Bruno Valeri


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Product Review

SYLVANIA SilverStar halogen bulbs product review
Feb 04

Sylvania Silver Star review:

I've been using the SYLVANIA SilverStar (Silver Star) halogen bulbs for the last couple of months. They are a newer generation high performance halogen bulb that claim to produce a much brighter and whiter light than standard halogen bulbs while consuming roughly the same amount of watts.

As most motorcyclists who do any amount of riding in the dark, I'm concerned about effective night vision.

The traditional approach to address this has often been to increase the bulb wattage or increase the number of lights. The reasoning here is that if a little is good, more must be better.

Increasing wattage involves related issues. There is often the need to upgrade wiring and adding relays. Ignored, the potential lurks for silent damage to slowly occur over time. The rider feels that all is fine until one day the wiring harness gives out or he/she experiences odd electrical problems. Often there are tell-tale signs around electrical plugs that look weld-damaged or there are damaged light sockets.

In addition, very high wattage bulbs can cause reflector degradation. This also occurs slowly over time. The result is less illumination than before.

Also worth considering are the reasons why high-wattage bulbs are illegal. They can create excessive glare towards other riders or drivers. If you've ever ridden toward a motorcycle burning a 100 watt bulb in the black of night, you understand this. If everyone used 100 watt bulbs, night driving would become a perilous activity.

However, given an adequate amount of light, the real question becomes not so much the amount of light, but rather the type or quality of light. Why? Because the night vision receptors in our eyes are more responsive to certain wavelengths of light than to others. (more).

This is what I had in mind when I first came across the DOT-legal SYLVANIA SilverStar halogen bulbs displayed over at the local retailer. The ongoing video promised to enhance night vision by producing a much brighter and whiter light (ie higher on the K temperature scale) while not requiring more watts and not requiring equipment upgrade. One of the ways (amongst others) that the SilverStars achieve this is by using a light amethyst coating on the bulb to tune the light output to near HID levels of color temperature (4,000K). To my knowledge no other halogen bulb in the marketplace achieves this high color temperature range.

Though I'm always one to shy away from marketing schemes that tout superlatives, I was intrigued. It made sense to me.

What I found:

The light put out by the SYLVANIA SilverStars is very bright and very white. I've gone back and forth with the OEM bulbs and I find a dramatic difference each time. A side by side makes the OEM halogens look yellow in comparison. The difference is quite obvious and striking when looking at photos (I'll be putting some up in the next while).

They claim to put out approximately 20% more light than a regular halogen bulb. After back and forth testing, this is what it looks like to me.

But the big difference comes from the much increased contrast that makes a noticeable improvement in my night vision. It feels like my visual field is sharper and more defined.

(more on how contrast is related to light color temperature)

An additional advantage is that the cooler white is more effective at lighting up reflective sources of any type, including animal eyes that might be peering in the dark just off the side of the road. Anyone who lives in animal country knows how important this can be.

re Sylvania Customer satisfaction:

Sylvania obviously has much faith in their SilverStar bulbs. They offer a customer satisfaction refund program that rougly states the following: If for any reason you are dissatisfied with the SilverStar product within the first year, they will refund or replace the bulb. Your choice.

Conclusion: The SilverStars are going on the CBR929 first thing this spring!

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