So you want HID lights on your bike? Do it the right way!

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So you want HID lights on your bike? Do it the right way!

Post  jordan777er on Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:42 pm

The purpose of this thread is to cover the basics on how to properly achieve HID lighting for your motorcycle. If you have any bike specific questions, please create a new thread.

Let's start at the beginning...

What is HID?

High Intensity Discharge, or HID, is a type of automotive lighting the employs a charged arc to create a plasma, usually using the gas xenon. That plasma gives off photons, which we perceive as light. This is opposed to incandescent lights that use resistance to heat a filament of tungsten alloy suspended in a salt, typically iodine or bromine salts. HID systems emit cleaner, brighter light at cooler temperatures while using less electricity, hence why they are desirable for automotive applications.

HID bulbs are designed for use with projectors. These glass lenses focus and direct the light onto the road in a controlled manner in order to get the best road lighting without blinding oncoming traffic. They also have built in cutoff shields that dip the beam patter on the left side so that you avoid dazzling oncoming traffic. When you put HID bulbs into a traditional reflector housing, you end up with severely scattered light that usually ends up going everywhere except for onto the road surface. What good does that do you? None at all. This is why it's imperative that you go about it the right way and get a set of projectors to accompany your HID bulbs.

How do I get that cool blue color in my headlights?

Contrary to popular belief, this IS NOT achieved by using blue bulbs. In HID lighting, color and output are expressed using the a kelvin rating. For maximum output, 4300-5000K is the acceptable range. This is a perfectly pure white light. As you move up in the kelvin ratings, output decreases. by 10,000K, you're no better off than you were with halogen bulbs, and now you're also blinding everyone with your super blue lights because you didn't use projectors like you were supposed to.

So how do you get that cool blue color?

You get it by changing the angle at which the light hits the lens for a prism effect. This way, you can alter the color without sacrificing output. It varies by projector model, but on most it's as simple as adding a washer or two between the lens and the housing. Now you've got your blue light. Simple, eh?

Where do I get materials from?

Personally, I use theretrofitsource.com for all my HID needs. They have multiple models for many different applications, and shipping is very fast. Their customer service is also top notch for sure. These guys know what they're doing, and they can help you out should you run into any issues. My set up is the Morimoto Mini H1 Bixenon projectors paired with 5000K bulbs and the 35W Morimoto ballast. With this set up, I'm able to light up all 6 lanes of I-20 in Bossier City no problem, and my cutoff is adjusted properly so that I don't blind anyone. I paid roughly $300 for the set up, but it's never let me down, it looks amazing, and the increased visibility at night was worth that much if not more. Check out my thread for pics and further details.

I would also suggest that you only buy Bixenon projectors. Without these, you lose your high beam. The Morimoto Mini H1 is the most commonly used projector due to its compact size and impressive output.

If anyone has anymore questions, feel free to ask and I'll be more than happy to assist you. I'll also update this thread with links, pics, and more info as I think about it.



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Re: So you want HID lights on your bike? Do it the right way!

Post  Zero on Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:02 am

Great info! I've been wanting to do this mod but I have so many other things that need to be done first. I'll get around to this sooner or later.
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