The stock headlight of the KTM Duke 390 is decent for city use where you don’t ride at high speeds at night . However, for long distance touring you need lights that can illuminate the road far ahead of you, specially when riding fast on unlit highways. Depending on the state of the highway and the chance of people and animals crossing the road, when I ride in the dark at speeds greater than 80 kmph I always keep the high beam on, even if there is oncoming traffic. I have had many instances where I almost crashed into wandering cattle or rammed into a pot hole because I dipped my headlight for oncoming traffic and didn’t get enough time to react later. I know its not ideal, but this is just how long distance adventure riding works in a country like India.
One option to increase visibility at night is to upgrade to a more powerful headlight, which has its limits. Another is to install auxiliary lights, which is something I have done to my Harley-Davidson Fat Boy as well as my Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350. The Enfield’s auxiliary lights were invaluable on my Ladakh ride last year. For the most part, I avoided riding at night. Up there in the Himalayas, the only source of light other than your headlight is the moon and the stars. On those treacherous mountains, if you overshot a turn it would most probably mean a long and chilly drop down into to the valley to certain death. Having an extra pair of auxiliary lights really helped. If you are as serious as me when it comes to long distance adventure riding, I highly recommend you install a pair of auxiliary lights.
For Ratchet I decided to buy a pair of Cree Xtreme 10 Watt LED lights from Amazon.com. The most common place to fit auxiliary lights on the Duke is the top of the crash guard. But I had already replaced the flimsy stock crash guard with frame crash bars that I got on AliExpress. The frame crash bards hug the motorcycle tightly and there was no place to mount the auxiliary lights on top of them. I didn’t want to mount the lights on the side because in the event of a spill, the lights would take a hit before the crash guard. I needed to get creative. I took a closer look at the front of the motorcycle and finally decided to mount the auxiliary lights on the fork using the bottom pair of clamps which clasp the shock absorbers.
First I had to design a bracket that would be bolted onto each clamp and hold an auxiliary light. I cut out a piece of cardboard, marked the holes I wanted and got a workshop to fashion a couple of brackets for me. Due to the curved nature of the fork clamp I couldn’t directly bolt the bracket onto it. So I also had the workshop create a pair of bushes on a lathe which would offset the bracket outwards by 10mm.
The final piece of the puzzle was to replace the stock bolts used by the fork clamp with longer ones. The bush length and bracket thickness added to the overall length and the stock bolt was too short to secure everything together.
I put it all together and the result was this.
I bolted the auxiliary lights onto the bracket and wired them to come on along with the parking lights.