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Thread: R1100S Headlight Bulbs

  1. #1
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    R1100S Headlight Bulbs

    Thinking of replacing the bulbs on my 2000. Looking around I see "blue" light, "white" light, extreme white lights.
    Which works best? What's the latest trend?
    What can be used without melting the wiring?
    Plug and play.

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    As long as the operating wattage is the same you should be OK.
    I run white. Blue gets my local LEO's all crossed up.

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    I replaced my standard H1 and H7 with a Sylvania Xtravision and am very happy with the results going on two years now.
    Last edited by BC1100S; 08-01-2013 at 04:33 PM. Reason: Additional info

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    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    Beware of the super whites, they accomplish this by using thinner elements that burn hotter, and have a tendency to be more brittle and prone to vibration failure.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
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    Thanks, been looking at Osram bulbs from Wunderlich and PIAA Xtreme form Twisted Throttle.
    The PIAA's are about double $, trying to decide if worth it. But if it's more fragile...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wuzred View Post
    Thanks, been looking at Osram bulbs from Wunderlich and PIAA Xtreme form Twisted Throttle.
    The PIAA's are about double $, trying to decide if worth it. But if it's more fragile...
    The Xtravision bulb I'm using has a 3200k brightness so I wouldn't term it a "superwhite". As well, these bulbs are so cheap and simple to change its not like its the end of the world if it burns out on you - as do all bulbs eventually. I think I paid $25 for 2.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pffog View Post
    Beware of the super whites, they accomplish this by using thinner elements that burn hotter, and have a tendency to be more brittle and prone to vibration failure.
    I would second this in principle.

    Yes, Sylvania (at Wahmarx) offers 4 or 5 different brightnesses of the H7 - I'm using a Silverstar but what I do is I run the extra bright one in the shell but my spare is a conventional cheap bulb. These are nearly indestructable. The Silverstars last about a year and quit suddenly.

    Edit: (I have an RT. Don't know if it matters.)

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    I wanted to mention - I have not looked at the PIAA bulb but at one time I did consider a Philips Xtreme 80/100 in H4 form.
    (The RT has only one bulb, an H4)
    (stock is 55/60)
    Philips says this thing is 80% brighter.
    I won't show my work unless you just insist, but I figured out that with the stock 18 gauge wiring, the additional current draw causes a voltage drop at the bulb, which (because of the way bulb filaments work) causes a 2% drop in brightness.
    So, what you really get is a 65% brighter headlight (still not bad) and your wiring makes heat at 2W.
    That's not a showstopper by any means, but with the added cost and fragility of the bulb you might consider a 30% or 50% brighter bulb that still runs 55/60 W - first.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by scott.lambert View Post
    The Silverstars last about a year and quit suddenly.
    Don't they all quit suddenly?

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    Registered User SeabeckS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Don't they all quit suddenly?
    Yup...but my personal experience with Silverstars is they have a very short life. Perhaps better now than a few years back when I gave them a test run in my Duc 900SP, F-150, and Prelude VTEC. In each of those applications had failures within a year to year and a half. Liked the whiter light, but placed some value on my bank account too!

    Followed a number of "light" threads for awhile, and saw most positive comments about Osram bulbs for performance and durability.

    YMMV!

    Bill Johnston

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    Day Dreaming ... happy wanderer's Avatar
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    I bought an IPF H4 "Super Low Beam" which my RT which seemed like a good idea since it has a few more watts on low beam and gives up a few on high beam which I rarely if ever used anyway. It was noticeably brighter than stock and worked pretty good. Supposed to be "rugged" and all that but it only lasted a year or so. I contacted the vendor who said they would contact the manufacturer and heard nothing back from either of them on how long it should have lasted. I thought $35 (on sale) was spendy for a bulb with such a short life so I put the used stock bulb back in and it is still working two years later.

    I hear good things about the PIAA anti vibration line of bulbs. Stock wattage and bit more pricey but they supposedly last quite a bit longer as they are purpose built for bikes. Not sure if the claims are proven or not though.

    Lots of marketing hoopla on bike bulbs and I suspect you are probably well served by a regular H4 automotive bulb like the Sylvania.
    MJM - BeeCeeBeemers Motorcycle Club Vancouver B.C.
    '81 R80G/S, '82 R100RS, '00 R1100RT

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC1100S View Post
    Don't they all quit suddenly?
    Well they do seem to quit suddenly in the RT, but in the cars they seem to last 12 years or so and then start to get dim.
    Replacing those is always gratifying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeabeckS View Post
    Yup...but my personal experience with Silverstars is they have a very short life. Perhaps better now than a few years back when I gave them a test run in my Duc 900SP, F-150, and Prelude VTEC. In each of those applications had failures within a year to year and a half. Liked the whiter light, but placed some value on my bank account too!

    Followed a number of "light" threads for awhile, and saw most positive comments about Osram bulbs for performance and durability.

    YMMV!

    Yeah the Silverstars are just "there" whenever I need one it seems, I'm paying for the convenience. And to Sylvania's credit they don't make it any secret that the lifetime is shorter, they have a graph on the back of the package comparing the different grades.

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    So far this thread is incomplete or misleading.

    The R1100S uses an H-1 low beam main bulb with projector optics and and H-7 high beam in a reflector.

    The H-1 is the very earliest halogen lamp bulb and has many flaws addressed in later designs. Its strength is that it has an axial filament, unlike the H-3 which is also a very old design. The problems are that it is in a small envelope which is prone to getting metal coated inside, reducing output a lot, and to vibration breakage due to poor filament support. It also grounds through the shell, something dropped from all modern halogen designs. The H-7 in fact exists to address shortcomings of the H-1- it has a larger envelope and better filament support. Why BMW didn't use the superior H-7 in the low beam also isn't obvious.

    There are few bulb choices to replace an H-1 and no really good ones re increased output or whatever. The best choice for the lo beam is either a good 55W std bulb or an HID conversion. HID conversions generally work pretty well in projector optics. Its very easy to change the H-1 on the R1100S and spares can be carried taped in bubble wrap or similar- and should be- note the vibration failure issue.

    In general, the low beam of the stock R1100S is poor so a lighting upgrade to the bike could be in order but there are few really neat solutions for doing it- not a lot of good mounting positions without drilling fairings, etc. Wunderlich has a kit to mount a single 55W H-3 halogen Microflooter right on the fork bridge with an adapter mount- it looks like it could be modified to carry a pair of small LED types as an alternate.

    Re the High beam, the highest output H-7 is the 65W Osram (2100 lumens vs 1500 stock} and it can be run on stock wiring with normal bulb life. Higher wattage H-7s have less or equal output at more current and cannot be run on stock wiring. I don't understand why anyone would want whiter/bluer high beams- they create increased glare back from road signs and are worse at spotting animals in vegetation. This can be offset by enough increased output but there are no good options for that in H-7. So called +50, +80 or +90 bulbs are in fact a marketing scam- derived from a single high point measurement in a beam with altered shape- and have shorter than stock life.

  15. #15
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    Seriously, if you want BRIGHT light, that is incredibly reliable, go with a quality HID unit and just forget about any lighting hassles at all. I went with Polarion units from XenonDepot about 9 years ago. In ~90,000 miles I have replaced not one item in the system, and have an incredible amount of light output (approx. 200 Wts per bulb, drawing only 35 wts current).
    The R11S lens is ideally suited for HID bulbs (not all are), and seems to actually be designed to run HIDs.
    I think they're running about $280 for a set of hi & lo right now.

    Just do it, you will be ecstatically happy that you did so. Certainly one of the best items I've bought for my bike.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

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