Ducati Multistrada LED Brake Lights
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
Review of the
HeavyCycles Multistrada LED Brake Light
Brake light and tail light improvements are usually first on the agenda for
any new motorcycle that enters my garage, and the Multistrada 620 is the
Since this is 2007, "improvements" usually means either replacing the
incandescent bulbs with an LED equivalent, or adding some lumens in the form
of auxiliary LED lighting.
We've been reporting on LED lights since 2000, back when the first reliable
units became available in sizes to fit motorcycles.
So as an FYI, there's not much new in this article that we haven't covered
before, although Multistrada owners or those new to motorcycle LED lighting
may find some of this information useful.
several LED articles on webBikeWorld, but in all this time, I've used the same set of Life Brite LED brake lights and the Signal
Dynamics LED brake light bar since then on a variety of bikes, and
they've served very nicely and have never let me down, so there's no reason
why they wouldn't serve just as well on the Multistradino.
The Life Brite and the Signal Dynamics LEDs are pretty easy to install, and
we covered this years ago in the
Motorcycle Brake Lights" and "LED
Brake Light Bar on a Triumph Thunderbird Sport".
combination also graced the rear of
our old Triumph Tiger,
but I haven't "improved" the rear of
the GT1000 because I
retro-look round tail light looks fine just the way it is. But since
the Multistrada obviously has no pretensions towards retro-ness whatsoever,
I figured that a touch of LED light in the
rear wouldn't hurt the Multi's looks at all.
Tearing into a Ducati is always an adventure, especially without a shop
manual (although I did just get one finally and will report on that soon).
But since I've become an experienced LED installer over the years (without
knowing a thing about electricity, believe it or not!), I didn't really have any
qualms about diving in to the Multistrada.
The key is to proceed
slowly and patiently and to make sure the locations of all the nuts,
bolts and parts are accounted for.
This is where a digital camera and voice recorder come in handy -- I keep an
Olympus VN-3100 handy in the toolbox and use it to record every step of the
project, along with plenty of digital photos. I can't tell you how
many times this has saved me, especially if the project has to be postponed
and I don't get back to it for a couple of days.
Of course, removing and replacing brake and tail light bulbs is not really a
complicated project, but because this was
the first time I was messing with the Multistrada, the extra time used for the
precautions were prudent.
Looking back on it, I can say that the Multistrada was the simplest bike to
work on out of any that have received this modification.
I happily discovered that the Multistrada has a single brake/tail light
assembly that is very easily removed from the bike.
A couple of 4 mm Allen bolts underneath the tail section of the bike hold the
Multistrada's tail light assembly in
place, along with one 4 mm Allen bolt pointing out the back at the top of the brake light above the
red lens. Once they're all removed, the assembly is held only by a
square wiring harness connector (see second photo below); press the lever on top of the connector and
the assembly slides right out.
Here's a photo of the assembly, shown upside-down and sitting on the floor.
The two lower attachment screws go through the metal tabs that can be seen towards
the bottom of the assembly:
I haven't yet taken this assembly apart
to see what type of bulbs Ducati uses, but I will do
that one of these days to see if there are better LED
Here's a photo of the connector at the end of the wire
harness. This is the connector that plugs into the
back of the tail light assembly and provides power and
ground to the brake light, turn signals and license
plate light. This plug is
located under the tail section and it must be
disconnected from the tail light assembly so the
assembly can be removed:
The tab at the top of the connector is
visible; this is what must
be pressed to release the connect from the tail light assembly
so it can be removed.
This connector is at the end of a wiring harness that
feeds through a tube (yellow arrow). that goes under the
tail section and down towards the left-hand side of the
Here's a peek underneath the tail
section, looking up and back towards the tail on the
the tubing that holds this wiring harness:
The tubing not only protects the wiring harness,
I assume it also protects it from the heat of the
catalytic converter and exhaust.
At the other end of this
wiring harness, towards the front of the bike (left-hand
side of the photo above), the harness ends in another
flat connector, seen in the photo below.
So the tail light wiring harness starts at the flat
connector shown below and ends at the square connector shown
two photos above. This harness provides the power
and ground to the tail lights and brake lights.
So what does all this mean? Well,
means that it's pretty easy to tap in to this wiring
harness to add the Life Brite LED brake lights and the
Signal Dynamics LED brake light bar.
I chose to splice the wires right before
the square connector, because, in typical Ducati
fashion, the protective sheath tubing that covers the
wiring harness ends about 2" before the connector.
I've noticed that other wire bundles on both the
GT1000 and the Multistrada are missing a few inches of
sheathing -- like the sheathing wasn't
cut long enough to fit?
Some of the wire bundles
on the front end of the GT1000 look pretty ragged,
because some of the wires are visible. Oh well... "Charm", I guess
they call it!
The Life Brite LED brake lights have
very basic wiring: red (positive) and black
(negative/ground). The Life Brite wiring harness
is seen on the left-hand side in the photo above.
The Life Brite LEDs work
differently from other types of LED auxiliary brake
lights (e.g., Hyperlites); they blink about 6 times
when the brake light comes on and then they burn steady
as long as the brakes continue to be applied. Release the
brakes and reapply and the same cycle starts again.
Actually, now that I think of it, since
both the Life Brite and the Signal Dynamics LEDs are
several years old, the newer versions may have a different
functionality, I'm not sure.
The Signal Dynamics LED brake light bar
I'm using here has a dual function, which makes
it slightly more difficult to install. It lights
when the bike is started and the LEDs act as a running
light, but when the brakes are applied, the LEDs become brighter,
kind of like an advanced 1157 incandescent bulb. The
Signal Dynamics LEDs do not blink when the brakes are
applied, but again, it's possible that newer versions
have this functionality.
So for the Signal Dynamics light, this means that in addition to the
positive (red) and negative/ground (black) wires, the
green wire (seen in the photo above in the right-side
bundle under the thumb) must be spliced to a source of
continuous power, to light the LED running lights.
OK, so where are the corresponding wires
on the Multistrada? Shown below are two wiring diagrams;
the top one is the wiring diagram for a Multistrada
1100, which I have in electronic format.
Note how the wire colors have two designations; "W/Bk"
for white/black; "W/G" for white/green; and "Gr/R" for
grey/red. Can anyone explain why they use these
dual designations on the Multistrada 1100? This is
different from the Multistrada 620, as seen below.
The next wiring diagram is for the Multistrada 620.
It's a marked-up version of the diagram above, with the wiring color
changes as described in the Multi 620 shop manual -- at
least the official hard copy manual that I own -- which lists
single colors for the wires.
Again - anyone know
why the 1100 and 620 have different wire colors listed?
Also, note the differences in the numbers in the circles
(the connector). These represent the differences
between the Multistrada 1100 and 620 and I'm not sure
why, nor do I understand what the numbers mean.
In any case, the two wires needed for the Life Brite LEDs are
brake light power and ground. The Signal Dynamics
LED brake light bar needs those two plus an additional "always on"
My 620's wiring harness is black for negative/ground;
grey for the brake light power and yellow for
the "always on" running light (license plate
light). Your bike may be
different, so use caution.
I spliced everything together using
and I wrapped it up with some high-quality electrical tape. The photo below shows the final wiring with
the Life Brite mounted but before the tail light
assembly was reinstalled.
I installed the Life Brite LEDs behind the license
plate, using the license plate bolts. They are
mounted vertically, as shown in the photo above, but
they can also be installed horizontally, as "ears" on
the outside of the license plate (or in other locations,
like glued or Velcro'd on to the back of the bike,
Mounting the Signal Dynamics LED brake light bar was more
complicated. About the only place to install it is
the bottom of the license plate, so I drilled 3 holes;
two on either side and one in the center (a larger
diameter), which is used to thread the Signal Dynamics
wiring harness through so it's hidden behind the plate.
Here's a photo of the holes drilled in the license
plate, indicated by the yellow arrows:
And here's a photo of the final product,
with the Life Brite LEDs mounted up top and the Signal
Dynamics bar along the bottom:
It's very hard to tell from the animated photo at the
top of the page, but the LEDs add some good visibility
to the rear of the bike by providing a running light
(the Signal Dynamics product) and more brake light
visibility. These lights don't affect the styling
of the Multistrada as I think they would on the GT1000.
Publish Date: August 2007.
See Also: wBW
Review of the
HeavyCycles Multistrada LED Brake Light |
Ducati Designs Multistrada LED Brake Light
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