Apr 22

PIAA H7 Xtreme White Plus Bulbs Review

PIAA H7 Xtreme White Plus Bulbs Review –  does it really give 110 watts of light from a 55 watt bulb?

Reviewed by Mark DT

One thing a rider can not have of is enough light when riding at night on an empty road.  The first night ride on my old motorcycle was frightening to say the least.  Before purchasing a replacement bulb like the PIAA H7 Xtreme I decided to see how well my lights were aimed.  The dealership had done a brutal job during their PDI of aiming the motorcycle’s driving lights.  The low beam was down and to the left, the high beam would startle pilots in low flying airplanes.

So it was back to my garage and get out the shop manual and start to adjust the lights’ aim.  It was a fairly simple process done in my dark garage shining the light on my closed garage door.  The lateral adjustment on the low beam was almost fully left.  Once properly centered, and with the low beam adjusted slightly up and the high beams slightly down it was time to get on the road.

Before testing in traffic I had my wife sit in her car and rode past her from in front and behind to confirm that the lights weren’t either set too high and glaring in her rear view mirror or in her eyes when approached directly.  All was well, it was time to return to the dark highway on my trusty Kawasaki Versys and see if things were better.

The light spread, pattern and visibility had improved, but I was still disappointed.  Now that I’ve done all the free adjustment stuff, it was time to go shopping for new light bulbs for the motorcycle.

In the aftermarket accessories for motorcycles there are two routes to take in headlight upgrades.  One can go all out, and buy a plug and play HID Lighting Kit, which requires a little more time to install.  It is a light, and a ballast, with the best ballasts being digital.  The light quality is outstanding but the cost is higher, and the install time is more than a simple bulb replacement.  Being a thrifty biker, I chose the path of least resistance and looked at the second route.  I bought the best quality aftermarket bulbs I could source locally which were thePIAA H7 Xtreme White Plus Bulbs.

I only replaced the low beam initially.  The box claims 110w shine from a 55w bulb.  To be honest I was a little skeptical but was desperate to improve the lighting on my ride.  Surprise surprise, the low beam was far brighter than before.  There is a dark alley near our home which on a moonless night is very black.  The light from the new low beam was both wider than and brighter than my old stock bulb.  The original stock high beam bulb when flicked on was less noticeable than before as the low-beam with its new  PIAA H7 Xtreme White Plus Bulbwas putting out much more light.  I’m not sure if it in fact was the claimed 110 watts from their 55 watt bulb, but it was a hell of a lot better than before, and it was only a simple bulb change out required.

Back to the house, and one more driver glare test with my wife in her car as before.  Again no complaints about the lights aim, and she was genuinely surprised how much brighter the light appeared compared to the previous stock bulb.  She then asked me to go shopping for her bike next. (Having a spouse that rides is both a blessing and an expensive curse.)

The I repeated the process with the high beam shortly after with similar stellar results.  I have since ridden through police stops and never had any issues with the new lights being too bright.  All in all they do what they claim.  A lot more light, easy change out, and no police fines. These replacement bulbs claim to be street-legal in the US and in Canada.

The PIAA Extreme White's are a definite step up in lighting from most factory supplied bulbs

              PIAA H7 Xtreme White Plus Bulb;                a simple solution to more light on the road?

These replacement aftermarket halogen motorcycle lights aren’t cheap replacements, and while they lasted two seasons before I traded this motorcycle for a new one, I have no personal experience on actual longevity of these bulbs.  Anecdotal rumors say that many of the brighter bulbs tend to have a shorter lifespan from all manufacturers. This seems to be the trade-off for better performance.  If you ride a lot at night it makes for a fair compromise, if you are a weekend daytime coffee shop rider, maybe not.  If one is truly worried about the lifespan of their headlights and wishes to get the maximum light, then a HID kit may be a better choice.

If you only ride during the day this likely is not be a worthwhile purchase.  If you do any amount of night riding, and you are dissatisfied with your bike’s stock lights, this is a simple way to get started farkling your ride, making your night rides that much brighter and ultimately safer.  If you really want the best of the best in lighting, consider the HID solutions that are out there.  Just be aware that there are more complexities involved in fitting them properly.

[warning]More than anything else, before spending any money take some time and learn how to aim and adjust your lights.  Putting in any fancy new bulb into an improperly aimed housing will not make your ride any safer.[/warning]

If you have had a good or bad experience with any light bulbs why not share?  newcontent@farklemyride.com or click here to let your fellow riders know what bulbs have and have not met your night riding needs.

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3 comments

    • Brent VanDyke on May 1, 2012 at 19:19
    • Reply

    I’d recommend looking to the Osram Nightbreakers. They’re 65w H7 bulbs and they REALLY douse the landscape at night. I noticed a massive improvement immediately.

    Do note that these aren’t specifically DOT approved, though one of my friends in blue agrees that it’s better see and be seen than to worry over much about the extra 10w. More likely that you’ll get pulled over for a blue tinted light than a clear, more powerful one!

    • Andrew Ho on August 28, 2012 at 19:48
    • Reply

    I have the osram night breaker plus on my versys. But i noted that it came in 55watt and have not found a 65watt option anywhere.

    Nonetheless, despite what the packaging materials on the bulb claims (90% brighter, 30 metres further, yadda yadda), i find that there is only SLIGHT marginal improvement compared to the stock bulb.

    I am considering upgrading to HID some time in the near future.

    1. I have just posted an article with a separate gallery featuring the Yana Shiki HID lighting kit install I did with my Triumph Tiger 1050. When looking at the pictures you can really see how much better the light spreads to the side as well as carrying further forward.

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