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Baja Designs Lights Up The Night

The Scientists Of Lighting

Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

There’s no denying that LED light bars are a popular trend, reminiscent of the row of smiley-faced Daylights on a chrome triple-double roll bar in the 1980s. You can buy a Chinese light bar for under $100 these days, and we see these knockoff light bars on everything from show trucks to Subarus. But those cheap bars are more for being seen and less about actually allow you to see at night.

By comparison, Baja Designs light bars are, well, designed. For Baja. The company has been making lighting solutions for motorcycle and automotive racing for over 20 years. So we put a Baja Designs OnX6 Hi-Power light bar up against a no-name cheapo on a recent trip to Mexico for the Baja 1000 to demonstrate the differences in construction and performance.

The OnX6 Hi-Power is the perfect choice for applications like the bumper of our Tacoma, where you have limited space but want maximum light output. Baja Designs gets 34,950 lumens out of a 30-inch light bar while drawing only 25 amps from the 18 Cree diodes. By contrast, the generic LED light bar has 52 light-emitting diodes but only generates 14,400 lumens. The numbers are difficult to qualify, though, until you actually see the difference in light output. Our trip to Mexico including night driving, through pothole-strewn roads, with cattle on the road, all while towing a trailer. Visibility was the difference between arriving safely at our destination and hitting a cow, or having to work on the trailer on the side of the road. In these situations, where function is more important than form, Baja Designs really shines.

These photos highlight the difference in visibility with the factory headlights, the cheapo light bar, and the premium Baja Designs OnX6 Hi-Power light bar. All the images were taken with the same camera settings. The Baja Designs light not only projects further but focuses the light much better as well.