V-Strom 650 || Modifications || Converting turn signals into Running lights

My Honda ST1100 had beautiful 3-wire turn signals (1157 socket) which meant that the turn signals could function as both ‘running lights’ and as ‘turn signals’.

This might not seem like a big deal, but on a 2-wheeler where you want to be seen as much as possible, having those running lights can be a huge visibility boost. My V-Strom unfortunately has a 2-wire (1156 socket) system meaning turn signals only blink when I activate the turn signal, and stays turned off at all other times…. this bothered me a lot.

The beautiful final result! (I’ve also added LED light strips on the handguards)

This 1980 detailed article shows that having headlights (a proxy for lighting/visibility) OFF increased the chance of an accident by more than a factor of 2 ! Also, the oncoming automobile driver ‘not seeing’ the motorcycle is the biggest reason for accidents. Visibility is hugely important! Think about that….a simple lighting improvement reduces accident likelihood by more than 50%.. (page 387 in this document) 

To come back to the my V-Strom, I decided to modify the stock wiring to use the Custom Dynamics turn signal module to convert my turn signals into turn + running lights.

You need the Custom Dynamics blinker module, $30 shipped. You get two modules for the $30

Custom Dynamics blinker module from eBay ($30)

I also bought a set of posi tap & posi lock connections to help me with tapping into stock wiring with minimal splice / cutting / soldering.

The module, and a set of posi tap & posi lock connectors

On the V-Strom, the left and right turn bulbs each have two wires. You can visually inspect them by looking into the front fairing, to the sides of the headlights.

Right side – Green wire (blinker) and B/W (ground)

Right turn wires & connector

Left side – Solid black wire (blinker) and B/W (ground)

Left turn wire & connector

The writing is pretty straightforward with the posi tap products. You can disconnect the connections between each turn wire (see the marked picture) and then use one blinker set for each side.

Wiring information for blinker module:-

 

Once the wiring is correctly done, just test it out to make sure things are working correctly. Once this final check is done, you can now go ahead and safely tuck away the wiring neatly with zip ties inside the fairing. MAKE SURE YOU CAN TURN HANDLEBARS WITHOUT DAMAGING WIRING !

🙂 🙂

Hope this helps anyone trying to get running and turn lights on their motorcycle. This works for any motorcycle with the two wire situation.

Turn signals converted into Running lights!
Turn signals converted into Running lights!

 

 

 

Regards,
Vishnu
thepaleobiker

V-Strom 650 || Modifications || Reducing Buffeting Part 2 – Rick’s Mirror Extenders

I finally got around to installing Ricks Mirror extenders from www.adventuretech.biz

Continuing on from my earlier article on the Windshield replacement, I look forward to seeing how much the dirty wind around my helmet has reduced. It had already reduced significantly thanks to the Givi – I can now listen to my favorite podcasts (On Point – Tom Ashbrook by NPR) on my Sena headset, which I could not do before while on the Stock windshield….

Removing the stock mirror – you actually don’t need to separate the two pieces like I did – Learn from my missteps ! 🙂

The removed stock rear view mirror, and it’s parts (I wrongly separated the stalk from the lowest screw nut)

Rick’s extenders come with a nice spacer that sits atop the stock female thread on the handlebar

You need to place the new black spacer on top of this female thread, and use Rick’s extended long bolt.

You simply put the space over the female thread, use Rick’s long bolt to secure the extended piece ; You need to use an 8MM Allen key to tighten up the bolt.

The new, installed mirror extender! Super sexy & looks stock 🙂 . You just need to install back the mirror stalk onto this extender. Use blue loctite if needed

That’s it! Now you can screw back in the stock mirror stalk into the female thread on Rick’s extender. Done ! The improved visibility is nothing short of amazing.

Additional Pics to follow :-

Improved rear visibility! Vastly better. I no longer see just my shoulders 😀

Regards,
Vishnu
‘thepaleobiker’

V-Strom 650|| Modifications || Replacing Stock Tail/Brake light bulbs with LED bulbs (video comparison)

Hi all,

I bought LED 1157 bulbs to replace the stock tail light bulbs. My intent was two fold : reduced power consumption, and higher light output.

I’ve found JDM A star to be a fantastic company and a reliable supplier of high quality LED products – I’ve used their LED bulbs for 3 years now, first starting with my Honda ST1100 and now on the Wee Strom.

JDM ASTAR Super Bright 5730 Chipsets 1157 2057 2357 7528 LED Bulbs with Projector,Brilliant Red

 

JDM A star Super bright LED bulbs Red 1157

 

 

The install is pretty simple. Take off the seat, reach back into the rear section of the tail light housing area (you’ve to reach back past where the tool kit is placed)

Each bulb is held on a plastic holder that needs to be turned counter clockwise to “unscrew” it from its base.

Once it’s unscrewed from the base, you can simply replace the bulb with the LED one. Its the 1157 Socket which is a direct replacement.

I took a video to compare the output, and there’s no comparison! The LED is way brighter on the running light, and the video truly doesnt do justice to the brightness of these LEDs.

Hope this helps anyone trying to upgrade lighting and save a few watts in the process 🙂 . Ride Safe!

Regards,
Vishnu

Motorcycle Riding 101 : Evaluating the ‘RISK’ of Motorcycle Riding (and educate oneself)

“Motorcycles – those sexy, dangerous machines! People who ride them surely are modern gladiators, fighting for their lives and avoiding deadly events every second they’re on their machine! They’re crazy people! I bet they’re also sexy & awesome! ”

The above description is a mild exaggeration of the standard Western view of 2-Wheelers & their riders – partially true (yes, especially that last statement) and partially folklore. Make no mistake though – Motorcycling is a dangerous means of transport/hobby and comes with inherently higher risk compared to alternatives. But like quite a lot of ‘risks’ in life, awareness of the same and means to mitigate them can help us enjoy that wonderful hobby/passion while minimizing the risk involved. We shall look at some of these ‘dangers’ and try to affix a number to the motorcycling risk, compared to driving a passenger car/4-wheeler.

Motorcycle Market Size in US

In the US, total new motorcycle sales were about 0.5 million in 2013 , compared to 17 million new cars sold  in the same period. That comes out to being 3 motorcycles sold for every 100 cars!

USA - 100 new cars sold to every 3 new motorcycles
USA – 100 new cars sold to every 3 new motorcycles

Motorcycle Market Size in Developing Nations (India as example)

Things are very different in other parts of the world – For example, in developing nations, motorcycles & scooters are a much higher proportion of total vehicle sales, driven by the much lower cost of ownership of a 2-wheeler and the gradually improving road infrastructure. Taking the example of India, there were 16 Million 2-wheelers sold in 2014, while only about 1.8 Million cars were sold in the same year!
That’s roughly 9 motorcycles sold for every car sold in India.

9 New Motorcycles sold for every new 4-Wheeler sold in India
9 New Motorcycles sold for every new 4-Wheeler sold in India

Evaluating Risk in Motorcycling

The absence of an interaction with a motorcycle can create a wonder (fear) of the unknown. So is the conventional argument ‘Stay Away from a Motorcycle, It is Dangerous!’ true? Well, DEFINITELY YES.

A US NHTSA Study in 2008 showed that there were 72 fatal accidents per 100,000 registered motorcycles, while for the number was 12 fatal accidents per 100,000 registered passenger cars. This gives us fair idea of the higher risk involved in motorcycling. However, this risk does not take into account factors such as rider awareness, Helmet wear vs no helmet, and riding a 2-wheeler under the influence of alcohol/drugs. Lets take a look at that :-

The same 2008 NHTSA study gives us the following risk-related stats :-
1) 41% of fatal motorcycle accidents in USA involved NO HELMET
2) 30% of fatal accidents involved BAC (blood alcohol content) > 0.08, meaning they were Under the Influence of Alcohol
3) Among fatal motorcycle accidents involving 2 vehicles, 41% were due to a vehicle turning left/passing/overtaking while the motorcycle was going straight (the classic “I didnt see the motorcycle at all?” argument )

US NHTSA Study of Vehicular Accidents 1997 & 2007
US NHTSA Study of Vehicular Accidents 1997 & 2007

Ways to Mitigate & Minimize Risk

1) BE SEEN – Wear Hi-Viz attire, Helmets, improving lighting on the motorcycle (AUX Lights, running lights etc). Hi-Viz (high visibility NEON Yellow as an example) colors help catch the eye of the vehicles around you. Conspicuous lights on the motorcycle help you be seen better (most motorcycles have just 1 headlight, and is easily missed by oncoming traffic). Reflective Tape & Stickers help you shine through when other vehicles are near you.

2) BE AWARE – Every motorcyclist needs to be highly aware of the road situation around them. Heightened awareness comes from expecting the unknown; being ready for that car to jump out of the driveway even though they may be looking at you. 4-Wheeler drivers (including yours truly) are guilty of being distracted thanks to food, music, mobile devices, cozy seating & A/C etc.

3) UPGRADE YOUR RIDING SKILLS – The ability to lean into a curve feels great! But the same ability can also help you evade a lousy driver ahead of you incorrectly coming into your lane, or a nasty piece of wood/rock lying right in your path on the road ahead of you. Do the MSF Safety courses atleast once every Year or two. Do the Advanced course if you’ve already done the basic course. Skills can save lives.

I hope this article puts forth the many varied dangers involved in motorcycling. The awareness & knowledge of these dangers will hopefully educate you, and help you be a better rider/help you make the right decisions, so you can enjoy the beautiful sport of motorcycling.

#WHYWERIDE

Ending on a positive note – A video on Motorcycling Touring 🙂