Unless you have been living under a rock you probably have been exposed to LED lighting. LED lighting technology has taken over virtually all aspects of motorcycle lighting from headlights to taillights, turn signals and everything in between. There seemingly endless options, from colors, sizes, to application, so we’ll break it down a bit to help you narrow your choices.


This is pretty much everyone's first introduction to LED lights. An LED headlight is high on my list of must-have mods for any motorcycle. This can be accomplished in three basic ways.

1) A simple bulb swap.

The cheapest way to upgrade to an LED headlight is by swapping out your stock bulb to an LED bulb. They range in price from $35 for a single to $144 for a pair (for you Road Glide people) and are plug-and-play. Really the only concern is headlight bucket depth. Most have large heatsinks or small fans on the back and if you have a shallow headlight bucket it can be an issue, but for most bikes it shouldn’t a concern. The bulbs come in a wide range of color temps and lumens and although it is a huge upgrade over a stock incandescent bulb it doesn’t perform as well as our next two options.

2) Complete Sealed Beam

A sealed beam headlight replacement is the most common LED headlight swap and are an upgrade from the bulb swap. They perform immensely better than stock lighting due to the LED projectors they feature. Not only is brightness increased but range is significantly longer as well as the width of the beam allowing you to see much more of the road. Aesthetically they come in a variety of options that allow you to tailor them to the look of your bike with blacked-out versions, halo rings and and even built-in turn signals. All are plug-and-play and are a very simple install that at most require an adapter plug in some cases.

3) Adaptive Headlight

An adaptive headlight is like a sealed beam LED headlight that has telepathic powers. They have onboard intelligence that senses the lean angle of the bike and moves some of the LED projectors to shine light around the corner. So instead of the light shining off of the corner, it actually wraps around the corner in front of you so you can see ahead of the corner. An adaptive LED headlight is top of the food chain headlight technology.


An LED taillight was one of the first lighting upgrades I ever added to my bike. They offer an incredible amount of light compared to the ol' 1157 incandescent bulbs and a case could be made that lighting up the rear end of your bike could be the most important. Having attention-getting super bright LED clusters hanging off the back fender when you grab a handful of brake could save your bacon in traffic one day. The LED taillights come in red of course and also smoked versions and most are available in a “lay down” version as well. But your taillight options don't have to stop there. If you really want to step up the lighting game out back the move is to add a run-turn-brake controller that has modulation ability which means when you hit the brakes both your taillight and turn signals light up and the modulator can cause them to blink in a pattern before going solid, all in an effort to catch the attention of the cager on your six.

Turn Signals

Turn signals are one of those necessary evils to me on a motorcycle. Most of the time I don't want them to be seen until I need them and unfortunately stock turn signals are almost always heinous looking.It seems like there are endless signal options but we can break them down into two basic options to to keep things simple.

1) Stock Replacement

If you are happy with the look of your turn signals but would like to upgrade to the benefits of a bright LED there are plenty of options out there to replace your stock bulbs with LED replacements that plug right in. Generally you'll also have the option of changing the color if you wish as well, from amber to red or vice versa or swapping everything over to smoke tints for a stealth look. Custom Dynamics Pro Beam Kits and Ness Fire Rings are great options.

2) Custom

If you are looking to change the look of your bike and also upgrade your signals visibility the options are endless. There is a huge range of choices that range from units that bolt into your stock location to set-ups that need to be custom mounted. My favorite thing about swapping out a set of signals for a custom set is that you can replace your bulk stock lights with some very small, sleek units that are also incredibly bright. Some of my favorites to use are Kuryakyn's Kellerman units or the the Ness Direct Bolt On Super LED sets.

Hopefully this takes a bit of guesswork out of your decision making process as you upgrade your whip with the latest LED tech. LED upgrades are not only practical but look rad as a bonus. Adding them to your bike will undoubtedly brighten your day....now go work on your motorcycle.