Like any other parts, the life of your motorcycle headlights is finite. This means that over time they will wear out. What should you do? Let’s investigate:
This has some impact on your safety, as when a bulb ‘blows’ it will leave you in darkness. In the daytime not a problem, but can you imagine trying to ride a bike in the evening or at night without a headlight? In this situation the sensible option is to change the bulb as soon as possible, but it’s what happens before a bulb finally goes that we’re interested in here.
Standard motorcycle headlights bulbs are commonly halogen bulbs with a tungsten element that is superheated to become white-hot and therefore give out light. This is OK, but a by-product of this old technology is mainly heat and not light and over time the tungsten element will literally burn away and leave a deposit on the bulb’s glass, weakening its brightness.
In this situation you’re less visible to other drivers and you have reduced visibility at night. The result of this? You’re less safe, thanks to this one small component.
It also works your bike’s battery harder, as older bulbs are energy-hungry as they need more and more power to run. This doesn’t affect your safety, but it will lead to a worse fuel consumption and more wear and tear on your battery.
So motorcycle headlights are a small component with a big role to play. If you think that you have ageing bulbs it is time to start looking at alternatives.
The best option is HID motorcycle headlights.
These are the ultra-bright xenon lights that are about 3 times brighter than standard halogen bulbs. Not only do they give you more light and more visibility, but they also use less power and won’t dim with age because they don’t burn anything; and so you’re immediately removing a weakened brightness due to build-up from the equation.
They are a bit more expensive than halogen bulbs, but you can pick one up from somewhere around 30 pounds. Bear in mind that this should last the lifetime of your bike! If you have an older bike just double check their compatibility before you buy as they are a very modern bulb and may not be available in a size that fits.
You could also choose LED motorcycle headlights.
Based on the humble LED, these guys also burn nothing and just emit light by passing electricity through a metal semiconductor. They are good for bikers as they light up immediately unlike any other bulbs which grow brighter as they ‘warm up.’ They are also very small which means that they make great indicator and brake lights too.
If you do serious mileage these could be the answer as they are very solidly built and have a minimum of separate parts and are therefore very resistant to vibration.
Again they are very energy-efficient and are brighter than halogen bulbs and so are a safe option, yet they lack the sheer power and brightness of HID bulbs.
Price-wise you’re looking at around 20 pounds per bulb.
These bulbs sound hi-tech, but actually it’s very easy to find them at a low price these days if you shop online. If you can just wait for a few days for delivery then you’ll find that you can save an awful lot over buying from the garage or motorcycle dealership.