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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Parts:
H11 Cree LED headlight kit


Tools:
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:


For background, this is my second motorcycle LED retrofit with the previous one being on my 2011 Ninja 250r.

To be continued:
 

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Discussion Starter #2
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):
 

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Discussion Starter #3
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Results:

Install time:
40 minutes
Difficulty:
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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Looks great! Thanks for the step-by-step. I'm getting a kit today by a diff. company. We'll see if it fits... Hopefully I don't run into any issues.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Looks great! Thanks for the step-by-step. I'm getting a kit today by a diff. company. We'll see if it fits... Hopefully I don't run into any issues.

Thanks again!
No problem. Let me know if you have any issues and I'll help if I can. Btw which kit are you getting?
 

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No problem. Let me know if you have any issues and I'll help if I can. Btw which kit are you getting?
I bought my kit from VLEDS.com (no affiliation, just a loyal customer).

They had a sale this weekend. They're $130 normally. I got them for 15% off ($110.50). I've had good luck with their other LED products and they're only an hour away, so shipping is fast. Should be 2100 lumens. 5000K temperature.

I got them today and put them in. I had to make the same cuts to that plastic piece as you did (good advice on using a razor blade, worked like a charm). I also had to trim some of the heatsink on the LEDs with my Dremel. Hopefully that doesn't affect the life of the bulbs. Unfortunately, I broke one of the fans... Stupid me just pushed too hard on it trying to get the bulb to lock in place. I might try online to see if I can get a cheap replacement fan... I suppose if it goes out, I'll just have to buy another set, or try one of the less expensive sets. Probably more like the one you got or some of the others I've seen.

Just checking in the garage with the overhead lights off, they work pretty well. I like the color of the output. Much closer to the running lights, but not quite as blue.

I was able to tuck the wires under those little rubber cap things. It seems like a tight fit, so I doubt they'll be shifting around under there. Luckily, nothing is irreversible, so should a bulb quit (would likely be the one with the broken fan...), I can just pop the halogens back in.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The fans are just regular pc fans, you just need to measure the size to buy a replacement.

As for the LED bulbs you purchased, the MT-G2's are good emitter arrays that have a good output but they do get hot, so I'd fix that fan ASAP. Also I'd love to see pictures of your LEDs as I'm very interested in how they look as well as the beam pattern. I'll do the same and get a night shot of mine as soon as it stops raining here so people can "kinda" get an idea about these emitters.

Just FYI, right now there are only 3 different Cree emitters used in these conversion kits:

CXA-1512
MT-G2
XM-L2 (not typical for this application, commonly used in flashlights)
 

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I might call them and see if they have replacements I can buy from them. It looks like they're easy to find, just shipping is slow. Maybe RadioShack will still carry them.

Here's some photos.

Output (adjusted to attempt to replicate real life):


Looking back at it:


Right hand bulb with busted fan:


Left hand with fan intact:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I might call them and see if they have replacements I can buy from them. It looks like they're easy to find, just shipping is slow. Maybe RadioShack will still carry them.

Here's some photos.
Looks good! From the pictures the color looks warm white (less than 5000k) but that can be hard to tell from pictures... It does look cooler than the patio light. The install looks nice and clean other than the broken fan, can't even tell you ground down any fins. How hard did you think the installation was?
 

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Looks good! From the pictures the color looks warm white (less than 5000k) but that can be hard to tell from pictures... It does look cooler than the patio light. The install looks nice and clean other than the broken fan, can't even tell you ground down any fins. How hard did you think the installation was?
Thanks!

I don't think it was too difficult. There was some finesse needed to get the plastic pieces cut, but not necessarily hard. It was tricky to get the harness unplugged from the stock bulb. I ended up using two plastic forks to get both sides of the plug to pop free. The hardest part was trying to find my safety glasses to cut the fins on the heatsink... Ended up finding them on my shelf where they're supposed to be... *facepalm
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Pictures!!!

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



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:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here's the picture that got deleted from photobucket with the caption, can't fix the link in the original post:

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

 

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did you ever compare the 1800 vs the 2200 LED kits?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
did you ever compare the 1800 vs the 2200 LED kits?
No, I canceled the order pretty quickly when I realized I wouldn't be able to use one of the two kits for the high beams. I'm not terribly interested in any kit right now with less than 3000 lumen output because it's not until that point that it'll have a perceivable difference in output over my 1800 lumen kit. Meaning, the naked eye will not be able to appreciate any difference between a 1800 lumen bulb and a 3000 lumen bulb; crazy but true. Knowing obscure things like this is one benefit of being a recovering flashaholic... my real hope was that one of the two kits would have a perceivable difference in fit, finish, and especially beam pattern.

I'll take this response as an opportunity to post an UPDATE:

I had my fairings off to install a USB power outlet to use in conjunction with my RAM mount phone/GPS holder. While I had the fairings off I found a couple good locations to mount the LED drivers.

This side was off first. you can see the routing for my USB power cable, and plenty of room to mount the LED driver which is held in place with my favorite Heavy Duty 3M Scotch Fastener:


An easier place to mount was found when I pulled the other side off. Again, held in place with "velcro":

 

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Looks way better than stock blub. How does 1199 LED headlights looks like is it the same as these aftermarket kits? Or would it be less of hassle just to buy whole unit from 1199?
 

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Looks way better than stock blub. How does 1199 LED headlights looks like is it the same as these aftermarket kits? Or would it be less of hassle just to buy whole unit from 1199?
I'd wait for warlord's answer but I'll put in my $.02.

Depending on the kit (and the bulb), your results may vary. My Lifetime LED kit doesn't seem to illuminate the ground as far as warlord's. I ran side by side next to an 1199S and his headlight illuminated a lot more of the ground FURTHER out from the bike (which is GREAT). I keep meaning to get pics of them side by side and forgetting!

BTW, you're looking at ~$150 for the bulb replacement vs $600+ for the 1199S swap (and you'll have to do some rewiring!)
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
It is considerably better than the stock halogens, it even makes the halogen high beams appear dark by comparison. As far as the difference between the LED kits and the OEM Panigale LED headlight I can't comment because I haven't seen both in action so Jess's answer is probably the most informed.

However, I would say that a fair bit of engineering goes into OEM LED headlights to produce good output and light distribution. I would say the best an LED kit can hope to do at this time is improve upon the horrible halogen output at an affordable price point and approach what the OEM LED headlight is designed to do. The hassle depends on the kit you get. Mine was relatively easy plug and play while others have had to remove the headlight and grind the fairing stays. For the OEM LED headlight you'll have to remove the fairings and headlight and rewire everything; so certainly more of a hassle then what I experienced perhaps on par with what Jess had to do...

As far as value, I paid less than $100 for my LED kit while many are paying over $600 for USED OEM Panigale LED headlights. I don't think that the OEM is a $500 improvement in lighting output but that is a matter of personal opinion; what we each individually consider value.

Regardless of your final decision I think you'll be happy. The stock halogen headlights don't put out much light at all. The few times I got stuck on the road at night with them I could barely see a thing!
 
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