Radiantz Flexible LED Turn Signal - Accessory Lights
would you like to improve the visibility of your
motorcycle AND have a ton of fun doing it? I had
a blast playing with these flexible LED light strips, and
my Triumph Thunderbird Sport has a wild new look!
These adaptable LED light
strips from the whimsically genius minds at Radiantz open up all sorts of possibilities for improving
They can be cut, bent or
twisted into many different configurations and will fit in
where standard bulbs or LED light clusters can't be used.
Each flexible LED light strip
consists of a series of LED light
modules that are mounted on a flexible backing. The modules are 15mm long and each
module has 5 mini-LEDs. This means that a 150mm long (just shy of
6") strip contains 50 miniature LED lights.
The LED modules are joined together
with flexible metal conductors underneath the backing strip.
The backing strip is partially cut
between each module, which makes the strip flexible and also makes it easy to
make variable lengths of LED lighting by snapping them off
to the desired length.
strips are only 3mm thick, and they're available in 4.5", 6" and 12"
lengths, with either 0.5mm or 1.0mm spacing between each
LED. The LED strips shown in these photos were
long with a 1.0mm LED spacing, and I cut individual pieces
to length to fit the
radiator shrouds on my Thunderbird Sport.
used the amber colored LED light strips as accessory
turn signals, there are any number of locations on a
motorcycle where the light strips might be appropriate.
Radiantz has a selection of photos on their
website that illustrate the different uses for these
lights, which are also available in an assortment of
example, the red LEDs could be arranged as additional
brake lights on the back of saddlebags, or some of the
other colored LEDs could be used as accent lights. I'm
sure owners will think of all sorts of neat ideas to dress
up their rides and be more visible in traffic!
The LED strips are supplied
with a specially designed clear plastic flexible tube
for mounting on the bike. The tubes are about 9mm
wide by 9mm tall with a half-round cross section on one
side and double-sided tape on the flat side.
the LED strip is cut to length and inserted in the tube, the tube
can be installed on the bike anywhere that the
double-sided tape will stick. The photo above shows a lit LED array
inside of a tube; you can see that the tube all
but disappears when the LEDs are lighted.
tubes are sealed at both ends with round plastic end
caps that were designed specifically to fit the special
cross section. One end
cap is solid, and the opposite cap has an opening for the
thin 18 gauge wires that are soldered to one end of the
strip. Radiantz provides a few spare end caps of
both types; for example, a 12" length of LED strip
comes with a 1.5 foot long tube and 8 end caps for making
a variety of different length lights.
The only catch is that there are
only one set of wires on each LED strip, so once the strip is
cut, a new positive and negative wire must be soldered to the
remaining piece to provide it with power. This should be
fairly easy even for tyro solder jockeys.
I thought about the various
ways I could use the LED light strips on my Thunderbird
Sport, and after looking over the bike, it dawned on me
that the radiator end caps would be a perfect
They stick out just a bit, and they're
placed up high, so they're in a nice location to locate a
decent sized strip. Besides, for some reason the end
caps have always bothered me, so I figured that this might
dress them up a bit!
I also thought that by
placing some extra turn signal muscle out pointing towards
the front of the bike and at its widest point could be
very useful in adding visibility. One of the most
frequent causes of motorcycle accidents is an oncoming
driver who is making a left-hand turn and who don't see
the motorcycle. I'm also afraid that oncoming
drivers don't see me if I'm stopped at a traffic signal
with my left hand turn signal on, so anything I could do
to help wake 'em up would be good.
measuring the radiator end caps, I decided to use 165mm long LED
strips, one on each side. This is about the longest length
that fit the end caps, and 11 LED modules equal 55
LEDs that add some extra punch to the bike's turn signal
"Measure (at least) twice
and cut once" is the method to use in this case. I
was a bit apprehensive about cutting the strips, but it's not
hard to get it right. I measured everything a couple of times to make
sure I had the correct length.
I counted off 11 LED modules
down from the wired end, and I used a Sears Crafstman "Handi
Cut" to snap off the required section. The
instructions claim that you can break off the sections by hand,
but the Handi Cut made a nice, clean break and it also works
great for cutting the clear tubing.
Each end cap protrudes into the
tubing by 3/16" (about 5mm), so it's necessary to allow for
this extra length when cutting both ends of the tube. For
the 165mm long LED strip that I used, I cut the tubing 165mm
+ 10mm = 175mm long.
The end caps fit very tightly
in the tube ends, and I used a hair dryer to heat up the ends to
make them more pliable, and the end caps popped right in.
I used a tiny bit of clear glue on each end cap, and then filled
the open end with some clear silicone caulking, pushing it in
around the wires to help seal it up to prevent water entry.
The last step is to install some
heat shrink tubing over the exposed wires. Lengths of heat
shrink tubing can usually be found at your local electrical
supply store; I buy them in 4-foot lengths and I try to keep a
half-dozen or so lengths of different diameters around just in
After the strips were sealed inside the tubes, it was time to
locate them on the
Tapping in to the turn
signal wiring is relatively easy on this bike. Each front
turn signal on the Thunderbird Sport has a hot lead and a ground
lead, and the wires terminate in the headlight shell. I
used my favorite
connectors to splice the wires with no problems.
removed the radiator end caps and threaded the wiring from each
LED strip around the back of the radiator and up around each
side of the bike's headstock and through the back of the
I oriented the LED strips with the
wiring on the bottom. Locating them this way makes the
black heat shrink coated wiring almost invisible.
You'd really have to search
to see where the very short length of wiring is located. I
checked the clearance by turning the bike's handlebars back and
forth to make sure there was enough slack, and then secured the
wiring with cable ties, one on each side.
An accessory wiring harness that allows the lights to work
as running lights at about 50% brightness is available,
which then allows the lights to come
on full strength when the turn signals are engaged.
But I think the effect is more pronounced when they start
blinking from off to on.
Everyone who has seen these
lights in action thinks they're great, and their location
makes them very noticeable. They're thin enough to
be almost unnoticeable when the LEDs aren't lighted, and
they look great when they are.
LED Turn Signal - Accessory Lights
Retail Price: Varies by length
Red (also blue, green, white and purple, also available in
Comments: Roll your own custom LED lights;
wrap around forks, arrange on saddlebags, turn signal
stalks, anywhere! Best thing since ... LEDs!
See below for comments from owners |
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