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Discussion Starter #1
Last night, I took my recently purchased 2003 K1200GT out for a short ride to check the headlight adjustment. As I expected, it's way too low for out here in the country. What I didn't expect was for the low beam to have two distinct and narrow lobes with about a 12° wide hole between them. Is this normal or has the bulb been installed wrong?

I suppose I could adjust the light to put one lobe on the road in front of me and the other lobe in the ditch, but that still leaves a hole where critters could be lurking and ready to jump out in front of me from the dark.

regards,
Joe
 

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I'm not really sure what you mean.
The KRS only has one lamp for the lo-beam and uses two reflectors to give it the illusion of having dual headlamps.
A lot of us have moved on to using HIDs.
Anyway here is the only adjustment you have for the headlight.
 

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Absolutely good advice on HID.

But first you need to check there is nothing wrong with the stock headlight adjustment mechanism:

If you feel right side down the bottom of the back of the plastic cover you will find the passenger high/low beam setting. If you flip this is your beam moving up and down and is it set in the high position for single rider?

If you try flipping it, everything is loose and nothing happens to the beam then the mechanism is bust and I can tell you how to fix it.

It's also worth checking the low beam bulb is correctly seated. There are some with small fingers that can change this bulb without lifting up the front plastic. But that is so fiddly there is a risk the lamp won't sit correctly in the housing = bad beam.

What you should see from the low beam is not so much a hole, as a horizontal cutoff line with triangles of light near and some far side.



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Discussion Starter #5
I had already made sure the high/low lever was flipped up, although I didn't think to see if it actually did anything. I'll check that, the next time I have the bike out at night. It moved easily, but it didn't feel loose.

While going down the road, I have two low beam lobes terminating on the pavement ahead, about 40 feet out, one on the left lane edge and the other on the right lane edge. Both lobes are very clearly defined and only about 3 feet wide, with circular tops to them and the road between them is completely dark. The high beam was adequate in shape, brilliance and height. Looks like I get to lift the shroud enough to get my extra large hands in there and try to reseat the low beam bulb.

Obviously they had the shroud off the bike to take those nice pictures, clearly showing where everything is. I hope I don't end up having to take it off to get to the bulb.

Thanks,
Joe
 

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Shroud will have to come off. Along with the two pieces of plastic on each side next to the gauges so you can get to the screws that anchor the shroud. Then you take the headlamp assembly out toward the front. Two connections need to be delt with first, the parking lamp (just pull the rubber boot straight down) and the headlamp connector (left side of the headlamp from riders position) after you've removed the three screws holding the headlamp secure. The headlamp connector has a wire clip that you should PUSH to release the connector. You can pull it, too, but it's likely to jump out of your pliers and hide.

On the K1200RS you could fit a small-to-medium sized hand behind the headlamp and replace the bulb. With the GT, the electric windscreen control arm is in the way. Plastic has to come off for the GT. After a few times, you get good at it and can probably change the bulb and be riding in 20 minutes.

That headlamp adjustment lever is a three-postion doohicky. You only get two settings, and you can fine-tune it by adjusting the slotted screw that's at the center of the lever. I've got the headlamp adjusted such that it's lighting up the trunk deck of the car in front, but not going into the rear window. California lamp regulations (just for reference) state that the cutoff point of the beam has to be 2" lower than the center of the headlamp when measured 25' (8 meters) from the bike. But, that's assuming the cutoff is at the horizontal center line of the headlamp.



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Discussion Starter #7
>That headlamp adjustment lever is a three-postion doohicky. You only get two settings...

Just out of curiosity... Do you happen to know what bike that doohickey was designed for? I mean the model that required the use of all three settings.

regards,
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #8
>On the K1200RS you could fit a small-to-medium sized hand behind the
>headlamp and replace the bulb. With the GT, the electric windscreen
>control arm is in the way. Plastic has to come off for the GT.

I knew there was a reason I've ridden naked bikes for the last 40 years, pure cussed laziness. Even my 84 GoldWing was a naked bike. Now I get to learn what it's like to have to take stuff off before I can start any task :)

regards,
Joe
 

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sloowpoke said:
>That headlamp adjustment lever is a three-postion doohicky. You only get two settings...

Just out of curiosity... Do you happen to know what bike that doohickey was designed for? I mean the model that required the use of all three settings.

regards,
Joe
Don't know which bike it was designed for, but I had an '85 K100RT that had the same system. The use of a center knob for basic adjustment and the use of ALL 3 flip positions for load adjustment.
Have you used just the center adjustment to bring your lamps up?? That flip lever is just meant to lower the beam when the bike is carrying a load.
 

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On my KRS, the adjuster is continuously adjustable from low to high beam angle because it is just pulling the headlamp unit down with a plastic cam against a spring.

However, there are only 2 locked positions at the low and high setting and it's important that the other beam screw is adjusted for correct road legal height when the passenger adjuster is set for high (no pillion).



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Discussion Starter #11
>Have you used just the center adjustment to bring your lamps up?? That
>flip lever is just meant to lower the beam when the bike is carrying a
>load.

I haven't adjusted anything yet. I merely made sure the lever was up, before taking my first night ride to evaluate the headlight's performance, having read that footnote in the manual (year unknown) that I downloaded. Since there's only one verticle adjustment knob and the high beam seems to be well adjusted, I was questioning the probability of an improperly installed low beam bulb.

Since no one has said my low beam is normal, I'll be taking the bulb out and reinstalling it, when I have all the shrouds off to examine the front suspension as recommended for... http://www.k-bikes.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20073 If I can't find anything wrong with the bulb installation, I'll hope it's a badly made bulb with the filament in the wrong position and replace it.

regards,
Joe
 

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Just adding something else. Others have moaned about the KRS beam, but in my opinion the BMW designed headlight for low beam is as good as they get. Before I HIDed mine I had the pattern set up and shown to me on a DOT beam tester. Our headlamp units are designed to shape the beam with a very sharp cutoff for oncoming. That is a much better way to do it than using a dual filament low/high bulb.

If it wasn't for this sharp cutoff in the headlamp design we wouldn't get away with HID conversions. I had mine re-tested after HID and the cutoff was still there, but with much more light at the sides where you need it. My beams needed no adjustment and I don't get flashed from oncoming.

Now the main beam is rather curious. With the stock lamp you cannot easily see what kind of shape it is since most of the light is coming off the low beam. I would agree that the stock main is not so good. With difficulty I HID'ed my main as well. The light pattern from the main is now much more obvious and is a long thin pencil with hardly any spread. With a HID lamp behind it, it creates a rather eerie effect that you seem to be riding behind a ray gun where every twist and turn moves the beam. You get used to it and adding a couple of auxiliaries switched by high beam and aimed high will put in some long distance spread.



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Discussion Starter #13
I'll withhold judgement until I've had a chance to see one working right then :)

The best headlight I've ever seen is the OEM one on my 2007 Sabre. I have the low beam adjusted so the horizontal terminus line is 5 seconds out in front of me on the pavement, when riding at 60 mph. At that distance, I can see the reflecting eyes of deer in the ditch with their eyes at or below pavement height, while the portion of the beam on the nearby pavement and sides isn't bright enough to dazzle my eyes from reflectors. That headlight was a big factor in my decision to buy the bike, because I like riding at night.

Other headlights I've had in the last 20 years commonly had the same beam shape but failed to reduce the brilliance towards the lower portion of the low beams fan shape. That makes the light on nearby pavement and reflectors much brighter than the more distant pavement and reflectors, reducing the eye's ability to maintain a fully dark adaptation.

The Sabre's high beam is just as wide a fan and illuminates the lane reflectors approximately a quarter mile out ahead of me, but doesn't extend my detection range much for reflecting eyes. I have to dim my highbeam at night when approaching road signs, to prevent the reflections from dazzling these old eyes, but there aren't many road signs on the country roads.

I've been telling folks all along that when the day comes I decide to sell the Sabre, I'll buy an aftermarket headlight to mount on it so I can keep the OEM headlight for the next bike :)

regards,
Joe
 

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You need to try a low beam HID kit then.

HID reflects back so well you can be dazzled by safety cones and Hi-Viz jackets for yards up front, so I don't think you will miss deer. In Winter wet or ice on roads reflects back so well it's scary.

I've had HID in 3 years and ride country roads at night. Best lights for seeing and being seen I've had compared to (tungsten) lit bikes.

HID is a different world and you can't compare the light with tungsten PIAA's or Motolites. As you say the beam shape is important but with the stock headlight and a xenon conversion I see more at the sides for further, without dazzling oncoming and I use the main beam less.



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Discussion Starter #15
With the socket seated all the way into the reflector, the low beam has a much better shape to it now. I did a little tweaking out on the interstate, riding in the rain tonight, and it's good enough to keep. It's still not as good as the one on my Honda Sabre but it's pretty good, compared to all the other bikes I've had.

Evidently the bike is squatting as the speed increases. The low beam reaches out farther when I'm doing 70mph, than when I'm doing 45mph. I've been riding cruisers so long, I don't recall if that's normal for a short wheelbase bike, but it's certainly convenient for night riding.

regards,
Joe
 

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What suspension are you running?

My stock (probably shot suspension) is so hard I hardly noticed front headlamp beam movement except on bad roads. Are you sure the assembly is nice and firmly mounted?

My bike needs a passenger for me to notice the low beam has come up near the rear window level of cars I follow and with HIDs I do get flashed unless I use the flip up adjuster for pillion.



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Discussion Starter #17
The stock (white) suspension has all of 8,200 miles on it now. I haven't made any adjustments to it yet, even though I outweight the previous owner by about 75 pounds. The beer belly is a definite advantage, since I don't need to add one of those dinky little tank bags, to lay on and still be able to see over the lowered windshield :)

While the front suspension is far more solid feeling than the cruisers I've been riding for 35 years, the rear actually feels a little softer than my Sabre.

regards,
Joe
 

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sloowpoke said:
The stock (white) suspension has all of 8,200 miles on it now. I haven't made any adjustments to it yet, even though I outweight the previous owner by about 75 pounds. The beer belly is a definite advantage, since I don't need to add one of those dinky little tank bags, to lay on and still be able to see over the lowered windshield :)

While the front suspension is far more solid feeling than the cruisers I've been riding for 35 years, the rear actually feels a little softer than my Sabre.

regards,
Joe
With this and your last post about the bike "squating" at speed makes me think you have to up the pre-load in the rear shock.
Do a search on "setting the sag".
 

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