New PIAA H7 low beam bulb for our R1200RTW

A PIAA H7 replaces the OEM low beam bulb.  Is it better than the original 55 w halogen bulb?

A PIAA H7 replaces the OEM low beam bulb. Is it better than the original 55 w halogen bulb?

My good friend Rick offered to replace the burned out OEM H7 halogen bulb on the RT.

I couldn’t pass up his generous offer.  “I’ve got an extra PIAA bulb lying around.  Pop over and I’ll put it in for you”, he said.

To say Rick is ‘mechanically inclined’ would be an understatement.  He apprenticed as a Jaguar technician in New Zealand a bunch of years ago before moving to Canada, and he’s one of those guys who constantly ‘tinkers’ with his motorcycles and cars.

Rick is a big fan of PIAA bulbs.  He puts the premium priced bulbs in all his motorcycles and cars.

I am not such a big fan of the brand.  Years ago, when our 1992 Subaru Turbo Legacy was quite new, I installed a set of PIAAs and they burned out in about a year.  I replaced them with the then highly rated Philips Xtravision bulbs, which were not sold in North America at the time, so I ordered them from England.

Cussing helps

Rick spent almost an hour in his driveway struggling with the installing the PIAA.  Unless there is a technical ‘trick’, the job has to be done ‘blind’, by feel alone.

Removing the plastic cap that weather protects the back of the bulb is easy.  I even did it.  From in front of the bike, reach up behind the headlight, feel around until you find a large, hard plastic cap and twist it off.

Rick did this and quickly removed the electrical connector and unhooked the inverted U-shaped spring clip that holds the bulb in place.  It was reinstalling the hinged clip that had the ever-patient Rick saying, “I’m going to start cussing pretty soon.”

Of course, he finally figured out the problem, again, by feel alone.  Most bulb retaining clips work by squeezing the two legs of the clip together, then releasing them to allow them to spread apart, thereby locking into little hooks.  BMW did it the opposite way on the RT.  You have to spread the legs apart and release them so they squeeze together to lock into their hooks.  Aaack!  German engineering.  What can we say . . . ?

I’ll try to post a ‘before’ (OEM H7 bulb) and ‘after’ (PIAA Xtreme White H7) photos soon so we can determine if the bulbs look any different in daylight.


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