LEDs are being used more and more on modern cars and bikes for a number of reasons. They use very little power, they last a very long time and they are not susceptible to vibration, when compared to “normal” bulbs. As my ST2 was made in 1998 no LEDs were used in its construction at all. One of the first things that I did was to build and fit an LED rear light. I have a spare rear light so in a future post I will build another with photos and videos to show how it was done. Here is some background information and a few pictures to show different methods of doing it.

When I built the first LED rear light for the BMW R1100S, I had to solder individual LEDs and resistors to a board as that was the only way back then.

100_2563sThis was what I made. It fitted into the BMW rear light and worked by having all the LEDs on with reduced light output for the rear light and full light output for the brake light.

1100s 006This picture is the standard brake light on on my wifes bike. LEDs are so small that I put a small row in each indicator as extra brake lights. These extra ones are red LEDs through an amber lens, my bike in the background has white lenses for the indicators, but the end result is the same.

100_2565sThis picture shows the standard rear brake light bulb with the indicator LEDs in my bike.


100_2567sThis one shows the LED array in the rear light with the indicator LEDs. As can be seen the LED of the rear light is a much bigger area than the standard bulb and it is also much brighter, but the camera tends to compensate so that is hard to see.

These days you can buy LEDs fitted to panels from places like ebay for very little money and this is what I used for the Ducati and these are what I will use for the future post to make another LED rear light. Here are some examples:

DSCF5921All of these LED panels work off 12 volts and are perfect for use on motorcycles. The one at the left is the oldest technology as it has the round 5mm LEDs fitted. The one in the centre with just six square LEDs is a red LED panel while all the others are white.

DSCF5923This is the nine LED panel connected to 12 volts. I cannot take a photo directly at the LEDs as they are too bright, but I think that you can see how bright they are.


This is the largest panel, again taken from the side.


And this is the small red one.

As you can see, these are a great alternative to filament bulbs and use less than a tenth of the power. So far the Ducati has had the rear light, the parking light in the headlight, the instrument lights and a DRL fitted. All are LEDs. The rear indicators are also LEDs, see the last post for information on them.

Front showing LEDs

The DRL at the front.

With the LED panels being so small it would be very easy to fit extra white DRLs into the front indicator housings, or amber coloured LED to the front mirrors as indicator repeaters, but I won’t go that far at the moment as I am not old enough to own a Goldwing!!!!


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