Innovative Aussie company Barkbusters has added LED indicators and position lights to its range. Custom-made strips of LEDs come in kits to suit the existing Storm, Jet and VPS handguard systems.
The cleverly shaped lights can be used above or below the aluminium frames of the Storm and VPS guards and on the upper part of the smaller Jet plastics.
The kits are comprehensive and, besides the lights themselves, include new internal plastics, wiring, screws, cable ties and spectacularly detailed instructions. They even include very accurate handguard and position-specific paper templates which are cut out and taped in place to make sure holes are drilled in precisely the correct places.
They include this gem, “Take care not to drill into your hand”. Good advice which is easily – and painfully – overlooked. Don’t ask how we know this. It was only a minor error and didn’t bleed for long. Not the first time, anyway.
Barkbusters prefers we don’t call its new white lamps DRLs, or Daytime Running Lights. It calls them ‘Positioning lights’ and are proud that its system has achieved the European Union’s E-mark. Each unit contains 15 LEDs which cast an attention-getting ice-white light which overshadows the standard yellow halogen headlamp.
Installation was straightforward enough: remove all the parts from the packet, cut out the templates, tape them inside the handguard, drill two 4mm screw holes plus an 8mm gap for the wiring and find a suitable earth and power source. We tapped into the instrument light simply because it was easily accessible and always on. Despite having the electrical capability of Ethel the Aardvark, we managed to make them work, suggesting that the average six-year-old could, too.
The results are startling: drivers actually see the bike coming in their mirrors. Being high up and wide apart, the LEDs aren’t swamped by the standard yellow H4 halogen bulb.
The indicators are just as bright but yellow and also grab attention: they really do need to be mounted above the guard’s aluminium spine for max visibility and require a bit more finesse with diodes and resistors to get the flash rate at a legal speed. Luckily Ethel has more clear instructions to follow.
If you’re doing more than a hint of dirt road or trail riding, the 15 solid-state LEDs will almost certainly last longer, remain more visible through dirt and not self-destruct through vibes or crashes like standard incandescent bulbs.
While the LEDs were expected to be popular with road riders, in fact a lot of the early demand has been from Enduro and trail riders.
Certainly you can buy cheaper components from the internet, but experience suggests a relatively high number of Dead on Arrival component plus invariably, the wiring to connect them is the thickness – and strength – of baby’s hair. It’s frequently a nightmare to get into connectors reliably and breaks in a gentle breeze. The MT workshop bin has seen more than a couple of these cheapies.
In contrast, the Barkbusters LED Positioning lights seem at least as rugged as its handguard systems. They’re available now from all good bike shops and are a great way of showing the rider in your life that you care about their wellbeing. As long as they don’t drill their hands: organic depth gauges really hurt…