We’ve all been there. You’ve finally ordered those fancy LED turn signals. The kind that looks just right for your bike. You start digging into it, removing parts and unplugging cables when: The lights you bought have 2 cables, but apparently your bike has 3! Or maybe your turn signals wired up fine, but now they blink too fast. Any of these things sound familiar?
You’re not alone. Many of us had to deal with this. So here are a few things you’ll want to look into before committing to a set of new blinkers:
Some bikes, like my 1989 GB500 Tourist Trophy have an unusual safety feature. The front turn signals remain lit when the bike is running. Not all models had it, but in the States, the California version did. This likely means that the front turn signals use dual-filament bulbs, which means it probably has 3 wires (green for ground, orange or light-blue for the blinker, and likely brown/white for the running light *). So when you go to purchase your aftermarket turn-signals, check to see if they’re available with a 3-wire dual-filament set. Keep in mind, the rear turn-signals will probably still be 2-wire single-filament bulbs.
Wattage, Current & Resistance:
A common problem you’ll discover when installing aftermarket turn-signals is that they flash too fast. Chances are you’ve bought LED blinkers, or the bulbs are smaller than the factory bulbs used. Why? Most turn signal relays are load dependent, meaning they require a certain amount of current to work. Most bikes will flash blinkers at a faster rate when one of the bulbs burns out. But LED turn signals use much less current, which in turn will make your turn signal relay think it has a burned-out bulb, thus making the blinkers flash faster. So what you need are load equalizers/resistors.
Preferably, you will just want to replace your turn-signal relay with a non-load dependent replacement. Otherwise, you will need to add a resistor for each aftermarket turn signal installed. Here are a couple of options depending on your situation.:
Individual/Set of Resistors:
Most likely you will want to select 21.5 Ohm set*.
• Turn Signal Resistors
Speedometers With Single Turn-Signal Indicators:
Some bikes have an integrated single turn-signal indicator in their speedometer. If your bike does, then you will need to install a metric diode kit to prevent the light from acting like a low-resistance path between left and right, making the turn-signals turn on together.
*Consult the wiring diagram and service manual for your specific motorcycle’s needs and settings. We may have it listed here.