LED Headlight option


cmyoch

Grasshopper
Hello everyone. My 76 GL1000 is ready for the riding season. I noticed my headlight is not very bright and I'm looking for a replacement option that is brighter but also will not break the bank. I searched the forum the past few days for some answers and there were a few on here that installed LED bulbs but the posts were several years old. I'm curious if anyone can offer updated options and/or if those that have run LED head lamps for the past few years, what is your overall review?

Thanks in advance
 

Scott-E

Vetter Aficionado
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The LED bulbs for H4 filament type bulb replacement don't produce the correct light pattern. It's like putting a square plug in a round hole. They fit the hole on the bulb housing but stick out the back a lot more due to the required cooling fan. The LED headlights that come as a complete package do produce the correct pattern but the latest ones actually draw more current than your standard 55/60 watt H4 bulb. Most now draw 75 watts on low beam and 90 watts on high. Some draw even more than that. Most all are 7 inch lights. They usually come as a matched pair for cars and trucks so you end up with an extra light. I purchased a H4 LED bulb and took it right back out. It was brighter than the standard H4 bulb in all the wrong places and dark where you needed light. I ended up putting the standard H4 halogen bulb back in the light.
 

cmyoch

Grasshopper
I may just go with a H4 Halogen. I need to find the right housing/lens and bulb to replaced my sealed bulb that is over 40 years old.
 

cmyoch

Grasshopper
I also want to find a lens that throws out the correct light pattern. I assume an automotive bulb is not ideal.
 

Alan F.

Vetter Aficionado
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I've been told that automotive headlights are not ideal, but I've also ridden thousands of night time miles behind them and been very satisfied with the way they lit the road ahead.

I guess the controversy is mainly about the width of the beam, and its effect on the eyes of incoming drivers.

Honestly for me any incandescent high beam shining in my eyes is practically a welcome sight compared to any LED low beam pointed remotely in my direction. I believe the difference is in the wavelength of the light.

In recent years there was some argument against riding with automotive headlights in bikes, but now considering what's out there shining back.... I think it'll be ok. Especially with the limited availability of sealed beams.
 

cmyoch

Grasshopper
I've been told that automotive headlights are not ideal, but I've also ridden thousands of night time miles behind them and been very satisfied with the way they lit the road ahead.

I guess the controversy is mainly about the width of the beam, and its effect on the eyes of incoming drivers.

Honestly for me any incandescent high beam shining in my eyes is practically a welcome sight compared to any LED low beam pointed remotely in my direction. I believe the difference is in the wavelength of the light.

In recent years there was some argument against riding with automotive headlights in bikes, but now considering what's out there shining back.... I think it'll be ok. Especially with the limited availability of sealed beams.
I've ran an automotive bulb in my XS650 for 10 years and haven't had any issues. I considered another one for my Vetter but figured I'd look into a true motorcycle lens for comparison.
 

dieter

Learning the Ropes
Country flag
Hi all,

I use a LED headlight since nearly two years. It is definately better than any H4 bulb. I've installed a complete headlight insert - what needs the headlight housing to be modified. Some photos you can find here: vetterowners.com/threads/windjammer-4-on-a-93-suzuki-gsx1100g.1224/page-2

Dieter
 

Scott-E

Vetter Aficionado
Country flag
I've been told that automotive headlights are not ideal, but I've also ridden thousands of night time miles behind them and been very satisfied with the way they lit the road ahead.

I guess the controversy is mainly about the width of the beam, and its effect on the eyes of incoming drivers.

Honestly for me any incandescent high beam shining in my eyes is practically a welcome sight compared to any LED low beam pointed remotely in my direction. I believe the difference is in the wavelength of the light.

In recent years there was some argument against riding with automotive headlights in bikes, but now considering what's out there shining back.... I think it'll be ok. Especially with the limited availability of sealed beams.
The only difference between regular automotive lights for cars and trucks and those for Motorcycles are the filament wattage used.
The old 7" sealed beam 'Motorcycle" bulbs had 35 watt filaments for both the high and low beams and the same light patterns as the Automotive bulbs. The old Automotive 7" sealed beam bulbs use 40 watt low beam and 55 watt high beam filaments. New style Automotive sealed beam bulbs incorporate a H4 bulb molded inside the sealed glass housing and are 55/60 watt filaments. The H4 bulb inside is not replaceable. If the bulb inside burns out you must replace the entire bulb. That said they are not expencive at all despite needing to replace the entire bulb instead of just the H4 bulb in a light housing. On the plus side you never need worry about rain water leaking around a rubber bulb seal and filling the light housing with water damaging it.
 

Dave Ireland

Vetter Aficionado
Country flag
The past few years have seen leaps and bounds in H4 replacement LED technology.
It's perfectly possible to marry a decent LED with a standard H4 headlamp unit and not dazzle other drivers, as well as light up the road ahead two, three or four times better then with a wheezy old filament bulb.
The trick is to get a good match - the LED MUST be one with small elements that are closely placed to the original filament positions of the tungsten halogen bulb. The next step is to be prepared to experiment a bit, and that's where Vetter fairings are useful, because they use a standard 7" headlamp.
On my Vetter, I had a choice of several, but I ended up using a Koito headlamp from a Mitsubishi Pajero or Shogun, and it was a really good match to a Nite-Eye LED H4 bulb. As well as the initial match being good, there is also scope for fine tuning the bulb in its carrier sleeve, which angles the beam cutoff to be in the right place.
I've since used the same type of H4 LEDs (with the small elements) in Hella lamp units and the results are excellent. My Vetter has been replaced with another UK-made copy of a Vetter, that uses a Cibie rectangular headlamp and it really suits the LED bulb.
There's a lot of erroneous information based on bad experiences caused by bad design.
The first LED headlamp I bought was rubbish, and so was the second. I wasn't impressed with them at all.
It was only about three or four years ago that they started to come right - but surprisingly many of the LED sellers on ebay and other places are still selling the old crappy designs - you can tell them immediately by how large the chip/COB/element size is.
 

Cotton1111

Grasshopper
It's very east to put in a newer bucket assembly in the Vetter fairings then most any 7" headlight will fit and the headlight ring still fits too. I bought one off Ebay for a Jeep and a LED headlight. Nearly all the holes for the "keepers" that hold the original bucket assy in line up with the Jeep bucket. I used some 1/8 pop rivits with washers to install the new assy. The original bucket is held in with silicone and some plastic keepers. I had to drill 2 holes around 5:00 position where there were none in my fairing. I'm trying to attach photos...we'll see if I can.
 

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KGBnut

Learning the Ropes
Country flag
I had been looking for an LED headlight for my Windjammer. I tinkered with a couple of different options but have now found an affordable one that I am really happy with. This is a full 7" replacement bulb and it fits inside the existing Vetter headlight shell without modification. Even the wire and connector fit inside the shell. It also looks reasonably original so it doesn't look too modern on my forty year old bike.

The light is bright and clear. I wish that the high-beam reached just a little farther, but still, I am very happy with it and feel safe riding at night. It is also compatible with my headlight modulator, so I can make it flash for visibility in the daytime.

I bought it through Amazon, but I am sure it is available through other suppliers as well. I paid $49.99 for it in April of 2021.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019I0UBLU/

I just thought I would share if anyone else was looking for the same.

Ken in Connecticut
 
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IFIXTHINGS

Grasshopper
Country flag
That's real similar to the one I bought for mine.


Everything fit perfectly, you almost couldn't even line it up wrong if you tried. Light output so far is..ok. I feel it could be better, but then I haven't really had a chance to try out it out in the sticks to see how it is in actual darkness, only in dark areas around the city where there's already light.

I'm planning to supplement it with these though.


I just don't yet know where exactly I'm going to mount them. I've got a set of hwy bars on the bike now, but until I see how the Vetter lowers will fit on my bike, I don't yet know if I'll be keeping the bars, or if I'll end up making a custom set of bars and lowers.
 
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