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INCREASING REAR VISIBILITY IN RED!!
Click for marker lights This an easy and legal way to do it
But I do not recommend doing this for the reasons below..
By Chet Walters
Original idea by Rex Holder
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Why not red?
This is an opinion: having tried all of these methods and having tested each extensively, here is my verdict. Adding rear amber running lights using the EASY method detailed on the AMBER REAR LIGHTS page is the BEST method. It may be more expensive, but it adds the greatest rear visibility and safety to your bike all hours of the day or night, even though it may be illegal in most states. In a long ten hour day and night, I rode with my buddy Frank and several other bikes. I had the red rears and Frank had the amber rear running lights. All day long, my attention was drawn to the Frank's Valkyrie with the rear amber lights both day and night. We even swapped bikes for a time, and mine was just lost in the sea of tail lights. Swapped back, and all I noticed was Frank's Valk - Frank's Valk - Frank's Valk (you get the idea). It stood out among all the other bikes and was very noticable. Tired as I was that night, I immediately reconfigured my rear running lights to AMBER.

The method detailed below for adding RED rear lights with the 194R coated lights I find unsatisfactory for two main reasons: These lights are dim and completely invisible in daylight. Hence, they offer no help then. At night, they interfere with the visiblility of the brake light. Yes, they make a nice "sea" of red at the rear of the bike but because they do not change state with the brake light, the brake light is lost in this sea of red and becomes SERIOUSLY less noticable, just like using red lenses. I have mounted FOUR 194R bulbs in each signal housing trying to make these more visible in daylight to no avail. I have also tried mounting two each for running lights and two each hooked up to come on with the brake light so the running lights would change state upon application of the brake, but that simply did not make a significant enough difference and the brake light was still lost in the sea of red (and I have THREE brake lights, two in addition to the one in the tail light). You can use this method to make amber rear lights with the 2825 clear lights, but they are not very visible in the daylight at all either because the bulbs are too dim. I recommend that you add AMBER REAR LIGHTS using the easy method.

The Valkyrie suffers in rearward visibility. That tiny tail lamp on such a big bike is not enough for the sleepy, cell phone gabbing drivers behind you to really take notice. To add more visibility in this area, what we will do is add small bulbs to the rear turn signals. You can make them AMBER (illegal in most states) or you can make them red with the added bonus that your turn signals will still be AMBER! and VERY visible (which is not true if you use red plastic lenses to replace your OEM lenses for red rear lights). It depends on which bulbs you use what color your marker lights will be, but your signals will still be bright amber for added safety. This mod adds more "see me" at the rear of the bike and costs only about $8.00! This does, of course, work on any bike that has enough room in the signal housing to install the extra lights, but these instructions detail the method used to install on a Honda Valkyrie.


THE CHEAP and LEGAL WAY
TIME: Two hours

MATERIALS
20 gauge wire (two colors optional)
4 Cooper 194R courtesy bulbs (Auto Zone) for RED
4 Sylvania # 2825 marker bulbs for AMBER (off road use only)
TOOLS
Phillips screw driver (preferably a "stubby")
soldering iron
wire cutters
wire strippers
small drill bit (1/8")
patience

PREPARE YOUR SMALL BULBS
For each bulb (you'll do four): Cut & strip 1/4" the ends of a pigtail of the 20 guage wire about 4 inches long and another about 15 inches long. Straighten and open up the thin wire loops which come out of the bottom of the bulbs. Insert the pigtail into the loop and twist tightly. Solder (note: solder does not stick to the loops of the bulb, but the solder will hold the twisted wires together to make contact). Do not insulate. Repeat until you have all four bulbs, each with one long pigtail and one short.

PREPARE YOUR SIGNAL HOUSING
Remove the lenses from your rear turn signals. Twist the inside housing counter clockwise to release it and pull it gently out. On the right (throttle side) note the colors are solid ORANGE and GREEN. On the left (clutch side) you will find BLUE and GREEN. Green wires are normal ground. We will be using the non-green wires, or the "HOT" wires, to make a "GROUND" for your new lights. Strip a space into the insulator of the right side ORANGE wire about an inch from where it comes out of the light. Strip a similar space on the BLUE wire on the left.

INSTALL THE SMALL BULBS
About midway at the top of the plastic housing, drill two 1/8" holes through the housing centered about 1/4" apart. Repeat at the bottom. Feed the wires you soldered onto the little bulbs one each through the holes. Holding the tips of the bulb up against the inner housing and the new wires against the barrel of the stock bulb mount (tug slightly so the base of the bulbs are tight against the inner housing), run tape around the wires and barrel so that the wires serve to hold the bulbs in position. Make sure that the uninsulated part of the wires make no contact on any metal or wire anywhere.

HOOK UP TO "GROUND"
For each signal, taking both SHORT pigtails, one from each little bulb, wrap and solder them to the space you made in your non-green "HOT" wire. Insulate well with electrical tape. This becomes your "GROUND" wire.

SUPPLY CURRENT
Remove the cover from the top of the signal stems by removing the two phillips screws located under the stems. Pull the cover off. Thread the long pigtails from each light through your signal housing insulator stems and into this newly exposed area. Locate the BROWN wire that powers your license light. Strip a small part of that wire and tie all four of the long pigtails, one from each bulb each side, to the brown wire. Insulate well. This is your HOT wire.

THE SMOKE TEST
Turn on your key. The red bulbs should be lit up. Try your turn signals. When your turn signal filament glows, the red bulbs should go out. When your turn signal filaments are dark, the red bulbs should glow. If the test went well, re-assemble your housings and put on the stem cover. You now have red running lights (or amber with 2825 bulbs) which revert to amber turn signals when needed. It's a pretty slick trick and very cute. However, it has problems as noted above.

WHY THESE WORK
A "hot" wire will act as a ground wire when it is "off." In other words, when a wire that normally supplies current in a circuit is not supplying current (ie "cold") it can be used as a ground for another circuit. Here, we use the "hot" of the turn signal to be "ground" for our extra lights. When your signal is on, the "ground" is disabled so your added red lights shut themselves off. When the signal is off the "ground" is enabled so the red lights will glow. When your signal blinks alternately on and off it enables/disables the ground so your red lights will blink alternately on and off opposite the signals!


This mod can be performed on any modern motorcycle which has rear signal assemblies with room enough to fit the extra bulbs into.
Questions? Contact Chet at Chet says 'Be sure to write!'Chetspages@rattlebars.com

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