I can’t tell you how many discussions I’ve seen on the forums about headlight options, and it always seems to make switching to an LED headlight seem damned near impossible. Either it’s prohibitively expensive, or it’s a tough conversion, or it’s not acceptable for anything but “running” lights – basically effects lighting. The solution I always ended up deciding on was an HID kit – big, spendy and not that much of an energy savings.
I’ve been riding the R5e to work a lot lately so my headlight became more important. The 50W halogen bulb popped my DC/DC converter a while back and I’d never bothered to spend the bucks for a bigger DC/DC, since I had another spare of the same size, and it’s just there to run the contactor. But I really wanted to get a headlight back on the bike… so first I started thinking about just adding a 12V battery instead of bothering with a DC/DC. When you consider it, here’s an option for adding more battery power to an existing pack, right? Even just a 5ah, 12V battery – 60Wh or so – like I put together with 4 Headways, gives you a wee bit more energy rather than sucking off the main pack.
That’s all good, but running the fairly old Headways with a 50W halogen bulb was tapping a little too much of the charge, so I looked into LED bulbs again. Here’s what I found, from SuperBrightLEDs.
First, there’s nothing on the page that says it’s not DOT approved – it doesn’t say it is, either. However, there are these photos:
So, considering I don’t really care about whether the DOT has approved the thing, and just care about whether it’s bright enough, it looks plenty bright to me. Then, I see the price – $49 – and the hardware, and it looks like a straight, plug and play replacement. So I buy one.
That three-pronged connector is a direct fit to the standard halogen bulb. That tinned copper braid is the heat sink, and you can spread it and mash it into whatever space you have. The collar is removable, but you need it for the headlight base clip, and it is, quite literally, a plug and play.
Is it bright enough? You bet. Driving during daylight hours, you can see the light on whatever it’s aimed at from a decent distance – at least as bright as the halogen. At night, besides it being bright white, it’s pretty much identical to the stock bulb. Game over. A dirt simple, easy fix for cheap money that uses 16W instead of 50W.