Hand sig­nals tend to con­fuse mod­ern mo­torists, but some old bikes were never in­tended to have in­di­ca­tors. Mike Estall adapts a mod­ern LED kit to suit a Tri­umph tid­dler

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Hand sig­nals tend to con­fuse mod­ern mo­torists, but some old bikes were never in­tended to have in­di­ca­tors. Mar­que ex­pert Mike Estall adapts a mod­ern LED kit to suit a Tri­umph Ter­rier

Alot of peo­ple don’t know about the Tri­umph T15 149cc Ter­rier, which ar­rived on the scene a year be­fore its much bet­ter known ‘sports’ ver­sion, the 199cc T20 Tiger Cub. In its rather short day the Ter­rier had very good per­for­mance, much bet­ter than the avail­able two-strokes of sim­i­lar ca­pac­ity. The Gaf­fers’ Gal­lop of 1953 proved this when three se­nior fac­tory men did an End-to-End ride (plus a bit more at ei­ther end), to record 1008 miles over five days, at an av­er­age speed of just un­der 37mph and an av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion of just over 108mpg… and all with­out the ben­e­fit of mo­tor­ways – which had not been in­vented.

As I have got older (but not nec­es­sar­ily wiser) and in­creas­ingly weaker, I have found the light weight, good ac­cel­er­a­tion and gen­eral ‘char­ac­ter’ of this lit­tle bike very much to my lik­ing. As I’ve ap­proached 80, it is all that I am able to ride and re­tain the abil­ity to pick it up if it falls over.

I usu­ally ride on quiet coun­try lanes, bum­bling along and ad­mir­ing the scenery, but ev­ery now and then I en­counter a main road. Here in the Mid­lands we have plenty of th­ese with lots of heavy traf­fic and I have some­times found that I don’t have enough hands and feet to op­er­ate all the nor­mal con­trols and give hand sig­nals as well. (Most driv­ers don’t know what th­ese are any­way and may think that I am hang­ing a hand out to see if it is rain­ing, or some­thing.) So I de­cided to fit some in­di­ca­tors, or ‘flash­ers’ as they are more usu­ally called.

At the last Oc­to­ber Stafford Show I bought all the nec­es­sary bits from Paul Goff, but did not get around to do­ing any­thing with them un­til mid-win­ter. My ex­pe­ri­ences may prove use­ful for any other reader con­sid­er­ing bring­ing his trusty mount up to date by fit­ting flash­ers. I have cre­ated a wiring di­a­gram too, which shows what to con­nect to what us­ing the items as sup­plied by Goffy – which were two pairs of in­di­ca­tors (he only had 12V), a switch­ing re­lay and a han­dle­bar switch. One thing to note is that the con­nec­tors on the end of the LED flash­ers are a bit too small to fit in­side a ‘Lu­car’ bul­let sleeve so they should be re­placed with stan­dard brass bul­lets.

The first thing to work out was where and how to mount the flash­ers. The front fork pinch bolts were the ob­vi­ous choice at the

front. At the rear there was a car­rier upon which sits a small metal box used to store tools, in­fla­tor, sand­wiches, etc, which would make an ideal in­di­ca­tor mount. First of all card­board pat­terns were made for the front and rear, left and right side brack­ets and then when the shape was fi­nalised the real thing was made from scrap brass sheet.

I thought it best to mount the rear flash­ers as wide as pos­si­ble on the rear box but soon found that, in the tight con­fines of my garage, I nearly wiped one off com­pletely! So they were re­mounted with just the barest bit stick­ing out side­ways. I also found some rub­ber ‘boots’ to cover up some of the wiring and the brass brack­ets, just to make things look and neat and tidy.

Be­ing a fully qual­i­fied elec­tri­cal duf­fer I searched the in­ter­web for wiring di­a­grams and found hun­dreds of them, all writ­ten by ex­perts for other ex­perts to read. Not much use to me who didn’t even know what the let­ter­ing meant on the flasher re­lay. There were B, M, and E mark­ings on the re­lay but I didn’t what th­ese meant, and Goffy was away and could not pro­vide the an­swer or a wiring di­a­gram. I could not find one fea­tur­ing ex­actly the stuff I had bought, so I adapted wiring di­a­grams I had found to look like the lay­out of my bike and af­ter many at­tempts pro­duced the one seen here.

Flasher re­lay ter­mi­nals: B goes to bat­tery E goes to bat­tery: Earth L goes to han­dle­bar switch red wire: Live

The bike was al­ready run­ning a 6V uprated al­ter­na­tor sys­tem with bat­tery and rec­ti­fier which bal­anced out the head­light load at about 35mph so I didn’t want to dis­turb some­thing al­ready work­ing well by con­vert­ing the whole bike just for the 12V flash­ers. So I de­cided to make an en­tirely in­de­pen­dent 12V sys­tem for them.

I al­ready had a cou­ple of old 6V book­lighters, each of which took four AA al­ka­line bat­ter­ies, and two of th­ese nailed to­gether in se­ries would make a nice com­pact 12V sup­ply. There was much dis­man­tling and fid­dling around but in the end it all worked out neatly. ( You can buy boxes that will fit any num­ber of bat­ter­ies to­gether, but that would mean spend­ing money. I pre­ferred to use and con­vert stuff I al­ready had!)

The small metal box at the rear of the bike was the ideal home for the 12V bat­tery pack and flasher re­lay, and much of the wiring could be stored in­side it too. No earth needed (it’s just like a hand­held torch) but a fuse was fit­ted to serve as an iso­lat­ing switch for the bat­tery pack. With the fuse re­moved when the bike is not in use, the 12V charge in the pack can­not leak away to leave flat bat­ter­ies for my next ride.

Af­ter sev­eral weeks of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and fid­dling around, you can imag­ine my ex­cite­ment when I con­nected the first flasher to the sys­tem, put the fuse in and turned the han­dle­bar switch – and it worked! Each flasher was then con­nected one at a time and tested un­til all four were work­ing. The wiring was wrapped with loom tape and strapped to the frame tubes, en­sur­ing that full han­dle­bar lock was avail­able in both di­rec­tions with­out pulling out any wires. The fi­nal test was to put all the com­po­nents and wiring into the car­rier box put my tools and wa­ter­proof trousers in place, close the lid and make sure that ev­ery­thing still worked.

And they did! So now this is the flash­est Ter­rier in town.

The flasher box as fit­ted to Mike’s bike. It’s still per­fectly use­able for car­ry­ing over-trousers and tools, too

The wiring in the box. The bat­tery box, wires and other use­ful com­po­nents live in here

The Book Lite. Two bod­ies were used for the 12V bat­tery pack

The wiring di­a­gram Mike used

Paul Goff’s kit of parts re­quired to fit in­di­ca­tors to an an­cient Brit (and in­deed many other ma­chines)

The flasher re­lay. It will all make sense once com­bined with wires and a di­a­gram to show where they need to go

The Ter­rier’s cock­pit, show­ing the flasher switch, am­me­ter, gear in­di­ca­tor, watch and dip­switch Seen from the front, the in­di­ca­tors hardly de­tract from the charm and style of the Ter­rier The in­di­ca­tors are un­ob­tru­sive when not in use, and when they are...

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