By upgrading to an LED headlight, you can improve both your safety and the look of your BMW G650GS. I recently installed an LED headlight on my G650GS, and it wasn’t all smooth sailing! Don’t worry though, I’m going to share the ups and downs of the installation with you.
We’ll go over how to install it, what you’ll need, and how to get over the hurdles you’ll encounter along the way. We’ll also look at some before and after riding footage to see the difference the upgrade makes.
In the past I’ve made videos on the top 10 reasons why you should buy a BMW G650GS, a comparison of the BMW G650GS with Honda CB500X, and my top 3 suggestions for mods to this motorcycle. Today, it’s time to upgrade our lighting.
Before we get started
If this headlight works as well as it looks, I think it won’t just improve night time riding and visibility on the BMW G650GS I think it’ll improve the motorcycle’s overall aesthetics too. Here’s what you need to know before we begin:
The LED headlight does not come with instructions. Not surprising considering it was made in China by a company I’ve never heard of before, but still disappointing.
I always recommend bench testing any new motorcycle electronics before installation. I’ve already written an article and made a video on how to bench test your motorcycle headlight. It’s a good habit to get into before you start taking things apart, just in case your new part is faulty.
What you’ll need:
LED HEADLIGHT: https://ebay.us/lnhhoi
DRL Adapter (optional): https://amzn.to/3DV7MWu
Crimping tool, connectors + heatshrink: https://amzn.to/3S9tlag
Heat gun: https://amzn.to/3dIQ3ab
Installing an LED headlight on your BMW G650GS
To start, you’ll simply remove the two T30 Torx bolts that hold the factory headlight housing in place. Then you can unplug the H4 connector and pull out the daytime running light. You can then pull the small running light out of the socket and put it aside.
The seller promised that the LED upgrade headlight would easily plug and play in the existing G650GS harness. On first inspection of the LED unit you’ll see an H4 headlight, but then you’ll the connector for the daytime running light coming out of the LED doesn’t fit the connector coming out of the BMW’s wiring harness.
At this point the fastest solution is to cut your BMW factory harness and just splice the wires together. That would eliminate the two incompatible connectors. I don’t like cutting factory harnesses up, and part of the appeal of this unit was that it was advertised as plug and play, so I reached out to the seller for a solution. Unfortunately, the seller’s solution was to issue me a partial refund of $45.
How to make this upgrade truly plug and play
My solution for making this plug-and-play and easy to swap back and forth is this DRL Adapter. It comes with two wires you can crimp to the wires coming out of the LED headlight. The other end will plug right into the BMW G650GS’ harness. You can watch the video to see how I connected everything. I used connectors with heatshrink ends to make it fast and easy work. You may want to cut a couple inches of wiring off as you end up with a lot of slack.
I wanted to create a plug-and-play solution to the LED upgrade because I may be exporting the BMW overseas, where it may need to be inspected and have a compliant, factory original light. I wanted to leave the possibility of quickly reinstalling the stock headlight, even if I was overseas without access to all of my tools.
Mounting the headlight is tricky
Mounting the new LED headlight is tricky because the hardware that comes with the headlight is too big and there is also nothing to keep it from falling out of place. We’ll deal with these two issues separately.
First, the nuts supplied with the new LED light are too big to fit in the space they’re supposed to. I filed down a couple milimeters and after that it slid in place.
The second problem is that the original BMW headlight has an extra piece of plastic to hold the nut in place. The new unit does not. So even when you get the nut in place, it just wants to fall out when you hit it with the bolt. To hold it in place, use tape to seal the sides so the nut can’t fall out. Without tape it will be almost impossible. The tape only needs to last long enough to get the bolt into the nut firmly.
Note: You could also try using the original BMW hardware and see if those nuts and bolts work better for you. If you do, please leave a comment and let me know if that worked out well so I know for next time.
Plugging in the headlight
At this point in your BMW G650GS LED headlight upgrade, it’s time to start putting things back together. Plug in the H4 plug and plug in the daytime running light plug. You’ll notice the daytime running light projects a bit of a blue light. This could get you into trouble as in some places, blue lights are reserved for emergency vehicles only. However, I think the white “angel eye” around it drowns out the blue enough that it isn’t too noticeable.
Then you’ll just have to tighten up the bolts to hold the headlight in position. Unfortunately, it seems a bit smaller than the original so it leaves you with a strange gap around the headlight.
Note: In an upcoming video I’ll show you guys how to properly point your motorcycle headlight so it isn’t aimed too high or too low. Be sure to subscribe to the newsletter (in the sidebar) or subscribe to YouMotorcycle on YouTube if you’d like to see that.
Testing and thoughts on the LED headlight upgrade
The BMW G650GS certainly looks much more modern now. The LED angel eye looks particularly good on a white G650GS though the blue light could get you into trouble. Overall, while the build quality, packaged hardware, lack of instructions, and lack of real plug-and-play functionality wasn’t great, the lighting was actually pretty good.
Riding at night
Right away I can tell that the new BMW G650GS led headlight upgrade cast lighting both brighter and wider. The original headlight on the G650GS was very narrow in comparison. Not only was the brightness improved but the light spread was definitely a welcome improvement.
At first I couldn’t tell the difference between my high beam and my low beam. As I adjusted my headlight this improved, though maybe not as noticeable as on the original.
Do I recommend this product so far?
I really appreciate the look of this LED headlight unit. I also recognize that it does project brighter light than the original unit did. The same results could probably be achieved from simply replacing the original H4 bulb with an LED H4 bulb, which is a modification I do quite often. While you do pay more for installing an entire new headlight unit, it can often make a striking difference in appearance.
The reality is that the build of this headlight unit shows a lack of thought. You don’t get instructions, but you get hardware that doesn’t fit. You get improved lighting, but that includes a colored light which may be illegal where you live. Finally, you get a unit that’s designed specifically for your motorcycle, but that still leaves a weird gap all around it when the original didn’t.
You don’t need to spend so much money to upgrade your safety. A really good H4 LED bulb would probably have a similar effect. The lack of thought put into the BMW G650GS LED headlight will leave you disappointed and scratching your head, but if you want to improve both what you can see, and how your G650GS looks, this is the upgrade for you.