In fairness to Triumph, a lot of other makes fall short in the headlight stakes and I'm at a loss to know why, particularly as a lot of the world has animals that come out at night and lurk on the nice warm roads. Cattle, sheep, kangaroos and the like are pretty immovable objects if you run into one and there are things in the Americas and elsewhere that would happily eat your face if you annoyed one by running into it. Ok, by putting crap bulbs into the average bike, the makers might save a buck or two over fitting something better, but they don't win any brownie points from the owners and it's a genuine safety consideration. Even for riders who predominantly ride in daylight, there are obvious advantages to being as conspicuous as possible.
There are all manner of remedies (at the owner's expense) such as HID but these have a few drawbacks too, cost not being the least of them. On my Blackbird, I switched from 65W halogen bulbs to 100W high quality Xenon bulbs. (More on the quality aspect later). Night vision was much improved and people certainly noticed me in daylight earlier than previously with that intense blue-white light. I could get away with a higher wattage because the volume of the headlight was quite large, allowing decent heat dissipation. Not so lucky with the Triple because of the small headlight volumes and the risk of cooking wiring or other fittings.
Apart from raising the angle of the factory-set headlights a touch, the stock bulbs were replaced with ones of the same wattage, but high quality Xenon bulb, the Osram Nightbreaker +90. The difference was immediately noticeable, even in daylight as per the photo below.
Standard bulb left, Nightbreaker right
As mentioned in a previous post, these bulbs were good enough to see me through the annual 1000 miles in 24 hours endurance ride on twisty, unlit backroads. They weren't outstanding, but they were good. In daylight, traffic definitely sees the bike earlier, particularly when I'm approaching from behind. They definitely don't like those lights in their mirrors for long!
One of my bulbs failed a couple of weeks ago after 2 years of service. I would have been happy with a straight replacement but had a look about to see if there was anything else worth checking out. Autobulbs Direct in the UK whom I've dealt with for quite a few years were advertising the Ring Xenon Ultima +120 bulbs at 27 pounds a pair. Not cheap, but they were duly ordered and arrived today.
Ultima +120 left, Nightbreaker +90 right on dipped beam
Contrast the two photos...... the Nightbreaker in the top picture is significantly brighter than the OEM bulb and in the lower photo, the Ultima is brighter than the Nightbreaker so it looks like we've got a winner again, although they need a proper test. Looking at the manufacturer's specifications, both bulbs are rated at 400-500 hours of life. My lights are permanently on and over 2 years, this claim represents an average of 5 hours riding a week. My riding is is well in excess of this rate over a year so the manufacturer's claim, at least for the Nightbreaker, is quite conservative.
Ring +120 packaging
Ring +120 bulb through blister pack
As mentioned earlier, having bright lights is equally important for both daytime and night-time riding, reducing the risk of SMIDSY (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You) from knuckle-dragging cage drivers.
It might be time to mention the word "quality" in conjunction with replacement bulbs. Both Osram and Ring Automotive are major manufacturers with a good history of continuous improvement. A friend who used to ride a Hayabusa bought some supposedly high output Xenon bulbs off Trade Me, the NZ equivalent of eBay. When they arrived, they were coated dark blue all over and made in China. OK for pimped cars that never leave town, but utter crap for the serious motorist or rider. Their output was FAR worse than the standard bulb so it pays to do your homework and stick to the major brands!
Oh, and nothing to do with bikes but whilst Jennie is away on her European trip, I took her trick MX5 to Auckland and put on a set of sticky tyres to replace the current ones which were well past their best. A friend who successfully races cars recommended the Bridgestone RE 002. Not cheap, won't last as long as "normal" road tyres but man, do those things grip. A blast down the practically deserted twisty Kaiaua coast road was impressive (err... an understatement). So there we are, additional safety for my soulmate and additional fun for me when I'm allowed to take it out on my own, **grin**. Quite a good week so far!