Tech Talk: Motorcycle Lighting Part 4 – Wrap Up

Welcome to the fourth and final write-up of my motorcycle lighting guide. In here, I will cover the last LED upgrades. You can read the other write-ups here:

Wedge-base LED Bulbs

The Versys-X uses three W5W bulbs: two for the city lights and one for the license plate light. As the name suggests, this type of bulb is rated at 5W. There is a myriad of W5W bulbs to choose from. I chose to go with the bulbs below:

W5W LED Bulbs

It doesn’t get any simpler than this: a PCB with LED chips and several transitors. The chips are 4014 LED chips and there are 24 of them. Rated at 4W, it only saves me 1W per bulb. However, the real benefit lies in the increased light output and the color temperature which matches the headlight (6000k).

The license plate light is easy to replace, it takes a proverbial minute. The parking lights however… It is one thing having to remove the headlight to get access to them. But having to remove ALL the fairings to remove the headlight, that requires more than a minute… A picture is worth a thousand words:

Replacing the parking light bulbs… Design gone wrong…

Can’t you get the bulbs out from underneath the dashboard? Glad you asked! That’s a no, because the bulb sockets are located behind the chassis bracing. And unfortunately, there simple isn’t enough wiggle room to get them out. Close, but no cigar…

Here is the result:

6000k true white

Bayonet LED Bulbs

The tail light uses a W21/5W bayonet-type bulb. This is a dual-filament bulb, which serves as tail light (5W) and brake light (21W). Here again, there are a lot of options out there. Hit and miss, really. I tried these 2 bulbs:

  • LEFT: this bulbs uses 5730 chips (5.7mm x 3.0mm). Despite the sheer amount of chips (33!), it’s only rated at 3W. As a result, the light intensity wasn’t good enough, especially for the brake function.
  • RIGHT: this bulb uses 3030 chips (you guessed it, 3.0mm x 3.0mm). Rated at 8W, the light intensity is much higher. Despite its smaller size, this bulb is significantly heavier and looks better built. I am now running this bulb.

It is important to note that there is ample room inside the taillight housing, allowing you to fit most types of bulbs. This is how it looks with the LED bulb installed:

And here she is in all her glory, fully LED’d…

Overall Power Consumption

I now have converted all incandescent bulbs to LED, resulting in a total saving of 84W. These power savings offset most of the extra consumption of the spotlights. The table below shows the comparison before and after the upgrade. Of course, the numbers in the table should be taken with a grain of salt, as I had to make some assumptions (dash, EFI, etc).

ItemQtyWATTS (before)AMPS (before)WATTS (after)AMPS (after)
Fog Lights 2161.14161.14
Spot Lights 200805.71
City Lights 2100.7280.57
Turn Signals 4402.86141
License Plate light150.3640.29
EFI 1352.50352.50
Radiator Fan1141.00141.00