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Old 07-29-2013, 08:01 AM   #1
easyrider88 OP
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LOW beam HEADLIGHT

time to replace my low beam on my 2000 beemer K1200 LT.id like alot more light if possible.the brightest replacement bulb is supposedly 50% better than the 55 watt OE bulb.what do you other riders use when youre OE bulb burns out?
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:04 AM   #2
JimVonBaden
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Adding a "hotter" bulb to your stock headlight enclosure is a good way to burn up the plug and maybe damage the enclosure. You might want to consider going with a HID. Check the LT forums for recommendations.

By the way, wrong section, either road warriors or garage sections for this kind of question.

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Old 07-30-2013, 05:01 PM   #3
Andyvh1959
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I have tried a variety of "off-road only" higher output bulbs in my BMW R1100RS. None really seemed to gain me anything. Higher wattage does not entirely mean more effective illumination.

Eventually I bought a PIAA stock wattage bulb, but of the violet-white color spectrum. THAT made a difference! Though rated at the same wattage as stock, the bright white output was MUCH more effective at lighting the road ahead than the yellowish light of a standard Halogen bulb. But the PIAA halogen bulb was about $80.

Now I have been using the Sylvania Silverstar halogen bulb readily available at most any auto parts store. About $20 and well worth it.
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Old 07-30-2013, 08:58 PM   #4
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I use a standard wattage Sylvania Silverstar Ultra and find it very effective.

Don't let anyone talk you into a HID bulb conversion, in a non HID reflector they create a dangerous glare and reduced field of illumination.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:28 PM   #5
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for a replacement bulb... I recommend checking out daniel stern lighting for some basics.

as true to the science, not too long ago I purchased the brightest replacement bulb available in the first shop I stopped. it was ok for the most part, and better than the oem it replaced. didn't last very long and then I went out for another only to find they were sold out. picked up the next brightness down... it's almost indistinguishable but sure enough just a skosh less bright. (unscientific measurement for sure) I expect it too last longer but I probably wouldv'e stuck with the brighter bulb if it had been available.

I will at some point investigate auxillary lighting to compliment the regular headlamp.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmill View Post
I use a standard wattage Sylvania Silverstar Ultra and find it very effective.
the one with the gold toned tip on the bulb? if so that's the one I first purchased as replacement...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andyvh1959 View Post

Now I have been using the Sylvania Silverstar halogen bulb readily available at most any auto parts store. About $20 and well worth it.

silver tip on bulb? the one I'm using now.
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by easyrider88 View Post
time to replace my low beam on my 2000 beemer K1200 LT.id like alot more light if possible.the brightest replacement bulb is supposedly 50% better than the 55 watt OE bulb.what do you other riders use when youre OE bulb burns out?
I had 35W HID lamps on my K12LT bikes.

It's an excellent upgrade because:

- LT does not monitor current, thus there are no fault codes to consider.
- the reflector shell of the LT headlight is rather well designed and there is very little spill-over and distortion of the lighting pattern with the discharge lamp.
- there is a lot of room under fairing to mount the ballast and ignitor.
- HID is several times more powerful than any type of halogen lamp. I used the Silverstars in high-beams (did not convert them because I want the ability to flash high beam) and these lights were completely overpowered by the brightness of the HID low beams.
- despite higher light output, 35W HID lamp draws less current than the 55W halogen it replaces (actually drawing equivalent of about 45W). There are no concerns regarding overheating of the wiring and connectors, as well as of the reflector, which is something to think about when using high-power halogens.
- HID beams are very reliable, even the cheap retrofit kits. The halogen lamps will last couple tens of thousands of miles, but the HID sets last possibly the life of the bike. Among the dozen or so kits I installed over last 10 years in my cars and bikes, I had one failure: a bad ballast that was increasingly more difficult to start. Currently, I have at least 4 HID lamps in continuing use for over 5 years.
- HID is quite cost effective, easily comparing to high-end halogen. My first HID single-lamp kit was purchased (at a group buy discount!) for well over $200. Nowadays, you can get a 2-lamp set for $30.


A related comment to those contemplating Silverstar lamps. On two of my cars, I am keeping halogen lamps and therefore have spent some effort investigating available non-HID options. I found the Silverstars to not be particularly brighter than stock; on the other hand, their longevity is very, very poor. After some experimentation, I settled on 65W high-output lamps by Osram, sold by Candlepower.com.

Robert.

rdwalker screwed with this post 07-30-2013 at 10:37 PM
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Old 07-30-2013, 11:18 PM   #8
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no snake oil for me, tks

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker View Post
I had 35W HID lamps on my K12LT bikes.

It's an excellent upgrade FOR THE DRIVER OF THAT VEHICLE because:


I like well designed and effective vehicle lighting... only real issue I have with HID's are the crap factor for everybody else on the road other than the driver of the HID equipped vehicle. not all seem to be created crap-tacular equal though... but how many individuals that so equip their vehicles really gaf about others on the road? I'm guessing (hoping at least) that you will assert the HID's you have experience with are of course totally acceptable in this regards and you are a concerned member of our society.



my experiences on the other end are contrary. would be cool if lighting worked for all parties concerned and I wouldn't mind trying it myself. if I were fairly confident that my vehicle wouldn't turn into the "asshole" on the road. (seriously, I'd love to have the rizzle dizzle shizzle in my nizzle and light up the road!)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwalker View Post

I settled on 65W high-output lamps by Osram, sold by Candlepower.com.

Robert.

have had those (not on a motorcycle) very nice, used relays for additional power draw and safety. don't last as long... but were worth it "to me". you can also find those on Daniel sterns website.

if I were purchasing new... and it was an option offered.... I would opt for factory HID's.

other than that I would have to see them in action, on that same type of vehicle, at night, to make the call. and then buy only the ones that I demo'd... since A /= F /= E when it comes to such things and I would not want to be disappointed in my final result. just seen too many craptastic results after "oh but these are great" testimonials. (not just in lighting like as in HIDs, but anything)

always glad to read somebody with experience is indeed happy though.... gives me some hope.

EDIT: just noticed you also have an '09 GS... what do you have set up on that?
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windmill View Post
I use a standard wattage Sylvania Silverstar Ultra and find it very effective.

Don't let anyone talk you into a HID bulb conversion, in a non HID reflector they create a dangerous glare and reduced field of illumination.
Blanket statement that is not always true. Many of us run the HID in the R1200GS. It has a very HID friendly reflector.

The bottom section of this web page shows comparrisons: http://www.jimvonbaden.com/R1200GS_HID_Install.html

Jim
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Old 07-31-2013, 05:44 AM   #10
DC2wheels
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More light?

More power to whatever bulb you choose.

Eastern Beaver is the place for relay assemblies and more.

http://www.easternbeaver.com/Main/main.html
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Old 07-31-2013, 06:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoolBreeze View Post
I like well designed and effective vehicle lighting... only real issue I have with HID's are the crap factor for everybody else on the road other than the driver of the HID equipped vehicle. .... always glad to read somebody with experience is indeed happy though.... gives me some hope.

EDIT: just noticed you also have an '09 GS... what do you have set up on that?
I very much agree with your statement about not being an asshole toward others. I am very conscious of my light pattern and very carefully adjust it to avoid blinding oncoming traffic, even erring on the side of setting it too low.

Indeed, some reflectors rely too much on point-source characteristic of a halogen and are hopelessly unsuited for HID conversion.

Results, sadly, are often seen on the road as they shine right in your eyes.

As you say, factory HIDs are the best. My wife's Audi had the automatic tilt-adjust HIDs ad they were just fantastic. Also, I rode rental BMW R12RTs in Europe fit with OEM HID lamps and that was excellent, too.

Unfortunately, I - and most of us here - deal with existing setups on our own bikes and we need to make the best of what we have.

As Jim wrote in his post, the BMW reflector shells are really well suited to the elongated shape of the HID light source and have amazingly little spillover. With these bikes, the biggest problem in my mind is that the light is so much stronger that it simply can blind opposing traffic when pointing too high, misadjusted or under load. BMW bikes that I am familiar with provide a height-adjustment knob; I fiddle with it quite often.

So, yes, the retrofit solution is not perfect, but not too bad.
Similarly to Jim's comparison, last fall I got ambitious and took a lot of pictures of various light setups on my bikes, from OEM halogen lamps in the RT and GS, through HID retrofits, through Hella MicroDE, through retroffited Hella Optilux, to PIAA driving lamps. Very interesting results. I'll try to post them for your pleasure.

Regarding the GS:
My first GS setup was on a 2006 and involved HID lamp in low-beam and halogen in high. Always-on fog lamps were Optilux fitted with low-color-temperature HID's, driving lamps were PIAA 510 reflectors with halogen bulbs.

Now, on the 2009 bike, I still have the low-beam HID and high-beam halogen, but the fog/conspicuity lights are off-brand 10W LEDs. The PIAAs are still on for the ride.
I don't have any pictures of the '09 handy, here is a shot of the '06. The HID fog is under the turn indicator, below the radar detector. PIAA high beams are just underneath.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimVonBaden View Post
Blanket statement that is not always true. Many of us run the HID in the R1200GS. It has a very HID friendly reflector.

The bottom section of this web page shows comparrisons: http://www.jimvonbaden.com/R1200GS_HID_Install.html

Jim
I don't doubt there may be some instances where they may be reasonably acceptable, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Another thing to consider is its illegal, the feds and some states are getting tough about it.

Here in the PNW, the glare of inappropriate conversions in the rain at night can be dangerous for others. Fortunately it seems to be a passing fad, and people are using aftermarket lighting that is actually suitable for their application.
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Old 07-31-2013, 08:52 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by windmill View Post
I don't doubt there may be some instances where they may be reasonably acceptable, but that's the exception rather than the rule. Another thing to consider is its illegal, the feds and some states are getting tough about it.

Here in the PNW, the glare of inappropriate conversions in the rain at night can be dangerous for others. Fortunately it seems to be a passing fad, and people are using aftermarket lighting that is actually suitable for their application.
Yeah, this fad (5 years) is passing. You should see how "few" threads there are on this in G-spot!

Seriously, on the GS it works just fine. No added glare, no issues in the rain, yes it rains in DC, and though technically illegal, somehow I pass inspection every year!

As for suitable aux lights. Most are just as illegal and poorly designed to have no cut-off at all, and blast light out willy nilly on bikes.

Jim
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Old 07-31-2013, 10:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by KoolBreeze View Post
the one with the gold toned tip on the bulb? if so that's the one I first purchased as replacement...




silver tip on bulb? the one I'm using now.

well... the gold tip (ultra) didn't last all that long, I was expecting the regular silverstar to last longer. until I hopped on the bike this morning and discovered it's toasted.

it didn't even last as long as the ultra which is totally contrary to how they are "rated".

kind of annoying actually. guess the bike isn't all that bulb friendly. guess no harm no foul, but the timing was a bit ironic and maybe I need to more seriously consider alternatives.
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