Seeking Suggestions, a compact headlight for bubble-fairing


Been Around the Block
Hey there. Welcome to the thread. Thanks for popping in. I mean, whether you can help or not - thanks for taking the time!

I'm looking for suggestions for a compact HID headlight system. Ideally with a lens & housing, but if the better systems come without a housing, I guess I'm asking for TWO suggestions then ha-ha. I keep seeing 'em on the show bikes, little tiny headlights that seem like a bare minimum "compliance" item, like a dentist's tool rear-view mirror, or dashboard "idiot lights" used as indicators, thin strip of red LEDs for a tail-light, strung along the back/crack of your passenger's thong bikini. If they're not suitable for night-time highway riding however, then that's a nope. 'Cause I'll be using the thing for some long-distance riding up here.

I guess my main reason for seeking advice is I had heard a few years back about a lot of the eBay systems being unreliable, failing outright after 6-months or thereabouts.

Oh - and an automotive upgrade package would be acceptable too, just so long as it has separate ballasts. Being that I'm currently building the two bikes - "CB900K0 Bol Bomber" AND the "KZ440LOL" - Not putting a fairing on the both of 'em, but they could both use the brighter bulbs. I'm all about the visibility on that Kawasaki 'cause it's for my KID after all. Got a nice headlight bucket & ears set-up for BOTH bikes, so yeah I suppose a separate system that pops in and out of the housing would be useful, 'cause I could stick the same bulb into either reflector, use the fairing some of the time and other times not? Bit of a headache with the fairing-mounted oil-cooler - but I'm going with an "Old's-Cool" style of cooler lines, which is to say simple hose cut to length, spigot fittings and gear-clamps. Part & parcel of the "Retro-Fried" treatment. Still, one of these compact reflector housings is essential to the aesthetic design side of the fairing project.

More than anything I suppose I'd like a fairing with a TILTING headlight, with some type of pintle mount & armature cranking left & right for the fast sweeping turns, dipping low tipping up when going up & down hills, etc. The old Avon fairings sometimes used a clear front fairing surface with a regular headlight bucket sweeping in behind a horizontal oval. But I'm thinking more of an articulated linkage, a compact bulb wiggling 'round like an eyeball in it's socket. A Fritz The Cat wall-clock type of deal.

I suppose that's asking for a lot! Ha-ha. Wouldn't know the first thing about hooking it up anyhow. Would be nice though, a very compact reflector & housing from an old Moped or some such, could work in that configuration OR be fixed to the fairing - and be fine either way. What's nice about the OEM housings is they can be aligned straight to the road with a simple pair of screws. Going for a very simplified cockpit & dash as well. Got an oval bezel for a dual-clock, CB450K0 or CB160 style - GSX1000S Katana too, but I sure don't want it to turn out looking all 1980s, date of the bike's manufacture not withstanding!

Normally I'm pretty opinionated about component selection for a classic bike, some might say a bit too opinionated ha-ha. But for once, I find myself in the dark. Which I suppose is because I'm looking for NEW technology, when normally I'd insist on older original stuff, mixed & matched in new configurations - sort of a "period-correctness trumps everything" belief. Well, when it comes to SAFETY, I'm willing to make a compromise. And what's the #1 safety concern? CAGERS! Gotta make one's bike stand out from the urban/suburban sprawl, or at least the game of whoopsee bumper-cars cagers have got going on out there. So yeah, a HEADLIGHT. If ya'll can rationalize the fugly crotch-rocket parts, the 17" mag wheels & floating wave/petal rotors with gold & purpose anodized spiderflake carriers as SAFETY equipment well good for you ha-ha. I'd like to think this will be the ONE point where I'll break down and use the modern shite. HID headlamp & I suppose some of them LED 1157/1156 bulbs I've bought on clearance. 'Nuff said! Ha-ha.

I've got plenty enough experience with electronic ballasts & HID lighting especially, I was a hard-core aquarium geek back in the '90s, when HID Metal-Halide & VHO flourescent lighting was still on the top shelf and the LED stuff which dominates today was but a dim glimmer on the horizon. (Can't imagine how they're dealing with the "Salt Creep" - though I'm sure the electrical shock hazards are lessened!) Just sayin' - I'm looking for a hot tip on a good product, more so than a beginner's guide to HID lighting, or an installation guide blah-blah-blah. I can see what's out there, but IIRC there were a lot of crappy products on the market a few years ago, plenty of kits which failed in 6-months time. I'm hoping folks will be able to point me in the direction of a well-built, long-life, yet compact system. Ideally with it's own integral reflector & lens etc, but I suppose if I can't find that, I'll follow a good recommendation for an electrical package, and find the reflector/housing elsewhere. Would be really nice if the HID bulb could be retro-fitted into a headlight package from something like a Honda "Hobbit" PA50 Moped for instance. Most of 'em had sealed beam lights but some Hobbit reflectors are out there still, suitable for a replacement bulb of whatever type one might choose. Suitable? Okay - perhaps a poor choice of words ha-ha. MAYBE?

So here's what I'm working with. "CB900K0 Bol Bomber" -Bol D'Or based "homage" to the '65 CB450K0 Black Bomber. A loooong way to go from here, but it's a nice place to start!

So yeah, obviously (to the initiated) the bike's an '82 CB900F, obviously it's got some "goodies" on it, (((Cal-Fab swinger, all-original Wolf exhaust, Tarozzi pegs [have gotta go], CB1100R alloy tank's been polished, 296mm vented rotors from CB1100Rc/d CBXpro-link or GL1100A, CBX caliper-hangers [but heck the calipers & the whole fork's going onto a 750 for my Lil' GRRRL when she's outgrown the "KZ440LOL"], various do-dads here & there, rebuilt engine with 985cc big-bore kit & stainless hardware everywhere, modded top-yoke all trimmed up, cheapo clip-on bars but I did some re-surfacing on 'em so as to make 'em look more like some older period-correct gear. Blah-blah-blah, this is more or less the beginning of this build anyhow. But they're some choice GOODIES, aren't they?)))

That's a replica early-'80s Duck 900SS square-case "Bevel-Bubble" fairing, fibreglass only and "Race-Type" ie no headlight opening. (Yet.) If you squint, you'll see that the current fairing bracket doesn't work, it all fits along the bottom and sticks out, looks like crap. But even so, I'm keeping it around, thinking of sticking a DUST-BIN on that Feather-Weight 750cc DOHC project for the kid (((with either the 39mm fork I just mentioned with the 296mm discs, OR the 39mm CB900F fork off of the "KZ440LOL" which I've modded to work with 4LS drum brake ONLY - Should've found a 37mm or 35mm instead but they're actually not that much of a weight savings anyhow. Just gonna kick myself if I build yet ANOTHER "small" bike, wishing I'd kept another 39mm around for IT. Well, just gotta get a PROPER 4LS drum, 250mm-260mm & up? Got some alloy wire-spoke rims set aside for the 750, 2.5x18 Borrani & 3.5x18 Super-Akront, gonna stick a drum on the rear. Should stick a drum on the 9 too.)))

Grabbing an OEM fairing bracket for the CB900F2, which hopefully will work better than the CB900C/CB750C Custom Hondaline unit that I grabbed in haste. Ah, but nothing goes to waste, it just inspires some other distant future project. The 750's already gathering momentum (weight, bulk etc) but there are still another 2-3-4 projects on the horizon which might only be a set of rims, hubs and an IDEA thus far. But I've got TIME at least, (Flying Spaghetti Monster willing).

There's gonna be an over-sized oil-cooler stuffed in there too, with the requisite "letter-box" style "mouth" replete with baleen teeth to screen out all of the "plankton" as it were. What this means, is there's a bit less room for the headlight to squeeze in.

Furthermore, I've got these big ideas about using some NUMBERS on the fairing, for something of a ... pretentious pseudo race-bike vibe. Going for a classic '70s Honda ENDURANCE RACER thing.

- The DOHC RCB seems upbeat, while the SOHC 999cc Japauto racer from earlier on, yet which also raced head-to-head with the factory RCB's, as did the Honda Britain team, a good several years there where the SOHC streetbike derived power-plants & the new prototype DOHC engines ran in both factory & sponsored-team chassis, raced against one another. Which is almost a side-show when you realize there was also a Honda GOLDWING derived Endurance Racer running alongside of 'em, the "DLF-1000"!!!)

(See that poking out behind it though? That's the depressed looking SOHC 999cc Japauto BULL- solid PROOF they all raced together - DAMN, the podium finish what might've been! I'm also diggin' the DIY shop-welded paddock stand. Sometimes the store-bought kit just don't have the same ... Je n'est ce quoi. Or as they said in the Bol D'Or paddocks, "I don't know what".)

Peeking ahead into the distant future of the "ASIMO" android program - "You always meet the nicest Honda-People"!
There's not a doubt in my mind, these things were both inspired by, and inspiration for - Science Fiction movie props.

Goes to show you though, and this is my POINT in all of this name-dropping and hero-worship: the one recurrent theme throughout the late-mid to mid-late '70s Honda Endurance Racers? A lovable hug-able smooch-able bug-eyed FACE on the front of the bike - Essential stuff!

(((And it's also encouraging to see how the SOHC racer and the 'Wing retained their wire-spoke rims so late into the SOHC game where Cast/Mag wheels were fashionable. I suppose there were indeed also SOHC-based contemporary racers AND that other Goldwing Endurance Racer from RICKMAN which had the six-spoke Magnesium rear wheel and 5-spoke or 7-spoke front. But yeah, IMHO it's entirely feasible that there could've been a DOHC 'K-based racer with a rear drum and wire-spoke rims, maybe even one of those prototype engines loaned out to the successful teams - just as that Rickman 'Wing engine had been sent out to the field as early as 1972 or '73, winding up in a highly competitive Side-Hack racing outfit. Of course, while it's very interesting IMHO to speculate about what all OTHER Honda models from in or around this same period MIGHT have raced in mid-'70s European Endurance series, what I'm REALLY trying to build here would be more like a STREET bike of early-mid '60s extraction, based on the works DOHC-4 engines (Well, just as the whole Honda "FOUR" series from '68 through '83, heck '84-2016 actually was derivative of the RC-racers going all the way back to the singles & twins of the late '50s!) One might well imagine it as something of a "sport-touring" beast, from some alternate universe where all of those stars aligned to bring the works tech straight to street level - kinda like what Magni did with the MV Agusta DOHC-4 tech, though sadly never with the MV Agusta DOHC TRIPLE now that would've been interesting.... Hard to say how it would come about, perhaps if Honda weren't such a huge company by this point but rather a smaller top-dog under-dog competitor like several of the Italian marques were at that time. Or more to the point, if somebody in top management saw fit not to let all of them goodies go to "WASTE", or gather dust, lay in moth-balls as it were.

ANYWAY yeah, as for my OWN googley-eyed monster, the first way I envisioned it was just a bulb & a number, thusly:

Whereupon I began to ruminate upon the usual numbers people use, like 69 "the beast with two backs" which doesn't LOOK so good, then I remembered another position I learned later on in "married" life, known as #96, or "The beastly black-to-back" - or best of all:
"916 the cockblockin kid"

I think you get the idea, how small that bulb has got to be. But then I've seen some bulbs that small over the past couple of years. Dunno whether or not they'd be suitable for highway riding at night, or if they're more of a daytime "compliance" item - Just like the dentist's mirrors on ye choppers of olde???

Yanno what would be helpful, is if those same paints used on HELMETS to cover visors with whatever goofy fanboy visage hits a nerve with the viral meme kids - that look like solid opaque colours from outside the visor yet you can still see through 'em? Yeah, with something like that, you could extend some type of plexiglas windshield down the front - ideally, not the same PIECE of plastic, so the light doesn't bleed into the bug screen, channeled back ala fibre-optics right in front of one's face - But yeah, a big full bubble up front and you could use as big of a reflector as you like, as may bulbs as you like, but when the lights are off the bike looks like a full-on (short trek daytime racing) TRACK bike. Or whatever the heck other nonsense you'd prefer to paint over it.

I'm not saying that's what I'D do with the thing. But I do like the idea of a couple 'a big full-size headlights up there, yet still being able to extend the paint scheme and/or digits over top of the contoured glass reflector lenses!

I don't think I'll wanna "french in" the housing, like a recessed ring type of deal. For the oil-cooler duct, yeah - I'm shopping all over the 'net for fiberglass duct-work. But I picture the headlight being a simple cut-line with the lens pressed straight up against it. As such, I'm concerned about the light bleeding back & shining in my face, so that's what the housing's about.

Not much reason to plan further until I've got my replacement fairing bracket in hand. But if things don't seem like they wanna fit, I've been thinking about a double-walled fairing, to glass in the duct-work and backing for the reflector, covering electrics, maybe some type of glove-box pockets, a hidey-hole for the GPS tracking silent-alarm security system and thief-euthanasia devices - Sorta like the double-wall on the old Vetter Windjammer fairings.

Not that I wanna toot Craig Vetter's horn, not after what he did to the Goldwing! But yeah the double-wall thing could really help the fairing rigidity, might help simplify the brackets etc.

And if the bubble fairing doesn't work out, I've been thinking about a modified Vetter Windjammer. I'd like to grab a beat-up specimen from the local classifieds, and cut it this way & that, bend the corners in toward the center, laminate it all back together into an entirely different shape. More streamlined, obviously. Especially the earlier versions, with the round indicator lights with the curved mouldings around 'em - Not even sure that's a Vetter product but YOU Know the ones I mean. I'd like to tuck it all in together such that the two indicator bulb mouldings could hold some mini HEADLIGHT bulbs, and if the large central hole remains in the final configuration, I'd wanna use it as a great big "Basking Shark" type air inlet, for an oil-cooler or maybe even a RAD tucked up tight, on say - a Goldwing GL1200 replica of that DLF-1000 up the page a bit, or a V65 Magna/Sabre based replica of the CZ Type 860. I have no idea what all can be DONE with the Vetter fairing not until I had one in hand. But expect that it would be cut apart into the two inner/outer layers, then segmented up & "folded", origami style. And then anywhere it joins together, sand it down to the fibers and laminate the heck out of it with woven cloth, then sand it down to a smooth shape. Huge bunch of work, especially figuring out how to join the inner & outer layers together. But I think there's some huge potential there.

Take a look at what the Duck Sport-Classic GT1000 TOURING model did with the plexiglas wind-screen for instance. Didn't those adverts make you reconsider a glass wind-screen on YOUR bike? I've been thinking about cutting one of THOSE things down too. Might be better to heat & bend an entirely new sheet of plexi, but there are screens out there with "all the right curves" which could "lose a few pounds" and come out looking hot! The trick being to keep it small enough to be SPORTY and yet still big enough & retain all the signature elements as to evoke the original iconic/archetypal imagery of the '70s-'80s Touring-Superbike rigs. With the FAT trimmed away, but still that lil' bit of butter what's cushion for the pushin' - Okay so that took the metaphor a bit too far ha-ha. You get my point.



Been Around the Block
Come ON fellas. Nobody got any ideas? Do I have to make even more funny faces to get your attention?





Yanno what would've looked better on the scooter? They should've left the existing edge of the fairing as the LIPS - and fill in the teeth using some of those triangular foam make-up applicators that they sell at pharmacy make-up counters. They could be glued in really solid, yet whenever they got bumped they'd just squish out of the way. And they could be replaced as needed, too. Would've looked waaaaaay better that way. Just sayin'!



The two pics of the bubble fairing, that's MINE by the way - so it's not ALL other people's privates (You down with OPP? Yeah you know me!) - I'm not shooting for the same look though, that of a contrived mask / face on the bike. I just want it to seem accidental. A race-number which just happens to give it a hint of life. I want it to look primarily, like a motorcycle. IMHO it would be more authentic that way.

You see the little bulbs in the bottom pic here though? The BUELL? Yeah, that's what's out there. Well, I'm hoping to use more of a period-correct LENS overtop of a bulb & housing that small. Something like an old Honda CUB or HOBBIT headlight, with the contoured grid dissipating light everywhere, softening the hot-spot in the middle.

My big question being whether those little kit lights are adequate for highway use. Meanwhile, whether the ballast & bulb kits are reliable & long-lived enough that I'm not gonna have to replace 'em after 6-months!

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