If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Indicator Relocation - Triumph Sprint ST 955i

After I had sold the Bonnie and bought the Sprint, I decided against keeping the Hepco and Becker panniers.  They would have looked well out of place, like pit boots on a supermodel.  I sold them on eBay for a very decent price, and used the proceeds to buy a pair of throw-over fabric panniers (new) and a genuine Triumph tank bag (eBay again).  And I had quite a lot left over (although a positive Paypal balance never lasts long with me).

The panniers I got are Frank Thomas Cargo Endurance.  No longer made, of course, as dear old FT went out of business, but they won the RiDE magazine's group test and they look suitably adult and purposeful.  The tank bag fits perfectly (as it should) but there was a small problem with the panniers.  Where the panniers want to be is where the rear indicators are.  This is a very common problem, and most makers of luggage provide a kit to relocate the indicators further back.  It's usually included with the frames or rails that support the panniers.  Try as I might, I could not track down anyone who made such a kit.  I found this a little disappointing.  After all, the ST in the name stands for Sports Tourer.  I could understand no-one bothering to make such a thing for a FireBlade, but surely the whole point of a bike like the Sprint is to go touring, isn't it?  Anyway, I decided to make my own.

After a bit of puzzling and squinting at the bike and several cups of tea (my version of detailed planning), I had a scheme.  I decided to make a bracket that would sit under the rear rack, where it would be unobtrusive but would put the indicators out in the breeze where they needed to be, and several inches higher and further back than they were.  I still had a large piece of aluminium sheet from when I put rear windows in the Land Rover 90, so I used some of that.  Great stuff, aluminium - easy to cut, easy to work, doesn't rust.  It was Land Rover Marine Blue, but that could be fixed.

First job was to make a cardboard template and then cut a length of the ally to the right size.  Then using a vice I bent the ends down, drilled 10mm holes for the indicators and did a bit of shaping to fit round the rack.  Two holes for the rack bolts to go through and that got me to here:

The shaping of the ends is quite important.  The indicators have a small peg next to the screw thread that they mount with, to ensure that they are fitted exactly horizontally.  I needed to drill a hole in the bracket to accommodate this.  It was a bit of a challenge getting the positioning right, as the bike was on its stand while I was doing this, with its tail slightly in the air, so the angle between the two holes needed to allow for a different angle when the bike was back on its wheels.  The notch is to go around part of the rack that sticks out.  Then I filed it all clean and smooth:

The bracket sits on top of the Triumph rack like this:

and is then held in place by the Givi adapter mount which attaches to the rack.  The indicators bolt in place, and it looks like this:

By this point, that sawing and filing was finished and I had given it a couple of coats of black enamel paint.  The indicator cables were by now far too short, so I cut them and spliced in an extra 8" or so, which is neatly zip-tied to the rack almost out of sight and slips in under the back of the seat.  The brackets are not so far out that they look ludicrous without luggage on the bike (a common fault with aftermarket kits) and, if I say so myself, the whole thing looks, if not 'factory', then at least reasonably professional.

Rear view is tidy and the indicators are clearly visible, even with the top case in place:

and here's the whole thing with throw-overs on and ready to go:

Plans for the France trip with daughter No. 2 are gathering momentum, and I'm glad to have got one more little job out of the way.

Total time, about half a day, although I worked on it a bit at a time and stretched it out over several days.  Total cost, virtually zero.


  1. Looks fine, nothing wrong with having a wider footprint. Have you tried riding at speed to look for harmonics?

  2. Not tested yet - I was called to drink some beer before I got the chance. They are flimsy compared to the steel girders that came with the Hepcos (and which rusted badly after 6 months), but I reckon they won't fail in use. A bit of wobble won't hurt.

    Nevertheless, I think I might get out early tomorrow when the traffic is light (if it isn't piddling down) and see how they perform at V-max. Good idea.

  3. The proper engineers approach - if you want something and can't buy it, you have to make it yourself. Doing without just isn't on....

    You don't want to see the list of things I keep meaning to make!

  4. AKA "if you can't buy it, bodge it". I do get a lot of satisfaction out of making my own solutions to life's little challenges. It was the enamel paint that made this one for me - it went on really well and it looks - well, it looks posh.

    My soldering of the wires was a bit messy, but that's what heat-shrink tubing is for.

  5. Good work, I do love a good bodge that ends up looking it should be there.

    Always envious of anyone who can solder, it seems a black art to me.

  6. Stylishly done, sir - I salute you.

    More about the Continental touring plans, now, please!

  7. The other thing I thought I might suggest was to make a spare in case you have a spill (hopefully just the bike coming off its sidestand), while you have all the gear about.

  8. That, Mr Anonymous, is not a bad idea at all. You're right in that the indicators are now more vulnerable than before, but the alloy of the bracket is very bendy, and I suppose I am hoping that it will pull straight (at least once) rather than break. But I have everything to hand to do it all again. If I get time, I will.

  9. Conniesdad, you wouldn't be envious if you saw my work yesterday. I find soldering wire to wire very difficult, and they always end up looking like something that has beenb dipped in Vesuvius - jagged, discoloured and lumpy. I'm fine soldering a wire onto something (like a connector) but wire-to-wire seems always a problem. The job is strong and the indicators work, but the heat-shrink is hiding a lot of sins.

    Endo - thank you! I'll put something up about the 'plans so far' later today. Actually, your input would be very valuable. You know bikes, you know touring, you know Europe, and you probably know as much about the minds of 24-year-old women as I do. I.e. very little.

    1. I wouldn't mind that description as an epitaph, albeit not for a while yet! As to the latter, sadly accurate: hadn't a clue even when I was 24 myself...

  10. Great job.

    I've never understood why they place indicators in the exact location of where bags need to go. This was a huge problem we had with the Suzuki TU250. Luckily I don't think my Gladius has those issues.

    You did a great job. Looks very nice.

  11. Hey Richard, are those pixelated number plates legal?

  12. Hi Rebelman - long time no see!

    Legal? Of course! I just have to persuade the policeman that his eyesight needs checking.


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