Motorcycles can really benefit from the installation of brighter headlights. This Yamaha R6 motorcycle recently got a headlight upgrade with the addition of HID headlights. We have some pictures to walk you through the process of the HID installation. Here’s how the R6′s headlights look stock. They offer a decent amount of light for the road, but definitely have the “yellowed” look that halogens always have. You can see the illuminated yellow headlights below:
The Halogen lights require a lot of power to turn on, generate a lot of heat, but yet don’t produce very much light. As a result, the driver is left “in the dark”, so to speak. You’ve probably noticed that many new vehicles are now coming stock with HID lights. These lights provide much more light, use less power, and have a cleaner look. In addition, the HID lights generally come in a projector housing. See our comparison of Reflector vs. Projector headlight housings for an explanation. Anyway, the headlights on our R6 needed a facelift. Interestingly enough, the HID conversion didn’t take all that long, and only required a few basic tools:
2. Power Drill
4. An HID kit.
There are many different types and brands of HID kits on the market. We’ve found that while you can go and spend a lot of money on an expensive kit, many cheaper kits can offer the same amount of light, as well as a sleek look, for a fraction of the price. We’ve tried several kits, and are confident that you can get a good HID kit for under $60.
The first step was to remove the windscreen in order to access the headlights and wiring. The HID’s require ballasts in order to provide them with the right amount of power, to you’ll need to find a place to mount the ballasts. You can use screws or zip-lock ties to attach the ballasts to the inside of the front of the bike. This is probably the most difficult part of an HID installation. We mounted the ballasts directly behind the headlights.
In vehicles that come with HID’s the ballasts are already situated under the hood. When installing aftermarket HID headlights, the manufacturer didn’t budget space for HID ballasts. Anyway, once you find a place for the ballasts, simply make sure you secure them well so that they don’t come loose. You can see the difference between Xenon and HID bulbs in the photo below. The HID bulbs are usually slimmer and sometimes a little longer, but for the most part they will still fit in the stock headlight housing.
The R6 headlights come with dust covers to protect the headlight housing from the elements. Because the dust covers weren’t designed for HID bulbs, we had to do some slight modifications to the covers. We drilled a hole a little larger than the size of a quarter to give the wiring room to fit into the headlight housing. The photo below shows the difference between a stock dust cover and a modified dust cover. While this was an important part of our motorcycle installation, this was not necessary in our car installation.
Once you’ve drilled a hole in the dust cover, insert the wiring for the HID bulb:
Here’s how both of the dust caps turned out after cutting the holes and inserting the wires:
Remember, we already removed the windscreen from the front of the bike in order to access the headlight wiring. Now we’re ready to plug in the HID bulbs and complete the install of the HID kit. First, here’s a view of the headlight socket immediately after removing the halogen bulb:
Once we installed HID bulbs and reattached the dust caps, the headlamp housing looked a lot cleaner:
Here are a couple views of the stock halogen headlights vs the newly installed HID bulbs. Although cameras have a hard time capturing light rays in this way, you can definitely see the difference between the color/brightness of the headlamps. The lower image does a little better job of showing the true look of the HID (xenon) headlight. It is a much cleaner, brighter light. While it appears to have a blue/green tint to it, when shining on the road it has a very clean white look to it.
Here’s the front of the bike with both HID’s installed. Beautiful? YES! Worth it? YES! The installation was very plug-and-play (except for the drilling of the dust caps), and it only took a little over an hour. It obviously would have been much quicker had we not had to drill into the dust caps. The look of the bike is much more sleek, both during the day and especially at night.
We reassembled the front end of the bike, installing the windscreen, making the bike ready for its inaugural ride with its new “eyes”. Let’s just say it was 100% worth it!