Riding your motorcycle off road at night is a fantastic, almost otherworldly, experience. Unfortunately, many of the great offroad and enduro bikes we use have dismal headlights, making it less-than-pleasurable and sometimes really dangerous!
Luckily for us, the advances in LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology have made excellent lighting available to us, with low enough wattage draw to be able to be installed even in enduro bikes with small alternators.
In this blog post, I will show you how easy it is to install a LED lamp on a KTM 525 EXC from 2005. I chose to use a 20W lamp since this model year has a 35W high beam instead of the 55W on earlier models, thus giving a perfect fit for the electrical system.
I also chose to connect it in parallel with the original high beam, keeping the bike street legal. Local regulations may vary, so make sure to check this if it is valid for the kind of riding you do.
Suitable LED lights are available in different forms and price levels. LED technology is today so commonplace, that acceptable alternatives can be had for less than €10. To show exactly how cheap and easy it can be I bought this kind of lamp for €8 and connected with simple blade connectors in 15 minutes or so.
DISCLAIMER: I have made my best effort to guide you through this simple installation, but I cannot assume any liability or responsibility for any damages, personal or other, so please be careful and do this at your own risk. This mod is for bikes with DC (direct current) electrical systems! If there is already lights (and even better, a battery!) there is a good chance that your bike has a DC-system to tap into.
Parts needed & good to have:
- 1 x 20W LED lamp OR other suitable LED lamp with wide beam and long throw
- 2 x piggy back spade connectors (blade terminals) (top) OR 2 x splice connectors (bottom)
Good to have to give greater mounting freedom:
- 1 x red wire in suitable length
- 1 x black wire in suitable length
- 2 x screw terminals
- Pliars to crimp the connectors on the cables
- Small flat-blade screw driver (optional)
1. Figure out which connector type is best for your motorcycle. Since this KTM uses spade connectors to the headlight I used piggy back versions of these for a clean installation.
2. Figure out the best placement for the LED lamp on your bike. I used the supplied handlebar clamp for ease of use and serviceability. Placing it on a straight piece of the bar allows you to easily adjust the beam up/down.
3. Connect it! Attach extension wires if needed (with the screw terminals) and figure out which OEM wires to connect to. This can easily be done if you disconnect the OEM connector a bit and put the LED lamp wires on the connectors until it lights up when the high beam is on. Then, depending on you connector type, eiter add the splices to the right OEM wires together with the LED lamp wires OR crimp the piggy back/splice connectors/terminals onto the LED lamp wires and attach them to the headlight together with the OEM.
NOTE: Most new LED lamps have LED:s that can be mounted to + or – without damage, so look for this option.
4. ENJOY! You’re done and can now ride into the night!
I hope you enjoyed this simple guide and feel confident to make this simple installation that totally transforms night riding!
Stay tuned for another blog post on how to make a cheap headlamp and pictures from the results!
Have a nice weekend!