There is no denying, that for the serious night/winter rider, this is almost an essential. For most of us however, that pick and choose where we ride our old bikes (as we probably have more than one available) then "A gentleman does not motor around after dark" unless he has to.
The answer I have found lies with new fangled modern technology. Namely 6v LED bulbs and 6v Quartz halogen headlamp bulbs (unfortunately you cannot get LED headlamp bulbs yet)
Nowadays, you don't need to buy an expensive light board and get busy with the soldering iron and have to modify your original light. LED bulbs have exactly the same fitting as the traditonal incandescent bulbs and fit straight in. The only difference is that LED's usually care what schema (negative or positive earth) your bike is on (unless you buy one of the rarer ones, that works both ways), so you need to buy the right bulb for your bike.
The advantages with LED bulbs are:
- Mainly that they draw minimal amps, which leaves you with opportunity to fit a larger wattage headlamp bulb and still have amps in hand !.
- As you can fit an LED pilot light, then for countries where you need to run with these on ALL the time, then it puts virtually no strain on your charging system.
- They are pretty robust.
- Not really an advantage but they are supposed to light up "quicker" (in nano seconds) .....
Buy the ones with the most LED's that you can find (19, 24 or even 30 little LED's on the one bulb). More LED's give brighter light.
Make sure if you are using one for a numberplate light, as well, that it has the side mounted LED's to prove better illumination in that direction.
Allegedly, a red bulb works better behind red glass etc.
With regards to Quartz Halogen bulbs, then I am aware of at least one UK vendor that supplies 6v Halogen in standard BPF, which will be a straight fit.
I use a 35w/35w one and it's plenty more bright than standard and pretty much up to the job for most night time jaunts.
I won't give EBAY.co.uk links, as they will change and this topic won't.
However, a search on 6v LED or 6v quartz halogen (within vehicle accessories) will usually turn up some.
I got my last bunch of LED's (incuding pilot bulb) from the USA:
They also do a 6v bulb that doesn't care about polarity !!
I got my my last handful of 6v quartz halogen (35/35w) from Paul Goff, at an autojumble:
Please feel free to pm or email me for more information