Author Topic: Headlight upgrade  (Read 4158 times)

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Offline Swedge

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Headlight upgrade
« on: February 16, 2017, 02:33:48 am »
I really need to upgrade my stock headlights. Has anyone tried the Philips headlight upgrade that Murph sells? How do they compare to LEDs, HIDs, or other options?

Offline Fais

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2017, 05:06:13 am »
http://forum.cog-online.org/concours-14-zg1400-general-chat-and-tech/latest-and-greatest-headlight/msg574596/?topicseen#msg574596

This came up recently - I am in the minority here - love my HIDs. They work with our reflectors really well. The LEDs are budget friendlier and easier to install - just as bright but would be a better light pattern if someone made a C14 reflector designed to work with them. I'm a sucker for a sharp cut-off. I know nothing about the Phillips.

If you go with LED or HID you might want to get some $20 leds for the city lights so they match. The little lights become suddenly very yellow when you have a bright white headlight upgrade. Amazon or eBay or your local parts store has them.

 :beerchug:


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Offline Kman

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2017, 09:50:17 am »
I've been using the upgraded Philips bulbs from Murph and they offer significantly better performance than standard bulbs but they also burn out faster. I've looked into LED headlight replacements but am hesitating to make the move just yet as I expect them to both improve and become cheaper.  Here are my main reasons for not switching:

 1. While LEDs seem brighter they don't necessarily throw more light for two reasons: a) the reflectors in the C14 are designed and optimized for conventional H4 bulbs and b) most LEDs generate light in the 5-8K range as compared to the roughly 4K of conventional bulbs. While the LEDs seem brighter because they are whiter (they do offer better conspicuity) that doesn't necessarily translate to better road illumination. LED bulbs are improving so newer generations of OEM replacements will get better at working in conventional reflectors but the best solution will always be to have the reflectors optimized for LEDs from the beginning.
2. The size of LED units will likely require some modification of the rubber headlight boot and may lead to water seepage into the reflector housing in heavy weather conditions, even though some LED units themselves are waterproof.
3. LEDs still give off a lot of heat and require either fans or rather large heat sinks. I expect newer designs in the future to be much better in this respect.
4. Some LEDs still have funky connectors/external electronics.  Newer units are becoming more integrated and this will likely continue for a while until LED form factors become similar to H4s.

« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 09:57:09 am by Kman »
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Offline Goldenhornplayer

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2017, 01:08:39 pm »
I've been using the upgraded Philips bulbs from Murph and they offer significantly better performance than standard bulbs but they also burn out faster. I've looked into LED headlight replacements but am hesitating to make the move just yet as I expect them to both improve and become cheaper.  Here are my main reasons for not switching:

 1. While LEDs seem brighter they don't necessarily throw more light for two reasons: a) the reflectors in the C14 are designed and optimized for conventional H4 bulbs and b) most LEDs generate light in the 5-8K range as compared to the roughly 4K of conventional bulbs. While the LEDs seem brighter because they are whiter (they do offer better conspicuity) that doesn't necessarily translate to better road illumination. LED bulbs are improving so newer generations of OEM replacements will get better at working in conventional reflectors but the best solution will always be to have the reflectors optimized for LEDs from the beginning.

There is some validity in your points and I've personally experienced these things in previous applications. However, as this technology has continued to advance, objections are being systematically eliminated. For example, while almost any LED light will appear bright just looking at it, light projection down-the-road is the real issue. As efficacy of LED chips has significantly increased and more powerful chips have been developed, down-the-road projection from LED's has steadily improved. Ultimately, that is the result of lumen output and better utilization of the reflector. Today, plug & play LED bulbs are being offered that deliver nice cut-offs and great down-the-road projection even using the stock reflector.

2. The size of LED units will likely require some modification of the rubber headlight boot and may lead to water seepage into the reflector housing in heavy weather conditions, even though some LED units themselves are waterproof.

Very often, that is the case. Even when the LED unit is itself waterproof, you still have to be concerned about the reflector housing. A good seal needs to be preserved to keep dust and moisture out. Here again, LED bulb designs are being introduced that either work with the stock boot or require very minor modifications to the boot and, as a result, a good seal can be maintained.

3. LEDs still give off a lot of heat and require either fans or rather large heat sinks. I expect newer designs in the future to be much better in this respect.

True, some heat is still produced by the chips and driver but substantially less than what is produced by halogen or HID. Fans have been commonly used to dissipate this heat but smaller passive radiators and even passive straps are now available to eliminate this objection.

4. Some LEDs still have funky connectors/external electronics.  Newer units are becoming more integrated and this will likely continue for a while until LED form factors become similar to H4s.

Sure, some LED's may have "funky" connectors and associated external drivers but already many are plug & play. I just don't see this as much of a problem.

Finally, a comment about light color or color temperature...Assuming the specs are true on a particular LED bulb offering, somewhere just above 6000K is where you start to notice a bluish tint. Not liking blue light, I try never to exceed 6000K. I have bought several rated right at 6000K that are a beautiful pure white without any of the bluish tint. That said, everyone needs to be aware that sellers often exaggerate or downright lie about LED specs. It is common to lie about the wattage, the lumens, the color, and about any other spec. So, for sure, it's a "buyer be aware" situation. Very often, I try to discover the actual LED chips being utilized in the bulb and go direct to the manufacturer to confirm those specs. CREE and Phillips are the ones I usually look for. Happy hunting!
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Offline Ronnie

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2017, 01:14:09 pm »
I have HIDs with 6k LEDs in the city lights.  I LOVE this setup and the few friends who have ridden my bike at night always comment how bright my headlights are.  The LEDs I originally tried just didn't throw the light down the road far enough for me.
Ronnie

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Offline Fais

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #5 on: February 16, 2017, 01:23:11 pm »
There are folks that would put 109 candles in front of their bike before they'd consider HID. I wonder why? What's good enough for Ferrari and Audi and etc is good enough for my Kawi. The latest super cars use LED but have housing made for them.

Someone tell me why you'd order every LED and try it and see when HIDs are proven? HIDs have cooties? Is it a Harley thing? People would rather not have a light at all than have HIDs lol

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Online reid53

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #6 on: February 16, 2017, 01:38:22 pm »
Have nothing against HID's.  I have the Evitek  H4 LED's https://www.amazon.com/Evitek-Headlight-Bulbs-Motorcycles-9003/dp/B017M566T4/ref=sr_1_1?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1487255794&sr=1-1&keywords=evitek+g6+h4  Easy to install and waterproof!

Absolutely love them.  With the Mondo Moto MM10's and Cree 6k LED city lights,  it's pretty impressive  :)
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Offline Goldenhornplayer

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 02:36:59 pm »
There are folks that would put 109 candles in front of their bike before they'd consider HID. I wonder why? What's good enough for Ferrari and Audi and etc is good enough for my Kawi. The latest super cars use LED but have housing made for them.

Someone tell me why you'd order every LED and try it and see when HIDs are proven? HIDs have cooties? Is it a Harley thing? People would rather not have a light at all than have HIDs lol

There was a time that my first choice was to convert halogens to HID. Your experience may be different but there were a couple of things I really didn't like. First, especially for high beams, I didn't like the slow warm-up. Flashing your bright lights was pretty much off-the-table. Second, the HID bulbs threw light everywhere and a clean cut-off was non-existent. Once LED technology developed enough, these problems were solved. In addition, the LED bulbs ran much cooler, used less energy, and bulb life was significantly increased. LED bulb life is advertised to be 30,000 to 50,000 hours but I have no evidence to support that other than none of my LED headlight bulbs have ever burnt out in the past 5 years I've been using them on various bikes. Based on my current age of 71, I don't expect to ever experience a failure but, of course, that remains to be seen. All that said, I ran into all sorts of problems earlier-on with issues on fitting, connecting, projecting, sealing, etc. but better choices have all but eliminated those problems. In fact, the latest install was on my 2014 C14 and it was the most successful installation to date. I couldn't be more pleased with it. With that result, I have to wonder why anyone would still consider HID's.
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Offline Fais

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 02:49:22 pm »
Cheap HIDs aren't the only option. I have instant high/low. And a sharp sharp cut off. You are dissing technology found on the highest end autos and now I understand that in the bike world people are probably only familiar with the cheapest HIDs.

Also - after initial startup - my HIDs require 35 watts to run. Significantly less than the stock bulb.   

I'm not mad at anyone for having LEDs - the question is why having HIDs angers people  :))
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Online reid53

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #9 on: February 16, 2017, 02:58:37 pm »
HID users are EVIL! :29: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:
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Offline Fais

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2017, 03:05:39 pm »
HID users are EVIL! :29: :rotflmao: :rotflmao: :rotflmao:

Oh - people don't like that?!

 :))  :))
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Offline Ronnie

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 05:43:01 pm »
I think headlights are similar to oil and tires.....everyone has their favorite.  I tried two different brands of LED, and while they put out very good light right in front of me and to the sides, distance lighting was just not as good as I was looking for.  I'm now running a good(not cheap) set of HIDs and while the low beams might be very slightly dimmer than the best set of LEDs I tried, the high beams are worlds better to me.  If I ever find LEDs that work better, I'll gladly switch to them because I'm not loyal to either one.  I just want to see where I'm going.  :o
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Offline Hisport

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Which HID? LED? works best? (Re: Headlight upgrade)
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 06:09:59 pm »
Interesting thread~!     I would like to put the best headlights possible on my 2014 C14

For headlights, my motorcycle experience with high wattage H4's, science project LED's, etc has not been good.  :(
I've never had MC HID headlights.

My HID equipped cars over the years seemed to have good lights, though the HID's in my current XJR aren't v good. The M3 and Westfalia H4's are better. Multistrada H4? is lousy. the C14 H4? is so so

What's the current, good quality set up (eg, aftermarket brand; part number) for my C14 in HID? How about in LED?

I am (science projecting) some Cree LED's into my GIVI rear case, using an aviation 5 pin quick connect for brake,running, and turn signal. Is there anything that markedly improves the C14 taillight?

I will be installing (Signal Dynamics?) headlight and brake light modulators, BTW. Is a headlight modulator workable with HID's? With LED's?

Offline Fais

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2017, 06:36:26 pm »
Check out the good work AdMore has done for brightening up your bike's rear. I have their multi function tail strips in my Givi and also had some on my saddlebags - haven't done that yet on my new Connie. Quick connects and cables are of the highest quality.  Wiring isn't hard but for $29 extra they make it even easier with a plug and play connector specific for C14s.
https://www.admorelighting.com


I have Bikemaster HIDs - But, not seeing them in their website. They are offering an LED kit -
http://bikemaster.com/led-conversion-headlight-kits.html

There are links in this thread to the Evitech LEDs some folks around here are really happy with.



There's a new thread here where a member has fabbed up running lights and signals to replace our signals. The first ones just shipped so can't swear by them yet. But they are almost certain to be awesome.
http://forum.cog-online.org/c-14-emporium/switchback-lights-for-sale/



I've got no experience with modulators on aftermarket headlights.
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Offline mattchewn

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2017, 10:15:06 pm »
Modulators aren't going to work on LED or HID lighting.
Matt
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Offline Hisport

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #15 on: February 17, 2017, 05:39:12 pm »
Matt is right.

I just confirmed that the Signal Dynamics (headlight) modulator works only with conventional incandescent bulbs. So, I'll stick with my stock headlights :truce:

I've had HL modulators on several past bikes, and feel that these have saved me from cager lane changes and LH turns at least a couple of times.

For motorcyclists, I feel that traffic safety is now worse than ever. The culprit, IMHO, is drivers monkeying with their cell phones. For this reason, a really loud horn is also becoming a necessity

Offline Jorge

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2017, 06:14:53 pm »
Ditto on Evitek LED lights. SISF recommend them to me, and I'm glad I listened.
MUCH more light output, and good pattern. We have them in the C14 and Irene's Vulcan S.
As for sealing, they are well-desined: the plate that mounts to the headlight is removable with a "bayonet" style; insert and twist to lock. You mount the plate in the headlight, assemble the rubber boot (no mods required), then insert and twist the rest of it. They have an Oring that seals between the plate and the base, so everything stays sealed up- nice setup.
We like them so.much we'll probably get them for the car and Suburban.
Highly recommend them.
Jorge

Online TimR

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2017, 12:29:49 am »
I'm no fun I just ordered a pair of upgraded Philips bulbs from Murph.
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Offline JD

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2017, 05:10:20 pm »
Hey guys, looking into doing this mod...

Modulators aren't going to work on LED or HID lighting.
Matt
Matt, will changing to the EVITEK's LEDs give me trouble with the modulator the bike comes with? Or will the 'modulation effect' simply will not work and that's it?

Ditto on Evitek LED lights. SISF recommend them to me, and I'm glad I listened.
MUCH more light output, and good pattern. We have them in the C14 and Irene's Vulcan S.
As for sealing, they are well-desined: the plate that mounts to the headlight is removable with a "bayonet" style; insert and twist to lock. You mount the plate in the headlight, assemble the rubber boot (no mods required), then insert and twist the rest of it. They have an Oring that seals between the plate and the base, so everything stays sealed up- nice setup.
We like them so.much we'll probably get them for the car and Suburban.
Highly recommend them.
Jorge
Jorge, did the amperage / wattage work with the oem installation, or did you have to mod anything at all? Does it fit with the stock cables?
Best,

JD

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Offline mattchewn

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2017, 08:35:46 pm »
JD,
I wouldn't risk damaging the LED's by supplying them with low voltage through a modulator. Probably would not hurt them but why take a chance.
The best lighting I have found so far is still from HID units that have the hood over the bulb for proper disbursement of the light and a clean sharp cutoff. The LED units still have a ways to go before they are a true replacement for Halogen and HID in a "normal" light housing.  The crap high beam on a HID is solved by only using a Bi-Xenon unit.
Matt
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Offline Bilbur

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2017, 09:24:02 pm »
JD,
I wouldn't risk damaging the LED's by supplying them with low voltage through a modulator. Probably would not hurt them but why take a chance.
The best lighting I have found so far is still from HID units that have the hood over the bulb for proper disbursement of the light and a clean sharp cutoff. The LED units still have a ways to go before they are a true replacement for Halogen and HID in a "normal" light housing.  The crap high beam on a HID is solved by only using a Bi-Xenon unit.
Matt

100% this. I have hooded bi-Xenon headlights 6k temp on my c-14. best headlights ever. my buddy who has a Harley bought a complete housing build for an LED and that is also a very impressive light.

I happen to enjoy my HIDs a great deal. If you do want to convert to HIDs make sure to get all of the conversion components so you can retain the original wiring harness on the bike.

Offline JD

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #21 on: April 28, 2017, 11:52:25 am »
JD,
I wouldn't risk damaging the LED's by supplying them with low voltage through a modulator. Probably would not hurt them but why take a chance.
The best lighting I have found so far is still from HID units that have the hood over the bulb for proper disbursement of the light and a clean sharp cutoff. The LED units still have a ways to go before they are a true replacement for Halogen and HID in a "normal" light housing.  The crap high beam on a HID is solved by only using a Bi-Xenon unit.
Matt
See?? This is why I love this forum! You guys are awesome! Excellent tip Matt, thank you! Any suggestions on model/brand to buy? Which ones are you using? What do you use for the "nostril" lights?

100% this. I have hooded bi-Xenon headlights 6k temp on my c-14. best headlights ever. my buddy who has a Harley bought a complete housing build for an LED and that is also a very impressive light.
I happen to enjoy my HIDs a great deal. If you do want to convert to HIDs make sure to get all of the conversion components so you can retain the original wiring harness on the bike.

Hey, thanks NightHawk! where did you get your kit? Which HIDs did you go with?
Thanks guys!! :beerchug: :great: ;)
Best,

JD

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Offline mattchewn

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #22 on: April 28, 2017, 12:15:14 pm »
JD,
I have an older A&R kit that is no longer available. Was perfect up until I removed it from my '12 post accident. I have been considering reinstalling it in my '15 instead of the LED's I have but don't have the motivation to do the work for the somewhat limited difference now in lighting.
I use the superbrightleds.com 100 lumen 194 replacement bulbs for the city lights. They work well and color match of light is great.
Matt
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Offline Goldenhornplayer

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #23 on: April 28, 2017, 12:22:34 pm »

I wouldn't risk damaging the LED's by supplying them with low voltage through a modulator. Probably would not hurt them but why take a chance.
 
Matt

Not only that but I don't believe most LED bulbs will work with a modulator. My understanding is that the forward voltage (voltage required to turn on the LED) prevents the modulator from working like it would on a standard halogen bulb. At a minimum, anyone wanting to try running LED's with a modulator should check with the vendor to see if the driver has been designed to be compatible with that.
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Offline Bilbur

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Re: Headlight upgrade
« Reply #24 on: April 28, 2017, 07:40:57 pm »
100% this. I have hooded bi-Xenon headlights 6k temp on my c-14. best headlights ever. my buddy who has a Harley bought a complete housing build for an LED and that is also a very impressive light.
I happen to enjoy my HIDs a great deal. If you do want to convert to HIDs make sure to get all of the conversion components so you can retain the original wiring harness on the bike.

Hey, thanks NightHawk! where did you get your kit? Which HIDs did you go with?
Thanks guys!! :beerchug: :great: ;)

I bought my c-14 with HIDs but I had to replace a ballast and bulb since the previous owner never bothered to replace them. I have a 35w ballast with (obviously) 35w bulbs. If I were to buy a complete kit for my c-14 today I would pick up a kit like this: https://www.amazon.com/KAWASAKI-CONCOURS-Bi-Xenon-Headlight-Conversion/dp/B006JE7Y00

This has Everything you would need to convert. The only thing it doesn't have, and I don't recommend buying until you see the headlights operate, is the flicker filter. There's a more exact word for it but, sometimes HIDs flicker. Especially during initial power up. Mine flicker ever so slightly when the first turn on but after a few seconds it stops and doesn't do it anymore so I don't bother with the flicker filter.