I received a PM from a member and felt like my answer might benefit all so here it is with the member's id removed (hope I'm not being too austentacious (sp?):
XXXX wrote on 12-12-2003 08:58 PM:
You said that Motolight bulbs could be found in Home Depot, etc. But PIAA couldn't. I'm trying to decide which added light set to install on a new purchase, R1150RT, or if to go with HID. I haven't looked into HID yet. Just the difference in bulb cost would keep me from the PIAA if theirs is $45 or so. What advice or comments can you provide me? My email is XXXX Thanks for anything you can comment about.
I know that the PIAA bulb's are pretty expensive, I think they are at least that much but can't say first hand. Some guys swear by them. As for HID, I did some "light" research on the internet into HID conversions, headlights, etc. There are some very technical sites out there that show that a lot of the conversions are rip-offs and that the normal headlight housing is unsuitable for HID's. This is all mainly in reference to automobiles but I think can safely be extropolated to bikes as well. As for a complete HID unit, there are also a lot of "faux" HID's out there along with some questionable marketing schemes in relation to blue lights etc. To make a long story short, apparent brightness has little to do with actual output of lumens. One light may appear to be brighter when you stand in front of it simply because it glares more instead of focusing the light where you need it. Also, there is a big difference in directing focused light far ahead and spreading out the light to provide "fill" light in the short and medium distances. I wish I could remember some of the sites I found all this on but they are on another computer (surely not at work! . I hope this helps but what it really does is show you how complex the issue really is. The backing of warranties by both PIAA and MOTOLIGHTS seem to be about on par with one another if you just read the posts on line. I like the ability to repair on the road just in case so I went with the MOTOLIGHT. My big need wasn't for long range light (02 R1100SBX), which I felt was more than adequate on my bike, but for fill lighting in the hard corners when I am really leaned over and the forward light cutoff seems like it is about 10 feet out in front of me because of the angle!