Denali D2 LED Lights by Twisted Throttle Review
Avoiding nasty encounters at night with animals, potholes, debris and such is a matter of not “out-riding” your bike’s headlight, or riding slowly enough that you’ll have time to stop if a black cow suddenly appears in the beam. That can mean riding at a crawl with some stock motorcycle headlights that are too weak for dark backroads, and unsteadily negotiating corners you can’t really see around. And if you’re an adventurous type who gets into some remote backcountry, you can never have too much light (“Yikes, is that a cliiffff…”).
The solution is to first get better bulbs if you have an H4 or H7 halogen headlight, and then add some auxiliary lighting. The latest bolt-on kits use LED technology to throw lots of light while minimizing power draw, so you can run them along with other accessories like electric vests and electronics.
For example, Twisted Throttle says its Denali D2 Dual-Intensity Lights only draw 10 watts, yet pump out an effective 828 lumens each. That’s a nice addition to the 550-650 effective lumens produced by the typical 55/65-watt halogen motorcycle headlight bulb, and the LED light is whiter and brighter throughout the beam and makes the road much clearer. Mounted on or under a front fender, on fork legs or engine guards, TT says special optics and 90-percent pure lenses in the D2s help them shine 423 feet down the road, nearly three times the distance of the typical factory high beam.
Twisted Throttle includes a switching box in the Denali D2 wiring harness so that you can trigger the dual-intensity feature with the bike’s headlight switch. After turning them on with the Denali’s separate lighted switch, flipping to low beam for oncoming vehicles reduces the D2’s output by 60 percent. Or you can just wire them for full intensity whenever you turn them on. That’s what I did, since I wanted the option of running them on max with the bike’s low beam for this test.
The $364.99 Denali D2 kit includes a rather bulky but plug-and-play wiring harness with plenty of length built-in for larger bikes; a pair of 2- x 21⁄2-inch round LED light pods with interchangeable lenses (10-degree driving spot or 25-degree flood light pattern); two 8mm mounting brackets; and instructions. You’ll want a model-specific mount from Twisted Throttle if your bike doesn’t already have one, and a $19.95 CAN-BUS adapter if it’s a late-model BMW. The latter makes connecting the lights’ power relay to the headlight circuit a snap.
Installed on a BMW R 1200 GS with the 10-degree driving spot lenses, the combined beam is wider than a two-lane road starting about 50 feet out. It’s white and bright, and on a pitch-black road it reaches so far ahead I can make out details well beyond TT’s claimed 423 feet. In combination with the bike’s high/low or just low beam, the width and intensity of the D2 beam allows me to ride much more smoothly and briskly at night on both straight and winding roads. In fact, I feel blind riding without it now.
Twisted Throttle has installation instructions and videos on its website so that you’ll know what you’re getting into in advance. The waterproof, aluminum-bodied lights boast an average life span of 50,000 hours; that’s more than 5 years without ever being shut off. More than adequate, even if you’re a vampire….
For more information, call (855) 255-5550 or visit twistedthrottle.com.
(This Gearlab review was published in the December 2013 issue of Rider magazine.)