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Old April 21st, 2019, 09:08 AM   #1
InvisiBill
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Name: Bill
Location: Grand Rapids-ish, MI
Join Date: Jul 2012

Motorcycle(s): '18 Ninja 400 '09 Ninja 500R (selling) '98 VFR800 (project) '85 Vulcan VN700 (sold)

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MOTM - Aug '15
TST Industries Integrated Taillight

TST Programmable and Sequential LED Integrated Tail Light for Kawasaki Ninja 400 2018+ / Z400 2019+ $109.99

The Ninja 400 does come with an LED taillight stock, but it's pretty bland and I prefer clear lenses. After looking around a bit, I decided the TST had the features I wanted.

I really liked the look of the smoke lens on a black bike, but I was worried that it would reduce light output, as well as making it less obvious to following vehicles where the taillight is. Every other lens on the bike is clear too, so smoke wouldn't match. There are some smoke turn signal lenses available, but it's more cost/work, and I'm not sure of their quality. Even if I swapped those, I probably wouldn't be able to smoke the headlight in a way I was happy with.

They have a nice install video right on the product page. I feel like it would be more logical to remove some of the screws in a different order, but it gives you a great idea of what all is involved, and points out trouble areas, like locking tabs between the different fairing pieces. For someone who's never had the bike apart, this is a great reference.

The unit has a built-in brakelight flasher with 3 modes. Standard brakelight mode has no flashing. Alert mode flashes the brake 5 times, then goes solid. Pulsar mode flashes the brake constantly. You can see them at 24:45 in the video.

I wasn't sure if I'd use them or not, but it does have integrated turn signals. They're not DOT-approved as they're too close together, but otherwise they're pretty good. They're well defined in the side sections of the light, and relatively large. (One of my issues with integrated signals is that they take away from brakelight area.) There are also 3 modes for the signals - standard, pulsar, and sequential. Like the brakelight, pulsar mode flickers the LED the whole time it's illuminated. Sequential mode runs the LEDs from the center out to the edge. You can see them around 25:30 in the video.

Just barely installed


Taillight on


Integrated signal with stock signal via splitters


All buttoned up, with the stocker for comparison


My thoughts:
Overall, this is a very nice taillight. For someone who's going to remove the stock taillight, signals, and fender, this is a great integrated replacement. It's high quality, it has a built-in flasher for extra visibility, and it's all plug 'n' play. If this became the default choice for people ripping out all the stock stuff (compared to cheap taillights with a handful of LEDs and tiny little turn signals), I'd be overjoyed. Since the stocker only has 10 LEDs in it, I think TST's LED array is actually better at covering a large area.

For a picky geek like me, I have a few little issues with it. They use stock plugs for a simple PnP installation, but they don't use OEM colors on the wires/plugs. If you watch the install video, you can even hear him say "Let's see if I plugged the signals into the correct sides." FYI, the brown wire is the left signal that goes to the gray plug; green goes to the black plug for the right side. It would be nicer if they used gray and black plugs like stock, or the Kaw-"standard" green wire for the left signal and gray wire for the right signal. Likewise, the taillight uses black/blue/yellow rather than Kaw's standard black/red/blue. Stock, red is the running light and blue is the brake light. On the TST, blue is the running light and yellow is the brake light. These differences don't affect operation of the light, but it can be confusing if you're doing anything beyond a straight PnP replacement or have to troubleshoot something on it.

The flasher is a decent basic unit. I installed an older 36-mode version of the 3rd Brake Flasher M1 on my 500. It's configurable in how fast it flashes, how many times it flashes before going solid, and how long of a delay is needed before the flasher resets (so it's not flashing every time you let off the brake in traffic). The built-in flasher doesn't have any of that. It's simply off, on, or flashing-then-solid. It's probably better from a distance, but the pulsar brake mode was just annoying to me.

While the signals are pretty large for an integrated unit, they're still a bit small for sequential operation. It is a bit of motion that helps catch your eye, but it's not like an Audi or Mustang signal that takes up a large portion of the car's rear end. The pulsar mode looks a little weird to me. It almost looks more like a malfunctioning signal, since it flickers during the on-blink. But like a brake flasher, I'm sure it helps catch your eye. The amber light seems to bleed into the rest of the lens a bit too.

It's not TST's fault, but the integrated signals are a slightly different color from the LEDs I put in the stock signals, which helped solidify my decision not to use the integrated ones. I do have the splitters, so I could easily run both if I want to in the future.

I'm going to end up using my own 3BF flasher once I get the proper connectors to make it PnP. I'm continuing to use the stock signal stalks for visibility. By the time I'm done with this, I'm basically only using the $110 TST for its clear lens. If they sold a cheaper version without the flasher and integrated signals, I'd personally be just as happy with that one.
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Old May 2nd, 2019, 07:15 PM   #2
Tooch
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Name: Anthony
Location: Pittsburgh
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Motorcycle(s): 2008 Ninja 250, 2015 zx10r, 2010 Ducati 848

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Excellent write up! I just installed a TST unit on my Ducati and love it
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