Good afternoon, I have a question regarding headlights. After gathering as much info as possible reading tests and reviews (DBTs included), I purchased a BajaDesigns Dual XL Squadron Light setup. Over the last year I have come to enjoy longer endurance races and considering Baja in 2017. I wanted to buy something only once and found this system to be one of the best out there.
My question is in regards to a frame vs fork set up for lights. The total weight of my current setup is 10+lbs mounted on the forks. Overall this doesn’t bother me but there is additional resistance in the bars. I’m am curious to know if a frame setup would be better? I understand this is a custom setup but I would like to practice with something similar to what I ‘should’ be running in Baja. Are the benefits just ‘that’ much better or not? Any help would be appreciated.
There is a lot that goes into lights and having spent a lot of time riding at night and even doing most of my Baja racing at night, I’m pretty sure I can explain. The headlight mounting isn’t so much for weight, or at least not for me, it is about where the light points. Most of the time in Baja you are sliding turns and counter-steering the bike, which means the light (or at least the pencil beam) is pointed the wrong way. Frame mounted lights point the light where the bike is pointed. If your bike is set up right we found the frame mounted light also dances less.
If the weight you feel in the bars is an issue, usually a good steering stabilizer (I prefer the Scotts for its adjustability) will cure what you feel as you should only feel it if the bars get moving fast and you have to stop them. The Squadron with the different lenses can really aim the light just about anywhere you’d need no matter frame mounted or handlebar mounted. Another advantage I found with the frame mounting is more adjustment range and the ease of adjusting the light when riding as it seemed more consistent. The disadvantages are the extra work it takes to modify the frame for the proper mount and a lot of riders can not get use to the light or “faring” in front of them moving around usually in a direction that isn’t common till you get use to it.
Lights have come a long way and the stuff you are buying off the shelf and bolting on is better than what 95% of riders had just a few years ago. But as you get more particular with lighting don’t be surprised if you are even more picky about the light’s color temperature than anything else, or even mixing the temperatures of multiple lights for the best night vision.