KC's New Off-Road Lights Are (Gasp!) Triangular

Illustration for article titled KCs New Off-Road Lights Are (Gasp!) Triangular
Screenshot: KC HiLiGHTS
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

KC’s one of the best-established truck light brands; you’d probably recognize the smiley-face/sunglasses stone shield if you saw one on a classic 4x4. It’s still one of the better light purveyors and dropped a new one today: The Flex Era 3, which is triangular in shape, which is odd and fun.

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Screenshot: KC HiLiGHTS

I am a big fan of adding auxiliary lights to cars and trucks, though less so lately as it conflicts with my appreciation for aerodynamics. Still, I always get intrigued when I see a new style of light in a funky shape.

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Obviously your classic off-road truck light, especially ones with that iconic smiley face cover I mentioned, would be round. A square lens or light housing is also pretty common, especially in the advent of LEDs. But a triangle! Whoa, doggy.

The triangular shape is the Flex Era 3’s gimmick but its actual value proposition is high-performance from a device that’s a small physical size. “...the FLEX ERA 3 is a runway for versatility and customization without sacrificing light output,” reads the ad copy. Some specs to ponder:

  • Aluminum housing that “features an extremely thoughtful and unique tooling and die cast process allowing for a shape that is multifaceted in its approach to heatsink fin design and visual appeal.” It’s also supposed to be more durable than its predecessors.
  • Three “high-powered” CREE LEDs.
  • An IP68 rating which effectively means the lights are dust proof and waterproof. More specifically, as you can see from this key, means a six-out-of-six rating for protection against solids. “Dust Tight. No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact.” And an eight-out-of-eight rating against liquids. “Immersion beyond 1 meter. The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects.”
  • Beam patters will be spot (long-throw, tight beam) and combination (broader coverage), with an SAE fog (coming soon in amber or clear lens. There’s also an amber “backlight” that kind of turns them into decorative daytime running lights which is fun.
  • Bezel colors in red, blue, black, and gold with snap-on covers in a variety of designs.
  • “Multiple optics” between spot and spread patterns.

Mounting is supposed to be easy with a “re-positionable mounting bracket that can orient the light 180 degrees from center.” I do think it’d be cool to see where these look cool... if that makes sense. I’m actually kind of tempted to cop some for the lower grille area of my Montero as long as that doesn’t screw up airflow to the radiator in any significant way.

KC is listing these for $219.99 each or $399.99 for a pair, and that price creeps up a little if you add some vehicle-specific mounting stuff.

We’ll have to wait a little longer for unbiased independent reviews on how good these actually are, but in the meantime, KC itself put out a pretty comprehensive video tour of what they look like and how they work:

You can peek through the KC site yourself if you want to dig into it more, but I’ll copy some of the factory-claimed performance specs here too in case you’re curious:

  • RAW Lumens: 3,672 lm @5000K
  • LUX @ 10 meters: 300 lx (combo beam); 800 lx (spot beam)
  • Candela: 29,553 cd (combo beam); 80,000 cd (spot beam)
  • Beam Distance: 385 meters (combo beam); 607 meters (spot beam)
  • Wattage: 40W
  • Amp Draw: 3.4A @ 12V
  • Voltage: 9V-16V
  • Device Dimensions: 3.6 inches wide, 3.5 inches high, 2.6 inches deep

Lastly, for the love of god, don’t use lights like this on the road or the highway when other cars are coming toward you. Unless, maybe, you’ve got them mounted below your stock headlights and you know for sure that they’re aimed properly. Do you know if your headlights are aimed properly? You should check! Come to think of it, so will I.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL

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DISCUSSION

Lastly, for the love of god, don’t use lights like this on the road or the highway when other cars are coming toward you.

Years ago some states took issue with the bright-like-the-sun KC lights and required they be covered at all times when being operated on public roads. Texas comes to mind: a friend used paper plates behind the grilles to cover his lights. It was a low-buck and crap solution but it worked, so maybe it wasn’t 100% crap. The idea was to prevent people from using their lights in traffic to express displeasure.

Yep. KC and the sunshine, banned.

(The Texas thing and the paper plate thing are true, though.)