ANY QUESTION ANSWERED OWNING & RIDING Q Can I replace my headlight with an LED version?
If we don’t know the answer, we’ll find the person who does What’s the perfect choice for my first paddock stand? What makes a good mid-80s restoration project? Q
I want to convert the headlight on my 2001 Kawasaki ER-5 to LED and put running lights elsewhere to increase my visibility. Is it legal and where do I start? Rupert Vining, email
Answered by Chris Dabbs, MCN
I need to look after my Honda CBR125 myself so I am looking at getting paddock stands for the front and rear. What do I look for? Alan Anderson, Ealing
Answered by Keith Roissetter, Infinity Motorcycles You really only need a front stand if you are changing tyres, and I’d leave that job to the professionals. A universal rear paddock stand will happily fit your you can add running lights.
Mounting the units and routing the wiring safely and securely is the challenge. You will probably have to make special brackets and the wiring loom on your 2001 bike may be tired and the earths are likely to be in poor condition.
The next snag is connecting the LED lights’ skinny cables to bike for routine maintenance. I prefer the cup designs that fit under the swingarm, instead of hooks that require swingarm bobbins to be installed and can foul the exhaust. Plus, the CBR doesn’t have threaded sections to take the bobbins anyway.
Buy from a reputable firm, as there are some very cheap and nasty stands out there that will fold like origami, even under the weight of a CBR125. the normal-sized cables in the loom. The easiest way is to use Japanese bullet connectors. Solder the skinny wire to one bullet, and crimp the other side with a crimp tool. Besides the usual insulation, the soldered connection would need insulating from vibration and corrosion with RTV silicone sealant or a semi- flexible glue, such as CT1.
The wiring side is dead simple – take a tap off the feed to the tail light or pilot light and use it to power your extra running lights. The small draw of the LEDS is unlikely to need extra fuses. But because your bike is exposed to water, vibration and road dirt, the joins have to withstand that attack. I’m hankering after a Japanese bike from my early riding career as a restoration project. I started riding in 1982 and had a succession of different bikes through the mid-80s. The list includes a Suzuki RG250, early Honda CBR600, 1987 Suzuki GSX-R750, Kawasaki GPX750R and a Honda CB1100R. Are there any makes or models that I should avoid, perhaps because of spares availabiity? John Wellington, Castle Barnard
Answered by John Wyatt, Rising Sun Restorations Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha all have half-decent spares availability, with Suzuki the best of the bunch. For example, you can still pick up an original 1982 Suzuki GS1100 fuse box.
However Honda decided to control their spares’ quality and stock levels by buying up a lot of their Japanese spares sub-contractors in the early 1970s. So there are fewer Cb-series fuse boxes and indicators gathering dust on shelves.
Forget a CB1100R for that very reason, and because a donor bike will cost you £15,000, but a jelly-mould CBR600 is new and cheap enough to consider, as are GSX-R750S and GPZ900S.
I’ve a Honda Super Blackbird that’s given me years of good service, and runs fine if I make short journeys. But when I stopped for fuel on a longer run recently the battery was stone-dead. When I called out the AA man, he was able to jump-start it easily enough and the charging circuit seemed to be working so I was able to ride home. Any ideas? Ray Grant, Southend
Answered by Colin Barnes, Chas Bikes This seems to affect quite a few Honda models as they get older. From my experience it’s usually a failing regulator-rectifier. It seems that a failing reg-rec can cope with a short journey, but on a longer run it overheats, then shuts down until it cools down. It will only get worse, so a replacement is in order.