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Discussion Starter #1
I know there has been a lot of discussion on this site re pros & cons of HIDs for the RT. Clearly the HIDs provide superior light for less watts. I have two questions:

(1) Since the HIDs provide brighter light than the Halogen hi-beam, is it feasible to upgrade the hi-beam as well as the lo-beam and sacrifice the "light horn" (flasher) feature? I.e., if the two HIDs are brighter than the stock Halogen hi-beam, I assume there would be few instances to use the Halogen hi-beam.

(2) Are there significant differences in the HID bulbs such that there are "lo-beam" HIDs and "hi-beam" HIDs? If there are such bulbs, then does it make sense to upgrade all 3 headlight bulbs and loose the light horn feature (which I rarely use anyway)?

TIA for your thoughts.

Bob Wood
Oceanside, CA
 

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BeemerBob said:
(1) Since the HIDs provide brighter light than the Halogen hi-beam, is it feasible to upgrade the hi-beam as well as the lo-beam
Threeproblems:

HIDs have a lag time to develop full output -- not ideal for high beam applications.

HIDs *really* don't like being cycled on/off rapidly (or repeatedly) as is normal for high beams (despite your thought you could control yourself to not do this, you will :) ).

HIDs in the high beam position are, IIRC, blatantly illegal.

BeemerBob said:
(2) Are there significant differences in the HID bulbs such that there are "lo-beam" HIDs and "hi-beam" HIDs? If there are such bulbs, then does it make sense to upgrade all 3 headlight bulbs and loose the light horn feature (which I rarely use anyway)?
Even in incandecent headlights, the bulb elements are not signficantly different -- the difference is primarily the design of the reflector and lens, and the location of the light-generating element in the reflector/lens "system." In theory you could replace all the beams, except for the problems noted above. I also believe you will need the high beam more than you think -- even with a greater light output from a HID low beam, the low beam light distribution pattern (assuming you've taken the time to install a HID bulb which properly locates the light plasma at *exactly* the same placed as the stock bulb, so the low beam pattern is still the same) can't cover the area above the light cutoff that a high beam illuminates.

Not to mention that the R12RT would be a PITA to put three HIDs in, given the lack of any maneuvering room behind the fairing.

Can you tell I don't believe high HIDs are a good idea, let alone a good idea on this bike? :D
 

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mneblett said:
HIDs *really* don't like being cycled on/off rapidly (or repeatedly) as is normal for high beams (despite your thought you could control yourself to not do this, you will :) )
They may not "like" it but they are effectively cycled rapidly every time the bike is started. The key is turned on, the lights light, the starter is pushed everything shuts off then lights again. Seems like a brutal cycle, but they accept it.

As an alternative to "flashing" brights, I find it just as easy to use the start button to turn off the main headlight momentarily. Doesn't seem to bother anything. I don't know if the RT is set up similar to an LT in this regard so YMMV.
 

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When I replaced my lows with HIDs I put in a mild overwattage high beam halogen bulb (Osram 65 watts vs the standard 55). Definitely increased light yet no problems with heat.
Since I had read conflicting things about the frequent on-off effects on the ballast I decided not to replace the high beam. Because I like light like a Harley guy likes chrome I did add Hella HID driving lights under the mirrors. Of course with this much light you do have to be careful about aiming. Good luck.
 

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I read somewhere on this forum, that HID lights require a different style reflector than halogen lights. If you look at the new cars and bikes that have HID from the factory, you will see the round shape of the reflectors. The RT is not set up to take advantage of the HID bulbs. It makes sense to check out OEM HID configurations before making the expensive jump to HID conversion.
 

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An HID in the high beam is going to have an annoing drawback- very obnoxious reflectivity off highway signs, especially the big ones on interstates.

In general, though more expensive, it is both more effective and more flexible to add accessory lights. THere are a variety of lamps that can be hung on the BMR brackets (not just the little PIAA 100s they are usually shown with), for example.

Beware HIDs that do not use standard capsules. Some of the bulbs out there are 3rd rate junk and essentially indoor bulbs (that can get water inside) with some sort of custom HID thing substituted for a halogen bulb. An example of this is all of the TrailTech HID stuff that I can guarantee has no reliabilty and fairly poor output for a 30W HID (due to poor reflector design of the indoor type housing)

Another thing to remember about HIDs is that the further into the blue you push the color temp, the worse depth perception will become, the more glare will increase especially as fog or sign reflections. There is a reason stock type HIDs are in the 4100-4200K range, not higher.

All my cars are HID, one converted by putting true HID optics into its halogen type housing. I have found no need to use HIDs on my RT that sees plenty of distance night riding in the country including in wet weather. It has 5, 65 W Osrams up front (2 are in a pair of Hella FF50s) and those are plenty adequate.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks to all for your responses. The collective wisdom on this site is invaluable and I appreciate the time you folks take to respond.

Bob Wood
 

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I envy you guys that can use high beams enough to have a discussion about them. I've had my RT over two years, 31K miles, and commute 65 miles each way to and from work. Winter time it's dark in the morning and dark in the evening. Because of all the traffic we have here in California I doubt that I have 60 minutes total with the high beam lit up. Feasible/wise or not, there just wouldn't be any return for converting the high beam bulb for me.

JayJay
 

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My outlaws, Hibbard and Sharon Williams, live in Davis. When I visited them last summer, cruising around the area and doing some dark hours riding, I found very little use for high beams or any kind of aux lighting. You're correct, if you're in that environment, added lighting is mostly not used.

That said, if you plan to travel outside that local area any distance, that added lighting will most certainly come into play.

As to HID high beams, unless you run H4's and are adding a bi-xenon capsule, don't. As noted above, warm-up time is a bigger issue than you think it will be in practice.
 

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I ride 4 or 5,000 miles or so over winter , mostly in the dark here in the UK.

I now run a 65w Osram in both dips, same in High beam + a pair of FF50 with the same 65w bulbs in to supplement the high beam.

It all works very well.

hth
\v/
 

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I converted my low-beams to HID. It does take several seconds for them to warm up fully. At least they stay on at high-beam.

I also have a side-mounted Hella HID light connected to my high-beam switch (made by Touratech). It seems to take much less time to warm up fully (when I turn on the high-beams the yellowish stock high-beam disappears almost immediately amid the white "sun" of the Hella HID, which instantly overpowers it). I'm thinking it's the ballast design perhaps?
 
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