By: Julie Nordskog


When I rode the Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge in 2018 on a Harley-Davidson Dyna Glide, I quickly learned my bike had two glaring shortcomings: (1) stock suspension and (2) no auxiliary lights. The Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge (HHMC) is a 10,000-mile ride, without the aid of GPS, on secondary and tertiary roads.  In the pitch black countryside, I couldn’t see deer until they were right in front of me. This caused me to knock off riding as night fell and lose valuable seat time more than once.

I knew for the next run I wanted auxiliary lights on my Harley—lots of them—to shine down the road and light up the shoulder. Having ridden dual sport, I was familiar with DENALI Electronics. Among my ADV friends and riders I met on the trail, DENALI were the lights of choice.

Still, I researched auxiliary lights for a good six months. I asked both Harley and ADV riders what brand of lights there were running and how they liked them. I asked manufacturers about different lighting configurations and product features to meet my needs. The staff at Twisted Throttle told me everything I wanted to know— and I asked a lot. (Thank you, Josh!)

I particularly like the ability to customize DENALI lights for day and night. Now, for this feature, I could have gone with a single set of DENALI lights with Data Dim. But I wanted both a spot light for distance down the road and something with a broader pattern to illuminate the shoulder.

For my 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide, I decided on the DENALI D7’s mounted high and offset from the headlamp. I added DENALI D2’s to the engine guards as well as a DENALI B6 brake light for extra visibility in the rear. Undoubtedly, you will see me and I will see you (and deer). My DENALI auxiliary lights turn night into day.

Once you get into two sets of lights, I learned, the DENALI CanSmart harness for Harley more or less pays for itself. (That is, the cost of the DENALI CanSmart is comparable to that of Data Dim technology on two light sets). I need buy only the light pods and one DENALI CanSmart harness that can connect up to three Denali auxiliary light sets plus the Denali SoundBomb horn.


I’m practical. My first question about the harness was whether it moderated the draw of multiple light sets on the battery. It does. I then discovered the DENALI CanSmart is so much more! With the DENALI CanSmart software I can customize the intensity of each light pair individually. There are also settings for flash to pass, inverse flashing with hazards, strobe with horn, and other fun stuff.

The DENALI CanSmart also allows me to use motorcycle controls to adjust light intensity. From the trip switch, I can turn one or all sets of auxiliary lights off completely if I need to. I choose how much light I want to shine on the subject and when.


The DENALI auxiliary lights on their own are powerful and worth their weight in gold for any distance rider. At the same time, I couldn’t be happier with my choice to add the DENALI CanSmart because it makes the lights customizable and so much more versatile.

When I set out on the 2020 Hoka Hey this August 9th, I’ll be safer and more comfortable riding longer hours through the night with my DENALI auxiliary lights. And I’m not the only one. Several HHMC riders have added DENALI lights to their rigs for this year’s run. You can us follow us live on Facebook throughout the event at @hokaheycommunity – look for “Squirrel” !



Julie’s first love was a Harley-Davidson 1972 Sportser Ironhead. Over the past five years, she has learned to ride dual sport on her KLR 650 and excelled as a long distance touring rider on her 2019 H-D Road Glide. She qualified as a member of the Iron Butt Association (2015), completed the New Mexico BackCountry Discovery Route (2018), and became one of the few female Finishers of the 10,000-mile Hoka Hey Motorcycle Challenge (2018). Through riding and writing, Julie strives to support and promote women in the motorcycling community. Julie’s next motorcycle challenge is the ten-year anniversary ride of the Hoka Hey in August 2020.

Julie can be found on Facebook and Instagram under the handles @womenridetheirown and @hokaheyrider942


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