Wire your bike for the lat­est tech

Pre­pare your ma­chine to ac­cept the lat­est tech­nol­ogy


1 Charge while you ride

Many mod­ern bikes come with a USB charg­ing point as stan­dard, but if you’ have an older bike you can retro fit a socket so you can charge while you ride. By pur­chas­ing a spe­cially made mount, you can use your smart­phone as a sat­nav, which can be a much cheaper al­ter­na­tive to pur­chas­ing a ded­i­cated unit.

Whip off body­work 3

To keep things look­ing neat and also to pre­vent snag­ging, you should run your new ca­bles along­side the ex­ist­ing loom. To do this you may need to re­move some plas­tics, for ex­am­ple this SV650 needed to have the side­pan­els and the head­stock cowl­ing re­moved in order to ex­pose the stan­dard loom. Take care not to lose any fas­ten­ers.

Lo­cate the power 2

First find the bike’s bat­tery as this is where your power out­put leads will con­nect. On most bikes, like this Suzuki SV650, the bat­tery is un­der the seat. Iden­tify which ter­mi­nal is pos­i­tive, this will usu­ally have a plus sign and a red lead at­tached to it, mean­while the neg­a­tive ter­mi­nal fea­tures a mi­nus sym­bol and will have a black lead run­ning from it.

Recce your route 4

Po­si­tion the USB socket in roughly the right place at the front of the bike then thread the wire back along the route of the wiring loom to the bat­tery. It’s es­sen­tial to fol­low the rout­ing of the loom pre­cisely when go­ing in be­tween the forks and yokes. Ca­ble tie the ac­ces­sory wire to the loom at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals to keep things neat.

Po­si­tion and se­cure 5

With the lead routed and se­cured all the way back to the bat­tery but not yet con­nected to it, you can put the USB socket into its fi­nal po­si­tion. This Op­ti­mate USB lead kit (£19.99) is a ded­i­cated lead for bikes so has a weath­er­proof cap and small tie-down points on the sides to fix it.

Make the con­nec­tion 7

Now con­nect the lead to the bat­tery – this kit also comes with a wire to con­nect the bat­tery to a trickle charger for ease of main­te­nance, so con­nect this at the same time. Th­ese ac­ces­sory ca­bles are marked with the cor­rect colours and sym­bols to en­sure you don’t mis­tak­enly con­nect them to the wrong ter­mi­nals. Tighten the ter­mi­nals firmly with the leads at­tached.

Get dressed and recheck 9

With ev­ery­thing in place, re­fit any side­pan­els and cov­ers, giv­ing your hand­i­work a quick vis­ual check as you do so. Be sure to check the route of the wiring and that the pan­els do not squash or chafe any of the wires when re­fit­ted. If there are any parts of the lead that are sag­ging use ad­di­tional ca­ble ties to se­cure them prop­erly.

Choose your cra­dle 6

There are loads of phone cra­dles avail­able; this ba­sic, univer­sal one comes with a se­lec­tion of mount­ing brack­ets to al­low it to be fit­ted on dif­fer­ent types of bikes. When mount­ing the cra­dle, check that the steer­ing still goes from one lock to an­other with­out it hit­ting fair­ing pan­els or brack­ets.

Po­si­tion your port 8

Route the bat­tery charge lead away from the bat­tery to a place that will give you easy ac­cess to con­nect it up to a trickle charger in the garage. Th­ese Op­ti­mate con­nec­tors are weath­er­proof so don’t have to be tucked away out of sight un­der a panel; be­neath the sub­frame or above a footrest hanger are good lo­ca­tions.

Who’s a smart charger? 10

This bike-spe­cific USB socket has a smart con­troller that mon­i­tors the volt­age from the bat­tery and will au­to­mat­i­cally shut off if it de­tects a drop in volt­age that will pre­vent the bike from start­ing. With ev­ery­thing fit­ted, check the op­er­a­tion of the socket mak­ing sure it charges the de­vice, then do a fi­nal check of the charg­ing socket for the bat­tery.

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