Unveiling the Illuminating Saga of Baja Designs: The Pioneers of Off-Road Lighting

Written By: Will Marshal

September 5, 2023

The Genesis: San Diego, 1992

In the heart of San Diego, California, a spark ignited in 1992 that would forever change the landscape of off-road adventure. Alan Roach, an adrenaline junkie with a penchant for the Baja 1000, founded Baja Designs. The company’s debut product? A groundbreaking Dual Sport kit that transformed off-road motorcycles into street-legal beasts.

The Breakthrough: HID Motorcycle Lights, 1998

Fast forward to 1998, Alan Roach and his team, including Chad Petrilli, Eric Brown, and Joel Tarquin, took the Baja 1000 by storm. They clinched 3rd overall in the Pro Motorcycle category, armed with the world’s first-ever HID (High-Intensity Discharge) motorcycle light. It was a game-changer.

The Milestone: Baja 2000

Just two years after their HID innovation, Baja Designs’ fabricator Tex Mitchell secured 3rd overall in the Pro Motorcycle category at the Baja 2000. The secret weapon? Dual Baja Designs HID Race lights. The off-road community took notice.

Beyond Lighting: The Baja 1000, 2002

In 2002, Alan Roach and master fabricator Tex Mitchell did the unthinkable. They took a custom-built Honda CRF450R, equipped with a specialized stator, flywheel, transmission, and electrical system, to the finish line of the Baja 1000. It was the first Honda CRF450R to ever complete the grueling race.

The Evolution: SolTek Lights, 2004-2005

The years 2004 and 2005 saw the introduction of the SolTek HID 8″ La Paz Light and the Fuego 4″ Light, setting new industry standards in both HID and Halogen light technology.

The LED Revolution: 2006 Onwards

Baja Designs didn’t stop there. In 2006, they developed the first off-road prototype LED light bar. By 2007, they brought the first LED to market, forever altering the off-road lighting landscape.

The Stealth and Squadron: 2010-2011

The Stealth LED Light Bar, boasting 3500 lumens of light per 10″, was introduced in 2010. A year later, the Squadron and S2 set the benchmark for compact LED light pods, a design that has remained largely unchanged but technologically advanced over the years.

The Victory Lap: Andy McMillin, 2011

By 2011, Baja Designs had numerous Baja victories under its belt, but the overall win had eluded them. That changed when Andy McMillin clinched the 2011 Baja 1000, solidifying Baja Designs as the ultimate race-proven off-road light.

The LP Series: 2017

Inspired by the legendary 8″ La Paz light, Baja Designs introduced the LP9 in 2017, a marvel that spawned the rest of the LP series, including the LP6 and LP4.

The Legacy: Baja 1000, 2022

Fast forward to 2022, Baja Designs celebrated their fifth consecutive overall win at the Baja 1000, thanks to Luke McMillin. It’s no wonder over 80% of racers opt for Baja Designs.

The Champions: SLR Motorsports, 2022

Mark Samuels’ 7x bike of SLR Motorsports, with the aid of Kendall Norman and Justin Morgan, clinched their 5th consecutive Baja 1000 overall win in 2022.

The Verdict

At Baja Designs, revolutionizing industry-leading lights isn’t just a job; it’s a lifelong passion. With 30 years of experience and an unwavering commitment to being “Brighter, Bolder, and Better,” they’ve earned their title as “The Scientists of Lighting.” Even though Baja Designs DNA is embedded in off-road racing they have continued to focus on making automotive specific lighting solutions for vehicles such as the ever popular Toyota Tacoma or Ford Super Duty.

“I am beyond honored to be a part of the Baja Designs heritage. Going from a high school student with a photo of All German Motorsports Class 1 with 8″ La Paz HIDs on a school folder, to a motorcycle race light customer and now being able to establish a career in the performance off-road automotive space has been a dream come true. The founder’s Alan Roach and Deanne Moore have built a distinctive brand as the continued success of Baja Designs is tied directly to the team members. With such a wonderful group of passionate employees about the brand and solutions we provide, I have no doubt the brand will be just as strong 30 years from now.”

Trent Kirby, Baja Designs CEO


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