OUT WITH THE OLD – IN WITH THE NEW
Last September, I swapped my old Harley-Davidson 1200S Sportster for a Harley-Davidson SuperGlide Sport 1450. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that Sporty, but as I am an inch and a half short of being six feet tall, I did find it just a little short in the chassis for me sometimes. Anyway, I had always wanted a SuperGlide, but they don’t make them anymore and those who were astute enough to buy one when they did, seem to have kept them! So when the opportunity presented itself to exchange my rare-for-the-UK, 1200S Import for what is in fact the bike of my dreams, well… It was a no-brainer!
Having duly rode it around to confirm my initial thoughts on this beautiful machine, I photographed it and sent the pics to Adrian (YouMotorcycle‘s editor).
He noticed that the bike still had it’s original headlamp and asked me if I had considered doing an LED conversion. He even sent me the appropriate link to a few kits on Amazon. Having taken the details off Amazon, I found one on Ebay; new, unused. Grand total: a mere twenty five of her most Britannic Majesty’s Pounds!(Plus £4.49 P&P). So of course, I bought it! And then…
OUT WITH THE OLD HEADLIGHT
As you can see from the above picture, the SuperGlide’s original H4 lamp is rather yellowish and though generally quite adequate, it wasn’t exactly what you might call “brilliant”!
Taking another of Adrian’s tips (from his V-Rod headlight upgrade), I placed a bunched up cloth over the front mudguard during the removal/installation process. Firstly to protect the paintwork on the mudguard and secondly to catch and small fiddly screws or nuts! Good job I did, as the retaining ring has a small nut which dropped neatly into the cloth, as opposed to God-knows-where on the garage floor!
The whole process took about 25 minutes. It wasn’t quite “plug-and-play” as here in the UK we have a little bulb at the base of the headlight which the LED conversion has no place for. I merely unplugged the bulb holder and isolated it’s two wires, then taped them to the back of the headlight shell, out of the way. Then, it was…
Editor’s note: If you wanted to simply replace the standard H4 headlight with an LED bulb, that’s possible too. Here’s how we replaced the standard incadescent H4 stock headlight with an LED light bulb on a Vespa.
IN WITH THE NEW LED HEADLIGHT
Re-assembly was quite straightforward, though I did drop that pesky little nut again before I got the screw to bite!
That was pretty much the story so far. Winter came and not being one for riding in unpleasant conditions, I did take her out a few times, but not in darkness. As Spring came, I went out during the daytimes again.
Then, nearly six weeks ago, I fractured my left knee (again!). It is in fact a VERY old motorcycle injury from 40 years ago. Seems a dormant old bone fragment decided to have a little roam around and jammed itself in the hinge part of the joint whilst I was out walking the dogs. The knee locked, I stepped forward, then; pain like I hadn’t known since the original injury, as the top of the shinbone fractured across-wise.
Five weeks later, I am back on my feet, back at work and once again, (defying medical advice), riding! (It has been my experience that Doctors simply do not like anybody riding motorcycles)!
So, I finally got the bike out on a Sunset ride and tried that LED headlight!
As I discovered, it isn’t called the “Daymaker” for nothing! Allowing for the fact that the camera on my Samsung Galaxy S6 doesn’t “see” as well as I do in the dark, in the picture below, the distance from the headlight lens to the back of my Driving School car is a measured 40 feet. This was taken with the headlight on dipped beam.
The next photo is from the same position, but with the headlamp on high beam. The garden fence is exactly 14 feet further on from the back of my car and is six feet tall.
Which is great, but how does this translate into nocturnal riding vision? Fortunately, I have some lovely country lanes around here which make for the perfect testing ground!
So this is the new LED “Daymaker” headlight low beam:
And this, is new LED “Daymaker” headlight high beam:
Pretty impressive, huh?!! The brilliant white light renders stark detail of the road ahead, making cornering a breeze. Nobody coming the from the opposite direction appeared to be dazzled or blinded by the headlight, but I am inclined to think that there may be a lot of Rabbits in this locale who are now running around with white canes and dark glasses!
$64,000 question: Would I change it back to the original H4 lamp? Seriously? What do you think?!!!
Thanks for the original suggestion, Adrian! The Daymaker, in my opinion, is a clear winner!
Smiling through every nocturnal curve,
Somewhere on a country lane,