Roadstar Headlight Options
The Roadstar has a large headlight housing that can accommodate different headlight options. Our Roadstar uses an H4 or 9003 model bulb within a glass reflector housing.
The Halogen light bulb is the standard light bulb style used in the automotive industry for many years. Halogen bulbs utilize a tungsten filament within a quartz glass bulb filled with inert gas. Due to the chemical reactions within the bulb, Halogen bulbs have a significantly longer service life than older traditional style incandescent bulbs.
Our bikes came from the factory with Yamaha OEM Part number 5V2-84314-00-XX. This is a 12v 60/55w watt bulb. The closest bulb to stock is the Sylvania Basic headlight part number 9003. This bulb has a high beam intensity of 910 lumens and a lifespan of 800 hours.
Many people change out the OEM bulb for a brighter SilverStar bulb. The specs for these bulbs are listed below. These bulbs use a higher current draw to drive the element. While you do get a brighter light, the trade-off is significantly lower service life and increased strain on your bike’s charging system.
Halogen bulbs have a distinct yellow color cast to their light as the tungsten filament burns at 3100 kelvin. Many bulb manufacturers advertise a “whiter” light from a halogen. They do this by putting a blue filter on the quartz tube. This actually decreases the amount of light output by the bulb, as you are filtering out part of the bulbs spectrum.
I have included what data I can find on bulbs from GE, Philips and PIAA also.
HID or High Intensity Discharge bulbs are very different from Halogen or Incandescent lamps. An HID bulb has no element to glow. HID bulbs get their intensely bright light from a spark across two electrodes combined with electrified vapors. Think of containing a welding ark, amplifying it and using it to light up the road. An HID light uses a very high current to operate, much more than the twelve volts provided by automotive electrical systems can provide. A ballast or ignitor is required to start up and power the bulb. HID bulbs cannot be modulated or switched on and off. In the H4 bulb form, the HID bulb remains on in full power in both Low beam and High beam. A Low/High beam effect is achieved through one of two ways. The first way is to have a small shroud that swivels around the bulb, directing light out of the high side or the low side of the lens. The second way is to have the bulb itself on an actuator that moves the bulb inwards, towards the back of the bucket. In Low beam mode, or outwards towards the lens in High beam mode.
HID bulbs light up in three stages. The first stage, or Ignition stage, uses in excess of 20,000 volts across two electrodes within a capsule filled with halide salts to start up. The current begins to vaporize halide salts contained within the bulb capsule. When viewing this from your vehicle, the light will flash on very bright at Stage One and then dim down as Stage two begins. In Stage two, also known as the Warm Up stage, the ballast continues to send an overcharge of voltage through the electrodes and continues to fully vaporize the salts. As the salts warm up, the resistance between the electrodes lowers and the spark takes on a more stable shape. When viewing this stage, the dim light gathers in intensity until full brightness. Stage three, also known as Continuous Operation, has the voltage decrease dramatically, between 42 and 85 volts, depending on bulb type and application.
HID Xenon bulbs run towards the blue end of the kelvin color scale. They typically fall in between the 6000k and 8000k range. The quartz tubes that house the halide salt capsule can be coated with different filters to change the color scale from 4300k all the way up to 13000k. As you push the wattage up though, the intensity of the spark overpowers the color coating and pushes the light back into the 8000k range. HID bulbs are very durable and robust since they do not have tungsten elements which can break from degradation or jostling. It is typically the ballast and ignitor that stop functioning due to heat or electrical faults.
LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, have been around for many years. In recent years though, they have really caught on with the automotive industry due to new diode designs which increase light output and durability while lowering current draw and heat. LEDs operate by passing positive and negative through a semi-conducting material. This material is created in such a way that a electrical charge passing through in the correct direction will cause atoms to lose electrons in the form of visible light. LEDs operate at much high efficiency levels than incandescent bulbs, as less energy is lost in the form of heat.
There are two forms of LED replacement lights in use in our motorcycles. There are sealed beam LED replacements light the Harley Davidson Daymaker or the Truck-lite Phase 7. There are also many bulb replacements that are in the H4 form, to be used with the stock headlight lens assembly. An LED headlight is only as good as the “chips” that are used to make the light.
Instead of listing all the different LED bulb replacements, I will list some of the different terms you will encounter when shopping.
SMD – Surface Mount Device. These are typically sold as bulbs with many, sometimes over a hundred small LED chips mounded together. They are typically listed with very high lumen ratings, as the seller will add up the total amount of lumens from all chips. This can be a misleading number though, as light is coming from multiple points. These “SMD Bulbs” will have clusters of different chips, with those chips having a module number, for example 3528 or 5050. These numbers typically indicate the chip side. So a 3528 chip will be 3.5mm x 2.8mm. A 5050 module is 5.0mm x 5.0mm and typically has 3 diodes built into the chip. A 5050 will be effectively brighter than a 3528 chip. There are tables online that explain each chip modules meaning and light output.
CREE – CREE is a company that produces LED chips and is based out of Durham, North Carolina. A “Cree” bulb is just a bulb made of CREE components and is not itself made by the CREE company.
OSRAM – OSRAM is a multinational corporation that manufactures and sells incandescent and LED lights. They operate in North and South America under the name Sylvania OSRAM.
ETI – Is a company that produces LED chips out of China.
High intensity LED headlamps have electronics that generate a fair amount of heat. This heat is dissipated externally with some form of heat sync. The heat sync is typically made from aluminum and is kept separate from the LEDs themselves. The heat sync may be passively cooled or actively cooled with a fan. Actively cooled LED lamps that require a fan can generally operate at higher wattages, though have a higher chance of failure due to having moving parts. A passively cooled LED does not have moving parts so may not be able to operate at higher energy demands. For either solution, adequate air is needed to cool the electronics or the LED will fail prematurely.
The Truck-lite Phase 7 is a very commonly used LED replacement headlight system. This light replaces the entire lens assembly and fits nicely inside the 7 inch headlight bucket. This is exactly the same as the Kuryakyn Phase 7 light, though at a much cheaper price. Many clinic riders have moved to this headlight and have been very happy with fit, finish and performance.
Here is a chart showing how the different headlight bulbs stack up against each other in raw Lumen output. This does not account for variables such as color temperature, headlight adjustment, voltage irregularities from the charging system. This data was taken from manufacturers websites when possible.
This is the current drawn for the lamps. This is listed in Amps (if you want wattage, this link has a converter to help you swap the data
Finally here is the rated service life in hours. These are manufacturer claims and are probably from a lab enviornment, not on a big vibration machine.
Finally, for reference, here is a chart showing color temp in Kelvins