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K1200 Aftermarket Xenon Headlight Bulb Installation


What, me worry?
The articles, posts and comments in this tech section are posted by individual members and reflect their personal thoughts and experiences with repairing, maintaining, and generally working on motorcycles. This information may require specific knowledge and skills, may or may not be correct or current to model.

The authors of information found here and the BMW MOA take no responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of any information (including procedures, techniques, parts numbers, torque values, tool usage, etc.), or further for any damage of any kind or injuries incurred or caused by anyone following the instructions or information found here.

It is the duty of the individual to either assume the liability himself for responsibly using the information found here, or to take the bike or accessory to a Dealer or other qualified professional service."

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This DIY article is for the replacement of the stock H7 low beam bulb with an HID (High Intensity Discharge) Xenon bulb with accompanying components.

The article may also help in installations in other types and brands of motorcycles in it's basic steps.

The motorcycle used is my 2007 K1200GT with Halogen headlight.
Beginning in 2008, it is unlikely to not have an OEM Xenon headlight in place, but for the earlier models such as mine, many did not have this option.

There has been much written about the suitability of using an HID bulb in a headlight NOT designed for it.
This is what I did, it worked for me, try it at your own risk
My only hesitation in proceeding is that the factory Xenon headlamp assembly has a cylindrical shield inside the headlight which I believe is mainly meant to reduce glare for oncoming traffic. The K1200 owners I have conversed with don't have the impression that this modification has resulted in any unsafe condition.

There are a few extra warnings that should be communicated prior to starting this DIY.

First, without getting into the entire science of how HID works, the voltage at the start up of the Xenon bulb is extreme, 18,000 to 20,000 volts typically. Treat the wiring with all due respect. Watch the wire routing, particularly around any sharp edges. The normal voltage after the bulb stabilizes and is warm is still around 90 volts. The current consumption of the ballast (that's the thing that puts out this massive voltage) is around 35 watts. The stock Halogen bulb consumes 55 watts. So far with my bike and also from reports of other K1200 owners, the aftermarket HID kits don't seem to be causing any electrical malfunctions.

As with Halogen bulbs, you don't want to handle the glass part of the bulb itself, as any dirt or even oil from the skin can reduce bulb life (causes hot spots in the glass).

The Xenon bulb produces roughly 3 times the lumens of a halogen bulb. By all means avoid looking at the bulb when lit, just as you would avoid looking at arc welding being performed. This is especially critical if the bulb is not in it's housing; as a general safety rule I would avoid testing the bulb while not installed in the housing; it's hot, it's bright, and it takes 30 seconds to just install it where it belongs.

Oh, one final thing. There is an outside chance that installing this kit could be a problem with law enforcement. I have not personally heard of a K1200 owner getting ticketed, but it could happen. Probably the most important step to avoid a hassle is to make SURE you have the headlight aimed properly when you are through. The bulb is much brighter and I'm sure we all have experienced the aggravation of too-bright bulbs aimed improperly in the case of oncoming vehicles.

OK then, lets install this bad boy into my bike!
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Here is the kit I purchased on eBay for what I consider to be a real deal.
The seller gives an option on the "color", which is rated in numbers ending in "K" for Kelvin, referred to as the color temperature. (No it doesn't reflect the temperature inside the bulb though, just the color).

I choose a 4300K color, which is a regular white color. Most vehicle manufacturers use this color on the factory Xenon bulbs. Higher numbers than 4300K will start having progressively bluer appearances and higher yet will actually be a purple color. Lower than 4300K will be yellow and even lower will be orange.

Note that this will NOT be the same bulb that a factory option cycle will use. The bulb bases are different. This kit has a bulb that uses an H7 (Halogen) shaped base so it will fit a halogen-equipped headlight.

Kits are available to replace different halogen bulbs. With many of the newer bikes, seperate bulbs are used forlow and high beam. This is ideal for installing a Xenon kit. I have not studied what happens if you have a single bulb for low and high beams. First thought is that you now have no low beam, as there is no such thing as a dual range Xenon bulb. There are setups called "BiXenon" which typically involve an electrical solenoid which operates a "shutter" to shield specific areas around the bulb. My recommendation would be to only consider this modification if your cycle uses a seperate bulb for low beam operation.

The bulb comes encapsulated in a plastic cover. The shiny silver box is the ballast, the part that produces all those volts. The kit I purchased also includes (not shown) a couple different mounting brackets for the ballast.

  • The tools needed: T25 and T30 Torx bit, something to drive the Torx bits, (such as a cordless drill), a bit extender (unless your Torx bits are the long type), a needle nose pliers, a wire cutter (also called side cutters in some circles), a small standard (slotted) screwdriver, an Exacto knife or single-edge razor blade, a small ruler or something to measure the diameter of a hole. For checking the beam adjsutment you will need a suitable area and a tape measure and some tape. A pickup magnet aids in removing recessed screws in a few places.


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Here is a view of the area we will be working in; between the steering head and back of the headlight.

There are a few different strategies in obtaining access, from trying to work in this area without removing ANYTHING, to removing the headlight.

A common approach is sort of a middle-ground. Remove the windshield and windshield adjustment motor to gain a reasonable amount of access. I like this as being a shortcut around removing the entire fairing to be able to remove the headlight, yet have lots of room to be able to be confident the wiring is all properly routed. That's the route I decided to take.


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Getting right to work, first is to remove your windshield. There will be an awful lot of T25 Torx head screws to remove. By all means use a cordless drill if you have one available!

  • I recommend tilting the windshield up as far as it goes.

  • Remove the 3 screws on each side along with the plastic strips.

  • Remove the 3 screws on each side along with the plastic strips. Just watch that you don't lose control of the windshield as you remove the last few screws.


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  • This metal brace simply pulls off by hand.


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Now we need to remove the two brackets that the windshield screws go in to. This is where it really helps to have the windshield tilted all the way up.

There are 2 pins holding each bracket in place.

  • The upper pins have the clips on the outside, and are the type BMW has used for years, which can be easily removed either by hand or with a needle-nose pliers.

  • After removing the upper clips, you can withdraw the upper pins by hand.


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The upper arms are spring loaded. Nothing with a large amount of tension, but just be aware that when you remove a bracket, you will hear the upper arm click down.

In this picture, you'll notice on the side where the bracket is removed, the top arm is in the "down" position. There was no other way for me to prepare you for this without jumping ahead.


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OK, so still removing our first bracket.
After withdrawing the upper pin, I recommend placing the clip you removed on to the same pin. They seem similar, but different lengths. The lower pins are slightly shorter than the upper ones.

  • Now on to the lower pins, they are retained with typical circlips, you will need to pry them off with a small screwdriver. I would assume anyone attempting this would be aware that these little buggers can really do an adios on you, be sure to be prepared to keep it from flying away on you.

  • After removing the circlip, the lower pin can then be extracted and the bracket removed. This is when the upper arm will snap down as I previously mentioned.


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Time to take off a few of the "pretty" parts.

First the spoiler on the top of this image.

  • There are 2 black-headed screws holding this on. Go ahead and remove those screws. The spoiler will come off fairly easily. As you can study in the next picture, there are two square slots on the bottom of this piece, near the pointy barbs on each side, after pulling these out of their holes, the spoiler will then slide down and out.


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  • Now remove the trim panel, you can see the 4 screws easily.

  • You may need to "help" the upper windshield arms through their holes, remember they are spring loaded but not at a very high tension, they will move pretty easily.

  • There are 2 tabs at the top edge of this trim piece also, so you need to begin by moving the trim panel upwards to disengage these tabs. They are located under the two "ear" looking protusions at the top of the trim panel. I will post a picture in the next post.


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Here you can see my thumb holding on to the "ear" on top of the windshield motor trim panel, and the tab facing downwards, which engages into the instrument cluster surround trim. Just pull up on the ears to dislocate those tabs, then the panel can be removed by guiding the panel around the windshield arms.


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With the trim panel removed, we are getting closer to removing the motor mechanism itself, just a few more tricks to show you.

  • First, you need a larger Torx bit, a T30 this time. A couple different things can be used to remove these screws. In the picture I am displaying a bit extension tool. The Torx bit slips in to the end of it and the extension fits in your drill or ratchet, or whatever you are using to spin the bit. You could also find a long bit to use.

Before you dig in, I want to show just a few things that will help you remove those outer 2 screws on top, I'll do that in posts 13 through 15.

The electrical connector for the motor will need to be disconnected as there is very little slack in the wires for the motor, unfortunately.

You can notice the springs in this picture that made the upper arms snap down, just above the 2 pairs of circles at the top.


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  • The removal of these 2 screws will help in getting the motor out, it will help the upper fairing give a little.

With those screws in place the opening is very stiff. You "can" do it, but not worth fighting it and possibly damaging that "cheap plastic" fairing.

  • I also recommend removing the rearview mirrors for the same reason, makes the plastic a little more flexible. I will post a picture of how to do that in my next post, in case you've never had the honor.


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You'll notice the bike is all together in this picture, I didn't think about posting a picture of mirror removal on a GT, but thought, ehhh, why not, maybe someone hasn't done it yet.

  • The mirrors can be pivoted up or down. The screws are Torx T30.

  • Here again it helps to use an extension for the bit, or a long bit, whatever you have.

  • You "should" be able to remove both screws by pivoting up or down, just watch to make sure you don't scratch a mirror arm.

  • I find that if the mirror is pivoted "up" it is easier to get to the front screw, and "down" it is easier to get to the rear screw. But again with a little finesse you can get to both.

  • As with removing the windshield, be careful not to drop the mirror. Although I have noticed the mirror does not seem to want to just "fall" off the bike, it's almost like the mirror has to be pulled directly out of the fairing holes.


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After these last few things have been done, you will find it a little easier to gain access to the top, outer 2 screws that hold the windshield motor down.

It is possible to remove the screws without the extra work.

When removing the motor it's a very tight fit, for that reason I think it's important to remove the mirrors and the extra couple screws. I would recommend doing the work in the last few posts for removing the motor, and will also aid in removing the hard-to-get-at screws.

  • Once the windshield motor screws are removed, it is much easier to remove them from the bike with a pickup magnet.
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By this time you're probably wondering; Is this REALLY a shortcut to just removing the headlight? Yes, yes it is.....

Ok, next we need to unplug the electrical connector for the windshield motor.

The connector is located inside the right side of the fairing (throttle side), in front of where the small storage compartment is. You can access the plug by loosening up the right side of the instrument cluster trim panel.

To be able to pull back on that panel, you need to remove what I call instrument panel bezel, that's the trim piece that actually has the holes in it for the speedometer and tachometer. I'll post a few pictures of this part just to make it easier for you to visualize how the bezel attaches.

  • First there are 2 small Torx screws at the top corners, thay are T20. A T20 screwdriver works excellent for this if you have one, otherwise you will at least need an extension for a T20 bit to get to them.
    I never even removed them, just make sure they are screwed all the way out.


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  • Besides these 2 screws, there are 2 tabs underneath the cluster which just need to be slightly pulled down, then the bezel will be off.

In this picture, my finger is under the cluster area pulling down on the tab and the bezel is coming off, and I will show a few other pictures.

It's really easy once you know where to find the end of the tabs.


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Here is the notch that the tab goes over, there is one on each side. If you look just inside the notch you see the square hole that the tab is locking on to when the bezel is fully in place.


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And finally a picture of the 2 tabs on the bezel.

Sorry the garage is so messy, I have a lot of projects going on now.
I half-figure that by the time the projects are all done, either my GT will have a nice varnish finish or I will have a rocking chair with 152 hp!


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  • Now the 4 screws that I circled can be removed.

On my bike I had 2 different length screws. The ones in front of the storage box were longer than the other 2.
An online parts catalog shows them all as the same size.
I did have the right fairing panel off last winter, so it's possible I messed up, or the catalog is wrong.
Just pay attention and make sure you get your bike back together correctly.

We are almost to that electrical connector.
Hopefully you haven't forgotten why we are taking all this stuff off; the electrical connector for the windshield motor, remember?!

  • Leave the lid for the storage box opened for the next step, it gives us more room.

This is another picture I had to go out and take after I had finished the job, which again explains why the bezel is installed, when in the instructions we just removed it.


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