I love my sportster. The fact that she is one hot sexy machine does not mean things cannot be improved on her. I did most of my practice riding in the daylight hours for the first few months. Although once I ventured out into the night with her, in the state she came fresh off the factory floor – it was a scary thing. My light would stop dead about 30ft in front of my bike leaving complete darkness beyond that point – if your going 40mph or faster.. that’s not much reaction time.
Maybe it’s a “48” thing. Or maybe no one checks the angle of the bright torch before handing off sportsters to customers. Either way, something had to change. Sure, high-beams work great but cadgers and other bikers wont appreciate you coming head on.
There seem to be lots of options out there for bikes and lights. Some get really expensive and involved. I decided to find the cheaper alternatives to lighting sportster bliss.
Free: ‘aim the light’
This is quite simple. Take your bike to a level spot, where it’s dark. I then used a 2×4 size piece of wood to sit under the kick-stand and pointed my handle bars straight. Turn on the key and sit in the seat. Pick a spot where you can see the light stop on the ground. Get out a wrench and a socket wrench. Loosen the bolt on the right while holding the nut with the wrench. Loosen just enough that you can pull the lamp up a few degrees. Sit on the bike and check. Do this a couple of times until the light just disappears and gets rid of that abrupt edge of light that you had before.
Then of course tighten the bolt and your good to go. Just this alone makes it all ok. No need to do anything els, although of course I have too. 🙂
$17.00: H4 Sylvania bulb
After talking with the guys at the HDforums, it seems a great alternative bulb really hits the spot. It’s not expensive and fairly easy to install. So on with it.
The h4 sylvania bulb is a wonderful alternative to the stock bulb as it puts out more light.
When opening the package, but sure NOT to touch the bulb itself with your fingers. Your human grease will make the bulb die a premature death. Also, keep the package to put the stock bulb back into for a spare incase you need one again.
Fist we unscrew the bolt found at the bottom of the assembly.
This chrome ring will pop off when you pull it from it’s sides – careful not to let things drop!
Unplug the wire harness from the bulb.
Then peel the rubber from the assembly – it’s tight so just work on it. It’s just a sealer for dirt and to keep the inside of the light assembly clean.
Next, just unlatch the holding clamp out.
Swap with the new bulb and re-attach your retaining (no touching the bulb!! ) clamp to secure the bulb.
Push down your rubber sealer and be sure to align the two arrows.
Plug the wire harness back into the new bulb.
Now just align your tabs and put things back into place and screw in your clamp.
Once I installed the bulb, I noticed the light emitting was much more “white”.
So with under $20 and a little bit of your time, you can have a great headlamp that will make night riding the wonderful bliss it should be.