Electrical and Lighting

VT750 Shadow Electrical and Lighting

Want to run all LED turn signals, add driving lights, or eliminate your rear tail light? Here you will find some information about the stock VT750 electrical system and links and information on how to solve common problems when implementing a handful of electrical modifications to your Shadow.

 

VT750 Electrical System

The power generating portion of the VT750 engine is best described as just a little bit better than adequate to handle the load of the stock bike. Ever notice how when your bike is at idle the head light is dimmer than when on the throttle, this is because at idle the stator isn't putting out enough wattage to cover the electrical load and therefore the battery has to pick up some slack. If you do not ride at speed often enough and for long enough or if you have additional electrical accessories such as driving lights, heated grips, etc. you may not be properly charging your battery every ride. Not to mention if your bike sits for any extended amount of time there is a natural discharge of the battery. One option to help alleviate this is to either use a premium Yuasa battery or find a compatible AGM battery that is better at retaining a charge. Otherwise the easiest way to correct for this is a good quality trickle charger that when used properly maintains the battery and extends its life.

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Most VT750's electrical systems output less than 400 watts maximum at 5000 RPM.  For example, the capacity in the newest Shadow RS takes the trophy at 399 Watts, the fuel injected C2 Spirit/ Phantom/Aero is 390 watts, the carbureted Aero is 346 Watts, the carbureted C2 Spirit is 350 watts, and the older chan driven Spirt/Ace puts out a total of 333 watts max. If your stator or rectifier ever needs replacement or if you want to run lots of electrical accessories there are aftermarket options that can improve the stock system. ElectroSport stators put out about 20% more power than stock and a Mosfet Regulator/Rectifier can seriously improve charging/voltage regulation. Otherwise knowing the limitations of your particular models charging system can ensure that you don't end up stranded with a dead battery after riding or overload the system by using too much power.

ElectroSport.com has a great write up covering the theory on how a motorcycle charging system works if you are interested.

 

LED Turn Signals

Swapping turn signals to LED by either finding LED conversions for the stock turn signals, aftermarket turn signals with LED lights, or even modifying aftermarket turn signals to add LED lights is a great way to save a few watts and give the electrical system a break or make room for other electric devices such as heated handle bars, or jackets, driving lights, etc. LED's are beneficial because they last longer and if they are of high quality can increase visibility because they can be brighter than regular incandescent bulbs (this is not always the case). There are a few problems to be aware of when changing to LED turn signals on your VT750 so they can be fixed if they arise. The newer VT750 Phantom and RS models can convert their stock turn signals with a Kuryakyn LED conversion kit.

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Rapid Flash Problem or No Flashing at All:
A common problem when switching to LED turn signals is the stock turn signal relay (and many aftermarket relays) require load to operate properly. LED lights have very little resistance and therefore can render many turn signal relays useless or blinking too fast for normal operation. This is often referred to as hyper flashing. There are two options to correct this, sometimes one or the other is all you need, sometimes both are needed.

The first fix is replacing your stock turn signal with an Electronic Turn signal relay that doesn't care about resistance or load will restore a proper turn signal flash rate. Electronic turn signals are available from an auto parts store or can be purchase for a motorcycle.

Custom LED makes a great Electronic flash relay that is plug and play with the Shadow 750, they also have a similar 2 wire model with pig tail connectors making it compatible with a range of bikes.

The second fix is purchasing or creating your own load balancer(s) to allow your turn signal relay to work under a preferred reistive loads. The reason this option is second is because a load balancer is nothing more than some diodes and resistors which rob power and offset the power savings of LED lighting in the first place.  Kuryakyn makes an incredibly popular load equalizer but you pay a premium for the brand. There are also cheaper options from other manufacturers.

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BareAssChoppers.com has a great write up for the VTX that includes do it yourself instructions on making load balancers with parts from radio shack. Being Honda the install notes are very similar for the VT750 (the wire locations may be different, but actually the wire colors are probably the same).

 

4 Way Flash Problem:
An engineering design flaw of many Honda motorcycles is that they use a single turn signal indicator for both the left and right turn signals. This is not a problem under the load of incandescent bulbs but when you switch to LED turn signals with less load cross talk occurs between the LED lights causing all four turn signals to flash when the left or right turn signal is activated.  If you experience this issue the fix is fairly simple, a diode kit needs to be installed to allow current to flow only in one direction to the LED indicator separating a shared ground between turn signals. Kuryakyn makes a simple diode kit to address this issue.

Want to save some money and do it yourself? A great write up for the VTX1800C with the same design flaw can be found at BareAssChoppers.com. Here you will find instructions and a schematic on how to make and install your own diode kit.

 

Tail Light Elimination

Most stock tail lights are bulky and unattractive sometimes resembling a lunch box. There are a multitude of options to remove it. The easiest option is to simply replace the tail light with an aftermarket replacement that looks better, however for a truly custom look you can install a side mount license plate with a brake light, convert your rear turn signals to red or use red aftermarket rear turn signals combined with a Run/Tun/Brake controller and have dual tail lights, or fabricate your own option. The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination.

Sidemount:
Check for legality in your state to verify if you have to use a horizontal license plate mount or if a verticle sidemount is OK. There are a multitude of sidemounts available some with built in tail lights some without. A side mount is most commonly mounted to the lower shock bolt or the rear axle bolt. If you already have a sidemount license plate but no tail light there are many bolt on options especially of the bobber variety. Another option is a Radiantz license plate frame with white plate illumination LEDs and RED LED Run/Brake lights.

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Dual Tail Lights:
Using a Run/Turn/Brake Controller allows your rear turn signals to function as your Running lights, Brake Lights, and Turn Signals similar to a car which simplifies and cleans up the rear end very well. You can even combine dual tail lights with the above mentioned side mount with a brake light for better brake illumination. Note that the rear lights have to be red. If using LED turn signals that are red clear turn signal lenses are best. When running a Run/Turn/Brake Controller with all LED lights and you experience any issues a single load equalizer may need to be installed between the turn signal wires and a ground wire in front of the controller underneath the seat. Wiring in the controller is fairly easy once you have identified the brake, left, and right turn signal wires to splice in and then splice the wires to the turn signals accordingly. Kuryakyn makes a popular universal controller, or as a cheaper alternative you can use a universal trailer tail light converter.

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Fabrication Ideas:
Depending on your model VT750 if you have a bobbed fender or have room to mount a LED bar you can create a sleek custom tail light using a Red Radiantz flexible LED array, X-Wing Motorycle Tail lights, or another LED bar and fabricating a mount or using glue/epoxy to install the light on the inner lip at the rear edge of the fender, ensuring you have proper tire clearance.

 

Driving Lights

If you can afford it there are a multitude of very nice LED driving lights available in spot (narrow) and flood (wide) light patterns that can add additional light for greater visibility when riding at night while not taxing the limited VT750 electrical system. If you choose to go incandescent pay attention to the wattage of your bulbs, Using bulbs that are 35 watts instead of 55 watts for driving lights will help keep your system running fine with the additional load. Many models that come with 55 watt bulbs can be down graded to a 35 watt bulb with little noticeable difference in light output at night

 

Incandescent Options:
Incandescent spots or flood driving lights require a fair amount of power, therefore, care must be taken to ensure a proper relay and fuses are used to prevent any electrical problems. Most lighting systems come with wiring kits and switches but if not quality wiring kits and switches can be purchased to simplify installation. As far as choosing an incandescent light there are many options. Kuryakyn makes a top quality driving light bar with various brackets to mount to various VT750 models, they also have lights that can be clamped to the frame or engine bars. The most popular affordable option for driving lights is the Cobra Light Bar. The cobra looks good and drastically improves night righting. There are plenty of other manufactures of driving lights as well.

Cobra Lightbars (VT750DC on left, VT750C2, VT750C Aero, VT750C2B Phantom, Vt750RS):

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Our favorites for adjustability and looks are Sharpline Products adjustable driving lights or the Kuryakyn (39/41mm) Clamp on Drving Lights:

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LED:
High power LED driving lights can get you the added visibility you need for night riding without requiring the power consumed by Halogen or Incandescent bulb driving lights. The light produced by LED's is also generally a cool white color which sometimes is preferred similar to HID lights used on some high end cars. Most LED options will require some kind of mounting bracket to attach them to the bike. Pricing for LED's can get expensive for good quality. Brands such as Denali and PIAA offer somewhat costly but attractive and useful options. There are other more affordable LED options but they often do not have the cosmetic appeal of higher end LED driving lights.

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Switches:
When modding and customizing your bike it cosmetic appeal becomes an important factor. There are a multitude of switch options ranging from a single switch to multiple allowing you to use them with other electronic accessories. If you only need a single switch and wiring Kuryakyn makes an attractive single switch universal wiring kit including relay. Show Chrome makes a couple of switch block options as well, one clamps to the handlebars and the other fits over the brake master cylinder. The show chrome options have the additional benefit of marker light showing when an accessory is on.

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Mounting

Front:

Fork Tubes:
The VT750 fork tubes are 41mm therefore any 41mm clamp should work to hold your driving lights or turn signals to your fork tube no matter what make and model bike they were intended for. The most common options are the Drag Specialties Fork Tube Clamps or the Kuryakyn P Clamp. The P Clamp is also often available in black if you search for it.

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Highway/Crash/Engine Bars:
There are many universal clamps available in a multitude of sizes that can clamp to either highway bars or frame down tubes.  Mounting lights to highway/crash bars or engine guards is a great option for an out of the way custom look or to keep auxillary driving lights low to not interfere with other drivers on the road. Different highway or safety bars come with different sized tubes. Another option is mounting lights directly to the front frame tubes, please double check, but the front down tubes on a VT750 frame are approximately 1.25 inches. Any clamp that will fit the size tube you have will work so measure your tube and find a clamp to fit. For example the Kuryakyn 1.375" to 1.5" clamp or the Warn 1.5" to 2" clamp below.  The P Clamp is often also available in black. For up to a 1.125" clamp see the warn option under the following Handlebars section.

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Handle bars:
The stock handlebars on a VT750 are 1" Many aftermarket bars are also 1 inch. If you have a different size bar then search for a clamp to fit. For turn signals Chris Products makes a great turn signal handle bar bracket compatible with their aftermarket turn signals if you want that up high turn signal look traditional to a Harley Davidson. Of course Kuryakyn has top quality popular options such as the 1 inch P clamp or universal accessory mount. Note that the P Clamps are often also available in black. Any other clamp to mount lights, accessories, etc that fits a 1 inch bar will also work such as Warns universal mount with a swival tab (also available with a fixed tab). Any of these options can be used to attractively and safely mount a light or accessory to your handlebars or any 1 inch tube.

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Rear:

Turn Signal Relocation:
When adding saddle bags you often need to move your rear turn signals to make room. If you plan to eliminate the rear tail light/license plate mounting bracket completely or replace it with an aftermarket tail light option you may run into the dilemma of finding a better place for your turn signals. There are a handful of mounting options to relocate turn signals and even to mount a license plate to the rear sub frame. Kuryakyn makes a well reviewed universal Turn Signal Relocation kit that mounts to most license plate mounts. For tail light/bracket elimination a universal license plate bracket with turn signal mounts is a great option. If you only need a simple turn signal mounting option to the stock license plate Saddleman has a turn signal relocation bracket as well. These can be paired with stock turn signals (some may require drilling) or your favorite aftermarket option.

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