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· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
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I had a liscense plate crack across the top from vibration and wind. After getting a new plate, I decided to reinforce it with a metal frame.

Well, here is that frame now!
View attachment 55403

Any ideas how you are supposed to keep the plate and frames from cracking?

Happy Thanksgiving!
There's been some posts about plates cracking. Is your engine vibrating more than usual?

Your frame looks like a flat piece of metal, maybe one that's been stamped will hold up better. The one I'm using is chromed and stamped, so the back side is a concave shape. Chrome may also add some strength.

I've never broken a plate, got the frame so I could mount turn signals on the plate.
 

· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
Joined
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11,016 Posts
Here's a listing with a picture that shows what I'm talking about with the stamped shape.

 

· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
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11,016 Posts
I put some Paracord tie downs from the turn signal bracket (on the license plate) to the saddlebags (bags have d-rings on the sides) and noticed that it shakes a lot at idle.

Could be the reason for the plates breaking.
 

· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
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11,016 Posts
This is the backside of the frame. It was decently thick. It's a cheap Chinese piece.
View attachment 55421
Looks to be the same shape. I can't tell if that's cast or stamped. The other side looks flat, so maybe it's cast? A stamped piece should be stronger.

My turn signal bracket is mounted on the two top bolts, so maybe an extra plate will help stiffen it up. I used aluminum to make the bracket. Probably anything is better than nothing.
 

· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
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11,016 Posts
If my bike wasn't in storage, I'd share a picture of my broken license plate and what I did to fix it.

The break, incidentally was not the Vulcan's fault. It's the fault of having first spent 25 years on my XT.

Why not get a new plate when I registered the Vulcan instead of transfer that beat-up one from my XT, you ask?

Because, like both of my bikes, it's kinda collectible.

I don't know about states where others of you live, but starting some years ago, Maine began stamping motorcycle plates with the words "Ride Safe" along the bottom. There's not really room for that on the tiny plates but there it is anyway. Being preachy, one might add.

Don't get me wrong. I prefer riding safe. Which is to say I prefer riding which means staying safe. But I don't need my license plate to tell me (or others) to Ride Safe.

Rant aside, my old vintage plate says no such thing. It just has a letter and four numbers. As a nifty feature, it also has space around the edges to actually apply the yearly registration sticker!

Best of all, it gets lots of inquisitive looks. Many folks have never seen a plate like that. I actually got pulled over once :rolleyes: for going a tad fast through town on my XT. The cop who pulled me over looked at my license and reg then asked for my inspection certificate.

"My what?" I asked, acting confused.

"Your, uh..." he looks at my license plate and gets confused himself. "Well, I was asking for proof of inspection but I see... uh... well your bike must be an antique or something huh? Oh yeah, the registration says 1980. That's gotta be an antique!"

"Sounds right," I agreed.

"And you don't have to inspect antique vehicles," he continued. "So that must be why you don't have any inspection, huh?"

"I suppose it is," I said, not actually having any idea what the laws were but also knowing I'd never inspected the bike.

He gave me a warning and wished me a good day, reminding me of the ridiculously low speed limit in that area.

Anyway, when I bought the Vulcan and began to transfer the plate, the crack that I'd attempted to fix along the back with JB weld broke again. That forced me into a moment of reckoning in which I would either have to sacrifice my beloved old plate or find a solution like the one you're looking for Jason.

As others have said, the backing plate is key. Combined with a sturdy metal frame (not white metal), the backing plate is what's held my Humpty Dumpty plate together for the last few years. Here's the one I got. It's not cheap, but it's not cheaply made either.

SS license plate frame w/backing plate
That's a good plate and frame.

What is white metal and why not use it? Aluminum?

I've had one state inspection sticker since owning mine. I had the inspector put it in the toolbox. He says, it's supposed to be on the front left, the fork leg or side of the bike somewhere. I told him I didn't want it on the forks. :)

Mine might be antique next year. I forget if it's 20 or 25 years to be antique, we don't inspect antiques either. The antique tag is dirt cheap, but you can only drive on weekends, holidays, parades, or to the mechanic. Some people carry a new part so they can claim that's where they're heading.
 

· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
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11,016 Posts
Jason you could change it up and mount the plate vertical on the side, or I just saw some jazzy tail light/plate mount combos at reasonable prices. The plate mount had a full backing. Here's one of those... Ten bucks more than the frame and plate.


I always figured a vertical plate might make you cop bait, but I had to put my trailer plate vertical so I could haul one load without the tailgate. Got pulled over, apologized to the cop for the vertical plate and explained the reason. He said he didn't care about the plate. And I got a ticket anyway.

Seems like vertical would be harder to read, guess it doesn't matter.

Everyone is supposed to get a digital plate one of these days.
 

· Super Moderator
2003 VN750
Joined
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11,016 Posts
It's a good question and makes me realize that if YOU don't know then I probably don't either.

So I did some research and learned that "white metal" is a broad term. It usually refers to various alloys of admittedly inexpensive metals.

I personally have come to use the term to mean: "whatever the hell kind of metal it is that just snaps and breaks (like Jason's frame) rather than at least bends a little first".

Along with batter-whipped license plate frames, I'm recalling some of the hardware I've bought for my boat over the years too; things like cleats and bimini fittings are often sold in either SS or "chrome-plated zinc". Both are fairly resistant to corrosion but boy oh boy isn't that zinc bad when it comes to strength!
Ok. My first thought was it meant aluminum or stainless, but your plate frame is stainless.

Goggle said it was a mix of zinc and other stuff.

Some people call that flimsy stuff, (word that is not PC on this website). I probably spelled that wrong.

Of course the hard to find stuff is, unobtainium.:)
 
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