Riding at night- some love it, some hate it. It can be relaxing, exhilarating or just plain fun, but it can also be some of the most stressful riding if you’re lights are dim. Your stock headlight can leave a lot to be desired, and keep you on edge as you strain to see what’s ahead of you. This is especially if your bike is equipped with pre-Daymaker headlights. But with new LED technology getting better all the time, there are great aftermarket options that will light up the night and make riding after dark safer and more relaxing.
One of the best aftermarket options is the 8700 Evolution 2 LED headlight from JW Speaker. In the past couple of years, this headlight has silently become the go-to replacement for hardcore Harley riders who are passionate about night riding. When you look to the forums, you won’t find a bad word about them. As the third generation of this light, the 8700 Evo 2 has an incredibly large beam pattern, which is greatly improved from the older iterations. All areas of the pattern blow away stock, from left to right, up and down, and even the depth down the road.
What really sets this one apart from all of the others is the amount of consistent light in a large pattern and that’s what matters most. The LED technology of the 8700 Evolution 2 produces far and away one of the best beam patterns in a motorcycle application.
In addition to the superior LED’s, the way this headlamp is designed is what allows it to produce such a vast beam pattern. It features the low beam projector on top and the high beam projector on bottom. The low beam projector has increased in size from the previous generation of this light. There are four D shaped projectors with two on each side. They are slightly offset with one lower than the other to the expand height range, namely increasing the light directly in front of the bike. The angle of the D projectors also increases the beam horizontally. There is no loss of intensity on high because there are now two on each side, compared to only one on the previous generation.
On low, the main low beam projector and the two larger, higher D projectors come on. On high, the top projector shuts off and the bottom one comes on with all four D projectors lighting up as well.
For those who appreciate numbers, here are the specs:
- 1,770 Lumen on Low Beam
- 2,610 Lumen on High Beam
- 12-24v DC Input
- Draws 2.0 Amps at 12v DC Low Beam
- Draws 2.8 Amps at 12v DC High Beam
- DOT Compliant
The 8700 Evo 2 is a terrific replacement for 7” round headlights. That makes it a great option for your Harley Touring bike (except Road Glide), but it will work for other Harley 7” applications as well.
As far as installation goes, your concerns should be minimal. This is one of the easiest swaps you can make and it will have a dramatic impact on your night riding. For many bikes, it will simply be a Plug-and-Play installation, while others will only need the installation of a new mounting ring kit and/or a new wiring harness adapter.
The adapter harness is needed on ’14 and newer Touring and Trike models where you will be replacing the stock dual Halogen headlamps. The adapter will also need to be used on any other bike that needs to be converted to the H4 style connector. If you have the 3-prong connector, you will not need one. The mounting ring is needed when replacing the shallower headlight bucket that is designed for sealed halogens. For many Harleys pre-dating ’14, this is a must.
The actual installation process should go smoothly, even if you’ve never done anything like this before. Both the light and the wiring harness can be accessed from the front, so nothing major will need to be removed from the bike.
Before you start, you should place a towel on the front fender to prevent any damage to your paint job in case something falls. To start, remove the trim ring by unscrewing the bolt(s) that hold it in place. Next, remove the existing mounting ring by unscrewing its bolts. While doing this, you need to be sure to hold the light so it does not fall out. With everything loose, you can then remove the headlamp to gain access to the wiring.
This is where the installation may differ for some. If you don’t need either the plug adapter or the mounting ring, simply plug in the 8700 Evo 2 and reverse the steps. Adding the adapter is an easy step by plugging the connectors into the corresponding slots. Adding the new mounting ring is also a simple task as it directly replaces the stock setup.
If you’re tired of poorly lit highways when riding at night, you should definitely consider the JW Speaker 8700 Evolution 2 LED headlight. Installation is easy and more importantly, you will be able to see everything in front of and around you while riding at night.