rear visibility mods - Kawasaki Vulcan 750 Forum : Kawasaki VN750 Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 05:38 PM Thread Starter
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Question rear visibility mods

My wife says my 2003 is not too visible at night from the rear, and wants me to add additional reflectance or, preferably, tail lighting. Has anybody successfully and semi-professionally added rear, like amber, tail lights to improve nighttime visibility? I have heard all kinds of horror stories about how marginal the VN750's electrical system is and the troubles you can run into when adding stuff.

BTW I don't want to add those gay colored LEDs they sell on eBay.

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 06:10 PM
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Well you could take a look see at Bull Dogs web site to see what he has done to ummmm brighten up the nights rear end.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-29-2008, 08:40 PM
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The LED taillight from clear alternatives helps...

I added trailer lights to the rear of my bike... though it's probably nowhere near as professional as you'd like ;-) Click the link in my sig if your interested and you should find pics...

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgsibob View Post
My wife says my 2003 is not too visible at night from the rear, and wants me to add additional reflectance or, preferably, tail lighting. Has anybody successfully and semi-professionally added rear, like amber, tail lights to improve nighttime visibility? I have heard all kinds of horror stories about how marginal the VN750's electrical system is and the troubles you can run into when adding stuff.

BTW I don't want to add those gay colored LEDs they sell on eBay.
This is what I done. Used front turn signals at the rear and made a red lense from a trailer light. Now I have three red running lights at the rear. The ones on the side double as turn signals.

02 honda sabre 1100
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 08:26 AM
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Is this too flaming for your tastes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgsibob View Post
My wife says my 2003 is not too visible at night from the rear, and wants me to add additional reflectance...
BTW I don't want to add those gay colored LEDs they sell on eBay.
Go to your local truck stop and check out the lighting. Most states do not permit amber lighting to the rear other than turn signals.



DT

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 10:35 AM
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450 REBELS ROCK!!!

The easiest cheapest thing you can do is head on down to your local automotive supply store, get some reflective tape and go crazy with it on your helmet. I bought a 40" roll of 1" wide tape for about $3 at Autozone. I used to have the "Halo" neoprene band that goes around the base of your helmet, but that streched out over time and flopped off. The stickers never come off and the best part is they don't draw any electical current from the bike at all.

I have seriously thought about getting another pair of the front turn signal housings and replacing the rear ones with them so that the rear turn signals could be wired with dual filiment bulbs, one for the turn signal and one for brakes or just running lights. What's stopping me is that I feel that people will notice an amber turn signal and more quickly mentally identify it as the motorcycle wanting to change lanes or turn, rather than having a red lense as a turn signal. I have no idea why any cars have red turnsignal lenses other than to save on manufacturing costs. I heard that if you import an American car into Japan you actually need to make sure it has amber turn signal lenses fitted to it (I need to verify that but it makes sense from a safety perspective).

If you're not afraid of spending money, Custom Dynamics makes something they call Dynamic-Clusters http://www.customdynamics.com/motorcycle_led_bulbs.htm that are basically LED boards that have both a cluster of red LEDs and a ring of Amber LEDs that fit into stock turnsignal housings. Personally I'm leaning towards installing those next year after saving up for them. Radiantz makes something similar http://www.radiantz.com/cart/index.html?c15.html&1

Something you should be aware of is the local laws where you live regarding adding lights to vehicles (you can't have a blue light on your bike in New York unless you're a firefighter, etc.) and be aware that no LED no matter how bright has been acutally appoved by the DOT for on-road use. Some cars have them, but I would assume that the automotive manufacturers have dealt with those i$$ues on the side. Point being that any place you order LEDs from to replace any OEM light on your bike will have a "not for on-road use" disclaimer somewhere. Also if you were in an accident and some police ociffer wanted to be a ball buster they could say that you weren't running the stock lighting on your bike.

Food for thought.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 11:16 AM
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One other consideration about replacing stock turn signal bulbs with LED clusters is that your turn signals will flash a lot faster unless you add a some sort of resister A.K.A. load balancer (which wastes any electrical power you're trying to save by switching to LEDs) or you install a different turn signal relay that was designed to work with LEDs. A better explanation can be found here: http://net4bikes.com/index.php?optio...id=19&Itemid=2

Also here's a link to a really cool looking reflective sticker site http://www.streetglo.net/

My Flickr Gallery < Link >
Westco MF battery, R/R relocated
Küryakyn LED battery monitor
Kawasaki F&S luggage rack, bag supports & headlight visor
Splines lubed at 700 miles (they were dry from the factory!)
Anodized black SuperBrace fork brace < Link >
Mutazu GA hard saddlebags < Link >
Kawasaki F&S floorboards < Link >
Chrome Küryakyn wide brake and clutch levers < Link >
Clear Alternatives LED tail light board
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 04:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloppyburpfest View Post
450 REBELS ROCK!!!

The easiest cheapest thing you can do is head on down to your local automotive supply store, get some reflective tape and go crazy with it on your helmet. I bought a 40" roll of 1" wide tape for about $3 at Autozone. I used to have the "Halo" neoprene band that goes around the base of your helmet, but that streched out over time and flopped off. The stickers never come off and the best part is they don't draw any electical current from the bike at all.

I have seriously thought about getting another pair of the front turn signal housings and replacing the rear ones with them so that the rear turn signals could be wired with dual filiment bulbs, one for the turn signal and one for brakes or just running lights. What's stopping me is that I feel that people will notice an amber turn signal and more quickly mentally identify it as the motorcycle wanting to change lanes or turn, rather than having a red lense as a turn signal. I have no idea why any cars have red turnsignal lenses other than to save on manufacturing costs. I heard that if you import an American car into Japan you actually need to make sure it has amber turn signal lenses fitted to it (I need to verify that but it makes sense from a safety perspective).

If you're not afraid of spending money, Custom Dynamics makes something they call Dynamic-Clusters http://www.customdynamics.com/motorcycle_led_bulbs.htm that are basically LED boards that have both a cluster of red LEDs and a ring of Amber LEDs that fit into stock turnsignal housings. Personally I'm leaning towards installing those next year after saving up for them. Radiantz makes something similar http://www.radiantz.com/cart/index.html?c15.html&1

Something you should be aware of is the local laws where you live regarding adding lights to vehicles (you can't have a blue light on your bike in New York unless you're a firefighter, etc.) and be aware that no LED no matter how bright has been acutally appoved by the DOT for on-road use. Some cars have them, but I would assume that the automotive manufacturers have dealt with those i$$ues on the side. Point being that any place you order LEDs from to replace any OEM light on your bike will have a "not for on-road use" disclaimer somewhere. Also if you were in an accident and some police ociffer wanted to be a ball buster they could say that you weren't running the stock lighting on your bike.

Food for thought.
LED are DOT approved. The 18 wheeler have them all over for stop lights, turn signals and for running lights. If they were not approved they would be the first one to get caught by the Dot cop.

Turn signals can be red or any color from red to amber. The brake light can also be any color from red to amber. The running light ( tail light) had to be red.
No red or blue to the front.

I am a certified Tx DOT inspector.

The reflection tape is a very good Idea, you can use red or amber to the rear and clear and amber to the side and front.

02 honda sabre 1100
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 06:09 PM
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OK let me elaborate on my earlier comments.

The Signal Dynamics site says this about their Custom Dynamic LEDs "Dynamic Clusters™ are NOT Dot approved, for off road or show use only." and the Radiantz site says "Our retros are so bright that there is no need to change your stock lens! These lights are made with white Boards similar to the flexible array boars so they will look phenomenal with a clear lens. The retrokitz are not DOT approved.".

The closest thing to having a DOT approved LED repalcement for any of our stock lights is the Clear Alternatives tail light replacement for the VN750 http://clearalternatives.com/Merchan...egory_Code=LED

If you think that 18 wheeler tail lights will look good on your Vulcan, please try them out and post the pics. Maybe we'll all decide to add them.

While the replacement bulbs are not DOT certified, the VN750 stock lenses say DOT. Eitherway, becareful which LEDs you go with if you ever replace yours, road legal or not, some of them are hardly visable in daylight and not much better at night.

If anyone finds ANY DOT approved LED replacement bulbs for any stock bulbs on their bike PLEASE let me know, as I've been searching for some for years.

My Flickr Gallery < Link >
Westco MF battery, R/R relocated
Küryakyn LED battery monitor
Kawasaki F&S luggage rack, bag supports & headlight visor
Splines lubed at 700 miles (they were dry from the factory!)
Anodized black SuperBrace fork brace < Link >
Mutazu GA hard saddlebags < Link >
Kawasaki F&S floorboards < Link >
Chrome Küryakyn wide brake and clutch levers < Link >
Clear Alternatives LED tail light board
National Cycle N2220 Windshield
R.I.P. Lance328
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-30-2008, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloppyburpfest View Post
If you think that 18 wheeler tail lights will look good on your Vulcan, please try them out and post the pics. Maybe we'll all decide to add them.

Eitherway, becareful which LEDs you go with if you ever replace yours, road legal or not, some of them are hardly visable in daylight and not much better at night.

If anyone finds ANY DOT approved LED replacement bulbs for any stock bulbs on their bike PLEASE let me know, as I've been searching for some for years.
The picts don't show how bright these really are:



The 6" ovals are trailer lights, the 1157 bulbs are not as bright as the boards but were cheap and work well.

DT

95 VN750 (eBay)31k+
GL1100 front fender
OEM engine guard
OEM high back rest
'V-Twin' HWY pegs
Black 750 Spectre handlebars
SunPro Volt Meter (Amazon)
Maier bug shield (JCW)
Bar Ends anti-vibe (JCW)
Emgo air filters
Tank bag-Eclipse
Tail bag-FroZone Cooler
Back Rest-Igloo 6 pak cooler
WalMart Saddle Bags
R/R Relocate
Dry Splines Lubed
AGM DieHard-Sears
Gutted Goat
Sporster XL Mufflers
LED's-stop,tail,turn,marker
Pickup coil mod to .45mm
Silverstar headlight
Rotella T6
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