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Equipping the Bike - what's the best gear? Anything to do with the bikes equipment, saddlebags, etc. Questions on repairs and maintenance of the bike itself belong in the Brand Specific Tech Forums.
Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
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Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #1  
Old 17 Oct 2009
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Who knows about HID lights?

I'm considering running a HID system on my bike, just a thought at this point really, but I have a question...

My lights at the moment, are recommended for 35w H4 bulbs. I went with 55w bulbs, and have been lucky that these have not had any effect on the lights. I was a bit concerned they might burn/melt the surround or lens, but they've been fine.

So my question is, how much heat do HID bulbs generate in comparison to standard bulbs? Anything I search for in google talks about the 'temperature' of HID lights, which is nothing to do with heat (it refers to the colour of the light they give off).
Can anyone enlighten me?
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Old 17 Oct 2009
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I believe one of the biggest problems with replacement HID bulbs is that the light source isn’t necessarily correctly placed within the reflector. You end up with a really bright light but the pattern is all over the place and the coverage a bit iffy.

I would rather add a couple of extra spot / flood lights and keep the bike’s headlight as it is. Then you can put the light where you need it which may be different depending on what terrain you are riding.

I have done a few tests with some very special LED lights. They are brighter than 50w halogen but of course draw hardly any power. They are not quite in production yet but will be very soon. If you think you might be interested give me a shout and I might be able to arrange a demo.
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Old 17 Oct 2009
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We put HID lights on our bike before we left. The heat they generate is said to be less than normal and they are supposed to use less power. I am not finding them very good though. The light is really bright and in a closed space you see everything, but its absolutely true that the reflection is poor and it gets dispersed everywhere, blinding everyone that is coming towards you (and making them angry) whilst doing little to let you see the road. Visibility is much less than with the standard bulb. Everyone thinks you have main beam on all the time. I would stick to the normal bulbs from now on.

However since Turkey I have been on the most crappy headlamp glass imaginable. A rogue stone smashed it back there and I had to replace with the only one that would fit, and it is pants. This probably has a lot to do with reflection problems, but I think the bulb must take some blame too.

My vote is stick to the normal bulb, and get a headlamp glass protector.
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Old 17 Oct 2009
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All good info, thanks

OK, well that wasn't the response I was expecting, but it's certainly good to know. I'd never really heard any of the negative aspect of HID lights.

Maybe I will stick with the setup I've got at the moment. It just seemed like a double bonus, getting brighter light and having less electrical load on the bike, but there's no such thing as a free lunch eh! (Sorry, maybe an Englishism?)

Yellow Tractor I'd definitely be interested in a test drive, but I'm assuming you're in the UK, and I'm in Washington at the moment. It's a long shot (another Englishism?) but you don't have any LED expert contacts close to Seattle do you?

Thanks nico-la-vo, for your experiences and advice. How did you like Turkey? I spent close to two months there and had an absolute blast.
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Old 17 Oct 2009
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I had 55w HIDs in the dip and beam lights on my 2008 F860GS twin. I took them out 20,000 miles later when I sold the bike back to the dealer and was surprised to find fogging of the lens. I tried to clean it with a twisted rag and some of the reflective material came off.

I don't know whether this would have happened if I had used 35w HIDs.
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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New Bike

Tim,
I know you had alot of trouble with that bike, but what did you get to replace it. Did you go for the same ? or have you had a change ?

Cheers
Paul
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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I've fitted HID's to a couple of 1150GS's with no issues. Installation is a lot easier if you can understand how they work.

HID's made a massive improvement to the admittedly poor standard lights. I went for 6000k rating which is a very white light. A lower K (Kelvin) rating equates to a more yellow light & a higher rating means a blue then violet light spectrum.

If anyone fits HID's to a non-ABS R1150/1200GS, then also purchase the extension leads as they'll allow you to locate the ballast boxes beneath the tank in the space normally occupied by the ABS pump, more secure & less prone to damage if the bike's dropped. I used 3M Dual-Lock to attach the ballast's to the ECU.

It's worth paying a little extra & getting the 55w HID rather than the 35w.

H4 bulbs: two options: one where the HID bulb has two chambers, this means little light as one chamber goes out & the other chamber takes a few seconds to come up to temperature. A better option is buying a kit with a single chamber bulb and a solenoid that moves the bulb in its housing, creating the difference between dip & main beam. Main benefit is that you've got constant & consistent lighting.

Slim line ballasts are easier to locate but they do come with an additional small box that needs to be secured separately.
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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Cheap ebay type bulbs will often have the light source in the wrong position. This results in a light pattern not as designed and a lot of glare.

H4 bulb fitments are very difficult to find quality bulbs for. Make extra effort to buy from a quality supplier when it comes to H4.

The new F650 / F800 seems to have a poor reflector and a number of problems have been seen with a loss of sheen on the reflector on this bike alone.

In answer to the original question, HIDs produce lower heat than halogen bulbs. If you can run 55w halogens, you will have no problem heat wise with 35w HIDs. Just make sure its a quality bulb, and be aware that one bike's reflector has been known to suffer a loss of sheen on the reflector.

Last edited by colebatch; 21 Oct 2009 at 09:59.
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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Hello, Turkey was brilliant, a highlight of the trip. People have been the friendliest yet. Who'd of thought it, with them being on the edge of Europe. Amazing country would love to go back.
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Old 19 Oct 2009
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UK Source........

try www.hid50.com

A guy called Les runs the company and comes highly recommended in the GS world. Worth a look.

Have them fitted to dip beam and fogs on my BMW GSA and KTM, brilliant kit. Went for 50s in the dips and 35s in the fogs.

Roger
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Old 21 Oct 2009
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I second the comment above. Les is a great guy and knows what he is talking about. He is also a biker.
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Old 23 Oct 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nico-la-vo View Post
People have been the friendliest yet. Who'd of thought it, with them being on the edge of Europe.
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Old 27 Oct 2009
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Excellent, thanks very much

Good to get all that info, thanks.
I'll give Les a call if and when I take the plunge and fork out for a HID set.

Colebatch, I see Les sponsored you for your latest project, was that something that happened because you're good friends with him, or did you approach him and get lucky?

Anyway, thanks for all the feedback. Good to know I should get away with the HID bulbs
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Old 27 Oct 2009
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I have known him a while. He is a genuinely nice guy, and it was a good chance to demonstrate the durability of his product.
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  #15  
Old 27 Oct 2009
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I have a h4 hid bulb (hi/lo beam with a moving capsule) in my x-challenge. Without having a second bike so the 2 can be compared side by side I can't confirm that the beam has not been affected but it seems to be ok. The light output is much greater though and I can see more clearly. Even with a car coming towards me on an unlit road at night I can see enough to continue with confidence rather than having to slow down as I used to.

I also find blue/white hid lights on other vehicles makes them stand out against the yellow/white of normal headlights where a normal bulb would blend in. Having this on a bike can only be a good thing, providing you still get a good beam pattern.
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