We picked up the Black 5-3/4-inch LED Headlight Assembly ($399.95) for our Blackline Softail.
1 Here’s what the OE halogen bulb headlight looks like. Looking through the glass, you can see the mirrored reflector shaped into the back of the headlight. The reflector helps disperse the light emitted from the bulb back out onto the road in front of you.
2 To remove the stock headlight, we used a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the bolt holding the headlight trim/retaining ring in place.
3 Once the trim ring was removed, we unplugged the connector from the back of the OE headlight and removed the light from the bike.
4 On the left is the OE and on the right is the LED unit. As you can see the LED unit has a short pigtail lead with a three-prong plug that matches the plug on the back of the OE light. Also notice the die-cast finned aluminum housing on the backside of the LED unit. The LED circuit board generates heat and the fins help dissipate the heat so that LEDs will operate properly and at their rated output. If the LEDs were to get too hot the light output would be diminished.
5 Installing the LED was as simple as plugging the pigtail into the stock wiring and fitting the headlight assembly back into the bucket.
6 Here’s a look at the LED headlight installed. You can see that instead of the mirrored chrome backing like the OE, the LED is all black. The light features two horizontal D-shaped lenses on either side that spread a path of light out in front of the bike. Additionally, the LED has separate high and low beam projectors that provide a more direct, focused stream of light directly in front of the bike.
7 This is a shot of the OE light in low beam.
8 And here is the LED light in low beam. It definitely provides a much brighter and whiter light. You can see that the LED’s low beam also provides a much broader path of light. Also notice how the low beam projector provides a more intense/focused area of light out in front of the bike.
9 Here is the OE light’s high beam.
10 And this is the LED’s high beam. Once again, it’s brighter/whiter and provides a broader path of light. Notice how the high beam projector produces an even more intense/focused area of light and the area has moved further ahead of the bike. Overall the LED provides a broader and longer path of visibility, and with its black finish, it matches well with our Blackline. Best of all it only took 10 minutes to install.
Customizing your Harley can be an endless task. Swapping out pipes to get a different sound or more horsepower, installing a gel-pad seat for more comfort on long rides, or replacing chrome for black components or vice-versa; one bike could go through several styles in its lifetime. While it’s fun to continually change up the looks, sound, and performance of our motorcycles, one thing that sometimes gets overlooked is safety, more specifically lighting.
While the standard halogen bulb on OE models does an ok job cutting through the night, there’s definitely room for improvement. Last year Harley-Davidson came out with a new Black LED Headlamp, which we thought would look good heading up our long-term 2011 Blackline. Harley offers the headlamp in a 5-3/4- and 7-inch version, it also has matching 4-inch Auxiliary Lamps to really brighten those dark backroads. If black isn’t your thing, Harley offers the lamps in chrome versions as well. According to Harley the headlights provide a “daylight color impression” that appears more natural to the rider. The solid state LEDs in the headlight are designed for long life and are shock/vibration resistant. Best of all the assembly fits into the stock headlight housing with no extra wiring or components and simply plugs into the stock wiring harness. The opportunity to have better lighting backed by a black appearance seemed to fit perfectly with the semi-blacked-out theme of our Blackline. HB
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