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Thread: Brightest/whitest non-HID high beam bulb?

  1. #1
    swilson143
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    Arrow Brightest/whitest non-HID high beam bulb?

    So after taking my bike out for a spin with the new HID low beams and PIAAs, my high beam is looking dim and yellow. I don't want to go HID for my high beam... so who makes the brightest & whitest replacement high beam bulb?

    I used those SilverStars on my R1150RT and they weren't bad at all... just want to know if there is something ever brighter available. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Unfunded content provider tommcgee's Avatar
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    The Silverstars are about as good as it gets for standard bulbs. I've also tried some of the super PIAAs, and the only real difference was a color shift towards blue. Phillips also has some good bulbs, but there isn't a whole lot of difference between any of them.
    Salty Fog Rally 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 And DRAT! Missed the last one in 2015!

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  3. #3
    Registered User mervingry's Avatar
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    Philip X-treme power

    I'm very pleased with the Philips X-treme Power. The light is very white (not blue), thus providing good night vision. Check this link

    http://www.nam.lighting.philips.com/...tremepower.php

  4. #4
    Registered User ANDYVH's Avatar
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    I installed a PIAA Extreme H4 bulb (the violet color) in my 94 R1100RS and was surprised by the much more useable visible night-riding improvement. I feel it was a much better result than all the 80/100 watt standard bulbs I tried.
    Get trained! The best "performance" upgrade you can get is YOU. Visit msf-usa.org for training info.

  5. #5
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    I'd suggest visiting Powerbulbs in the UK (www.powerbulbs.com) - and see what they offer in your bulb type (no bike mentioned so hard to say) in Osram Silverstar (much different from the Sylvania Silverstar sold in the US) or the Philips Visionplus. Both are legitimate +50% brightness without an intolerable loss in longevity. Neither are sold in the US (they are too bright for DOT regulations.) Both draw the same power as your stock bulb so you won't be overloading the wiring (which can result in less light due to voltage drop and eventual darkening of the quartz envelope due to running at lower temperatures.) Shipping from Powerbulbs is free - and typically takes less than a week in my experience. I just wish they had a Visionplus in an H11 form factor..

    In general - blue is not a desireable feature in headlights. Aside from backscatter caused by the shorter wavelength light, most blue bulbs achieve the color by using a filter - which removes useful light.

    DISCLAIMERS: I have nothing to do with Powerbulbs except as a satisfied customer. I do know a tiny bit about light due to spending 20 years at Bell Labs doing basic research on the properties of light. There are other people who undoubtably know more.. YMMV and I'm sure some people will disagree with what I say - that's fine. You're entitled..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  6. #6
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    Hi Don,

    Osram silverstars from Powerbulbs are on sale now ....two for the price of one......H7's.
    They include free shipping also. Thought it would take forever from across the pond but was less than a week.
    Bill Kenney
    Foster,RI

  7. #7
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAST54 View Post
    Hi Don,

    Osram silverstars from Powerbulbs are on sale now ....two for the price of one......H7's.
    They include free shipping also. Thought it would take forever from across the pond but was less than a week.
    Hi Bill! Good deal on the 2 for 1.. and it has never taken me more than a week to get stuff from them. Wish they had an H11 Silverstar..
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  8. #8
    swilson143
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAST54 View Post
    Hi Don,

    Osram silverstars from Powerbulbs are on sale now ....two for the price of one......H7's.
    They include free shipping also. Thought it would take forever from across the pond but was less than a week.
    Awesome... I went with these, so I'll have a spare sitting on the shelf if the first one burns out... and to sweeten the deal a little more, all orders of 10 (I guess would be pounds?) gets a free 2-pack of W5 bulbs... they are tinted blue, but the description I read said they appear as bright white when on. So I can get rid of my yellow looking side lights for free

  9. #9
    Dances With Sheep GREGFEELER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    I'd suggest visiting Powerbulbs in the UK (www.powerbulbs.com) - and see what they offer in your bulb type (no bike mentioned so hard to say) in Osram Silverstar (much different from the Sylvania Silverstar sold in the US) or the Philips Visionplus. Both are legitimate +50% brightness without an intolerable loss in longevity. Neither are sold in the US (they are too bright for DOT regulations.) Both draw the same power as your stock bulb so you won't be overloading the wiring (which can result in less light due to voltage drop and eventual darkening of the quartz envelope due to running at lower temperatures.) Shipping from Powerbulbs is free - and typically takes less than a week in my experience. I just wish they had a Visionplus in an H11 form factor..

    In general - blue is not a desireable feature in headlights. Aside from backscatter caused by the shorter wavelength light, most blue bulbs achieve the color by using a filter - which removes useful light.

    DISCLAIMERS: I have nothing to do with Powerbulbs except as a satisfied customer. I do know a tiny bit about light due to spending 20 years at Bell Labs doing basic research on the properties of light. There are other people who undoubtably know more.. YMMV and I'm sure some people will disagree with what I say - that's fine. You're entitled..


    Don,
    What do you know about the (apparently) new Osram Nightbreaker bulbs? They claim up to a +90% increase in light output vs the +50 of the Phillips Visionplus.

    http://www.powerbulbs.com/product_detail.asp?prod=112

    I did just order the two-for-one deal on some K4's for the older K-bikes, but am very interested in better bulbs for the K1200RS.
    Greg Feeler
    Ambassador & amateur K-Bike collector, it seems
    1972 R75/5, 1990 K75, 1990 K1, 1992 K75S, 2003 K1200RS

  10. #10
    On the Road
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregFeeler View Post
    Don,
    What do you know about the (apparently) new Osram Nightbreaker bulbs? They claim up to a +90% increase in light output vs the +50 of the Phillips Visionplus.
    I have no experience with these new Osrams, but I note that they are a lot cheaper here: http://store.candlepower.com/bconibr90ulh3.html

    Powerbulbs provide good service but their prices are often much higher than elsewhere.

  11. #11
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregFeeler View Post
    Don,
    What do you know about the (apparently) new Osram Nightbreaker bulbs? They claim up to a +90% increase in light output vs the +50 of the Phillips Visionplus.

    http://www.powerbulbs.com/product_detail.asp?prod=112

    I did just order the two-for-one deal on some K4's for the older K-bikes, but am very interested in better bulbs for the K1200RS.
    Greg - I know nothing about them.. haven't bought any and haven't measured them. I expect they do put out more light than the Visionplus bulbs, at the expense of a shorter life (there is no free lunch syndrome..)

    Since you're getting some I'd be interested in your impression of them. Do remember that any new bulb is likely to be brighter than an old bulb (and especially so if the old bulb is burned out.. )
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders
    '12 R1200R - I love this bike!

  12. #12
    Registered User marcopolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLAST54 View Post
    Hi Don,

    Osram silverstars from Powerbulbs are on sale now ....two for the price of one......H7's.
    They include free shipping also. Thought it would take forever from across the pond but was less than a week.

    I bought four H-7 Osram Silverstar bulbs from Powerbulbs a few months back. I replaced both low beams on my R12RT with them. Unfortunately, both bulbs blew at startup about a month after I installed them. I was about to leave on a month-long trip, so I did not install the two remaining Silverstar bulbs, but used standard GE H-7 bulbs from an auto parts store. They're still working just fine. I don't know why the Osrams blew, but I'm a little gun shy about putting them in again, especially given that it's a bit of a PITA to replace bulbs on the R12T.
    Mark
    2015 R 1200 GS Adventure

  13. #13
    Nutfarm
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    Don, is quite right about the blue filters on some of the aftermarket lamps, they filter out the reds, and yellows and make the light they emit quite white, whitch makes them look brignter, I'm talking about simular wattage lamps. Our eyes generally see red and yellow better. At night, a standard lamp will give better defination than one with a blue filter, and with less fatgue to the eyes. High wattage lamps are a different matter, more watts= more light. Fog lamp lenses in Europe are yellow, shooting glasses are yellow because of the added defination, yellow lenses are not legal in the US except for turn, and parking lamps.

    Ken G.

  14. #14
    Looking at the Daniel Stern lighting site, I see that a H9 65w lamp may happily fit into an H11 connector. The H9, with its extra 1300 or so lumens, would be a great replacement for the H11 in the "high beam" position of the R1200R headlamp. Here is Daniel's description of each lamp:

    H11:
    These new single-filament 55w bulbs are quickly supplanting HB4/9006 in new low-beam headlamp and fog lamp designs. (They are not physically interchangeable with any 9000-series bulb!) As is the case with other bulb familiesÔÇösuch as 9004/9007, 9005/9006, etc.ÔÇöthe H11 has different base keys than its H9 high-beam and H8 fog lamp counterparts.

    Somebody goofed on the spec, though, for the difference between H11 and H9 base keys is insufficient; it's too easy to install an H9 bulb where an H11 belongs. The difference in light output between these two designs is enormous (1350 lumens from the H11, 2100 from the H9), so putting an H9 in place of an H11 will obviously cause the lamp to produce a lot more light.

    Some lamps are designed such that the optics would handle the extra light well, without creating excessive glare for other road users. Many, however, are not. As with H8 and H9, H11 bulbs are not widely available in the aftermarket.

    H9:
    These new single-filament 65w bulbs are rapidly gaining popularity amongst automakers for use primarily in high-beam headlamps, often in conjunction with H11 bulbs for the low beams. H9 is an extremely high output design (2100 lumens) with an extremely white light color.
    H9 bulbs are not physically interchangeable with any 9000-series bulb. As with H8 and H11, these are currently tough to find in the aftermarket.

    It looks like there are three outstanding questions:

    1. Will an H9 really fit into the R1200R H11 connector?
    2. Will the extra 15 watts upset the Canbus system?
    3. Will the extra heat cause trouble or will it be dissipated by the large headlamp?

    Seems like a great experiment in lighting for a willing R1200R owner!

    Happy riding!

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