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.