LED Headlight - Kawasaki KLR 650 Forum
2008+ KLR650 Wrenching & Mod Questions For repair, maintaining or modifying discussions related to the newly updated 2008 and beyond, Generation 2 KLR650 Motorcycle.

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post #1 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 07:46 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: South East Michigan.
Posts: 14
LED Headlight

Hello all,
I have been looking around for forums and posts but I am terrible with computers and can't find anything on the subject.

Most people run hid lights but IMHO that's a bad idea. They produce a lot of heat and that just means power loss. These days an led light bulb can offer the same light with almost no heat and very little power.

I was wondering if anyone has swapped out the stocker for an led bulb with dual beam. Hi/lo beam.

If so how has it been working out for you?

Was it difficult to install?

What bulb did you use?

I am trying to cut down on power consumption to provide more auxiliary power when needed as well as reducing strain on the engine. Which in turn would basically set free some stabled ponies due to an increase in operating efficiency.

Honestly, I won't feel a power difference. It's mostly to make more room for accessories.

Any and all responses will be appreciate. I appreciate any advice you have to offer.

Thank you for your time and sorry if this has already been asked before.
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post #2 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 08:49 AM
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Location: Maine
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It won't reduce strain on the engine. Any permanent-magnet alternator generates all the current all the time. The regulator "sinks" excess to ground to keep the voltage under the limit. Most motorcycles work this way. The alternator in my Honda 750 SOHC is different and when that bike uses less electricity the alternator generates less. Few motorcycles are like that but most cars are.

And LED headlights generate heat too. It's not the heat from incandescence (like an H4 bulb) or heat from an arc (like a HID). The power supply and the LEDs themselves each reduce voltage a little. When they do that the energy is released as heat. LED headlight bulbs come with either fans or large heat sinks.

That said, I'd be willing to try LED headlights but I have not yet. My home is all-LED and for the new house I won't have to assemble my own LED arrays. The reasons I'd try them on the KLR would be durability and brightness. My KLR stator easily powers all the devices I connect to the bike.
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post #3 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 09:09 AM
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Location: Antioch Florida
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I only have a couple weeks experience with the KLR, but I do have some past experience with the dual filament mod question.

Relying on some really bad information that someone got dual filament bulbs working “effectively” on their Versys 1000 (same light set up as klr), I made a serious attempt just last summer to convert my Versys 1000 to a more traditional hi/low configuration on each side, replacing the single filament bulbs with dual filament bulbs. The mod failed because (contrary to the information I relied upon) the reflectors were ultimately not set up to accommodate the dual filament bulbs and caused the light dispersion to go all wonky. I couldn’t make them work by shims or other means and went back to the original configuration.

I do not know if the klr reflectors would cause the same dispersion issues, but I can see by looking at them that they’re different on both sides suggesting that there’s some engineering behind them to support the factory lighting.
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post #4 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 10:07 AM
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Location: Redondo Beach
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Every parabolic reflector has a solitary focal point. The headlight is designed to work with one light source.

In the case of the Gen 2 KLR, that source is an H7 bulb. The parabolic reflector is set up to properly disperse the light from the H7 filament into the desired beam pattern.

Any other light source that is not in the identical position that an H7 filament would be in and is not in the exact configuration of an H7 filament will have "caused the light dispersion to go all wonky".

That wonky light dispersion is usually seen, by on coming traffic, as glare.

An LED stack is going to do just that, as does the cobbled-together HID capsule that is stuck onto an H7 base in some Chinese factory.


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post #5 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 12:03 PM
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You've nailed it Tom; unless the LED is specifically designed to work in a KLR and has taken the reflector into account, you are playing with fire IMO.

Idabiker has two sets of LED's for KLR's; the first is a high power setup that has a cooling fan and uses 30-35 watts (I don't remember exactly). That setup also will go into "limp mode" and provide adequate light in the event of a fan failure though the fan is said to be fairly robust.

The second option (brand new) is an LED that doesn't require a fan and is truly plug and play. He claims slightly more output than a stock bulb in the KLR housing using 15% of the power (8 watts).

...it may not be easier on the engine, but it sure frees up alot of power for heated gear or other accessories. I think this is a better option for me because I don't really care about having really powerful output (I don't ride at night much) and want the simplicity and lower power requirement of his new KLR lighting solution.


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post #6 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: South East Michigan.
Posts: 14
Sorry for not mentioning but I have a gen 1.

And I now see that I am way more undereducated on this subject than i originally thought.

I didn't know that the alternator would operate at full potential regardless of load. Thanks for teaching me something. And I know led's put out some heat but I was always told it was way less than any HID. Again I could be wrong. I have very little electrical knowledge and almost zero knowledge of how motorcycles work.

Now for hi beam I'm not too concerned. I want to have it but I don't need it. I have a light bar i will be using for the hi beam. So I will try to get both hi and low. If I do succeed in getting both to work I will let you know.

I saw some led lights on amazon that were dual led on one "bulb" I guess you could call it. Do you think that would work?

I'll try to find it again and post the link.
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post #7 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: South East Michigan.
Posts: 14

Here's one that I was looking at. Just looking. Idk if I'd trust something at that price but it's close to what I was looking at.
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post #8 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 02:26 PM
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Location: Maine
Posts: 368
You'll notice in your incandescent H4 bulb that there's a shield under the front filament -- that's low beam. It may be counter-intuitive, but light shining up from the bulb hits the upper portion of the reflector then shines lower on the road. All LEDs sold as H4 replacements should have the upper/front LED on for low beam and the lower/rear LED on for hgh beam. All reflectors for H4 bulbs are designed for light coming from precise locations.

I know of only one single DOT legal H4 LED; a recent introduction by Phillips. That means they've gone through the certification with DOT that their H4 LED functions exactly right. Others probably work OK too.

Addited cuz i Kant spel.

Last edited by Grinnin; 12-23-2015 at 02:30 PM.
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post #9 of 29 Old 12-23-2015, 04:39 PM
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Location: Spring Grove, IL
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I replaced the bulbs in my Gen2 with an LED kit from Cyclops Adventure Sports . The only thing I had to do was correct the aim of the bulbs after installation. Big improvement over stock.

I believe they also have LEDs to replace the H4 bulbs on the Gen1.

There is an entire thread dedicated to this subject on another forum dedicated to adventure riding. Search on 'LED Headlight "Bulb" replacement'. (Hopefully mentioning the other site doesn't get me banned. Just trying to be helpful.)

My main purpose for replacing the bulbs wasn't for more light, although I really like that aspect, but for the supposed longevity as compared to bulbs. I don't worry about carrying spares any more. My bulbs didn't seem to last even a year, so I was always worried about the bulbs going out on long trips and having to carry spares. I did have my low beam go out in the middle of a long weekend trip just after I returned from my Alaska trip last year. I found it a pain to have to change the bulb in the field.

I also went to LEDs to reduce overall power needs so that I could more confidently power a heated jacket liner and gloves.
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post #10 of 29 Old 12-24-2015, 03:24 AM
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Indiana/ Michigan line at the Lake
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I can jumpstart mine and the wife's cages with the klr at fast idle.

Takes a good few minutes but this is the only bike that can turn over a Chevy V-6.
Now THAT'S power output. (I also have a kill switch for the headlite.)

You didn't mention the year/ generation of your bike. My gen 2 is so bright
on low beam I occasionally get flashed by oncoming cars but not often.
The stock halogen or xenon high beam is stoopid bright!

This is my son, with whom I am well pleased." ----God
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