Product review: Denali D4 v 2.0 auxiliary LED motorcycle lights
If you have not already, maybe you should start by reading our review of the Denali D4 (version 1) lights first. The outer casing of the light, mounting points and heat sink all remain exactly the same as before.
What's changed: Flagship lights
That's the current set up on OVERDRIVE's long term Ducati Multistrada 1200 S. The upper lights are Denali D4 2.0 while the lower lights are Rigid Industries D2 Hyperspots
There was some confusion as to which of Denali's highly regarded lights were to be considered the flagship. With the version 2 lights, Denali Electronics has clearly set the D4 as their flagship while other lights play other roles.
What's changed: more power
Denali uses a new generation of LED chips on the D4 version 2 (as well as other version 2) lights that produce a lot more light for approximately the same power consumption and physical size. These not put up roughly 8,800 raw lumens, a lot more than the previous 3,800 approximately.
What's changed: adjustability: lenses and brightness
The Denali D4 light pod has not changed in shape or dimension. The face is roughly 4-inches square but the heat sink doesn't extend too far back. The 2.0 lights use a dark surface behind the lens that gives it the characteristic dark look versus the all-white lens look of the earlier version
The D4 now comes with what Denali called TriOptic technology. On the D4 v2 it means you get spare lenses that you can swap. This allows you to run three configurations. The original hybrid configuration uses two of four LEDs per per spot lights and two as flood lights. Swapping lenses allows you to switch to a full spotlight mode where the distance of the throw is prioritised by using all eight LEDs in both pods used to achieve distance. And a hybrid mode where you can use two LEDs for spread and six for throw. Denali now also offers the same set of lenses in amber (Rs 3,300) for running in dust and fog. If you already have the old D4s, the new lenses are compatible with the old light pods.
Denali also add DataDim, a way for you to run the lights at less than half of full brightness. Unfortunately, the relay needed for the DataDim option as well as the three position waterproof switch are optional extras (Rs 3,920 and Rs 2,360 respectively) not included in the Rs 31,360 retail price (bigbadbikes.com). This is a rise in price of Rs 5,700 from the original Rs 25,660. Currently BigBadBikes.com has some stock of the old Denali D4s going at a discounted price of Rs 23,100.
Denali now also offers a CANBus thingy that can connect directly to the BMW Motorrad systems and allow the bikes' switches to control the Denalis directly.
What we liked
This relay replaces the one that comes with the Denali Electronics D4 2.0. It allows you to select three things off-low-high instead of just off and full power. Requires a separate switch to be purchased though
The hybrid mode - two LEDs for spread and six for throw - works really, really well in our conditions. I've tried all the configurations and this is the configuration I am happiest with.
The extra power of the lights is frightening though. They're insanely bright and I would say that you absolutely must budget for the relay and switch if you're getting these. Despite adjusting them to the least dazzly focus point, I still had people protesting until I got the relay and switch installed. Around the city, the half-bright setting is good enough for conspicuity as well as the roads after dark at street speeds.
That aside, they're just as great as the first generation Denali D4s were. Bright, weather-proof, reliable and producing great illumination.
What we did not like
The big change in the 2.0 apart from the ability to have a low power setting are the new LEDs. They produce almost twice the power of the old ones - and the old D4s were already extremely bright. Denali also adds the ability to swap lenses to adjust the beam pattern to your liking. In this photograph, the top two LEDs are configured to throw light far away without too much spread. The bottom two are lensed to create a spread of light. Each set of lights comes with spare lenses for you to adjust the beam pattern.
First, the price. As flagship lights, these are expensive. Cyclops, Clearwater and Baja Designs all make more expensive lights still, but still. With the dimmer paraphernalia the price reaches nearly Rs 40,000 and that is serious.
That a Rs 32,000 light doesn't include mounting hardware is a little silly, just like last time.
I loved the Denali D4s from the first time they came on and the D4 2.0 amplifies all of the things I liked about it even more. At full power, the light spears 3-400ft into the distance and it makes riding before dawn - a near constant for my long trips - much, much more confident and safer. Again, this is despite the power of the Ducati Multistrada's LED headlights - most bikes will see even more dramatic improvements in illumination. The flip side is, of course, the enormous cost of the lights which is something you have to work our for yourself. Before we talk about the price though, take a look at this video. In the beginning, I'm just turning the lights on and off and you can see the difference it makes. The recording was on a Go Pro Hero 6 Black which means the camera does adjust exposure as the lights come on and off a bit. You will see a sharply defined spotlight arrive right at the end, that is not the Denali D4 2.0 - the review for that light will come online shortly as well. The other thing to realise is that with this kind of stupidly bright illumination, you have to be judicious in how you use them. The lower power setting is convenient - it gives you some more light but doesn't offend anyone and I do end up using it a lot.
Price: Rs 31,360 (add Rs 6,500 approximately for dimmer)
Available at: bigbadbikes.com
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