Aftermarket Bulbs

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by brandonmccann, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. brandonmccann

    brandonmccann Adventurer

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    So I've been pondering getting some different bulbs for my bike. I live right off a rural highway and I feel that my light is not sufficient enough for the road speed.

    In my searches, I've found 2 options.

    PIAA Xtreme White Plus H7 Halogen bulbs

    PIAA Night Tech H7 Halogen Bulbs

    DDM Tuning HID conversion kit.

    Now, the HID kit is the cheapest option, and puts out the most light. But to my understanding, since it will be without a projector, the light will be illegal and blind oncoming traffic. Which leads me to the PIAA bulbs, but I've no experience with either so I've turned here!

    Opinions?
    #1
  2. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    Many suppliers make "plus" bulbs that are brighter (i.e. Sylvania, Phillips, etc.) and they are available for about $30/pair at Amazon. The good ones really are significantly brighter but that is at the expense of reduced life...worthwhile for me and have them on all my bikes. If your bike does not have headlight relays adding them can make a BIG improvement, many bikes without them drop 2 + volts between the battery and the bulb and that will cut brightness nearly in half. Adding relays is a fairly easy DIY project if you have the tools or you can get a high quality ready made kit at http://www.easternbeaver.com/Main/Wiring_Kits/wiring_kits.html
    #2
  3. Lee Dodge

    Lee Dodge Been here awhile

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    PIAA is overpriced poor quality junk. Their main product is hype. Don't waste your money.
    #3
  4. brandonmccann

    brandonmccann Adventurer

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    would it be legal if I went with the HID bulbs? I was planning on 6000k
    #4
  5. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    no:D
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  6. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    No, it won't be legal (but you probably won't get pulled over for it), and dear God please don't be another asshole who thinks bright blue light gives you better vision. You give yourself less effective lighting and blind everyone you meet on the road.

    Follow Victor's suggestion first and put in a relay. It made a huge difference on my Concours.
    #6
  7. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    I would recommend you head over to:

    http://www.danielsternlighting.com/products/products.html

    and check out the H7 options there.

    I have used the Osram and Narva bulbs (still do, actually) and find they give "cleaner" light at the same wattage as the factory stock bulbs. Same wattage means not having to rewire anything, which is a good thing in my book.
    #7
  8. dennism

    dennism dennism

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    Go with 4300K bulbs, 35 watts, they're close to the same color as stock, but much brighter.

    Aim the low beam light a bit lower, you'll still have plenty of light on high beam, when you need it.

    Finally, HID bulbs don't do well when they are switched on and off quickly, so set up a way to turn them on after the engine is running, and try not to "flash" them at oncoming traffic.

    You'll like 'em!
    #8
  9. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    The higher the Ks and the more reflection against rain, fog and highway signs. I stayed with the lower Ks in the 4000 range.

    I also installed a On/Off switch for the low beam just so I don't have to do the quick on and off when starting the bike but plenty have ignored that step without damaging the HIDs so I may be a little too cautious. But still I like the ability of cutting off the headlight in case of low battery or when servicing my bike.

    You can also get "time delay" relays that would switch the lights on after an interval of your choice, the time function is usually adjustable on them.

    On my bike the relay setup improves the voltage by 0.73V, that's not insignificant.
    #9
  10. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Ask me how much light you get from an "extra bright" burned out HL bulb after nightfall south of Monclova, MX trying to get to a bed? That part about not lasting as long as normal has its price in real safety. +1 on the read Daniel Stern notion.
    #10
  11. Commuter Boy

    Commuter Boy Long timer

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    #11
  12. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    I carry at least one spare and sometimes two spare headlight bulbs. Changing a burnt bulb on the side of the road at night still sucks, but it's better than not being able to change the bulb at all.
    #12
  13. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    Relays very often need to be added for stock power bulbs (like 55/60W H4) as even they will cause a big voltage drop across undersized stock wiring, read about 2.5V on my DR650 which cuts light output nearly in half...high powered offroad bulbs pull more current and would cause an even greater drop and maybe HL switch failure too if there is no relay added (happened to me). "Plus" bulbs are the same power rating as stock and thus legal but are shorter lived so definitely need to carry a spare if the tradeoff is worthwhile for you...
    Anyway, relays are a BIG improvement and worthwhile no matter what sort of bulb you use on many bikes, though some bikes have relays and/or adequate wiring stock...a quick comparison between battery and headlight bulb voltages will show if you need them (assuming something else is not wrong, like bad connections, switches, etc...)

    [​IMG]
    #13
  14. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    About $150 for an HID projector retrofit. Save a few watts over a high powered incandescent but is a bit time consuming to install and debug.

    I've done it on my SMT. Happy with the result.
    #14
  15. brandonmccann

    brandonmccann Adventurer

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    Yeah but me having to cut into something to make it work kind of doesn't make me feel comfortable. As far as the stern lighting, are the H7 bulbs white? All I'm looking for is something to light up a little farther down the end of the road, not blind traffic, and I still need to be able to flash my high beams at intersections.

    The thing that moved me over to HID lights was that it would make things so much brighter due to the scatter of light. What if I got a white halogen for the low beam, and the same color in HID for my high beam? I'm typically using my high beam on my way home anyways...

    I'd need to be able to flash my high beams because too many times have I felt that made someone not cut me off. Sides, it's become an unconscious habit anyways.

    edit: Emailed Stern to see what he says.

    edit2: Stern suggested I purchase 2x 65w H7 bulbs. The stock bulbs are 55w, he said it won't be a problem dropping in the 65w ones but is that true?
    #15
  16. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

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    My experience is that a relay kit and Philips/Narva +50's are a good compromise with good light and lifetime.

    +80's on the other hand only lasted months.

    If you want serious light output, add LED aux lights.

    Pete
    #16
  17. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    FWIW, I carry spare bulbs,alt belt, etc....
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  18. Yossarian™

    Yossarian™ Deputy Cultural Attaché

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    Most likely it is true. I've had numerous interactions with Daniel Stern, and he's never steered me wrong.
    #18
  19. troidus

    troidus Long timer

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    You'll want a relay and beefier wiring to run the lights. Also, the extra 20W may overheat the housing in summer.
    #19
  20. ultrachrome

    ultrachrome Poser

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    "Scatter of light" is exactly what fellow road users do not want to see from your headlight. To me, that implies sending light where you don't need it and is often the result of mounting an HID bulb in a headlight designed for a filament bulb. The HID arc and the halogen filament are different shapes sizes and possibly orientation. The market seems to be flooded with poor quality retrofit kits so getting a good result requires luck.

    HIDs are good for high output at the same or lower power consumption. The light still needs to be aimed at the same place. No scatter. Higher color temps reportedly produce less lumens. I have a 4300k bulb, the lowest I could get, and it looks true white, more blue than yellow.

    HID's make poor dedicated high beams. They take time to reach full brightness and excessive restriking the bulb supposedly takes a toll on life.

    Bi-xenon projectors are typically what's retrofitted. Essentially they are a high beam with a shutter that frames the light in the pattern of a low beam. The shutter's connected to your high beam switch and flips out of the way when you want high beam. The HID bulb stays on the entire time.

    Installation was tricky. Gut the headlight housing. Design a bracket to hold the projector in the housing (might be unnecessary for ADV). I bought a spare headlight to eliminate downtime. Most time consuming was figuring out how I wanted to mount and wire it. In the end, it was very simple.

    I like Stern. If you can fix your issue with a better bulb, you've saved yourself a lot of hassle. I'd probably add a relay harness regardless just to ensure the bulbs are getting the max available voltage.
    #20