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thereisnospoon

LED headlights search

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didn't come back with much, so if there is a relatively current thread please point me there!

 

i recently put a cheap LED in one headlight socket but i'm keeping the other side a halogen since it's a known quantity. The led lights are cooled with heat sinks, not fans. to me passive > active in this case. 

the light output is a different shape, but the upper edge of the beam of the LED is completely parallel to the halogen, so in my case i'm not really worried about them blinding people

the led just crushes the halogen. the set of LEDs are H4 and clipped off the bottom two prongs, which is what i've always done. 

I know there are motorcycle specific bulbs, but i haven't found them to be any more reliable than "automotive" so I don't mind using stuff off-label.

 

I'm curious what others have learned!

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Agree that LED is a better conspicuity aid than either incandescent or HiD-Xenon, but I'm not convinced they put out enough light compared to the others, nor is their beam pattern as good, at least in my experience. The OEM LED headlight on my 2018 Crossrunner stands out very well and because it is split into 2 spots close together, it stands out from cars which are much further apart. The beam pattern is not that good though with just a thin arc of light in front and little short of that. I have supplemented it with a pair of Givi LED spots mounted on the crash bars. Conspicuity is massively increased though even now, there are muppets out there who see 4 bright LEDs and still pull out; this morning there was a prime example of this on my commute.

 

There are some who are very anti-headlight upgrades unless you change the whole headlamp, and some have done some wonderful conversions but in my experience (and lack of ability) simple bulb changes can make a noticeable improvement as long as you are careful to set them up to not blind oncoming drivers.

 

Every VFR I've owned I have converted as conspicuity is more important to me and I don't ride that much at night on dark roads that require the best and strongest beam pattern.

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I'm a bit of a night owl when left to my own devices, so I do like to ride at night, unfortunately, motorcycle headlights are generally lacking in this department.

 

I've always had a streak of headlight envy for the BMW adaptive lights, but I don't want to have to become a BMW rider to get them. These look like a great idea, but I'm beginning to suspect they're vapor-ware. 

 

On my 6th gen, I've considered going 4x dual beam and running an "regular" LED in one set and a LED projector for the others - all LED to avoid stressing the wiring, the projector for range and the regular LED to fill in up close. 

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10 hours ago, Skids said:

Agree that LED is a better conspicuity aid than either incandescent or HiD-Xenon, but I'm not convinced they put out enough light compared to the others, nor is their beam pattern as good, at least in my experience. The OEM LED headlight on my 2018 Crossrunner stands out very well and because it is split into 2 spots close together, it stands out from cars which are much further apart. The beam pattern is not that good though with just a thin arc of light in front and little short of that. I have supplemented it with a pair of Givi LED spots mounted on the crash bars. Conspicuity is massively increased though even now, there are muppets out there who see 4 bright LEDs and still pull out; this morning there was a prime example of this on my commute.

 

There are some who are very anti-headlight upgrades unless you change the whole headlamp, and some have done some wonderful conversions but in my experience (and lack of ability) simple bulb changes can make a noticeable improvement as long as you are careful to set them up to not blind oncoming drivers.

 

Every VFR I've owned I have converted as conspicuity is more important to me and I don't ride that much at night on dark roads that require the best and strongest beam pattern.

Agree. an OEM LED setup is probably far better than slapping in LED bulbs into a housing that was designed with incandescent bulbs in mind.  I see being more conspicuous more important than the beam to a certain extent - i want to be noticed more easily and if it's easier for me to see that's a bonus too. I need to take a run out at night where there isn't so much ambient light to see how they really do. it definitely doesn't help in all situations 😕

 

i don't want to blind people either, that is not a goal. when i've been out, i watch for a hand going towards their rear-view to flip it down and haven't seen one ... but also knowing that many modern rear view mirrors automatically darken when they see light from behind, so I worry a little less. 

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2 hours ago, Marvelicious said:

I'm a bit of a night owl when left to my own devices, so I do like to ride at night, unfortunately, motorcycle headlights are generally lacking in this department.

 

I've always had a streak of headlight envy for the BMW adaptive lights, but I don't want to have to become a BMW rider to get them. These look like a great idea, but I'm beginning to suspect they're vapor-ware. 

 

On my 6th gen, I've considered going 4x dual beam and running an "regular" LED in one set and a LED projector for the others - all LED to avoid stressing the wiring, the projector for range and the regular LED to fill in up close. 

I hear that. I didn't know a led projector was a thing... i may try those depending on how the cheapos i got work out. i haven't put in the second bulb yet. figure if the first one can survive a few hundred miles i'll add the 2nd one. they claim 30,000 hours but i don't know how many heat cycles that includes.

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30 minutes ago, thereisnospoon said:

I hear that. I didn't know a led projector was a thing... i may try those depending on how the cheapos i got work out. i haven't put in the second bulb yet. figure if the first one can survive a few hundred miles i'll add the 2nd one. they claim 30,000 hours but i don't know how many heat cycles that includes.

Yeah, the hours spec doesn't tell you much that really applies to vehicle use. I'm sure a 30,000 hour led could be engineered for 10,000 heat cycles, or one! 

 

I heard a story from a guy about a piece of equipment he designed. Their prototype had a small electric motor and they looked at different options with the right torque, voltage, etc... His partner insisted that they buy the extremely expensive option that was designed for NASA because it had to be better. It failed within a few days. Of course they angrily contacted the manufacturer and were told that the motor performed well within spec: for NASA, it absolutely HAD to perform flawlessly... once... for about 30 seconds. 

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Ah NASA, used to be a thing that did space stuff. Now just a rock that sucks up billions of dollars of tax funds. $200 broom anyone ? 
 

Back to LED’s I fitted bulbs in my 5th gen years ago, they are great. I had to move the H4 plate to get the beam about right. I rarely ride at night, but it really ups my visibility presence on the road, even in bright daylight which is a good thing. The one advantage the bulbs I fitted have is that when you select  High Beam, the low stays on too. Whilst the LEDs project light further, it does not reflect back as well as incandescent. Which is why cars rarely have HiD hi beams, as the suffer the same. But they work OK for the rare dark riding I do. 

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I like the fact that LED is instantaneous (almost) On/Off. Much better than the slow rise of incandescent and HiD.

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Out on the highway late at night...

inky blackness is stealing your sight...

you got halogen head lights and they ain't bright...

your motorcycling by pale moon light....

 

On Mr.RC45 I replaced my PIAA 60/55 watt Xenon gas Super White bulbs that glow in the 4200
Kelvin range with Speed Metal's 25 watt Cree LED H4 with a working high and low beam...

now I'm riding so bright I have to wear shades...

 

I paid $69 each at Cycle Gear for the Speedmetal LED kit...
http://www.cyclegear.com/SPEEDMETAL-LED-Conversion-Kit

 

CreeLED (3).JPG

CreeLED (2).JPG

CreeLED (1).JPG

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The topic of "can I replace my weedy incandescent  bulbs with more manly LED's?" seems to come up on every forum. There's always a keyboard warrior that leaps into type with "you can't do that, the pattern of the LED is different/the reflectors are designed for filaments/you'll blind everybody". To which I respond, shop carefully and buy LED's that position their emitters in the same location as the filaments of that old incandescent, and the reflector won't care where the light is coming from. Below are some comparison pics of low beam on my ST1300, first with the halogens, then with some no-name brand LED's from China. I like 'em. Sorry I didn't tidy up my bench before snapping the pics...

IMG_0067.jpg

IMG_0080.jpg

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That's an idea I would drop if you can see with your OEM set-up.  The LED's on an 8th gen. are good for about two car lengths at night but the white light does alert oncoming better in daylight.  Anyone used to riding a MC can tell when they're being seen.  The OEM sixth gen. are MUCH better for night riding.  

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The trouble as far as I'm concerned isn't one of brightness. The candle power arms race happening on the road these days is ridiculous. It doesn't matter if you can see if the person headed toward you is so blind they're going to crash headlong into you. 

 

I also really don't feel there's much to the "being seen" theory. You can wear a high visibility jacket spangled with Christmas lights, run locomotive headlights and a straight pipe and you still aren't going to be more noticeable than the other motorist's Facebook feed. 

 

The problem is that as soon as you start to lean over, your headlights are pointing at the ditch on the outside of the corner. That's what the BMW adaptive headlights were designed to address and that's what those lights I linked up the page are designed to respond to. A beam pattern that stays level when the bike leans would be more helpful than triple the candle power. 

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