Ever since I installed HID light kits on my all modern bikes, I had to have them on all my vintage bikes. Just for the safety factor that cars can see you much better in the daytime is huge, but at night, these lights illuminate the road like daytime. This is one of the best benefits to do this mod. I sat on the side of the road one day in the daylight, and I observed my two friends coming up the road about 2 miles away. My one friend had just upgraded his Valkyrie head lamp to a HID. The other rider was on, at the time, a brand new 2009 BMW K bike with a halogen light. You couldn’t see the BMW rider at all, but you could see the HID bike from 2 miles away, easily. That always stuck in my mind as a safety factor.
You can buy HID kits that have either a 55 watt or a 35 watt system. For most vintage applications you want to choose a 35 watt kit. MOST late 60’s through 70’s Japanese vintage motorcycles had a stock 30 watt low beam and 35 watt high beam incident light. The 35w bulb will not harm the lighting system, and it also burns cooler than the stock bulb did.
This is my Mag Light alongside my stock head light on my 1974 Kawasaki Triple S3 400. You can see the Mag Light is brighter than the 400’s head lamp.
I needed an H4 headlight for the new HID bulb to work, so I bought a repro 6″ headlight from Speed Moto. (http://www.speedmotoco.com/) I had the rear of the bucket powder coated semi-gloss black to match the stock Kawasaki’s. It looks almost identical the OEM light Kawasaki used.
Insulate the ears with rubber washer/gasket.
Depending on the headlight bucket, sometimes the stock oval stem mount/bushing will fit right in. On this application I had to slightly modify the installation and just bolted the steam right on.
These kits are usually plug and play, with the entire kit plugging into the stock 3 prong headlight plug. For this particular application, I did have to tap into the stock black/red stripe high beam wire. Of course, any HID system can only be used on a 12 volt motorcycle system.
When you install the bulb it has a reflection shield. Some kits tell you to remove them. Depending on the glass lens, I might leave them in so the light stays more focused.
I chose a kit from DDMtuning.com. It’s made for motorcycles, and has a small ballast you can usually hide, in most cases in the head light buckets. The motorcycle kit also comes with longer wires so you can tie the rest of the wires on the frame under the tank. I choose 8000k color, its white light with a tinge of a blue hugh is found on most high end cars. I also chose a single bulb that achieves high and low beams from a servo on the back of the light that spins in and out when the high beam switch is used.
The new light is installed. It looks OEM; the old light is in my hand… you can’t tell the difference.
One thing I always do is adjust the light just a fraction down and to the right. Some people assume because you don’t have a HID projector you’re going to blind oncoming traffic. I find that this is not the case at all. I do test each of my bikes and have my brother ride it at night as I pass it in the opposite direction in my car to make sure it won’t blind anyone.
If you would never change an original part on your classic bike I understand, just save the old headlight bucket and put it back on when you sell it. In the meantime, ride safer with the latest headlight technology.