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Old May 30th 2014, 03:45 AM   #1
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HOW-TO: Cree LED Retrofit without removing headlight housing.

H11 Cree LED headlight kit

LED headlamp (to see in the dark crevices of the bike fairing)
Razor blade, single edge
3M mounting tape (optional)

For this install I used an 1800 Lumen 25W per bulb kit. I also ordered a 2200 Lumen 28W per bulb kit which is still due to arrive. I have doubts that the 2200 Lumen kit will fit without removing the headlight housing but we'll see. These kits are about $60 and up on ebay.

The 1800 Lumen kit:

Step 1: Remove the stock bulbs and top rubber cover:

No real picture of this but I wanted to show that on the OEM plug the tabs to un-clip the bulb are black and on the sides. Once you un-clip the bulb you can then easily twist and remove it.

Step 2: Making room to install the LED bulb:

There's a little black rubberized plastic "half-hoop" which can be seen in the picture below. It needs to be cut off in order for the bulb have clearance and fit into the housing.

The "half-hoop"

CAREFULLY cut off this half-hoop with the razor.

The parts removed:

The resulting increase in room (you can also see I moved the plug to the top, important as the final position of the plug will be to the side of the LED bulb when complete):

Step 3: LED Bulb install

This is a very tight fit to get the bulb into position. The remaining piece that is in the way is aluminum and in order to install the new bulb you have to angle it correctly and install it. BE CAREFUL! IF YOU BREAK ANYTHING, I TAKE NO RESPONSIBILITY!

The bulb angled and tab points lined up from the back

From the lens side

Pushed into place and twisted to lock:

The cooling fan rubs on the aluminum frame a little bit making it very tricky to twist it into place but it can be done without grinding away any of the aluminum. Notice the position of the plug connector next to the bulb assembly.

Step 4: Connect the bulbs and position the LED driver

The driver (looks like a HID ballast) fits nicely into the cavity shown in the picture. Stick a little 3M tape on the back and place it in this location and it won't go anywhere. I may look for a good flat location for mounting the next time I have the fairings off but for the time being this is quite suitable.

Install time:
40 minutes
Moderate as it is tricky to cut the plastic and position the bulbs. I know that many will find the install frustrating.

LEDs in reflector housing:

Running light LEDs:

OEM halogen (4300k, 1350 lumen approx.) on the left, Cree (5000K, 1800 lumen) on the right. Compare to stock running light LEDs:

Both Cree LEDs installed:

Cree lit in housing (-4):
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Old May 30th 2014, 04:32 AM   #2
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great write-up, Thanks!!!

i will probably go this route, as i had a bulb breaking inside my headlight housing...

Last edited by Phl; May 30th 2014 at 04:38 AM.
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Old May 30th 2014, 04:43 AM   #3
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YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!! Where did you get those LED bulbs?? when you twist bulb into place do they feel pretty snug or will they bounce around after some time? if you got extended wires you could place both drivers on inside fairing on the left if siiting on the bike.

thanks bro!
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Old May 30th 2014, 10:38 AM   #4
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You can get those on Vleds.com. I actually have a set of the H11 on my 2009 Acura TL fogs. They work great, instant on, no warm up time like HID's and pure white. The only thing you have to consider is the moisture cap won't be able to cover the back. It sticks out quite a bit as you can see in the picture, there is a heat sink behind the LED bulb and shouldn't be removed.
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Old May 30th 2014, 10:39 AM   #5
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@Warlord. Can you give us a picture with the beams on against the wall. Interested to see the cutoffs. Would be awesome if you still have halogens on one side and LEDs against the wall.
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Old May 30th 2014, 10:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by kickarsmann View Post
@Warlord. Can you give us a picture with the beams on against the wall. Interested to see the cutoffs. Would be awesome if you still have halogens on one side and LEDs against the wall.
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Old May 30th 2014, 09:27 PM   #7
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Re: LED kit source
I purchased this kit from ebay for about $65. There are only 3 types of LED retrofit kits available as of this writing:

CXA-1512 (large emitter, no lens on LED) <-- This is what I used
MT-G2 (small multi-emitter array, visible lens on LED)
XM-L2 (not typical for this application, commonly used in flashlights)

VLEDs uses a MT-G2 kit, output and efficiency between the emitters according to the spec sheets are essentially the same however the MT-G2 kits are starting to come out with higher lumen output claims (although offering terrible color temps). It may only be a short while before we see a decent 3000+ Lumen LED kit in a suitable 4500-5000K color temp.

I wanted a newer CXA-1512 2200 lumen kit but the seller accidentally sent me the older 1800 lumen kit. No big deal as I had the same kit on my previous bike and can attest to how well it works. Would have still liked to see for myself if there is an appreciable difference in brightness. As I noted in the How-to, default halogen H11s are only 1350 lumens for 55W.

Only concern with other kits is that it may require removing the headlight housing to fit along with possibly needing to grind either the aluminum bulb heatsink or the aluminum fairing stays. Some of the kits have pretty massive heatsinks or integrated covered fans that make the rear of the bulb very bulky.

Re: beam pattern/comparison

I do intend to get beam pattern pictures against a wall when I have a chance, it is certainly brighter with better dispersion than the OEM halogens but pictures would tell that story better. I think the stock halogens are scary dim for night riding, I think most would agree that at abut 40-45 mph you're out-riding your OEM halogen headlights.

Re: driver positioning

The wires are pretty long, it may be possible to position the drivers under the fairings with the other electronics. However, the drivers are not visible unless you're looking for them and they are out of the way. Also note: some kits have the drivers integrated into the heatsink along with the fan. While many LED flashlights combine the driver with the LED heatsink not many claim to output as many lumens as these kits.


A good thing to point out is that the emitters point up and down producing two 180 degree beams. The front of the "bulbs" shine no light out unlike HID bulbs thus decreasing the amount of glare caused by converting from the OEM halogen. That said, you can still notice a bit of glare in the pictures from the change in position from the original filament position however, it does not give the blinding appearance in real life of unshielded HIDs.

Any further questions, let me know.
Thanks from XCLR8TN and Pani Dropper

Last edited by warlord; May 30th 2014 at 09:39 PM.
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Old Jun 1st 2014, 05:06 AM   #8
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Cree LED beam shots, per request

OK, due to popular demand here are some shots of the LEDs and a split and individual shot of 1 led bulb and 1 halogen bulb (low beam). I brought my Leica out to take pictures but the battery was dead so you'll have to settle for some phone pictures.

The Cree LED LOW beams, notice the white diffuse beam pattern, some apparent hot spots with smooth gradient light distribution:

Left Halogen, Right Cree LED, notice how streaky and uneven the distribution of light on the Halogen by comparison to the LED, lots of streaky hot spots. The beam pattern with halogens is just plain ugly.

Another together, Notice how dim and yellow the halogen is and how much more the LED light spreads.

Halogen Left beam only, Right is covered. Camera makes the picture look deceptively bright and white. It was really dim in the garage with just this one beam. Notable is how low on the ground the beam is, which is why it's very easy to outride the stock halogens:

Cree LED Right beam only, Left is covered. Brighter than picture might lead you to believe. Notice how it's lighting higher than the OEM halogen, almost straight forward but just as wide and brighter.

Another reason why the LEDs are awesome:
Thanks from BAIBAICOP
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Old Jun 1st 2014, 10:07 AM   #9
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I've got update pictures I can't post without permission. But fyi I did acquire the requested comparison pictures.
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Old Jun 1st 2014, 02:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by warlord View Post
I've got update pictures I can't post without permission. But fyi I did acquire the requested comparison pictures.
WTF does that mean ? Who's permission ?

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