Hid or led - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 32 Old 03-14-2019, 11:37 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Shreveport, LA
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Hid or led

Looking to save watts for other stuff. I want to change headlights to brighter/wider as I commute 23 miles one way through Louisiana country (lots of deer). So , 3 questions-
1) what's the difference between LED with that driver thing and without?

2) Anyone in here have real life experience with either one care to share their experience?

3) What brand is recommended?

I tried- the search function is not working on my tablet.
Thanks- Mike
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-14-2019, 08:12 PM
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The development and interest these days all seems to be with LED. Here are some threads to read.
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post #3 of 32 Old 03-15-2019, 07:49 AM
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I have run both HID and LED on my bikes. I found HID to be unreliable and more apt to blast out an poor light pattern. LED seem to be MUCH more reliable. LED is much easier to mount up. Most have a small power converter box that is easy to hide.

The biggest reason LED is far superior is that the emitters are typically in the same place as the filaments in an incandescent bulb. Which is what the headlight housings were designed to use. LED lights in these housings tend to give a similar light pattern to the OEM bulbs. Just a LOT more light and a whiter light which is really a difference maker at night in the rain!

After testing several bulbs on the RT, I found the ones with fans had some issues. There are bulbs with copper braiding for heat sinks that have worked much better. Easy to package these, lighter, and no fan to fail.

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post #4 of 32 Old 03-15-2019, 02:08 PM
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Either choice will be much better than stock.
My strongest recommendation is to resit shopping by price. If you choose the cheapest that is exactly what you will get. But even the expensive ones are not that much if you ride after dark. I get mine from www.ddmtuning.com/ (they sell both)
As for choosing between HID or LED you can find strong opinions favoring each. RealShelby goes for the LEDs and I always respect his opinion on things. He does his research with a hands-on approach.

Me, I use LEDs for my auxiliary lights and in my cars (non-fan style). For my motorcycle headlights I use the HIDs. I've never had any "aiming" issues because the bulbs use the stock bayonet system as OEM bulbs. Mine have lasted 4 years so far (SV650 & V-2).

As for being able to see farther down the road, my opinion is that the HIDs go farther. My testing has been riding side by side with the GS guys that I ride with on straight, flat roads. When we alternate between high and low beams mine will light up an additional 4-5 roadside reflectors downstream. *Keep in mind that the Suzukis might just have better reflectors in the headlights.

As mentioned, the color choice of 3000 to 3500 (of whiteness) gives much, much better depth perception at speed. The larger round halo of the LED aux lights ads to the depth perception by lighting up the roadside and tree canopy closer to the bike.

Either choice will make you happy.
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Last edited by NVDucati; 03-15-2019 at 02:15 PM.
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post #5 of 32 Old 03-15-2019, 03:47 PM
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I installed LED H4 replacements a few months ago. Specifically, these by Beamtech:


FWIW, exactly the same LED units seem to be sold under a few different names. If you want to pay more and have a different logo, they're also sold by SuperbrightLEDs.com:


Here's why I didn't go with HID H4 replacements:

-Vee's headlamp housings aren't designed for HIDs. Likely results included: improper focus, beam formation, and blinding other drivers.
-additional wiring required for the ballast/power supply.
-lower efficiency vs LED = lower power savings and more heat
-possibly lower reliability (most sources seem to indicate fewer hours between failures for HIDs, where LEDs basically last forever)
-faster decline of output w/age vs. LED.

I have a 2007 Vee, but I believe the 2012-2016 DL650 also uses H4 bulbs. So the Beamtech H4 LEDs should work for you as well. I installed mine a few months ago, and have been very happy. Power savings are one benefit of course. I can now run heated jacket liner + heated gloves at full blast & still not discharge the battery at idle.

Not sure whether it's an actual increase in brightness, change in color temp, or combination of factors, but I found that nighttime visibility was also improved. I could see farther ahead, and more to the sides, vs. halogens. I compared by taking photos with both stock halogens & LEDs, under the same lighting conditions in the same place.

One small drawback: The beam pattern is not quite as sharp with the LEDs vs. halogens. In particular, upper beam cutoff is less crisp. But, this hasn't caused a problem yet.

The Beamtech LEDs have neither a fan nor strip-type heat sink. Rather, the heat sink is built into the base (that's the grooves/fins you see). I've touched them in operation, but they don't get more than "warm."
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-15-2019, 06:39 PM
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My FZ6 cam stock with one side high and one side low, so already off the bat much worse than the first and second gen Wee’s. I did HID retrofits and they were amazing. Not a bulb replacement, but where you separate the headlight housing and install projector lenses. Not incredibly difficult, more so than just swapping a bulb though. I’ll post a pic later.

I got everything from www.theretrofitsource.com. They usually have fantastic Black Friday weekend sales up to 25% off.
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post #7 of 32 Old 03-15-2019, 08:23 PM
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If I was posting this 1 or 2 years ago I would suggest HID. LED advancement is happening so fast that they are now more efficient and heat is no longer an issue. The only drawback for LED for some is that you can't legally modulate them in Arizona. When connected to a modulator they won't dim to 20% they shut 100% off at the low. This is not legal but I don't think you would get cited if you want to modulate an LED.
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post #8 of 32 Old 03-16-2019, 12:23 PM
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LED main H4 bulbs, and some LED fog/running lights are awesome as well.

BRIAN "GO Buckeyes, GO Wildcats"!

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post #9 of 32 Old 03-16-2019, 09:04 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Shreveport, LA
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Thanks everyone! It looks like it's going to be led's
I installed the Eager Beaver (Eastern, I know) low beam cut off for one light today. My Kawasaki Versys 1000 had a similar looking headlight config but only lit up one light unless on bright. I will run 1 light during the day and two at night.
Once I get some driving lights , they will be on for daytime conspicuous-ness....

Thanks again! Lots of good info!
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post #10 of 32 Old 03-17-2019, 10:25 AM
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I ordered the Beamteach's, so this will be interesting. I've added quite a bit of electronic goodies on the bike, so looking forward to the lowered draw from these bulbs.
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