Best H4/Replacement Headlight Solution - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Best H4/Replacement Headlight Solution

Apologies if this has been covered already, but seems like there is still no definitive answer to this solution at this time.

Driving home in the city last night, a number of vehicles were flashing me. Had not noticed, but my low-beam had failed. With street lighting this was not obvious. Completed the return home safely on the hi-beam.

I have a 2013 Thruxton with stock lighting (7" head shell), but enhanced with the Eastern Beaver Hi/Low Relay set up. Seems to have improved the output of the stock H4 light bulb quite well.

Having looked at replacement options. My research suggests they seem to fall into 3 categories...

1. Go all the way with LED and a dedicated head shell/headlight. Rationale is you can only get the best out of LED light bulbs with a dedicated head shell and lens. Down side to me is I want to retain the retro look, so the cyclops style is weird looking to me. I know there is the Grote style that may be an option. Other issue is they run around $150. or more, although there are cheaper knock-offs. Expensive and may be less reliable!

2. LED replacement bulb, staying with stock lens/head shell. Seems these have mixed reviews. Some come with fans, others with flexible braid or solid heat sinks, and may be a challenge to install in the limited space of the head shell. There also seems to be a reliability issue, I suspect related to the limited air circulation in the enclosed head shell, although they may work fine in car applications. Others have commented on the poor light spread. While speced at a higher lumen output than stock, the dispersion is not adequate for real world applications for bikers, or no better (sometimes worse?) than stock H4 bulbs.

3. H4 hi-output bulbs. I notice a number of posts indicate returning to these after disappointment with LEDs. Most affordable approach. Compatible with stock lens/head shell and retain the stock retro look. Although life expectancy seems to correlate (is reduced) with the higher output bulbs. They also run hotter/draw more energy than LEDs, potentially compromising wiring inside the enclosed head shell.

So whats your advice? Please share, particularly if you have had the replacement for some time and remain pleased with the results.

Thanks, Thruxty.

2013 Thruxton: Hagon 2810, Ricor Intiminators; STS; AI & O2 removed; 2>1 baffle remove; airbox snorkel and restrictor removed; TTP; Tail Tidy; Eastern Beaver Relay; LED Indicators; Tubeless Rim Conversion; Pirelli Angel GTs 110/80-18, 150/70-17

Last edited by Thruxty; 08-16-2019 at 09:24 AM.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 09:41 AM
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I have a Ď14 Thruxton and started with your second option of the LED bulb with the braided heat sink. I absolutely loved it as I was able to retain the stock look, but that bulb only lasted 2 years before the low beam LED died. I had trouble locating another with the braid as it seemed all of the manufacturers had switched to the hard fin style. I donít like the idea of cramming those into the bucket as itís already fairly crowded in there.

Beginning of this season I switched to the cyclops style knock off from eBay. Iím not the biggest fan of the look, but Iíve gotten used to it and itís output is at least double of the LED bulb I had. FYI the retaining ring will have to be slightly bent to fit this properly, but itís not that hard to do.

I live/ride in a major metropolitan area, so for me, Iím more worried about being seen rather than lighting up the road in front of me. The cyclops style definitely accomplished that task, and even does a good job of lighting up the road even with all the big city lights.

Like I said, I wasnít the biggest fan of the look, but bang for your buck and for your safety, I think the eBay cyclops is the best way to go.


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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 09:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thruxty View Post
my low-beam had failed ... enhanced with the Eastern Beaver Hi/Low Relay set up
I have that relay as well, and an upgraded R/R. I blow bulbs about every 5-10k miles (https://www.triumphrat.net/air-coole...ml#post2360289). I now replace it every time I change my oil.

I use the Philips X-treme Vision, cheap and easy to get, work well: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:14 AM
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As you have the Eastern Beaver hi/lo relay upgrade (which ensures higher voltage at the headlight bulb) I'd recommend the following:

  1. ditch the horrible stock lens/reflector (plastic) for a proper (glass) Hella 7" one - you won't believe the difference.
  2. as @BonnieBlack says, go for a high-output halogen bulb (Philips X-treme vision or Osram Night Breaker - whatever you can find at you local automotive parts store:
    • higher voltage means brighter lights
    • but (as @BonnieBlack noted) the bulbs fry quicker (replace at the start of every season)
The advantage of sticking with the H4 halogen solution is that pretty much every petrol station on the planet has them in stock (if and when the bulb blows when out in the sticks).

My setup is slightly different, but the theory is the same: 7" Hella + m-Unit + Shorai battery = over 14V at the bulb - my single headlight lights up motorway signage during daylight....

Tim
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H3CT1C View Post
ditch the horrible stock lens/reflector (plastic) for a proper (glass) Hella 7" one
Good call. I put in an expensive Cibie but in retrospect wish I had used a Hella. I mean the Cibie is fine, but the Hella is cheaper.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 12:29 PM
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I said it in another post, but this combo cured all of my woes. Hella glass H4 lens/reflector, and this bulb: http://stores.advmonster.com/native-...n#write_review

The Native H4R2 bulb puts out great light, and the heat sink is on the bulb side, so it's the exact same dimensions as a normal H4 bulb. No heat sink on the back side to melt the wires in your headlight bucket.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 04:20 PM
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I'd be interested in a complete LED headlight unit, but I wouldn't know where to start looking. There are loads on Ebay............wrangler types starting at £25..........They have a massive heatsink, which worries me about ,melted wires................I'd probably spend £150 for one..........so if anyone has recommenfdations, please feel free........................

Thanks

Rob
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 05:40 PM
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I just installed a 7Ē LED headlight with built in turn signals on my bike. I think it looks bad ass. Cheap and Bright as hell too.




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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gone in 60 View Post
I said it in another post, but this combo cured all of my woes. Hella glass H4 lens/reflector, and this bulb: http://stores.advmonster.com/native-...n#write_review

The Native H4R2 bulb puts out great light, and the heat sink is on the bulb side, so it's the exact same dimensions as a normal H4 bulb. No heat sink on the back side to melt the wires in your headlight bucket.
That's an interesting solution, heat sink up front. My headlight shell is to crowded for me to be comfortable getting the fan/sink in there.

Researched around some, ADVMonster has too many customer service complaints for my taste. These seem to be the same, but you'd need to buy a pair: https://www.amazon.com/NSLUMO-Headli.../dp/B07V8G2K9P

Under $20 each, if you're willing to buy in bulk https://www.alibaba.com/product-deta...108715047.html

If I felt better about reliability maybe ... but I don't have the luck. Every "it'll last forever bulb" I've ever purchased hasn't.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-16-2019, 10:36 PM
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Last weekend I installed a Hella reflector with lens and an H4 LED from superbrightleds.com. The reflector and lens alone made a big difference, as the factory was useless with the high beam!

I am pleased with the LED (fixed heat sink) and it fit just fine in the bucket. 2013 Bonnie T100 with 7" headlamp. Had to modify rubber dust cover to accept LED.

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