PRODUCT EVALUATION: Trail Tech Lights; First in the night

For a lot of ATV owners, modifying their machine is not just about speed and looks. Sometimes, it’s done out of necessity. Case in point: stock lights. Although sufficient, they aren’t generally the cat’s meow when it comes to serious lighting duties. Many riders don’t feel totally comfortable riding at night with stock illumination. To improve the situation, aftermarket lighting kits are the way to go. That’s what we decided to do with our Honda TRX450R.

An order was placed with Trail Tech, (360) 687-4530, www.trailtech­.net), out of Washington State for a set of their new TRX450R replacement lights (MSRP $125). A few days later the FedEx guy dropped the parts into our eager hands and we set to work.
The Trail Tech set comes with two 35W halogen lights in shiny billet aluminum housings, a wiring kit that includes connectors, splicers, and heat-shrink wire wrapping material, and a trick aluminum mounting plate with “TRX” cut into it. The lights are a new design for Trail Tech, bigger than previous models, and dual vibration isolated (rubber posts, thicker cases on the housings) as well. So far, so good.

We pulled the mounting plate from its wrapper and tried to figure out where it would go. Most lights of this sort mount to the handlebars near the steering stem/bar clamp area. But no matter where we tried to fit the plate, it didn’t seem to be correct. The box didn’t say, so we looked for the instructions.
Looking at the supplied instruction sheet, we found that it only covers the electrical/wiring side of installation. Finally, we called Trail Tech. They told us that since the kit replaces the stock lights entirely, they mount to a spot just under the stock lights. Armed with this information, we could quickly see the mounting location. Still, neither the box nor the instructions tell you that these new lights replace the stock lights. Be aware that this particular kit is not an additional set of lights for the TRX450R. People accustomed to adding lights to their quad should be aware of this fact.

Removing the stock TRX450R lights is easy. Pop off the top section of the nose plastic and remove the two light mounting bolts. You’ll also have to remove four bolts from the body plastic to give you room to work. With the OEM lights gone, place the Trail Tech mounting plate in position and bolt in place. The two lights slide into rubber-grommeted holes on each side of the plate.
We spliced the Trail Tech light’s wires into the 450R’s wiring that had previously been connected to the stock lights. The best option is to wire them to the high beam wires. You’ll splice one wire from each Trail Tech light to the high beam wire, and the other two wires to the ground wire, and you’ll be good to go. It doesn’t matter which of the two black wires from the Trail Tech lights that you use just make sure you run one to high beam and one to ground.

Once we had the Honda’s body plastic reassembled, we fired up the TRX450R and hit the high beams. Boom! Massive light output, much better than stock 30W lamps. They reach much farther and spread wider than the original Honda beams. They look trick mounted in the nose section, where they’ll get lots of cooling air. Be sure not to touch the lights when on or just after they’re off—they get very hot.

We like the Trail Tech setup, with a couple of caveats. One, the instructions should include mounting instructions, not just wiring. Further, the supplied wiring instructions are general, not quad-specific. We think quad-specific would be good. Lastly, remember that this kit is not supplemental lighting, but rather replacement lighting. Many riders want to add additional lights to their stock lights. Of course, Trail Tech makes supplemental light kits, so check with them for the right package.
That said, the Trail Tech lights look great, mount easily, and most importantly, light up the night much better than the stock lamps. If you want a unique look without extra lights on your quad, this could be the way to go.