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  #1  
Old 03-27-2012, 05:55 PM
tyhlme tyhlme is offline
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Default First Review/Holeshotchoppers LED Road Glide headlights

In the relentless pursuit of perfection, the slogan used by Lexus automobiles, is a kin to what I see from many Harley riders in their quest to improve upon, in their minds, various aspects of Harley Davidson MOCO motorcycle designed parts and features.

There is no better place to read about and/or see this unfold than on one of the many “Harley related” on-line forums. You will find countless individuals and vendors attempt to squeak out more HP and torque from the engines, improve the handling characteristics of their motorcycles by adding aftermarket shocks and front suspensions and reduce frame flexing by adding a stabilization device and more. My favorite reading comes from the Harley customers / riders that add parts (Timken) and/or decide to true their crank and weld them down to improve the robustness and reliability of a MOCO produced engine due to the MOCO’s decision to reduce specifications to .0*12 – don’t recall the exact number of zero’s, for crank run out. I’m really puzzled by this one as the MOCO has been building engines for over 100 years, longer than any motorcycle brand on the planet, and they made a decision that it’s okay for their engine cranks to wobble more today, then they did 10+ years ago. If it is true that having a trued crank, welded and having better bearings will add to their engines resistance to scissoring cranks, less wobble in the crank and increase reliability, I just don’t understand why it’s not done at the factory. I think everyone would be okay paying for such a robust engine from the factory right? Case in point; the more robust SE compensator is now standard right, why not bullet-proof the crank? Sorry for the rant………..

So, why do Harley riders continue to do what they do – looking to improve an iconic motorcycle manufactures design that meets all of the safety, regulator (EPA) and DOT standards across the planet. Is the need for improvement our perception of design flaws or weaknesses? Well, I believe I addressed a weakness that bothered me for years – Road Glide lighting. I am one who believes the better cages can see me and I can see them increases my odds for safety on the road. In addition, I like to identify other objects on the road like a deer, a 2X4 or sink hole – you name it, as quickly as possible to increase reaction time.

Preface; I am not a light engineer, I’m only a rider. I have taken off my 2008 (traded) and 2009 CVO Road Glide fairings so many times, I can probably take one off in my sleep. I tried the Sylvania and PIAA halogens bulbs first – better than stock but not happy. Then I tried at least 3 different HID systems, not just bulbs but the entire ballast and wiring systems. The HID ranged from 4,300K - 6,000K. The HID’s were far superior to the halogen bulbs and I was a happy camper. Then I, like others, began “jonesing” for a LED option for the Harley Road Glide. Harley Davidson and the aftermarket have LED headlights for the FLH touring line but not for the FLT. Then comes forth a motorcycle mechanic by day and High Definition LED Road Glide light tinkerer by night, known as Big Jim from www.Holeshotchoppers.com. Big Jim took an innovative approach to match together a set of HD LED lights, with a custom made bracket and wiring harness, and thus the first, that I know of, usable HD LED Road Glide light system is born.

In my relentless pursuit of perfection, I ordered and received the first set (#001) of Big Jim’s HD LED Road Glide lights and installed them hours after the USPS driver pulled away. Below are my initial observations / review of these HD LED Road Glide headlights: Using a rating scale from 1 (being bad) and 10 (being bad ass)

General Installation / Instruction: rating 9
A Cave Man can do it. The instructions supplied with the HD LED Road Glide light kit is very clear. Additionally, Big Jim was at the ready during my install and told me to call him directly if I had any problems. There may be minor revisions to the instructions but very good first pass at writing installation instructions.

Plug & Play: rating 8
I give the headlights an 8 rating because they are not 100% plug & play. The bracket has to be enhanced by transferring the 3 adjusters from your factory headlight housing to the Holshotchoppers housing. You also have to drill a hole in your fairing glove box to mount the volume knob (really cool by the way). So my 2 points off are for those reasons alone as the rest of the kit is plug & play. The good thing is it took me no longer than 10 minutes to drill a hole and remove and install the 3 adjusters. The wiring harness is spot on……….

Illumination and beam focus: rating 10 for Illumination / 8 for beam focus
As mentioned, these light have a volume knob (dimmer) that allows for adjustability of the LED brightness. After doing some testing on the road and in my driveway, I believe I have my headlights at approximately 80% of the brightness for everyday use. Turning the lights all the way up is essentially equal to switching on high beam, which works off of the factory high beam switch. The light output travels as far as the HID’s but I think these LED’s are more piercing. I plan to meet up with a Street Glide rider with a Harley LED (single headlight) within the coming weeks and will try to do a lazy man’s comparison with pics – more to come on this.

Robustness: rating 9
Holding the Holeshotchoppers light in one hand and the factory headlight in the other, you can feel the quality of the Holshotchoppers light kit. The factory housing seems flimsy by comparison. I won’t go into details here other than; the material Big Jim used is very stout.

Aesthetics / fit & finish (what you see once installed): rating 10+ (if I can give more, I would)
These are the most striking pair of motorcycle headlights I’ve ever seen, not just on a Harley Road Glide, but ever. I just can’t get enough of looking at them. They make the front end of the Road Glide look high tech, unique and menacing all at once. Those twin pods enclose 3 distinct HD LED’s that just draws your attention. I can not tell you how many jaws dropped when I was riding around, at the Dealer or out showing friends. 100% of the people I spoke with wanted to know if these lights were available for their bikes. Selfishly, I wish I remain the only person in my state with these lights but that may not be Big Jim’s plan – they are way cool looking. By the way, Big Jim mentioned that the bracket can be painted to match your bike or any other color a customer may want but I think it looks best in black.

Cost: rating 7
This was tough to rate as it is not fair to judge these HD LED Road Glide lights against HID’s. HID’s have been adopted for cars and motorcycles far longer than good LED's, let alone HD proprietary LED’s. Holeshotchoppers retail these lights for $750 and many riders will say; I can get HID’s for a fraction of that cost. Other riders will say; I can go buy better halogen bulbs for a fraction of the cost of HID’s. Then there’s riders that would say their factory Road Glide lights are great and don’t understand what all the fuss is about. So, I rate the cost as a 7 because, $750 is still a lot of coin (to me) for motorcycle lights. But if you factor in the original cost of the HD LED @ $649 and realize the R&D that went into the bracket and harness and general production cost for the kits, the cost is more appreciable.

Customer Service: rating 10
I’ve had the chance to speak with Big Jim and think he’s a man that will stand behind his product. He is willing to listen to feedback and has been really good keeping me and others informed about the progression of these HD LED Road Glide light kits. Additionally, Big Jim was ready at his phone if I needed help during my install – good stuff.

Continued on next post:
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Road Glide1.jpg (96.8 KB, 394 views)
File Type: jpg Road Glide2.jpg (96.5 KB, 328 views)

Last edited by tyhlme; 04-09-2012 at 06:44 PM.
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  #2  
Old 03-27-2012, 05:57 PM
tyhlme tyhlme is offline
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Conclusion:
Now, are there any downsides to the HD LED Road Glide light kit produced by Holshotchoppers? Before I answer this question, I want to go on record and state that I’m really impressed with this LED kit. I’m glad Big Jim had the foresight and/or necessity to fabricate a version of this light kit for his personal Road Glide and basically beta tested it for a good period of time. It wasn’t until he posted pics of his beta tested HD LED Road Glide kit that forum members began to ask him to produce sets for us.

So, what are the deltas?
1. Once adjusted, the beam pattern is very centered, similarly to having one headlight. This may not be an issue for other riders but with twin LED pods, I would have expected a broader brush of light. The factory lights, with the myriad of bulbs and HID options, produce a broader brush of light that is representative of a twin headlight system. Now for my contradiction; although the beam pattern is centered, there was light everywhere. As you ride down the street, all of the street signs and anything reflective is lit up. Traveling down the highway at night, the overhead signs and exits are lit up – these lights do this with having a center focused beam pattern. Update: I conveyed my beam pattern issue to Big Jim and he is investigating if there is something that can be done. I want to also state that the beam pattern may be inherent in the HD LED technology and if so, I’m still more than pleased with these lights.
2. The lights are blinding and it’s great they come with a volume knob (dimmer) as you are basically making sunlight in front of you. Although I believe I have mine adjusted correctly, with a good light output of an estimated 80%, you still can barely look at the front of the motorcycle head on. To be clear, I’m not saying it is difficult to look directly into these lights stooping down on your knees into their direct centered beam pattern, doing so will send you to the eye doctor for temporary blindness. I’m talking about just standing in front of your motorcycle. I call this the “light everywhere zone” – this is kind of hard to explain but if you stand in front of this HD LED system, you’ll see what I mean. Also, forget trying to take a frontal pic of your Road Glide with a light volume @ 80%, it will just be a blob of light. Lastly, in the short time I’ve own this lighting system, I have not had a single cage flash their lights at me but I wouldn’t blame them if they did – again, volume knob is your friend.
3. Some may view the cost of $750 as a delta, considering all of the options of bulbs and HID’s light kits that can be used on the Harley Road Glide. On the plus side, there are “NO” HD LED’s available for the Road Glide FLT line at the moment from Harley or other manufacturers. If they are produced in the near future, I believe a comparison would be in order.
4. Needing to drill your glove box and taking the 3 adjusters from your factory headlight assemble may cause heart burn for a few folks but I consider this a real nit pic. Update: after speaking with Big Jim, he could add in 3 adjusters for $42 bucks but I wouldn’t bother as it is very easy to transfer the 3 adjusters from the factory housing. Also, there is an option to run wires to your ancillary light switch to add the volume knob, but I feel Big Jim’s suggestion to add it to the glove box is the best solution – Drill baby Drill….

So there you have it, one man’s review of the Holeshotchoppers High Definition LED Road Glide light kit system; designed by Big Jim. I’m glad I purchased this light system as oppose to them being sent to me on loan for a test. If they had been, Big Jim (who I believe is “BIG” based on the mitts I seen in a pic of him holding these lights) would have needed to come from California to Boston and pry my little fingers off his lights. With a name light Big Jim, resistance for me would have been futile. I love these lights…….. Thank you for reading this review and most importantly, tell someone you love that you love them and wishing you all the best in your personal, professional and spiritual endeavors. Note: Pictures coming this weekend.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Road Glide3.jpg (94.0 KB, 235 views)
File Type: jpg Road Glide4.jpg (96.6 KB, 294 views)
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  #3  
Old 03-27-2012, 07:38 PM
Jerry W. Jerry W. is offline
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wow that was a very good right up,i know leds have very little power draw,what the life expectancy.im guessing longer than i will have the bike
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Old 03-27-2012, 08:21 PM
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strangeglass strangeglass is offline
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Nice review will hold off on the need till a little more research has been done, and hopefully a little cheaper.
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:25 AM
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gpopvet gpopvet is offline
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I would like to have LED's but from what I understand Harley snd Kuryakyn are coming out soon I want to wait and see what they offer.
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Old 03-28-2012, 05:44 AM
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Are you a magazine editor? That was an excellent write up. I don't think those are for me, even if the price wasn't so up there (a little high for the average Joe I think), I just ain't crazy about the look. I think it makes the bike look a little on the alien side with 6 eyeballs. But I can definetly see the benefits of having better lighting up front, I am sure this would help with the "over running your lights" syndrome at night. And lighting up road signs would definetly help when making long trips in new places. Thank you for the review.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:03 AM
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Good write-up. Are these DOT approved yet?
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:31 AM
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Wild Bill Coady Wild Bill Coady is offline
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Well that answers all my LED headlight questions.

Actually, I was just searching for information on this very topic yesterday.

This site has all the answers, why did I look elsewhere first??

Thanks for the time and effort.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:41 AM
LARRYB LARRYB is offline
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i was with you ready to look up BIG JIMS site until I saw the picture, not a good look in my opinion.
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Old 03-28-2012, 08:44 AM
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A little about the price point.

The lights that HD offer for the FLHT models will set you back $500 + and they are inferior in light output and the lack of adjustment. I can only imagine that HD's FLTR offering will be in the $900-$1000 range. The cost of my lights is $649 and that is with out the harness set up to work with the stock HD harness ( takes me a good 45 min to modify each harness) and then we have the mount...so, not that $750 is pocket change, but believe me, if I could do it for less I would! I would like to get into the $500 area, but I think we are too early in the technology to be able to do that.
The Kuy "I can't spell" akyn light is cool, but again it is an inferior product in performance. I spoke with their Rep last weekend, and they are working on a solution for the roadglide, but they are 9-12 months out.

I actually made this kit and have run them in my FLTR for over a year, and I love them. Thanks to Bryant for the awesome review and Pete W for pushing me to make a kit. If any one has any questions, give me a call at the shop.
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