Filament vs HID vs LED headlights ....
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  • I’m happy with filament bulbs

    6 14.63%
  • I’m happy with my HID

    0 0%
  • I’d be happier with an LED

    14 34.15%
  • I have an LED (and I’m happy with it)

    15 36.59%
  • I’m just happy, and you’re talking bollox

    6 14.63%
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Thread: Filament vs HID vs LED headlights ....

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Purple's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Filament vs HID vs LED headlights ....

    This is to do with LED lighting on the TW, primarily because of the robustness of solid state over filament bulbs. The change over makes perfect sense with regards to rear brake/tail lighting, as it’s a simple bulb swap, and the last thing you need is to have your rear lights go out. Indicators – not so important, and done more for fashion in some circumstances. Even if you do all the above, you only save a load of “not a lot” – it’s changing the headlight bulb that lightens the load the most

    But first – let’s take a look at the “tech”. Yer average life span of a filament bulb (on a scale of one to ten) lasts for about a “two”. Vibration is the killer, closely followed by voltage over loads. It could fail in the first year, or the fifth, but it will fail. Meanwhile, they suck up the watts for relatively low “lumens” – (more about “lumens” later)

    Then along came the advent of the HID – “high intensity discharge”. As the name suggests, these are basically fluorescent bulbs. No more fragile filaments, mostly “solid state”, but relies on the gasses inside the bulb to work. With the inclusion of a “step up” ballast (about the size of a cigarette packet and easily stuffed behind the TW cowling), there’s little chance of voltage spikes spoiling your day. But again, if you have ever used fluorescent lighting, you’ll be lucky to get five years out of a bulb, so I’m going to give HID a lifespan rating of about 5 out of ten

    But the major advantage to HID’s, is the “lumens”. With fluorescent tech, we now have the capability to take it up to 6000, which is “daylight” to the human eye. Anything less is “soft lighting” – anything more is “harsh blue lighting” – but 6000 is about where you want to be

    Then along comes LED. “In the beginning”, LED bulbs were restricted to smaller bulbs, tail lights, indicators, torches etc, but in recent years, the product range has opened up considerably. Take a two AA cell Mag light torch with a filament bulb in it, and it will illuminate the darkness for ten feet, with a warm yellow glow. Change just the bulb over to the LED, and now you have a “bright white” light with a range of over 100 feet. (Of course, you couldn’t fit a HID in a torch, but you get the idea of just how far tech has come along in the last five or so years)

    Extrapolate that to the TW, and there are obvious advantages to be gained – and as LED’s are entirely solid state, no “contained gasses” to worry about, ballasts or vibration issues etc, I’m going to give a life span rating of 9. Indeed, most car manufacturers say that the LED lasts the “life of the car” – but let’s take a closer look at that ….

    What is the life span of a car (according to the manufacturer) these days – ten years ? – still, not bad I suppose (I’m talking about the bulb here). The other issue, is the wide difference in manufacturing quality (at the moment). Car manufacturers have “buying power”, and their reputation depends on the quality of the products it puts into its cars (yeah I know, but the theory is sound). Then there’s Fleabay, which is like shooting fish in a barrel – what floats to the surface is anybody’s guess. Most of the household LED’s I’ve bought recently are still going, but a few have failed (same batch) in the first six months

    Over time, I have no doubt that LED’s will become more reliable, and you still get the 6000 lumens, so what should we watch out for …

    First up, is cheap Chinese bulbs. “But ultimately, they’re all Chinese” I hear you cry – and you’d be right. But if you buy a “branded product”, that brand has put its reputation on the line, and is likely to have specified a higher spec from the manufacturer. This is a simple case of “you get what you pay for, or you rely on luck”

    Second up, is if the LED isn’t placed within the reflector precisely, the performance can reduce dramatically. So it no longer becomes a case of “just getting the replacement bulb” – it needs to “work as part of a unit” to be truly effective

    Or am I overthinking this ?

    Why am I typing this all out ? – simply because I’m trying to figure out if I should swap out my HID for an LED, and if I do down the LED route, how far should I take it ?
    buellzebub, Ken, Darth and 1 others like this.
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  2. #2
    Member TW-JMS's Avatar
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    I have a JNS LED headlight and love it. The amount (lumens) and colour (degrees Kelvin - K) are great, and the power savings are going to allow me to put some aux lighting on in the future. This is the type of lighting these bikes should be equipped with from the factory.
    Sthrnromr, Ken and Darth like this.

  3. #3
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Point me to a good LED headlight bulb that is a "plug and play" for the TW and I will switch.

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  5. #4
    Senior Member Sthrnromr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TW-Brian View Post
    Point me to a good LED headlight bulb that is a "plug and play" for the TW and I will switch.
    x2 . Same.
    reddave likes this.
    2010 TW200 - The Goat
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    Way too many past bikes to list

  6. #5
    Ken
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    Senior Member Ken's Avatar
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    I don't know how so many on the forum ride in the dark with stock bulbs. I have ventured rough trails (probably mild to most on here) several times just to have the headlight go out a few days later. My guess is that it is like the old incandescent light bulb drop light. It works great until you move it and the filament can't handle both heat and movement and poof the light goes out. If Houston wasn't so lit up I might go ahead and change to an led.
    ejfranz likes this.

  7. #6
    Senior Member YamTW87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TW-Brian View Post
    Point me to a good LED headlight bulb that is a "plug and play" for the TW and I will switch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sthrnromr View Post
    x2 . Same.
    Philips 11342XUWX2
    I had the previous(gen1) model in my car, and had it tested at a techical inspection center and the beam completely complied with the halogen beam standard.
    The headlight was reflector type.
    Last edited by YamTW87; 06-17-2019 at 02:59 AM.
    Sthrnromr likes this.
    2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650

  8. #7
    Senior Member Darth's Avatar
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    All I know is am in crazy-love with my JNS headlight unit!
    “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, than a fast bike slow”.

    "The less horsepower a motorcycle has, the more it can teach you.” - Ben Bostrom

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    and wad up my bike somethin' awful...
    Still, I rise!
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  9. #8
    Senior Member TW-Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YamTW87 View Post
    Philips 11342XUWX2
    I had the previous(gen1) model in my car, and had it tested at a techical inpection center and the beam completely complied with the halogen beam standard.
    The headlight was reflector type.
    Thanks, but these are a little bit more than I was hoping to pay !

    https://www.hidconcept.com/products/...uwx2-pack-of-2

  10. #9
    Senior Member Sthrnromr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YamTW87 View Post
    Philips 11342XUWX2
    I had the previous(gen1) model in my car, and had it tested at a techical inpection center and the beam completely complied with the halogen beam standard.
    The headlight was reflector type.
    Thank you. Holy crap that’s pricey. But thank you for the info nonetheless.
    2010 TW200 - The Goat
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  11. #10
    Senior Member YamTW87's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TW-Brian View Post
    Thanks, but these are a little bit more than I was hoping to pay !

    https://www.hidconcept.com/products/...uwx2-pack-of-2
    Quote Originally Posted by Sthrnromr View Post
    Thank you. Holy crap that’s pricey. But thank you for the info nonetheless.
    Osram 9726CW
    Cheaper, and with safe beam probably as it has ECE approval for some vehicles.
    Edit: Also comes with 5 years warranty!
    Last edited by YamTW87; 06-17-2019 at 03:11 AM.
    2007 Suzuki V-Strom 650

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