|Tail of the Dragon ride|
I'm always for more light while riding at night in country roads. The reasons being both my aging eyes and the fact that I do a lot of country riding on Texas roads and highways. We have lots of deer, javelins, feral hogs, and even cows and horses that can get out on the road. This review is the beginning of the changes to my BMW R1200RT lighting system.
I used the OEM headlight bulbs on my bike until the first burned out after about 18 months. I was at a bike rally and many miles from home so I had no option for a major upgrade but I did want something better than stock. I found an Auto Zone store in a small town and found the Sylvania SilverStar Ultras on sale. The RT uses two H7 bulbs for low beam and one H7 for the high beam. It took me about an hour in a hotel parking lot to replace the first H7 with the new Ultra bulb. The second bulb took me about two minutes to replace. If you plan to replace the bulbs on your BMW RT take the time to find out how the bail wire hooks up in it's locked position. That can save you a ton of time.
The Ultra seemed to be better than stock but this review is for the Osram H7 Rallye 65 watt bulb. I got two bulbs from Candlepower for $36 and free shipping. This bulb is rated at 2100 lumens and 500 hours. The stock bulb is rated at 1400 lumens and the same bulb life. I first replaced the left side bulb and wanted to compare that to the right side. I could tell the light was brighter for the Rallye bulb when I pointed the lights at my garage door but the comparison was difficult because the light pattern of the left and right side bulbs is different. I went ahead and replaced the right side bulb. I also used one of the old Ultra bulbs for the high beam. That set me up with the 65 watt rallye bulbs for the low beams and an Ultra for the high beam.
I went for a ride immediately after I finished the install. The difference is not an obvious change in lighting. I had to ride some country roads that had no lighting to notice what seemed like greater range. Using the high beam did seem like an obvious improvement. Once I turned around and headed back home and only using the low beam is when I started to notice the difference. Side lighting was better than before and what I really noticed was that on roads I regularly traveled I was seeing and reading road signs much sooner than before. It was also easier to read street names. I always had a problem with this with the old lighting whenever street names were posted higher than normal. The old light pattern seemed to miss them.
I'm happy with the upgrade. It is an improvement but I hope the extra heat from these bulbs doesn't do any damage. Also, I'm still considering doing the HID upgrade but for now I'll run this setup. These bikes have great lighting and now it's even better.