LED (light-emitting diode) lights and light bars are getting more common every day. Because of their ruggedness, they are fast replacing halogen and HID (high-intensity discharge) lights. Lately we have taken a look at several LED options for helmets and some frame-mount options. This month we are looking at a light bar sample from Biltrite Manufacturing.
These light bars are not new. While off-road racers have only been using them for a few years, the mining industry has been using them for close to a decade. They are strong, and each light can operate perfectly, even if its neighboring lights are damaged. The Biltrite piece we tested comes with rugged billet-aluminum housing and is covered up front with a thick shatter-proof PMMA (poly methyl methacrylate) lens. This is the same stuff they make the “glass” out of that surrounds a hockey rink.
The $199 bars only weigh about 3 pounds and simply wire right up to your quad’s battery. A switch can be mounted just about anywhere. The light itself has a couple of mounting options. It can be double-post-mounted or by swiveling side mounts. On our Honda Rincon, we mounted it right to the front rack with the adjustable side mounts. We routed the supplied wiring loom under the front bodywork back to the right rear corner and connected it to the battery. If we were forced into needing the whole rack for chores, the light can be unplugged from the wiring loom quickly.
On the other hand, this light bar (Biltrite’s smallest) doesn’t take up too much room. It’s only 6 inches wide and just over 3 inches long and deep. In that space, eight LEDs produce a claimed 270 lumens each. Not much power is required to make it happen, either; only 1.5 amps is drawn to make them shine.
On our Honda, the trail got amazingly brighter. The Biltrite bar sort of whitens the trail, and the shadows are darker. The light spread is great. It shines about 50 yards in front and a good 10–15 yards to the side. That’s plenty far enough to ride at full daytime speeds. After riding with the Biltrite LED light bar, you almost forget you are night riding at all. That is until you turn it off and realize how dim the stock lights are. It’s almost a night-and-day difference. We are going to try the little light bar on a few other quads until it ends up permanently on the project Scrambler 850 we are building. By that time, we will have fully tested the reliability of the Surge 8 2.0. We expect it to be working as good then as it does now. Stay tuned. If you can’t wait that long, log on to their website at www.biltrite manufacturing.com, or call them directly at (763) 746-2894.