Motorcycle lighting

A series of articles and step-by-step guides to maintaining and improving the lighting on classic motorbikes.

Let’s face it, the lights on the majority of old bikes aren’t exactly the brightest are they? The light from the old Lucas headlamps are never going to compare to those on modern bikes, especially if your classic motorcycle is still running with 6 volt electrics. But there are some simple things that you can do to ensure that the original lighting is working to its full potential, and also some easy upgrades you can make using LED lamps to improve the lighting whilst limiting the power required.

The following articles include various suggestions and step-by-step guides which are based on my experience with the lights on my 1951 Matchless G3LS motorbike. However, as the lighting systems on the majority of British bikes were fairly standard for quite a few decades, you should hopefully find these articles useful irrespective of what make or model your bike is.

There is also a separate section of this website dedicated to the maintenance of the Lucas dynamo and regulator battery charging system. This covers topics such as general fault finding if your battery doesn’t seem to be receiving charge, testing and diagnosing a Lucas dynamo and upgrading to 12 volt electrics using a modern solid-state electronic regulator, amongst others. This section can be found by clicking here or following the ‘Lucas electrical system’ link below.

Installing LED lighting

Replacing the standard filament bulbs on your classic motorcycle with modern LED lamps offers a number of important advantages. This article looks at:

  • What an LED lamp actually is.
  • The advantages of LED lighting.
  • Which bulbs can be replaced with LED’s.
  • Some suppliers for LED lamps.
Click to read article

Improving your headlights

The headlights on classic bikes may not be as bright as those on modern vehicles, but there are some simple things you can do to help including:

  • Checking the quality of the wiring.
  • Installing a headlamp relay.
  • The most appropriate type of bulb.
  • Selecting the optimum bulb wattage.
Click to read article

Installing brake lights

Brake lights were still not fitted as standard to many bikes right up until the 1950’s, but they are essential on today’s roads. This article explains:

  • Legal requirements for rear lights.
  • Installing a rear brake switch.
  • Installing a front brake switch.
  • Changing the bulb and LED options.
Click to read article

Lucas electrical system

For specific tips and guides for the Lucas electrical system fitted to many classic bikes there is a separate dedicated section of this website which covers:

  • Testing a Lucas dynamo.
  • Repolarising (‘flashing’) a dynamo.
  • Converting to 12 volt electrics.
  • Replacing the regulator and ammeter.
Click to read article

Installing a fuse

Most classic bikes never had a fuse fitted as standard, but fitting one is simple and can save you a lot of smoke and fried wiring! This article explains:

  • Why a fuse is so important.
  • Where to fit the fuse(s).
  • The different types of fuse available.
  • Selecting an appropriate fuse rating.
Click to read article

Coming soon…

This website is being constantly updated so please call back again soon for more great motorcycle electrical and lighting guides on topics such as:

  • Fitting LED stop and tail lights.
  • Installing a headlamp relay.
  • Rewiring your motorbike.
  • Plus many others…