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© Copyright 2020 - Custom Classic Cycles
Click for LED's on
Brit and Jap Bikes
Improving the lighting on classic Brit bikes without
major investments in new charging systems is now
achievable with modern 12 volt LED's. Most importantly
they're as bright or brighter than anything else
depending on how much you spend of course
After two of my best friends, both Norton motorcyclists, "t-boned"
vehicles driven by bone-headed people who were doing something
other than paying attention to driving, I sought to help make my motorcycles more visible in the daytime when I ride. The problem in
the past especially with old Brit bikes has been a charging system
not designed for running the headlights all the time. There are
improved charging systems for Commandos but nothing's free -
higher output means more parisitic hp (and wallet) drain
LED's - Great daytime riding visibility, low current draw, affordable and now bright!
continued below
'73 850 Mk2E with LED's
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Honda XL 125 Photos
more info on XL 125
ositive ground electrical systems are the norm on all older British
vehicles and work just as good as negative ground. But when
dealing with LED's for cycles and autos they're generally designed
with negative ground. This has to be accounted for. With LED turnsignals it's a matter of keeping the signals' grounds isolated from the bike ground and blinking these grounds through an
LED-compatible flasher. A taillight/brakelight LED is a bit trickier.
Left - A color-
coded drawing
makes wiring easier
To correct the polarity of a standard
replacement LED taillight bulb I use a
4 pole double throw micro-relay
n old enduro bike like this one is now 35+ yrs.
old and this was a survivor. Not a "museum
piece" but still dry stored and not too abused.
Things done so far are pretty standard fare:
Tank flush, carb rebuild, NOS ignition/petcock,
seat pan restore & recover, taillight & sidecover
sourced, custom exhaust & heat shield built,
rear wheel rebuilt (new bearings and missing
continued below
spokes) and clutch rebuilt. I also
did the bodywork and paint which
involved steel, fiberglass and
polystyrene. And I wet sanded and
polished out the molded plastic
fenders. The biggest change has
been the addition of a custom
12 volt LED lighting system
continued below left
he standard Honda 6 volt system wouldn't drive the LED's I wanted
to use so I built a custom battery box then fitted a 12 volt sealed
battery. A custom wiring harness powers the front two LED's, rear LED
tail & brake light and a custom dash with polished aluminum LED
indicators. Headlights are controlled through a NOS Honda lights
switchgear from Thailand, a source for small Honda bike parts (I
reckon because they get 100+ mpg and run forever)
Right - Only known
photo of my first real bike
- a '69 Honda 350 CL.
Note headers w/hot dog
mufflers. We be loud and
get many noise tickets
Above - Dual LED's
are mounted to custom
bracket and controlled
enlarged photo of LED headlights on Honda XL
enlarged photo of custom LED dash
enlarged view showing Honda engine and custom exhaust
Custom dash with
polished aluminum LED
indicator lights
Custom heat shield made from sheet
aluminum using drill press and Dremel
I recently got back into Honda ownership when
I ran across this '78 XL 125. I was looking for
something a little bigger but this was a virtually
rust-free bike and the price was right. Plus I loved
its looks and that it's a full size motorcycle built
along standard cycle conventions, except for the
lack of leaks due to closer build tolerances
and newer, better sealing materials
214-636-7368 •
TUFF Lite® LED mounted to coil bracket pretty stealthy until turned on
Coil mounted LED's also illuminate
side reflectors increasing visibility
Above - Testing
polarity reversing
Go to large photo
larger image of back of LED
larger photo of LED testing
Taillight/brakelight needed relay trickery
to get polarity right for standard LED bulb
5" Hi-rider headlight has off-the-shelf
NAPA sealed beam (LED to come later)
Incandescent headlight high beam looks
pale next to twin LED DRL's
Honda XL part 1
Honda XL part 2