So you have finally decided to swap out your bulky OE incandescent bulb motorcycle indicators for some sleek new LED indicator units; because maybe you've seen a nice set of LEDs, or you're after a brighter indicator to keep you safe out on the road.
LED motorcycle indicators have a lot of benefits over the industry standard bulb turn signals, including generally smaller units that help with making any motorcycle look more modern, along with having a much brighter flash which helps other road users see your signals.
Now when it comes to upgrading your current motorcycle indicators to an LED set, simply plugging in the new units is not quite enough (although the overall fitting doesn’t require you to be a neuroscientist). LED lights work using a lower wattage than normal bulbs, which is why when you plug them directly in to your existing indicator wiring you will notice they flash a lot faster than normal and most probably a lot faster than the required rate for a UK MOT
In the UK the legal flash rate for motorcycle indicators is between 60-120 flashes per MINUTE.
So, to slow your flashing down you have to make the wattage draw similar to how it was with the original bulb indicators, and you can do this by fitting either a new indicator relay unit or you can add a resistor in the wiring before each indicator.
The Relay Method
If you decide to fit a new motorcycle indicator relay to slow down the flash rate of your indicators then there are a few things you need to know before buying your relay:
- Firstly, a big sign if you’re getting the right indicator relay is to check if they are LED relays.
- Check that the relay operates within the right wattage range- to work this is out just add together the watts of each new LED indicator you will be adding.
- Usually, you will be able to find a straight swap out relay for your original bike relay, so make sure that the pins on your new relay match the pin setup of your existing relay.
Once you know you have the right relay it is as simple as wiring your new motorcycle indicators in and plugging in your new relay!
The Resistor Method
Maybe you only want to change the rear indicators to LED and are leaving the front indicators as they are with bulbs; therefore by adding a new LED relay to the system will slow down all the indicators on your motorcycle.
The way to get around this issue and make sure that your front/rear original indicators carry on flashing as normal whilst slowing down your new LED indicators flash rate, is to fit individual resistors to the wiring that leads only to your new LED indicators!
By adding these resistors you are increasing the wattage draw from the wiring leading to your LED indicators, which slows down the flash rate of just the indicators on that part of the circuit.
- Resistors get hot during operation, so wrapping them in tape can lead to resistor over heating and breaking.
- Fitting resistors does require more work than relays, and wiring will need to be cut, with new connections either added using electrical terminals or soldering.
- Checking that the resistors you buy are specified for LED use, is a good sign you are getting the correct resistors.
As with every modification to your motorcycle, if you are not confident undertaking the work it is always a better idea to take your motorcycle and the indicators to a qualified mechanic.
If you are looking for a new set of LED motorcycle indicators take a look through our huge range from sleek clear lenses, to chrome cruiser types.