[Product Review]Independent Cyclops H4 LED Bulb Review

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by Kray, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. Kray

    Kray Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,699
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    Cyclops H4 LED Headlamp Bulb

    PREWORD: This review is of an old model LED that is no longer sold.

    Reach Cyclops Directly:
    Cyclops Performance LED Vendors thread
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=839163
    www.cyclopsadventuresports.com
    1-800-624-0278



    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 hear 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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    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. You can see the light is being emitted from the top of the reflector section (low beam).

    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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 feared.

    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. My best guess is that the LED units also push light across a portion of the lower reflector that creates the high-beam effect.

    Edit: Confirmed that this bulb doesn't line up correctly with the factory reflector and does reflect off both low and high beam sides at all times.

    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.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    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 and exposure are higher for the stock bulb because the Cyclops bulb was so much brighter.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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!
    #1
  2. SRG

    SRG Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,039
    Location:
    Central Va.
    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.
    #2
  3. genka

    genka SUV hater

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,069
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    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.
    #3
  4. genka

    genka SUV hater

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Oddometer:
    2,069
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Could be because the bike leans forward on the center stand.
    #4
  5. Kray

    Kray Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,699
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN

    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!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #5
  6. Kray

    Kray Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,699
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    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!
    #6
  7. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    17,400
    Location:
    日本
    :lurk
    #7
  8. Kray

    Kray Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,699
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    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.

    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.
    #8
    motocopter and Uke like this.
  9. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    17,400
    Location:
    日本
    Thanks for the follow-up, very useful information.
    #9
  10. JohnRides

    JohnRides n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Canada
    Hi Kray, thanks for your time doing this. Just wanted to point out, even though this is an old thread...are you aware they came out with an updated model to the bulb you were using? Yours is a 3600 lumen bulb and now classified more for off-road use by the manufacturer themselves, but a newer 3800 lumen model is out, smaller, brighter, better delineation between low and high beam. That last point especially is worth noting. Looks like a great update, and probably more of what you are looking for. Anyways, just wanted to point it out to you if you didn't know.
    #10
  11. Nytebreed

    Nytebreed Need more braaap

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2015
    Oddometer:
    713
    Location:
    Boston
    Good review.
    I run the updated 3800 lumen bulb in my KLR and even in that, designed 25 years ago, bucket it works very well.
    May be worth a look.

    Thanks for the info on the 3600
    #11
  12. Nnordsman

    Nnordsman Nnordsman Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    542
    Location:
    Carlsbad, NM
    I have run a KLR with both the 3600 and 3800 bulbs. I originally put the 3600 in a bike I was prepping for my Dad. His bike is an 02.I later put the 3800 in my 01. The discussion regarding the reflector is 100% correct. On the KLR I like the 3600. The 3800 has better cut-off and better side to side illumination but on low-beam it lacks as much punch right in the center. On high the 3800 is awesome. The 3600 puts more light dead-center where I want most of the light. The cut-off is so-so. The difference in high v low is negligible. I may move the 3800 to another bike and get a 3600 for my KLR.

    Like the OP I think the Cyclops points higher. I ended up maxing the downward adjustment on both bikes.
    #12
  13. JohnRides

    JohnRides n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Canada
    Nnordsman...I just purchased some cyclops 3800 bulbs, and though I haven't got them up yet, I chatted with the guy there and they are now (he told me) selling the bulbs with a couple spacers (like washers) that you can put between the bulb and the reflector housing, which pulls the bulb just a little further out of the reflector assembly. Apparently this really helps out with the focus for certain headlights that have that slight dead spot in the center. I read another forum somewhere where he did this slight mod (even before Cyclops included it) and he had the same feedback: a washer in between really helped sharpen up focus, the upper line, and removed the dead spot. Just FYI.
    #13
  14. Nnordsman

    Nnordsman Nnordsman Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Oddometer:
    542
    Location:
    Carlsbad, NM
    John-

    That is good information. Thank you.
    #14
  15. CatFlap

    CatFlap Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Oddometer:
    280
    Location:
    Near Mt. Hood, Oregon
    Glad I found this. I was just about to go switch my Cyclops LED out of my little scooter to the CRF to see how I'd like it. I think I'll just leave it alone now. The CRF has too nice of a stock beam pattern to go messing it up (could use a little more side light but Honda did a good job on that one).
    I'm impressed with the amount of light it puts out on the little scoot. Beam pattern could be better, but that had a ton of adjustment in it so I was able to aim it back down enough.
    I had thought of the spacer thing. And they do come with them now so it could help. I noticed that an H4 HID kit (that I bought but have never used......) has an adjustment screw on each of the 3 tabs on the bulb base so you can adjust how the bulb sits in the reflector. Looks like the HID crowd must have figured out the spacer thing years ago.

    I did notice that the new LED bulbs are of a different design than the one I got last year (which looks just like the one the OP got). And they say have a better beam and more of a difference between high and low.
    #15
  16. JohnRides

    JohnRides n00b

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2015
    Oddometer:
    6
    Location:
    Canada
    I got my two 3800 lumen led bulbs in the mail a while ago, and installed them in my 92 Civic VX. I have some thoughts on these bulbs (not to be confused with the 3600 lumen bulbs that Kray reviewed in this article). This isn't a detailed review or anything.

    For starters, I think the biggest factor in one's success is the native shape of the reflector assembly the bulbs are being installed into. Some people seem to have great results and a descent focus with these bulbs, but for my civic, they just did not focus good no matter what I did. Whether I used no spacer, or the skinny spacer or the thicker one (I lost the install papers already--can't remember exact thicknesses), it never would focus good. I ended up putting the thickest spacer in and aiming the assemblies down a bit. It's "acceptable." That is my biggest frustration...these bulbs put out a crap load of light, that's obvious, but I'm sure there is at least some glare for oncoming traffic, but it is acceptable...I've checked it myself.

    A couple things the manufacturer could do better. To get the spacers in, and to experiment with all the possibilities, you have to take two tiny screws out each time. It's a bit of work, as you have to go back and forth a bit to compare, etc. The problems related to this are these. First, the screws screw into a plastic housing that gets held to the metal base that sits in the reflector opening. I tried to be very careful screwing these in and out, so as not to strip the plastic threads. Also, the screws are barely long enough to bite into the plastic if you install the thickest washer! I was very scared I would ruin the plastic threads. Use longer screws Cyclops! Lastly, there are only two screws and they are both closer to the bottom. A third screw on the top would keep the light flush to the spacer...but b/c one side gets more compression, it puts the bulb slightly on an angle. Minor, but quality control and thinking things through better here would help. Be very careful not to over-tighten the screws into the plastic.

    When I put these led bulbs (H4) flush against a standard halogen bulb, so that both bases are exactly at the same level side by side, it is clear to me that the led's are not placed at the same level, the same location on the bulb as the filaments are with the original halogens! I'm sure they don't have to be exactly the same b/c they shed light differently, but the high/low spacing is physically closer together than on the halogen. The result is that the high and low beam are not that far apart as they should be. So now I am wondering if I should aim the units up a bit, to the edge of blinding people but not quite, on low beam, so that the high beam can reach out farther. I hate blinding people, and being blinded! Somehow this bulb is not as well engineered as they brag at cyclops. I will give them this though...I called them twice and talked to some dude there and he was great. Good, friendly customer service, so far anyways.

    Another thing about these bulbs is, when the high beam is turned on, the low's stay on too. I used to like that about the old (1990 accords), b/c it made for brighter light at night (at the expense of increased draw). However, with these 3800 lumen led's, the low beams really light up the road right in front of the car, so much so that when you put the high beams on, combined with the fact that a lot of the high beam goes up or down or into the trees too, so you get a lot of scatter and not just a focused long distance beam, the end result is, the ground is so bright in front of the car it almost takes away your ability to see long distance...like a harsh contrast thing. That's the way it is on my civic anyways...it may not be for your bike or car. I'm not looking forward to driving on snowy roads in the dark...could be potentially blinding.

    The light also has a slight bluish tint as well. They also told me on the phone it was neutral with no blue, but then it would have to be about 4300 Kelvin, but these are around 5000 I believe. Not the end of the world, but I wanted white, not blue, or even slight blue tinting.

    And my last complaint: there is RFI (radio frequency interference). It's not huge, but it's definitely there, esp. when I have the high beams on. A high pitched squeal in the background when the radio is on. They said on the phone there was no noise, but there is on my car with my cheaper Alpine stereo in it.

    So I think this bulb has sooo much *potential,* but it's not truly there yet. It's way better than some Chinese cottage industry bulbs sold on eBay. But why they wouldn't put the two "low beam" led's and the two "high beam" led's in the same place as the OEM halogens that are designed specifically in their shape for the reflector they are being used in, is a big puzzle to me, and a frustrating one at that. It could be easily fixed.

    They sure put out light...I can only imagine how bright they would be if all of it went to the road where it's supposed to be. So my review is mixed. Apart from tiny screws going into plastic, the build quality seems to be descent. (We'll see how long they last.) The fans have a slight high toned whine when on, but not a huge noise. Kind of cool even. These bulbs push a ton of lumens, and if it happens to fit your light assembly and focuses where it's supposed to, you won't need any more light! It didn't focus great in my civic VX. And there are other disappointing issues I pointed out. I would give it a 6 or 7 out of 10. I'll keep them now, also b/c I plan on deleting the alternator in my VX for better mileage, so the low draw of these bulbs is really nice for that. They also really light up the road well even on dark and rainy nights, where regular bulbs out in the dark country on wet nights are rather abysmal. So They are good, just frustrating b/c not quite all they are hyped up to be, and have some build quality issues.

    Sorry for the long ramble...hope it helps you get informed! Cheers.
    #16
    Kray likes this.
  17. twinrider

    twinrider Pass the catnip

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2002
    Oddometer:
    17,400
    Location:
    日本
    At least you cared and removed them (I'm assuming). There's a plague of drivers where I am who keep them in regardless, blinding everyone else on the road.
    #17
  18. Anders-

    Anders- 690R

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2013
    Oddometer:
    4,160
    Location:
    Швеция
    The led "bulbs" are blinding because they lack the metal shield to keep the low beam emitters from lighting up the bottom part of the reflector.
    #18
  19. Discoed

    Discoed Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    UK
    I'm going to fit a Cyclops to my 990 adventure and as the main beam is the top bulb (of the two bulbs/lights in the headlight unit) that will be the one I replace (yes that is a sort of a question). I note that the bulb is 'high and low beam' so does that mean that only the high beam element will get used or will both high and low beam elements be active?
    #19
  20. motokeith

    motokeith Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    941
    Location:
    Falcon, CO
    The UK/Euro 990's have a headlamp that utilizes separate H3/H7 bulbs for Hi and Low beam. The US 990's have a headlamp that uses an H4 that is a single combined Hi/Low bulb. The top bulb in the US headlight is just a simple "marker" light. Cyclops sells two separate setups for the US versus UK 990's. Just email if you need help, they will take care of you.
    #20
    Discoed likes this.