LED lights for...Daytime use only...???????

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  • LED lights for...Daytime use only...???????

    My very good friend, and riding buddy for the past 33 years, rides a '97 GL-1500, and he is a very good rider. He is 81 years old, and I slowly watch him fade away over all these years.

    On a recent ride back in June, when he and I did the Pre-Ride for the Three Flags Classic rally, to check out the proposed route in advance of the event...I noticed that his headlights were not very bright at night. He told me that he had just installed the new LED lights on his bike. Yes, they were bright during the day, for others to look at...but they do not cast a bright beam down the road at night. In comparison, I run the HID low beams that I bought from SoCalMotoGear, and I love them. I also run the PIAA Super White high beams...love those too.

    Okay, so my friends' LED lights are not as bright as my HIDs. Then, we just did the actual ride of the Three Flags Classic...starting in Tucson, AZ. and ending in Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. It was during this ride that my friend of many years fractured his hip, and I had to ride his (USS Titanic) back to his home in Reno, from southern Utah. I was made acutely aware of how BAD these LED low beams were...as I felt like I had no headlights at all....seriously. I ran the high beams as much as I could, to do the midnight-oil ride of 553 miles to make it to his house.

    YOU...try riding across the Lonliest Highway in America.....Highway 50...across Utah and Nevada...at night, with bad lighting.

    I had already...previously..advised that he take those LED low beams lights out of there....and install either PIAA Super Whites, or...HIDs.

    Now...tonight...I hear from him that the guy that sold him these lights, also installed the same ones in his own bike, and...after coming to the same conclusion that they do NOT cast out enough light to wake up a mouse crossing the road.....they both discovered that Big Bike sells these LED lights as.....Daytime Use Only lights !!!!! WHAT ????

    Who in the world sells a low beam headlight for a Goldwing that is intended to be used for Daytime Use Only ???????

    They are both removing these LED bulbs....and installing lights that will make me not want to have them following me.

    It was a darn good thing that 99 % of our riding together always has me in the front, with all my powerful lighting, and him following me...with his dim-bulbed LED lights not blinding my mirrors.

    Has anyone else tried LED low beams, and found there to be very little light cast down the road at night?

  • #2
    After I complete what I plan, I'm going to do a longer write up about my "LED Odyssey"; but here's my short version.

    I had LED bulbs that sound like the type you are describing, a full set of four. I couldn't keep them working. I really don't know if my bike just has some sort of power surges or what, but they kept burning out. I finally broke down and bought a set of Electrical Connection's LEDs that were designed differently. According to EC, these are designed to more closely mimic the output focus of the regular H7 bulbs. But, the big factor for me is that they have an electrical unit that manages the power going to the bulb. I had just had yet another replacement of the "other" LEDs go out, so I was down to three. I decided that since the high-beams are harder to replace, I'd put the EC units in those.

    I did so, and the difference in intensity is amazing. The EC bulbs are MUCH brighter. I could use the low beams, but they were close to what you describe, seemed like almost no light at all during the night. Switching on the high beams (also LEDs, but the EC units) lit up the road.

    Within a week, another bulb in the low beam set went out. That left me down to only those two, and I decided that when another one went, I'd replace both with the EC lights. That was about 3 months ago (maybe a little more). I was beginning to hope that maybe these last two would hold, but it was not to be. I had another go out last week.

    Replacement bulbs are on the way. I'll take before and after shots when I'm done and do a full writeup.

    2012 Honda Goldwing | 2009 Timeout Camper

    Patriot Guard Rider since 2007 | IBA member #59823

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    • #3
      I have never been impressed with LED lights period for anything. My first experiences with LED lights were flashlights and other lights used in my trade. Go crawl under a house to change tub waste and drain and that LED super light is not so super.

      Oh but Kit, this is a new one, it is great the new thing. It sucks too.

      You can see them well as they are bright but they overall do not have much use to see with.

      LED lights are fine for marker lights, tail lights and so on, if you want to see do not put them in the headlights.

      I am sure there is a new invention and it is once again the greatest thing since a girl in a short skirt.

      I will bet you it is not.

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      • #4
        I have not been impressed with LEDs for illumination. I have them in my Fog/Driving lights and I think they are fine for that application. However, when I tested the hi-powered LEDs for SoCalMotoGear (one of my video clients) I had to report to them that the LEDs just did not throw as much light down the road as the halogen bulbs did. An LED definitely needs some sort of lens to focus the beam because the light is very scattered and a traditional reflector designed for halogen just won't work.

        The LED high-beams did a good job of lighting up the trees as I went through my neighborhood. The light goes everywhere but down the road.

        I know that the yellow light coming from the halogen high-beams does not match the white light coming from my HIDs, but they still put more light down the road than the LEDs did. I love my HID low-beams and my LED fog lights, LED turn signal DRLS and LED brake lights, but for headlight use on a Goldwing, no thanks.
        Last edited by Cruiseman; 09-11-2014, 06:47 AM. Reason: More info
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        • #5
          I agree that there are major differences in LED's. Before I owned the 'Wing I put driving lights from Clearwater Lights on my Sportster down on the forks. They light up the night. Very bright and sophisticated- controller allows low power for low beam use so they don't blind oncoming drivers and full power on high beam. They're expensive, but they could save my butt. Until all LED's are equally bright shop carefully

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          • #6
            Thanks folks, this confirms what I have already been thinking about LED lights for the past several years. LEDs are really good for marker lights, or...lights that allow YOU to be seen, but have no need to cast that beam of light down the road. I do use LED lights on my bikes...in very specific applications...and NONE of those uses are for casting a beam of light down the road.

            I have done my best to help my 81 year old friend, offer him advice, push him gemtly this way or that way, but....he can be a cantankerous old poopy-head at times. He would rather learn the lesson the hard way, and find out I am right, than to follow my direction, and save himself time/money, etc.

            Again, thanks for the confirmations....

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            • #7
              As I reread my post, it occurred to me that I may not have explained it very clearly. Very short recap.

              The EC units, in my high beam side, hold up well and are very bright; they light up the road at least as well as my original Halogen lights. The bulbs basically have one two large LED units in each housing, one on each side of a center panel.

              The other units have large LED on the end, and a number of smaller LEDs circling the inside. These are much dimmer, barely lighting the road at night; and don't seem to last on my bike. I currently have them on the low beam side. I will replace them as soon as the other unit comes in (they were ordered earlier this week). I'll report on them with photos when I get them in.
              2012 Honda Goldwing | 2009 Timeout Camper

              Patriot Guard Rider since 2007 | IBA member #59823

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