Automotive Rugged, safe lighting upgrade for off-roading motorcycle

mcm308

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I have a dual 8" halogen light unit for my off road motorcycle. Id like to upgrade to an LED or HID conversion bulb. HID are superior for the intended purpose but everything is LED. I am looking at the Hikari LED units for 36 bucks. Anyone have any feedback or recommendations? I guess for the price, they are worth a shot.

Any good HID upgrades available that can take abuse? I dont mind keeping the halogen bulbs as that is what I ultimately prefer but I just want to be easy on the bikes electrical system. It has a 190 watt stator and is 12V DC with a battery.

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Alaric Darconville

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Id like to upgrade to an LED or HID conversion bulb.

I suggest you read this sticky: Please read this FIRST! How to get the most from this forum

"HID kits", "LED conversions", and "projector retrofits" aren't safe, effective, or legal. If you have one and it's not working, we're not going to help you fix it. (If you have one and you think it's working, it's not; get it off your vehicle before someone gets hurt).

Depending on the bike you have, you may be able to use the sealed-beam form factor LED lamps from JW Speaker.

Even for "off-road" vehicles, the LED/HID "conversions" will not enable you to see better.
 
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mcm308

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Ok, the bike is a 1996 ATK 605 with 190 watts of electrical power. I will be using the Baja Designs dual 8" Lapaz halogen unit. It has a wide beam and a pencil that takes standard H1 bulbs. I am thinking a 55 watt in the wide and a 75 in the pencil should be fine and I'd probably be happy, especially since I prefer incans over led. The reason for asking about bulb upgrades is obviously newer, brighter technology and less draw. HID were the go to for the high speed offroad scene and actually I think some baja teams are reverting back to halogens for reliability sake. Its easier to just replace a bulb instead if troubleshoot a ballast in the middle of nowhere. I am aware of LEDs performance in fog, dust, mist, snow, etc.. It wasn't that good but has it gotten better in recent years? Thats one of the reasons my every day use flashlights are incandescent. Im not up on current technology and every search I do comes up with LEDs and too much stuff is made in China these days.. thanks for your help.




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Alaric Darconville

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Ok, the bike is a 1996 ATK 605 with 190 watts of electrical power. I will be using the Baja Designs dual 8" Lapaz halogen unit. It has a wide beam and a pencil that takes standard H1 bulbs. I am thinking a 55 watt in the wide and a 75 in the pencil should be fine and I'd probably be happy, especially since I prefer incans over led.
It looks like they could use a good cleaning inside; using hot (but not boiling) distilled water and Simple Green or Windex, sloshed around a lot, then slosh around some hot distilled water, then repeat with fresh cleaning solution. Final rinses are with hot distilled water until it sheets off. If it doesn't seem to be sheeting well, then repeat with the hot cleaning solution. No tap water, no bottle brushes!

Dry them lens down so the vapor can exit through the hole for the bulb. I'd washed some lamps some time back and dried them by putting them face down on a plant stand with a heat lamp shining up at them from about 4 feet away or so.

For the 55W, the Honda P/N 34901-SZ3-000 would be a good choice. For a 75W bulb, it's hard to say. The lamps are certainly large enough that an overwattage filament shouldn't be that difficult to focus on, assuming there was real precision in the bulb. As far as the ones with precision, I've seen 80W H1 bulbs from Osram, but they have that icky blue coating on them (even if not particularly deep like as seen from PIAA and the like). Without that coating I wouldn't be so adverse to recommending them. Unfortunately, most of the other overwattage bulbs are made by companies that just don't care and you'll get a sloppy bulb with more light but none of the beam punch that precision gains you.
 

JimIslander

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I would check the off road, Baja, and enduro forums, even Thumpertalk.com. Advice from off road dirt bike riders, not flashoholics. No offense to anyone. I am both!
 

mcm308

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It looks like they could use a good cleaning inside; using hot (but not boiling) distilled water and Simple Green or Windex, sloshed around a lot, then slosh around some hot distilled water, then repeat with fresh cleaning solution. Final rinses are with hot distilled water until it sheets off. If it doesn't seem to be sheeting well, then repeat with the hot cleaning solution. No tap water, no bottle brushes!

Dry them lens down so the vapor can exit through the hole for the bulb. I'd washed some lamps some time back and dried them by putting them face down on a plant stand with a heat lamp shining up at them from about 4 feet away or so.

For the 55W, the Honda P/N 34901-SZ3-000 would be a good choice. For a 75W bulb, it's hard to say. The lamps are certainly large enough that an overwattage filament shouldn't be that difficult to focus on, assuming there was real precision in the bulb. As far as the ones with precision, I've seen 80W H1 bulbs from Osram, but they have that icky blue coating on them (even if not particularly deep like as seen from PIAA and the like). Without that coating I wouldn't be so adverse to recommending them. Unfortunately, most of the other overwattage bulbs are made by companies that just don't care and you'll get a sloppy bulb with more light but none of the beam punch that precision gains you.
The reflectors are pretty mint. That was just the dirty polycarbonate covers.



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mcm308

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I would check the off road, Baja, and enduro forums, even Thumpertalk.com. Advice from off road dirt bike riders, not flashoholics. No offense to anyone. I am both!
Not much came up in searching and not many run this type of light setup. It is a bit vintage, probably 20+ years old. Most run that compact single type thing with a number plate on top. These guys are pretty knowledgeable here and their input is always worthy.

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-Virgil-

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"HID kits" and "LED bulbs" are flat out of the question. They do not work effectively, even on a vehicle that will never wear a license plate. I also can't go along with the Honda bulb recommendation; that's going to be a standard bulb at best -- probably actually a "Long Life" bulb (those put out less light and give poorer beam focus). Also, there are no legitimate 75 watt H1 bulbs. Bulb choice is a major factor in lamp performance; see this post. The principles are still valid even though it's a little old in terms of the bulb products that are on the market now (the best of what's available now beats the +80 bulbs that were the top performers in that test). If I were buying, it would be the European GE (Tungsram) H1 55w +120 bulbs, not the +130. I would not use a 100w bulb in either lamp, even if the wiring is upgraded and a relay is added; that's a giant bite out of the bike's total available electrical output.

All of that is if you're staying with the lamps you have now. If you're thinking of changing lamps, then there are some very good (but expensive) legitimate LED lamp assemblies. That's a totally different deal than BS "LED bulbs" in halogen lamps.
 

mcm308

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"HID kits" and "LED bulbs" are flat out of the question. They do not work effectively, even on a vehicle that will never wear a license plate. I also can't go along with the Honda bulb recommendation; that's going to be a standard bulb at best -- probably actually a "Long Life" bulb (those put out less light and give poorer beam focus). Also, there are no legitimate 75 watt H1 bulbs. Bulb choice is a major factor in lamp performance; see this post. The principles are still valid even though it's a little old in terms of the bulb products that are on the market now (the best of what's available now beats the +80 bulbs that were the top performers in that test). If I were buying, it would be the European GE (Tungsram) H1 55w +120 bulbs, not the +130. I would not use a 100w bulb in either lamp, even if the wiring is upgraded and a relay is added; that's a giant bite out of the bike's total available electrical output.

All of that is if you're staying with the lamps you have now. If you're thinking of changing lamps, then there are some very good (but expensive) legitimate LED lamp assemblies. That's a totally different deal than BS "LED bulbs" in halogen lamps.
Hi Virgil,
I am not changing lamps and will be keeping them halogen.

I was a bit surprised to see the Honda bulb recommendation. My first thought was that it must be made by one of the bigger bulb companies. I have used Osrams in the past and I might try the 55 watt nightbreaker silvers. Made in Germany. Id like to keep the wattage to as little as possible. Im just not sure how the 55 watt will perform in the 8" pencil reflector.

Im trying to think back to many years ago when I had a set if Lightforce 240 blitz Halogens on a truck. I think they were 75 or 100 watt Osram bi-pins and they would make daylight 500 yards out and then some..

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Alaric Darconville

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I would check the off road, Baja, and enduro forums, even Thumpertalk.com. Advice from off road dirt bike riders, not flashoholics. No offense to anyone. I am both!
A LOT of those forums are full of people who have no idea what they are talking about. Those people will often highly recommend HID/LED kits, 150W bulbs. Advice and 'observations' such as:
"It would be hard to convince me to go back to Halogen or HID after using LED" and "I guess the lower kelvin count on the led helps stop the hotspots" and posting links to eBay listings for "LED conversions" and whatnot.
 

JimIslander

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A lot of those forums also have experts who manufacture off road lighting for motorcycles. I am savvy enough to distinguish between those who know and those who provide anecdotes and assume the OP is also.

Nothing wrong with seeking advice in both types of forums.

EDITED to keep this conversion mellow, as it should be. :thumbsup:
 
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Alaric Darconville

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A lot of those forums also have experts who manufacture off road lighting for motorcycles.
Or non-experts who manufacture lighting (although, thankfully, I don't see TRS (sellers of the "Morimoto" junk) listed among Thumpertalk's sponsors at least. You do see a lot of posts where people suggest "Morimoto", though. And there are other forums where members pay to sell products, and because they forum makes money from selling that privilege, they are loath to moderate sellers' posts and will often take a seller's side in arguments about legality, suitability, effectiveness, or safety (lookin' at YOU, Wrаnglerforum!).
 
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