Headlight Upgrade

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Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:04 am

Howdy Folks:

Recently, after running a couple hours late on a dual sport ride, I noticed the stock headlight on my '02 XR650R kinda sucks! The state sez the point of a headlight is to be seen by other drivers, but I hate it when the path in front of me is not clearly illuminated. Shocked

Any suggestions on a headlight upgrade for casual night riding? I'm not talkin' ripping through the dark, desert terrain, here. Just a good light to get me home in the darkness, when needed.

The stator on my bike is stock, but it only feeds a couple of external sources: the stock headlight and LED tail light/brake light.

Perhaps an XR650L headlight and shroud would work? Or, one of various aftermarket designs?

Thanks for any advice!

Dave
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:09 am

Ooops! I should have posted my question in General! My apologies.

Dave
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Focker on Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:24 am

Dave P wrote:Ooops! I should have posted my question in General! My apologies.
Dave

The Mod Squad is a good place to post this question.

Dave P wrote:Any suggestions on a headlight upgrade for casual night riding?

Thanks for any advice!
Dave

I recently read where a guy replaced the stock headlight bulb with a A3603 and soldered the posts together basically making the dual filament a single bright 50 watt bulb. He has been running the light that way for 3 years without melting any plastics. He has a stock stator, and a LED tail/brake light too.

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:46 am

Well, at $4.00, that's certainly worth a try. http://www.denniskirk.com/1/1/26137-parts-unlimited-25w-headlight-bulbs-a3603.html

I'm surprised the bulb housing did not melt down, or at least turn black! Very Happy

Dave
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Hodakaguy on Sun Dec 14, 2008 2:06 pm

Ok its not $4....... but its a bright light. naughty

I like the MONSTER light look, but its not for everyone.


You can also get "Factory Look" light units from BajaDesings - https://www.bajadesigns.com/NET/C-REPL/DUAL+SPORT+KIT+REPLACEMENT+PARTS

And from trailtech
http://trailtech.net/x2_kits.html

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:49 pm

Those big azzz lights are awesome! Now, if I could only justify buying one (or two).... Looks like a billet adjustment knob up top, too. Nice farkles!

I'll give the BD and Trail Tech folks a ring on Monday and see if I'll need a bigger stator with their lights. Hopefully not!
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Hodakaguy on Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:55 pm

The Trailtech 8" light comes with a 35W bulb so you don't need to upgrade the stator. But...I'm installing a 200w Ricky stator, I'm going to run a dedicated 100w AC leg right to the light and a 90W bulb or so. Then I'll have a bright light!

I can justify it all since I really want to see where I'm going if I get stuck out after dark.

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Mon Dec 15, 2008 2:23 am

Let me know when that 90watt bulb goes in. I'll get up on my roof and check it out from here!

The stock bulb, according to the manual, is 35W. Would simply increasing the lens size increase brightness?

What's the max wattage I can go with the stock stator? I should probably just bite the bullet and drop a new stator in the pig, but times are a bit tough right now (damn it).

TIA!

Electrically Challenged Dave
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Thumpmeister on Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:44 am

You can buy the glass headlight lens w/ the 55w halogen bulb from Honda for like $25.

33123-MK2-671

Thats the part no. you will need. Fits right in the stock assembly.
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Tue Dec 16, 2008 4:56 am

Thanks Thumpmeister.

I'm looking it up now.

It is certainly tempting to go with a 200W stator and a mega-searchlight on the nose, though.... Very Happy
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Focker on Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:13 am

Replacing the stock headlight bulb with a A3603 and soldering the 2 posts is supposed to give you the same outcome as the $25 part...So they say.

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:24 am

And at $4.00, it's worth a try!

I tried something similar with my old KLR 600 (just for sh!ts and giggles), and blew a fuse. But of course, that was a KLR.
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Hodakaguy on Tue Dec 16, 2008 10:32 am

Dave P wrote:Thanks Thumpmeister.

I'm looking it up now.

It is certainly tempting to go with a 200W stator and a mega-searchlight on the nose, though.... Very Happy

I have to admit that one of the major reasons I installed the 8" race light is for the looks, the extra light is just a handy side effect BRP smile

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  husky123 on Tue Dec 16, 2008 12:22 pm

Hodakaguy wrote:
Dave P wrote:Thanks Thumpmeister.

I'm looking it up now.

It is certainly tempting to go with a 200W stator and a mega-searchlight on the nose, though.... Very Happy

I have to admit that one of the major reasons I installed the 8" race light is for the looks, the extra light is just a handy side effect BRP smile

Hodakaguy


2 thumbs I love your honesty! I do however love flicking that switch and lighting up the night. That 8 incher casts a super luscious beam. rider
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NICE!

Post  BACK40 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:16 pm

That monster light looks awesome Hodakaguy, especially with the monster tank sweet bike!
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:15 am

That KTM mirror is cool, too. I think I'll grab one one those when I bust my Baja Designs folding mirror (not a bad mirror, at all, though).
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Focker on Tue Dec 30, 2008 1:32 am

Dave P wrote:That KTM mirror is cool, too. I think I'll grab one one those when I bust my Baja Designs folding mirror (not a bad mirror, at all, though).
Yeah they're great...Did you see this? - Click Here For The KTM Mirror Post

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  AURORA on Thu Jan 01, 2009 8:10 pm

Let there be light!

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:56 am

Looks like Aurora is ready for Baja or the dark side of the moon!

Here's my new light. I feel so left out. Sad Very Happy

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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Crit Rat on Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:05 pm

Dave P wrote:Looks like Aurora is ready for Baja or the dark side of the moon!

Here's my new light. I feel so left out. Sad Very Happy
Dave, did that come with the bulb? Part # 33123-MK2-671 ?
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Sat Jan 10, 2009 1:35 am

Crit Rat:

When I ordered the glass lens from Honda, I asked them to add a bulb to the order if they had a perfect fit for the lens. So, I guess the answer is no. It did not come as a complete unit. It's a Honda part, though. I can't wait to try it out. Man, the stock bulb is horrific!
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:57 am

Update:

I FINALLY swapped out the shitty stock headlight lens and weak bulb with the Honda upgrade (as mentioned above).

My main worry was the stock stator not providing enough juice for the 55w bulb at idle. This was not an issue. At idle, the headlight is bright and white (vs. dim and yellow Smile ). I took a few photos, but can't find my **** camera USB cable.... I'm running an LED tail light, so this might help regarding plenty of power channeled to the 55w bulb.

While the upgrade is a significant improvement over the stock headlight, I'm not overly impressed with it. Yes, it's a ton better, and it will get me home safer, but it's nothing to write home about. The 35w Baja Designs lens and bulb on my XR600R actually lights up the road/trail better. Of course, the BD lens is twice as large as the dinky stock lens/reflector, though.

Anyhow, I'll put some picts or video up of the upgrade as soon as I can get my chit together. Very Happy

Dave
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Big lights

Post  Bump on Wed Mar 11, 2009 5:26 pm

So the idea is that the faster you ride at night the farther you need to see. How fast do you plan on riding at night? If you build up a set of torches for 95MPH evening super cruises but turn out to be mostly just enjoying some rides on full moon nights at a leisurely 25MPH average, or less, then you won't be served well by lighting up the Earth 100 yards away instead of 0-25 yards away. Just like water ski racing; Everyone wants to be Cory Cook on 220 feet of line looking like the champ behind 1200 horsepower of Bad News Travels Fast Schiada. But unless you are skiing at 110mph that long line is gonna make for some miserable skiing: you are gonna be way behind the pad and that line is gonna be dipping in the water and filling in the center.

I think the Baja designs Tecate makes a great compromise: https://www.bajadesigns.com/NET/C-165/HIGH+PERFORMANCE+%26+RACE+LIGHTING

Also, know that the Cibie Super Oscar copies that Baja designs sells come in two varieties: HID and Halogen. The Halogens are usually about half the price used as are HIDs used. Steve Hengeveld, immortalized in Dust to Glory as "The greatest night racer in the world", prefers the Halogens because he says they create more useable shadow patterns.

If you are thinking of two huge 8"s then remember that one is for long distance and one is for in tight. Perhaps in your riding you might be better with one long distance 8" and another set of small lights mounted on your helmet for close in stuff.

I've seen some smokin deals on BD lighting on Advrider. I'd post a WTB ad once you decide. Good luck and let us know how it turns out!

As far as highway riding goes, I'd be concerned that the more you blind cars coming at you the more likely they are to wander in your direction. If you've ever been around a desert race and had to face oncoming race cars at night you'll know that the last few seconds are completely blind.


Last edited by Bump on Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Headlight Upgrade

Post  Dave P on Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:59 am

Good stuff, Bump - Thanks.

The only night riding I generally do are of the "Oh chit! It's getting dark" variety.

I think the 55w bulb and small lens will be sufficient, but we shall see.

Dave
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Cheap too!

Post  Bump on Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:30 pm

Night riding is great fun if you have some moon to help. The biggest problem with recreating the Team Honda race setup for lighting is you'll be without the ability to see ten feet to the side when you are turning and looking for stuff. Hence the helmet lighting is a great option. The big lighting kits will require a big stator too. The helmet stuff is usually battery powered.

Riding at night can be a little more challenging than I would have expected before doing it. If you are riding with a group you'll have lights going everywhere and that effect is really tiring on your eyes and the parts of your brain that process that visual data. There are a lot of areas in your peripheral vision that are without data and then suddenly they randomly start flashing data on and off. Really taxes your brain I think. Plus, if you aren't making first dust then you'll be surprised at how the dust from other riders reflects light - way worse than during the day.

Finally, you should consider getting some of those cheap flashing red lights like bicyclists use. Put one on your helmet and maybe two more on your tank or somewhere protected but unobstructed. If you have a sudden yard sale and the power on your scoot goes off, you might be difficult to find without something flashing.

Tuscon is spectacular. If I lived there I'd definitely be doing a few full moon nights of riding all night every year. Man, I bet those saguaro cactus would be super spooky when you are flyin by them in the dark! Perhaps not too close to the border though ... I grew up skiing at Parker and love that area from Mead to the border.

Let me know if you try it and what you think. If I lived closer I'd loan you my light. I have the BD 8" HID but have it aimed in-between close-in and race-horizon. If I ever get to ride at night again I'd like to have a bike powered helmet setup too.

You might go out to a local night race and see what you think of the lighting setups. Everybody, me included, thinks you're gonna be a lot faster at night than you end up being in reality ... Perhaps same is true for the daytime :~)
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