TESTED: MOTOMINDED RAD LIGHTS
BY: CHAD DE ALVA
Super bright LED headlights are nothing new to dirt bikes. There are dozens of companies that offer all sorts of LED lighting solutions that replace the stock headlight on your dirt bike, and some of these kits go a long way to making riding at night a ton of fun instead of an exercise in survival. Yet even the world’s brightest LED headlight is limited as a function of where it’s installed in a dirt bike’s headlight mask. The front fender creates a shadow right in front of the bike, and turning your bars changes where the light is pointed. If the front wheel is off the ground (from an obstacle or wheelie), all of the light is now pointed up into space. MotoMinded has been at the forefront of making top-shelf LED lighting systems for riding at night, and their latest product is a game-changer. MotoMinded’s RAD Lights effectively address the limitations encountered with only having light in the bike’s headlight mask, making riding at night better than ever before.
The RAD Lights are the result of a collaboration between MotoMinded and Cody Webb – one of the best hard enduro riders in the US. While preparing for one of the Red Bull Override Races, Cody had the idea of mounting lights low on the bike’s radiator guards, and MotoMinded made it a thing. After a bit of revision and fine tuning, Cody’s concept is now a commercially available product in MotoMinded’s RAD Lights: a system of lights that mounts to the bike’s RADiators.
Mounting a light on each side of the bike eliminates the black hole shadow of doom caused by the front fender, and there is now light shining in front of the bike regardless of whether the bars are turned, or the front wheel is in the air. With RAD Lights, the rider always has light in front of the bike whether they’re doing a big up (wheelie), smashing through whoops, working their way through tight single track, or any other riding situation. It’s always the things you can’t see at night that can get you into trouble, yet the RAD Lights are the best lighting system I’ve experienced in terms of making everything I want to see visible at night.
RAD Lights are currently available for 2014-2024 KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas 250-500cc dirt bikes. The bike you’re working with will determine the total amount of wattage you have to allocate for lighting. For example, the 2019 KTM 300 XC-W we installed the RAD lights on has plenty of power available, so we were able to install a set of RAD Lights and a Baja Designs XLPro in the bike’s headlight mask. Certain 2023 + Austrian bikes will need an aftermarket stator to run the RAD Lights, so check with MotoMinded for your specific application.
Installing the RAD Lights is an easy process. The included brackets mount up to the outboard side of the bike’s radiators, and a bit of wire routing is all that’s required to get up to where the RAD Lights tie into the bike’s wiring between the headlight connector and main harness. All of these connections are plug and play with OEM style connectors, so there is no splicing or tapping required. The one exception here is if your bike has an OEM horn bracket – I ended up having to grind the horn bracket down a couple of millimeters to fit with the RAD Lights bracket when using the stock radiator louvers.
MotoMinded also makes an option for a battery harness with a switch, and they also have brackets that work with Bullet Proof Designs Radiator guards, if you’ve replaced the stock louvers with BPD guards. Each RADiator light is a Baja Designs S1, which can be independently aimed, and the lens on each light can be configured to best suit the type of riding that you’re doing. Go-fast riders will want spot lenses for more distance lighting, while hard enduro or single track riders will want wide/cornering lenses for more flood lighting. A best of both worlds solution is to run one spot and one wide/cornering lens for distance and flood lighting. For my application where I still have a headlight in the headlight mask, I settled on wide/cornering lenses in both RAD Lights.
Riding at night is a unique experience. In the daytime, you’re able to see the world around you, and your brain is used to this level of situational awareness when you ride. From way down the trail to right in front of your bike, you’re able to see the trail, and what is around it. At night, all you can see is what is currently being illuminated by your light(s), and this reduced level of situational awareness is what makes riding at night more difficult. A powerful LED headlight can throw some serious light down the trail, but areas you can normally see in the daytime are either in shadow from your front fender, or poorly illuminated as a function of your headlight’s beam pattern and where your bars are pointing (turned or up in a wheelie). Look at the BEFORE photo and note the fender shadow and the lack of light right in front of the bike.
When you add RAD Lights to your bike, you gain so much lighting coverage that you’re able to see much better – look at the AFTER photo and note the lack of fender shadow and light all around the front of the bike. This makes picking your way through technical stuff much easier, and when you’re carrying speed, you can still perceive what’s right in front of you through your peripheral vision. If you turn your bars or loft your front end, you still have plenty of light on the ground, and the net effect here is that riding at night now feels much less like playing minesweeper, and more like riding in the daytime.
There are a bunch of super-bright LED headlights on the market, but they’re all limited as a function of being in your bike’s headlight mask. RAD Lights do not have these limitations, and when combined with a LED headlight, you truly get the best of both worlds: your headlight throws light well in front of you and into turns as you turn your bars. RAD Lights fill all the holes in, keeping everything in front of you well illuminated so obstacles and other surprises have no where to hide. RAD Lights are the clutch system to have for anyone who wants to ride at night, and they’re also great for packing a chainsaw around and keeping lights on your bike. The only way to make riding at night better is to add a set of MotoMinded Torch LED Helmet lights to the mix. Riding at night is awesome, and MotoMinded is the place to go for the best lighting systems out there.
For more information on the RAD Lights and MotoMinded’s other awesome parts, visit: www.motominded.com