Just a short post. I never liked the huge rear indicators on the Supersport, and do not like the fact that they are the only two incandescent light bulbs on the whole bike. So I searched for something different.
To change the indicators to LED, no resistors are needed in the cabling, they just need to be electrically connected and the flash rate will be correct. The small tray needs to be removed from under the tail piece, 5 screws, and the original indicators will fall out. If you want to preserve the original Ducati plugs the an adaptor to bullet connectors is needed, and two indicator blanks are needed to fit the new indicators.
These indicators are sequential, that means that the light flows from inside to outside rather than just flashing on and off. I made a little video with the hazard flashers on to demonstrate. As can be seen from the above picture, the indicators are rubber mounted so are not easily knocked off.
I have admired the TST industries tail light with its array of LEDs in the past. The trouble with it is that it is made in the USA and postage to Europe makes it a very expensive toy. It can be seen on their website at https://tstindustries.com/Integrated-Sequential-Tail-Light-Ducati-848-1098-1198.html. They have also produced a very good video on how to fit the item which shows it in action. The video is at https://youtu.be/ZRJa8WxgLro.
I was lucky enough to see a second hand one for sale on one of the UK Ducati forums, so after a quick bank transfer and a short wait I now have my grubby hands on the TST light.
This first picture is the rear of the unit showing the two dip switches and the flasher unit to make the LED indicators flash at a normal rate. One dip switch controls the brake light and switches between a standard constant brake light on, or a multiple of quick flashes then constant on. I chose the constant on as I also have the brake lights in the indicators and the wife told me that it looked like something was broken with the number of flashes first. The other dip switch changes the integrated indicators from a “normal” flash to a wave as the video shows, I also chose the standard as I have other indicators too.
The other side of the light with the small inline flasher unit that is supposed to keep the flash rate at normal speeds.
And the two units on the ground during installation. The original red one is also LED, but does not have the density of LEDs that the TST unit has. The TST will be fitted with the aircraft titanium bolts that can be seen below it, these weigh in at half the weight of the standard steel bolts and have been knocking around in my toolbox for years.
The installation went very easily, as shown in the YouTube video (link above). The only problem that I have found is that the relay box that is supposed to slow the flash rate does nothing. It is a solid state unit so I cannot look into it to see if there is something wrong.
EDIT: The relay that I refer to above is called a “flash rate controller” and I will obtain another one. Rather than order an overpriced one from TST at US $29 plush postage I have ordered one from ebay for £2.87 ($3,15) with free postage. The ebay link is here.
When the weather warms I will fit a Gopro to the front of the wife’s bike and get a road test video of the whole lighting setup. FOr now here are the results with the bike in the garage.
I have made a new video that shows the rear end from a better angle where the LEDs do not overwhelm the camera.
If you are considering buying a TST rear light and are still not sure, then please read the comments below this post where TST have spotted the blog and have offered to help with the flash rate, I have left it as written by TST to show what a great after sales service they offer.
The Ducati SBK from about 2007 to 2012 all have an LED rear light fitted as standard. The lights are always on on European models. When the front or rear brake is applied the LEDs become brighter.
Last summer we had a number of bike visitors and one, Dave on his BMW R1200GS, commented that the brake light on the Ducati was not very obvious. It may be because with LEDs there does not seem to be too much difference between dim and bright. Time to do something about that!
I bought a set of four LED rear indicators, with additional brake lights built in, from ebay for the huge sum of £6 sterling. It turns out that the red additional brake lights can also be wired in with the rear light and come on brighter for a brake light. I did not want the rear light function so I cut the blue wire off.
This shows the new units compared to one of the old units above it. The style suits the shape of the rear of the 848. The orange LEDs are the indicators and the ones marked red are the rear/brake light, but I will only be using the brake part. The wires on these lights are: Black – earth, yellow – indicator positive, red – brake positive and blue unused rear light.
The pictures following are the best that I can do with a digital camera taking pictures of LEDs! I am sure that there will be a Gopro video coming along sometime soon that will show the lights as seen from my wife’s bike.
This is just the rear light of the bike with no brakes applied. It does look bright, but that was because the camera was looking directly at the LEDs. Worth noting is the bright white numberplate illumination LED.
Same as last picture but catching the flash of the indicator in the picture.
Notice how the background shows as almost black due to the intensity of the brake lights. The bikes rear light is brighter and the two brake lights in the indicators have come on. I consider it to be much safer to have additional brake lights rather than just the one.
The whole job took about 2 hours to complete and that included the strip down and the soldering of the connectors on the new units, and the rebuild. I could have used scotch lock connectors and saved time, but I prefer to do things so that they last.
It turned out to be a sunny but very cold day today. As the ST2 needed some fresh air, I pushed it out for some. You didn’t think I was going for a ride at +2c did you? I have a car for that. I took some photos and here they are:
The front looks nice now. This picture shows the row of LED daytime running lights that I have fitted. They come on with the ignition and stay on till the ignition is switched off. They only draw about 2 watts so will not be a strain on the charging system.
From this angle you can see that the red crash bungs on the side of the fairing look better in black rather than red. The single rear shock can be seen with the yellow spring, this is adjustable for spring pre-load, rebound and also compression damping. The front suspension has the same adjustments.
The new LED indicators can be seen in this view, I am very pleased with how they look. Note that there are no rear foot pegs fitted – I removed them as this is not a bike that will ever take passengers, I have the BMW K100RS for that. The rear tyre is near the end of its life, but the new one is here ready to be fitted.I did say that the sun was out! The amber filters have been removed from the front indicator units and 18 watt amber bulbs have been fitted instead. It looks a bit more modern and the brightness of the indicators is a huge improvement over the older 10 watt bulbs behind the screens.
What is not quite so easy to see is that the standard dip beam projector in the headlight has been changed to a bi-xenon HID unit. More about that in a future post.
The Ducati ST was made in three main models, the ST2, ST4 and ST3. The major difference between them is the engine. They are all in the sport touring (ST) class and all have the same bodywork at the back and all fit the same panniers and frames. When the pannier frame is fitted it fouls the rear indicators so they must be removed from the bike and relocated onto the frame. This is fine if you run with the panniers on all of the time, but if you take them off and just keep the frames fitted then the back end of a very beautiful bike looks like dogs dinner with the indicators and frames sticking out.
My solution to this was to mount the indicators in a different position on the bike so that the frames can be fitted and removed, with or without panniers with the indicators left where they are. To do this I started with a smaller set of LED indicators (£8 from ebay) and an aluminium mount that I made myself. The reason for the mount was to make sure that the indicators were not too close together, these are 30cm (12 inches) from tip to tip.
This picture shows the mount with the LED indicators fitted to it. Note that the indicators come with bullet connectors that are compatible with the Ducati wiring.
The whole mount was then fitted with two bolts attached to the plastic just forward of the numberplate mount. The cables have not yet been routed in this picture.
The other thing to do is to remove the rear part of the pannier frame where the indicators used to mount. This is just a 10 minute job with a hacksaw and some black paint, it does not affect the pannier fitting at all.
This one has not yet been cut but the place to cut is the right hand side of the piece of wood so leaving the rubber button that touches the pannier. After this mod there will be no bits of ugly frame sticking out of the back of the bike. (Edit: I have just cut the ends off, 8.5 to 9 cms seems to be about the correct amount.)
You may find that the indicators flash more quickly with the LEDs fitted. There are two options to get them back to normal flash speed. The first is to order a three pin electronic indicator unit (relay) for less than €3 on ebay. The second option, which I used , is to remove the 10 watt bulbs from the front indicators and fit 18 watt bulbs. In my case I had some spare orange coloured bulbs so I also removed the orange shields from the front indicators when I fitted them.