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What to look for when buying motorcycle LED lighting?

buying motorcycle LED lighting

This blog explains a bit about why buying motorcycle LED lighting is a good idea! With motorcycle auxiliary lights not only do you stay on the bright side of life. You are also much more visible!

Whether you want to make the car driver who can’t be bothered to use his mirrors, aware of your presence or make better progress down that windy road at night, a powerful set of motorcycle aux lights are your new best friend. That counts for both front and rear auxiliary lights.

Ultimately whether you are thinking front, rear or both, driving lights are all about improving your safety. They make you more visible or enhance your night-time ride by illuminating the road from curb to curb and as much as 250 metres down the road. The question is therefore not whether or not you should have driving lights on your motorcycle, but which lights are best for you?

What is important when buying motorcycle LED lighting?

Here at moto-mate the choice of lights was kind of easy as we knew we’d want the DENALI range in our line-up. However, not everyone wants the Rolls-Royce of lights, but they still enhance their visibility on the road. Based on this reason we offer different brands of LED lights.

1. If “just being more visible” is your goal, basic LED lighting could be your solution

Basic two-wire LED lights definitely increase your visibility from the front. Our basic LED lights are in an aluminium housing with a sealed flying lead connection (the connectors are waterproof sealed items). When we say “basic” this does not mean they are cheap and nasty. They are still up for the job and well-made. Rest assured, otherwise you would not find them in our portfolio.

They are robust units and have a lens pattern that is part wide angle diffusion and part long range. These lights do not use the latest CREE LED technology but they do offer a really bright “white” light output and having had a set on one of our personal bikes for 6 months they have proved both totally reliable and effective at letting people know that we are on the road too. Quite simply these are great value and really effective lights.

2. Or are you looking for “I want the best of motorcycle light technology”?

In this case look no further since you won’t get anything better than auxiliary lights from DENALI Electronics. These are one of the, if not “the” premium brand of auxiliary lights utilising the latest CREE LED technology and light output from 2190 up to 8750 lumen (per light pod)! We are talking “night into day” – these are premium quality lights.

The DENALI lights use a three wire system that gives you both a low and high output meaning that they can be used in conjunction with your low beam headlight at 50% output and full power with your high beam / pass light. Aside from giving you different light output, you can also change the beam pattern to suit your requirements. Supplied with interchangeable lenses you can adapt the light beam from long-range spot lights to wide angle or a combination of both.

Are you, like me, using your bike for commuting? I often commute down the A1 into Hertfordshire and the DENALI D4’s bolted to the front of my bike flash alternately with the hazard lights (which I use when filtering) and the output from the D4’s is like the parting of the waves as the cars clear a path for me. It’s a spiritual thing for a biker.

What about enhanced motorcycle LED light functionality?

The answer here depends on what bike you have. Means, do you have a CAN bus equipped bike or not. 

You ride a CAN bus-controlled motorcycle.

If you ride a BMW, KTM or Harley then you can tap into the bike’s CAN bus system to get the ultimate LED light functionality! You can do this by using a CAN bus accessory controller from i. e. DENALI Electronics. CAN bus accessory controllers make life pretty easy in terms of installing LED auxiliary lights on your bike. These controllers allow you to integrating your lights into other functionalities of your bike such as hazard lights etc.

Before I forget, if you are looking at our basic two wire lights and have a CAN bus-controlled BMW, KTM or Harley you can still have the added functionality of the DENALI CAN bus accessory controller. Plus, it will allow for dip beam dimming of the two wire lights.

You don’t ride a CAN bus-controlled motorcycle or there are no CAN bus accessory controllers for your bike available?

If you don’t have a CAN bus controlled motorcycle and still want to use auxiliary lights, all is not lost.
With the basic two wire lights, these can be wired into an ignition feed via a relay and a switch so they act as basic daytime riding lights (DRL), running at 100% output. Whilst this is ok during the daytime, it isn’t at night time as you will need to switch them off (via a fitted switch) as they are likely to distract oncoming traffic.

The DENALI lights can use the three wire setup and the DENALI DataDim module so they can be integrated into your dipped and main beam light circuits and switch intensity as your headlight switches.

Are auxiliary brake lights useful?

Here’s why you should consider buying motorcycle LED lighting for the rear of your bike. When you are breaking, an auxiliary brake light adds more visibility to following traffic, but what if you aren’t breaking but just decelerating? This would mean no brake lights would show and there is an increased chance of following traffic hitting you from behind. If you have connected your front lights via a CAN bus accessory controller there is a port for an auxiliary brake light that allows the auxiliary brake light to flash when you decelerate, increasing your safety from being rear-ended. 

Just to mention it, yes, you are right in thinking that if someone crashes into you from behind, it would be their insurance who has to cover the mess. But that’s not so important any longer should this crash land you a ticket to hospital. Aux brake lights in combination with a CAN bus accessory controller can make traffic behind you a lot earlier aware of you becoming slower, long before you hit your brakes.

The next questions is “how do you fit auxiliary lights on my bike”?

Should you be thinking about the legal aspect of adding auxiliary LED lights to your bike, have a read of this blog post from White Dalton, motorcycle specialist solicitors.

With regard to the actual fitting of these lights to your bike, we are happy to provide technical support to customers looking to self-install. If you are less confident, we offer a mobile installation service, or you are welcome to come to us. If you have any questions then drop me a message and I would be happy to give you my thoughts.

EU regulations and Daytime Running Lights (DRL)

With the EU regulation allowing for Daytime Running Lights (DRL) to be fitted to motorcycles, the Technical University Darmstadt, Laboratory of Lighting Technology in Germany was commissioned to conduct research into the effect of auxiliary lights or DRL fitted to a motorcycle.

This research was sponsored by KTM Sportmotorcycle AG, BMW AG. The conclusions are fairly clear but we won’t spoil the fun, go ahead and have a read of this report: The Effect of LED Daytime Running Lights on Motorcycle Conspicuity and Detection Distance estimation – latest test results

And if you have any questions please feel free to give us a shout. 

The Effect of LED Daytime Running Lights