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May 21, 2017
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Hi Sarge McCoy,

I want to increase the lighting on my RZR Turbo for high-speed night riding. I have looked at QI, LED bars and Xenon HIDs. Sarge, if it were your pay on the line, what would you get or have done?

Matt Barney

Mayer, Arizona

light bars

Private Fife, having been connected with the Zooter industry since its inception gives me perspective on lighting. “Back in ’81,” Zooters came with incandescent light bulbs, typically 25 watts, and we thought that they were bright enough, but they were yellow at 2700K (Kelvin Color Temperature). Then came quartz iodine (QI) headlights, first issued on the ATC350X. The in thing was to replace your yellow 25-watt with the 35-watt halogen bulbs of the 350X, a giant step up in brightness with whiter light (3200–3500K), and you could see further down the trail. You got more lumens per watt with a QI than an incandescent. You had to handle the QIs with gloves to keep fingerprints or any moisture off the glass bulb or it would explode from heat.

Today, we consider the traditional halogen lights to be “yellow”! Next came HID conversions. Again, a quantum leap in brightness at 4300K. But, the bulbs were even hotter than QIs, and they were fragile and tended to blow in off-road situations. Still, they were bright and used less power per lumen produced. Next came Xenon halogens. They were brighter yet but still very hot, and they drew the same power as a traditional QI, but, due to the coating on the bulb’s glass, produced a whiter light at 5000K and became known as the so-called “daylight” QIs. Today, we have solid-state lighting—LEDs (light-emitting diode). They rival HIDs in brightness but don’t quite reach out as far as a well-designed HID conversion. But, they don’t break readily in off-road situations, and they produce the most lumens per watt of power by far. They can be pushed past 6000K to 10,000K into the blue range.

Now that you have had your history lesson on ATV/UTV lights, what does Sarge run? The UTV’s stock headlights, whatever the style, either QI or LED, but with a big LED light bar on top. They offer the most bang for the power used, and they can “take a licking and keep on ticking”! A good five-mile night march will acclimate your eyes to the darkness! Dismissed!

X3 lights

Got a problem with your UTV? Tell it to Sarge McCoy and let him provide the answer. Email your questions to Sarge at [email protected]


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