Motorcycle Projectors, Angel Eyes, Demon Eyes, DRL, or HID… What’s the difference and what's right for me?
That’s a good question considering the options now a days for Ducati, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Triumph sport bike headlight upgrades. So we are going to cover the most common and sold upgrades. Angel Eyes, (Also known as Halos) Projector Kits, Demon Eyes, DRL, and HID kits. We will attempt to cover all important aspects so that you or any other rider that is considering a headlight upgrade will know what he or she is getting based on what they are looking for.
Step 1- What is your budget? Not only for the parts themselves, but the professional installation required. You don’t want to have champagne taste with a beer budget. So be realistic in getting the best options available at the budget you set for yourself. Some headlight upgrades will require disassembly of the headlight. Many riders will not be comfortable or experienced in doing this therefore we recommend that certain upgrades be taken to a qualified shop to have the upgrade installed properly. It is not uncommon for the installation to be as much or more than the part itself, keep that in mind! (Upgrades that require headlight dis assembly are Projectors, Angel Eyes, Halo Eyes, Demon Eyes, Perimeter or DRL.
Step 2- Determine what you actually want for your bike within your budget. Forget the terms of the upgrades for a moment and ask yourself, what do I want for my motorcycle? Not only consider the look but also the benefits. Do I want to have brighter headlights only (HID), or do I want to have a fancy colored halo ring (Angel Eyes) around each bulb for style or do I want both? If you have just 1 side of the headlight “on” for low beam and “both for high beam, do you want to make them both dual high low? (Ex- 07-12 Honda CBR 600RR or 2006-2015 Yamaha R6) Take a look at photos and videos on Google and You tube to research the look and the type of upgrades that are right for you and your motorcycle.
Step 3- Understand the types of head lamp upgrades that are available. We will do a breakdown of the most popular head light upgrades, approx. cost, and installation difficulty to help familiarize you on each type of upgrade.
HID Kits: The more politically correct term for HID is as High Intensity Discharge Kits. This upgrade is usually the most affordable and installation the easiest. HID kits will be a replacement head light bulbs and the ballasts needed to power the bulbs. That’s really all there is too an HID kit. These will make the headlights approx. 200-300% brighter than stock filament bulbs. Price range for HID is $50-$150 and installation is a 3 out of a 10. The scale starts at a 1 for easiest and 10 for most difficult and or time consuming. For HID kits there are different temperature options for the bulbs usually ranging from 3000k (Kelvin temperature) to 30,000k. The important point about this is the lighting color and the brightness aspect. Not all colors will be bright enough to ride at night safely. The most popular and brightest colors to choose are from 4300k white to about 8000k bluish white. Any Kelvin temperatures below or above this will be less visible though often the light is more colorful. (Ex-Purple, blue, yellow) Another type of HID kit will be the dual Hilo kits (High and low beam) These HID kits are for use with motorcycles with 2 headlight bulbs that only utilize 1 for the low beam while the other is turned off. A dual hilo kit currently is only available for bikes with this type of headlight function and H7 bulbs. This type of HID kit will enable both sides of the headlight to operate as low beams as well as high beams thus curing a common complaint for many R6 and CBR riders of having 1 headlight “out” while riding.
Angel/Halo Eyes: The 1st halo kit on the market was around 2006 when Clegg’s Innovations introduced Angel Eyes which was an acrylic plastic with 2-3 LED’s spaced evenly around each ring. By today’s standards this ring is laughable, but back then, it was the most head turning upgrade you could get for your sport bike. Fast forward almost 10 years and you will find true LED Angel/Halo eyesare the best option. 360 degrees of very bright light from SMD (High power individual LEDS) technology or the lower tech option… CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamp) This type of Angel Eye is not as bright, has a lower life span, and a dark spot of about ½ inch in each ring. So we would recommend an LED version halo/Angel Eye for your bike. Another popular option is the color changing LED Angel Eyes with wireless remote control. This type of Angel Eye will be able to change up to 15 different colors but only with this remote. The single color is more convenient to use because it will utilize a toggle switch that mounts on the bike so that they can be turned on or off instantly while riding. Angel/Halo kits require disassembly of the headlight which can be time consuming and somewhat expensive if done professionally. Angel eye kits will range from about $70-$200 depending on the options and model motorcycle. Installation difficulty is rated at about a 7 out of a 10.
Demon Eyes: This guy is probably the least understood headlight upgrade. Demon lights can only be installed on bikes that have projectors or are upgrading to projectors, they are not an option for bikes that have standard non projector headlights. Demon Eyes are either a halo ring OR LED bulb that mounts inside of each projector and will provide a subtle glow… like eyes from a dark cave. They are not meant to provide road visibility. When the headlights are turned on, the demon eyes will fade away instantly. These lights will be overpowered by the power of the headlight bulbs. The best situations to use the Demon eyes lights are at bike shows, gas stations, or when riding during daylight hours with the headlights turned off. Demon Eyes will only cost around $30-$50, and is advised that you add them to your projector or halo purchase and install them at the same time.
DRL: This halo hybrid upgrade is usually an eye candy add on like demon eyes and not for extra night visibility. Like Angel eyes, DRL (Daylight Running Lights) mount inside the headlight and require virtually the same installation process as Angel Eyes. DRL will mount either on top or bottom of the headlight inner ceiling or floor like eye brows. The best example is DRL is the Audi sports cars. This upgrade can often be utilized as a turn signal if wired into the signal harness. Cost of DRL can be from $30-$100.
Perimeter Eyes: This head light accessory is similar to DRL but installs all the way around the inside of the headlight. The circumference of the headlight and is made from acrylic and utilizes LED’s in each corner. This type of accessory is similar to the original Clegg’s Innovations Angel Eyes in its construction so it’s not state of the art by any stretch of the imagination but does provide a unique look to the headlight. Perimeter eyes are really only visible during low light or night time due to its limited brightness. Cost is approx. $80-$100 and installation is a 7 out of a 10.
Projector Kits: Projector kits are of the most popular headlight upgrades currently available. Whether you ride a CBR, R6, ZX6R, FZ1, FZ6, Daytona 675, or another newer sport bike, this upgrade will combine several of the above accessories into a single all in 1 product. Projectors are a glass globe with a hollowed out housing that encompasses an HID bulb. The projectors also have Angel Eyes and optional demon eyes. The Angel eyes mount around the outside front of the projector, while the demon eyes mount inside the projector body. The projectors bolt on to the inside of the headlight in the same location and while replacing the stock bulbs. Like the HID kits mentioned earlier, you can select different color HID bulbs for your projector kit. Most projectors will be dual hi lo (Bi-xenon) meaning both sides will shine as low beam and high beam. Some Suzuki GSXR models will be the exception often having one projector operate as low and the other as high beams. We offer Projectors with all of these functions including some that do not operate as dual hi lo. Our projector kits will be able to disengage the Angel eye function with an included toggle switch or optional wireless remote control. Cost of a projector kit will be from $120-$400 depending on options. Installation difficulty again, will be about a 7 out of a 10 since the headlight must be removed and opened up to install.
Complete Headlight Builds: Getting to our final reviewed headlight upgrade is actually a complete headlight with all the above mentioned accessories already built in. (Well at least most of the aforementioned upgrades are available in a prebuilt headlight) These are the most expensive option of all since it contains the latest technology with LED Angel eyes, Projectors, Demon Eyes, 55 Watt HID, and optional DRL. Our headlight builds include all the wiring, ballasts, and are ready to install. Many riders will be able to install the headlight on their motorcycle themselves, but others will need professional installation. Cost of a headlight will be from around $300-$700. Installation will be about a 5 out of a 10.
Up and coming: Look for LED technology to start to replace HID kits in newer motorcycles and more and more lighting upgrades to start to include LED bulbs for the actual headlight bulbs.
Step 4- Once you know your budget and the upgrades you know you want to purchase, the final step is finding a reputable shop either online or a brick and mortar location in your area and making the purchase.
That about covers everything you need to know about all the available motorcycle head light upgrades on the market. Oh, and 1 other thing that should be mentioned. When choosing any type of head light upgrade. Consider that specifically red and blue lights can present a problem for law enforcement. Some locations this will only be a minor issue if at all, other locations is a big concern for law enforcement. Keep this in mind.
Written and Published by Chris Ireland
Xtreme Discount Cycle