There have been several threads on the GL1800riders forum lately about HID light upgrades. As the prices have dropped on HID kits and the quality has improved they've attracted my attention more. The kit of choice seems to be one from DDM Tuning. It was only $40 so I decided to give it a try.
I ordered the 35W, 4500 degree kit.
The kit is pretty simple and comes in three boxes. There was one thing missing...instructions. I was able to refer to the forum for installation tips which you'll see here.
The kit is not 100% plug and play. The H7 bulbs use a spacer for the clamping mechanism to work. The kits includes spacers but they don't fit the GL1800 housing. They have to be modified.
The adapter on the left is the stock Honda part. It is basically circular with a diameter of about 1 3/8". The adapter in the middle is one I ground down on a bench grinder. The adapter on the right is the original part from the kit. You can see how much it needs to change.
The low beams can be accessed through the fork tunnel by turning the handlebars to one side or the other. When I repaired my windshield latch I did some trimming of the speaker housings which gave me easy access to the bulbs from above...so I also removed the windshield for this installation.
These grommets are unnecessary and can easily be cut away.
Here is the kit for one side. There is quite a bit of length. The kit uses nice weatherproof connectors.
I used the stock adapters to connect the power wires to. I bent the spade lugs so they fit tightly in the connectors, then used electrical tape to keep everything tight...
...then connected them to the stock headlight plugs. I found this to be easier than trying to connect the HID power wires directly to the headlight plugs. The green wire is ground. This also makes it easy to convert back to a normal bulb if I had an HID failure.
Because I had cut away part of the speaker enclosures I put the ballasts there. Normally they would go under the storage pockets.
The finished product.
I took the bike out for a night cruise to check out the new lights. I've used SilverStar bulbs which cost about $40 for a pair, and the HID lights are much brighter. They give a nice clear, white light which brings out more detail than 'normal' bulbs. Some posters on the forum have stated "who needs highbeams" with the HID lights but I didn't get that impression. The distance limitation of the low beams was still there for me. My highbeams and driving lights now look orangish yellow by comparison.
It's not a bad upgrade for $40 especially if the lights last 'forever' like they are advertised to. Having to modify the bulb spacers is the only real negative I have about the kit.
Update: I've found something I really like about these lights. At night, when you use bright halogen lights it causes reflective signage to glare making the lettering hard to read. The HID lights make signs appear backlit, and are much easier to read from a long distance. The signs have a nice glow about them.