocket and purchased a H4 LED unit a few days later for testing. Total price was $63.59 with a $6.00 forum discount and $9.64 USPS shipping.

I selected normal USPS shipping and assumed I wouldn't see the LED for at least a week. To my surprise it was here in just a few days. Impressive! You can tell this company really takes pride in their product even before you open the box. All of the packaging had the appearance of a top-notch product. Attention to detail was quite evident.
Inside the box more of the same. A rather complex LED bulb system with integrated fan and slick wiring harness is very tightly secured inside foam packaging. You also get some generic paperwork and a slew of H4 adapter plates.
Prying the bulb from the foam you feel it's dense and reassuring plastic shell. Anyone who's changed a halogen glass bulb knows it's a procedure straight out of a bomb defusing movie scene. The Cyclops LED bulb softly begs you to try to break it. I restrained myself.

Stock Halogen Bulb:

I had to make do with what I had so setup in my "dark" garage. I decided to initially install the Cyclops bulb in my 2014 Honda CB500X. The motorcycle was on its centerstand with the headlight 8ft 10in from the wall. This was as far back as I could get it. The top of the stock halogen pattern was measured at 2ft 10in from the ground. The temperature(color) is approximately 3000k-4000k (yellowish). Light output is refined and exactly where the Honda engineers intended in terms of seeing the road but not blinding oncoming traffic.

Cyclops LED Bulb:

First you need to remove your stock bulb and figure out what adapter plate you need to utilize on your LED bulb. A quick side by side comparison told me which to use. Using a philips head screwdriver you remove the metal base on the bulb for shipping and reattach the adapter plate needed for your application. Now you're ready for installation.
The Cyclops LED bulb is hefty. It took some time to figure out how to wrangle the bulb into the CB500X's housing. There's little to no room between the forks and the bulb's home. To complicate matters you have to slip the wire spring in between the fan and the bulb plate while making sure everything lines up just right. It took several tries but I eventually had everything in place. Next, you need to cut the stock rubber boot to accept the new fan assembly sticking out from your LED bulb. I made short work of this with a utility knife of the sharp variety. The whole procedure took maybe 30-40 minutes.
Truth time. I turn the key to see what kind of daylight this thing can artificially muster up.

I'm impressed and let down all at the same time. The light output certainly seems increased but the beam is nearly 2ft higher from stock position and doesn't spread like the stock halogen does. This is exactly what I was fearing. From reading other posts and looking at photos of other installations it appeared to me that the Cyclops LED bulb was aimed far higher than stock bulbs. This helped give the impression that there was more coverage from the light. Also, the temperature(color) is definitely higher, probably around 5000k-6500k(white/blue). It gives the impression of a HID bulb. Very classy!

The Cyclops LED bulb pattern doesn't have a clear cut-off. I approximate the top of the pattern between 4ft 2in and 4ft 9in. This is almost exactly 2ft higher than the stock bulb pattern. The Cyclop's pattern also appears biased to the left and a bit more narrow. I'm unsure if it's due to me installing it improperly or perhaps manufacturing quality control.
Here's a quick side by side comparison of the stock pattern vs the Cyclops pattern. You can see the stock pattern extends right past the electrical outlet on the passenger side and goes well beyond the driver's side piece of tape. In comparison the Cyclops pattern is more center oriented not reach as far driver or passenger side. It's also fair to note that the white-balance is higher for the stock bulb because the Cyclops bulb was so much brighter.
After adjusting the CB500X's housing down as far as it would go I still couldn't get the pattern to meet the stock height. I believe it's close enough that I won't severely blind on-coming traffic but I fear I've ruined the advantages of the LED bulb now. Fair to once again note that this system is sold for off-road use only and isn't approved by the Department of Transportation for public highway use.

Judging how the Cyclop's LED beam appeared after a direct swap and no adjustment I can certainly see how it could help an off-road application.
I look forward to taking the bike out after night fall to see how variables have changed. The CRF250L and CB500X share the exact same headlight housing so I plan on standing them next to each other for an impressive side-by-side comparison. More to come!

To be continued... ...continued here!

Kray screwed with this post 09-03-2014 at 09:06 AM
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:05 PM   #2
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A couple of comments/thoughts:

Every headlight aiming instruction I've ever seen wants the horizontal cutoff of the low beam (upper sharp edge) to be nearly equal to the height of the headlight's bulb. Said another way - from the floor to the top of the low beams light pattern is just slightly less than the distance from the floor to the bulb.

Putting a type "x" bulb into a reflector designed for a type "y" bulb may or may not work well as far as beam pattern goes. Mainly depends on weather or not the the light source (of the bulb) remains in the same spot as the original. Some reflectors work better than others w/ non stock bulb types, by chance I think.

From your pics:

- your original low beam looks like it's aimed quite low.

- The beam pattern w/ the new bulb doesn't look great, but it may work much better in a different reflector.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:48 PM   #3
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Thank you, very interesting product and good review. I doubt that you could break the bulb by a rough handling. The base for the LEDs is most likely a solid aluminum.
I'm not surprised that the light pattern changed. The reflector relies on a filament of a certain size located precisely where it should be. Not possible with LED emitters.
When you took the pictures, did you set your shutter and exposure manually? The pictures have no EXIF info, it looks to me that you used the auto mode, which makes judging the brightness difficult.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:51 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SRG View Post
- your original low beam looks like it's aimed quite low.
Could be because the bike leans forward on the center stand.
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Old 08-18-2014, 09:00 PM   #5
Kray OP
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[Product Review]Independent Cyclops H4 LED Bulb Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by SRG View Post
A couple of comments/thoughts:

Every headlight aiming instruction I've ever seen wants the horizontal cutoff of the low beam (upper sharp edge) to be nearly equal to the height of the headlight's bulb. Said another way - from the floor to the top of the low beams light pattern is just slightly less than the distance from the floor to the bulb.

Putting a type "x" bulb into a reflector designed for a type "y" bulb may or may not work well as far as beam pattern goes. Mainly depends on weather or not the the light source (of the bulb) remains in the same spot as the original. Some reflectors work better than others w/ non stock bulb types, by chance I think.

From your pics:

- your original low beam looks like it's aimed quite low.

- The beam pattern w/ the new bulb doesn't look great, but it may work much better in a different reflector.

All very good points. I utilize Daniel Sterns instructions for aiming headlights, which can be found here.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to do any testing this evening past dusk due to prior engagements but I hope to accomplish a proper night test later this week (weather permitting).

I did get to ride the bike around briefly in the dark and quickly realized I need to aim the housing back up to stock level. I'm very intrigued by how different the pattern appeared on the road versus the wall. The light output is also very good. So good, in fact, that it feels as if my eye thinks it's daylight but my brain knows it's night. Hard to explain.

The final thought I have after my quick ride is again related to the beam pattern. A normal low beam is near and low to the automobile to avoid blinding others and to keep the field of depth short. High beams are supposed to drop the near field and illuminate the distance. This avoids fatiguing the eye from multiple focal depths in low light situations. It also helps to keep attention further out on the horizon during higher speeds. I don't yet get a good sense of low and high beam differentiation with the Cyclops system. They seem to blend together for the most part but that could be due to my improperly aimed housing.

More to come!


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Old 08-19-2014, 05:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genka View Post
Thank you, very interesting product and good review. I doubt that you could break the bulb by a rough handling. The base for the LEDs is most likely a solid aluminum.
I'm not surprised that the light pattern changed. The reflector relies on a filament of a certain size located precisely where it should be. Not possible with LED emitters.
When you took the pictures, did you set your shutter and exposure manually? The pictures have no EXIF info, it looks to me that you used the auto mode, which makes judging the brightness difficult.
I did not due to the sun light coming in and the level of brightness from the LED. In order to see the tape I had to adjust the camera settings. When I do a proper night test I will be able to control variables a bit more. Thank you for pointing that out, however. Cheers!
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:14 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kray View Post
.

More to come!

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Old 09-03-2014, 09:02 AM   #8
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Update:

I say the below in a purely review/scientific manner and it certainly only reflects my opinion as an independent consumer...

I do apologize for taking so long to rehash this review. I tried very hard to like this product. Perhaps I built this LED light up in my head too much prior to reviewing it. Perhaps it was hyped up in other reviews a little too much. I just can't like this product. I was so let down with the actual light pattern and output that I pulled it from the CB and forgot about it.

In the end I removed the LED from the CB500X. It was far worse than the stock bulb for road use. The pattern was all wrong. I was blinding on-coming traffic. The fan was very noisy. The temperature(color) of the LED was a lack-luster 5600K blue which was horrible for anything other than clear nights. And, it was honestly kind of embarrassing having a ricer blue light in my motorcycle with a halogen reflector. My OCD was on 11 knowing that. Yes, I understand that ~5500K is the temperature of midday direct sunlight and is supposed to be the widest spectrum. No, I don't believe that works for adverse weather conditions where you really need the light. Speaking purely towards function I would much prefer this bulb in a ~4200K temperature.

Quote:
I had a scary night riding in a t-storm where I couldn't see anything in front of me. The water was simply bouncing the light up to the trees. I couldn't make out details, shadows, or textures. I could only make out intensely lit street signs and glares from the rain. The LED light works against itself in adverse road-going weather conditions due to how the human eye adjusts for brightness.
I swapped the LED light over to my CRF250L. I did no adjustment to the housing - I just swapped it straight in. Install was quite a bit easier due to the headlight housing on the CRFL being bolted to the triple. I'm still not happy with the light but I've hacked up the rubber boot so I don't feel comfortable going back to the stock halogen bulb. I've ridden with the LED for a solid week of nights now and can confirm that the only advantage is that street signs shine back with more intensity due to the improper pattern being thrown. I see less side to side (peripherals) and less overall detail in the road due to the temperature(color) of the light. As soon as my replacement bulb boot arrives I will be swapping back to the halogen bulb and put the Cyclops LED on the shelf in case I buy an enduro dirt bike.

Summation: This bulb is truly for off-road use only in terms of my applications. I believe the stock halogen is a far superior setup in comparison for the two road-going motorcycles I own and tested the Cyclops LED light with - Honda CB500X, Honda CRF250L.
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Old 09-03-2014, 07:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for the follow-up, very useful information.
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