As I continue to transform the Bonneville into a proper café racer, the next bit of stodginess that needed to go was the fenders. It’s very popular to remove the rear fender as evidenced by the myriad of third party eliminator kits available. The idea is to remove the rear fender completely. Doing this also removes the tail light, turn signals, and license plate holder – it’s a unibody and their point of attachment is the rear fender. So, removing this set up necessitates installing a splash guard to ward off tire spin dirt, and to keep legal and safe, finding a manner in which to continue having a tail light and turn signals along with being able to display your license plate for the coppers as you speed down the highway.
As stated, there are several options – British Customs, New Bonneville, Maund Speed, R&G, Dime City, Gasser, MAS, etc – so you have a lot of choice. The one commonality that I found, however, was that they all seem very, very expensive for what they are. Unfortunately, I don’t have a shop to fabricate such things so out comes the credit card.
I went with the Maund Speed Fender Eliminator with Signal Cluster Kit. I actually installed the Maund kit without the turn signals last month with the intention of modifying the stock signals. Due to various reasons, I opted not to and decided to go with installing the full Maund kit. I emailed Maund and had a conversation (if you can call it that) with someone who never gave me their name. They were no help. I was really hoping they would put on their customer service hat on and help me out in some way but no, none of that. I gave up out of exasperation, sucked it up, and ordered a whole new kit. (As such, I have a used Maund FEK for sale on the Used Bits portion of this site – VERY low miles.) I didn’t post the install of the first kit since I was planning on replacing it but you can see it in last month’s State of the Bonnie pics. So this post will address the install of the full kit with signal cluster.
0rder placed and it promptly came via USPS Priority, the kit pieces wrapped in a crumpled grocery bag and stuffed into the USPS box.
Uncrumpling the bag and pulling out the contents, there is the tail light, four signals, two spacers, a splash guard, and the main bracket to hold the rear lights and license plate. I was quite surprised to see third party branding.
I immediately went to the Google to do some price analysis. I paid $219USD ($238 with shipping) for the Maund kit. The turn signals are Lockhart-Phillips which sell for $20 a set (retail) on their website. The EMG0 tail light sells for $12 (retail). That’s a total of $52 which means the splash guard and rear cluster bracket (both custom made, I believe) cost $167. I don’t know about you but that seems highly over priced.
Anyway, enough of the negatives. Let’s move on to the positives.
The Lockhart-Phillips turn signals are of very nice quality, and, spoiler alert, I found them to be brighter than the stock Triumph signals. The best part is that they allow for running lights. In other words, their bulb is a double filament which allows for them to stay lit at all times and then also blink when requested. Definitely helpful when it comes to safety and drivers seeing you from behind.
The splash guard is a single heavy duty sheet of metal. The main bracket, stamped with ‘MAUND’, holds the rear cluster and license plate and is very well made and, again, very heavy duty. Definitely the crown jewel of the kit and I suppose what you’re playing for.
The tail light, however, is wow, incredibly cheap. Make sure that you immediately replace the bulb. I’ve never seen such a poorly constructed bulb. The glass was misshapen and there were fingerprints embedded in the glass. Even my corner bodega with the dusty products on the shelf sells better quality.
The first step is to prep the rear cluster. You can do this on your couch while watching the latest episode of Vikings and get it ready to install as one piece. You simply need to attach the turn signals to the bracket (making sure that you use the supplied spacers) and the tail light. You can clamp down the tail light but leave the blinkers a bit loose. You’re going to want to adjust them upon the final looksie.
Regarding the wires… the tail light has two and the blinkers have three. I will address those once we get to the bike (just be prepared if you’re old school “black is ground”). For the wiring connections, I bought a New Bonneville harness that worked extremely well.
BTW, regarding the tail light bulb… I replaced it with a Kisan Tail Blazer modulating bulb. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!! It flashes your brake light as you brake and makes you more obvious to drivers behind you (unless they’re Bruce Jenner). It’s not cheap ($70) but anything that makes you more visible to drivers is not worth skimping on, in my opinion. This is one of the first mods I make to ANY bike I own.
Alright, let’s get to the bike. Disclaimer: We’ve been having some serious winter in New York so apologies for the dirty bike. I haven’t been able to wash it in a couple months. It’s been constantly below freezing here, and then when it is above freezing, the roads are wet and salty. No love for motorcycles this time of year. (I miss northern California.) Don’t get me wrong. I’m riding every day as long as roads are dry, I just can’t wash the bike. Icicles instantly form.
The purpose of this mod is to remove the rear fender and attach an after market tail light and rear and front turn indicators. This is becoming a long post, so I’m just going to focus on the rear for now. I’ll follow up with the front in the next post. I hope that you don’t mind.
So… removing the rear fender. The stock Triumph rear fender, rear tail light, and rear blinkers are all one big unit that comes off with the removal of four bolts and disconnection of the wiring harness. Five points of contact. That’s it. Seriously easy.
First step is to remove the seat. I’ve spoken to this so many times now that there is no need to explain it. I’ve been using the B-C quick screws which have been a major time saver. However, I’ve lost one of them due to vibration. Buyer beware.
There are four bolts that require a T30 (or TT30) torx. I’ve indicated them in the below photo. Note that I shot the photo AFTER removing the rearest bolt.
The two bolts closest to the gas tank also hold down the bracket for the various wiring harnesses. You’ll need to put that back in place when bolting in the splash guard. Make sure that you’ve already detached the rear light assembly connector. You’ll also want to hold onto the rear fender as you undo these bolts. Be careful You don’t want the fender crashing to the floor and/or pulling on the wiring.
Holy cow. Fender and bubble lights removed. Put them up on eBay!!!
You see the tire in all its glory and without the fender, it’s going to spin up all the road grime into the bike. That’s why we need the splash guard. Place it underneath the seat frame with the wide angled down part towards the gas tank. Start with these two bolts first. You need to seat the bolts in this order: through the stock wire harness bracket, the frame, and the splash guard. Maund provides hex head bolts with lock nuts, so use those. BONNIE TOOL TIP: I find it best to hold a hex head bolt steady with the hex wrench and tighten the nut underneath with a socket. That way you’re much less likely to strip the hex head. It’s easy to do. Make sure that you don’t tighten them all the way. You want to get the other two bolts in place first.
The other two bolts, furtherest from the gas tank go in this order: through the frame, the splash guard, and the Maund bracket. Again, Maund supplies hardware so you won’t need the torx bolts.
(NOTE: the following two photos are from my first install. There are no turn signals, so that’s why you don’t see all the extra wiring. Sorry about that. I get enthralled in an install and I forget to take pictures.)
0kay, so there are a lot of wires coming out of this rear cluster. They need to be routed through the Maund splash guard. It allows for more than enough clearance to do so. Just take the wires and route up through the left side.
You know what??? This might be a good time to discuss the wiring harness. When we removed the stock Triumph fender, you saw that there was one big grouping of wires that ended in a connector that plugged into the chassis harness. With this new set up, we now have several individual wires. They all need to plug into that same chassis harness. There are two ways to do this. Cut and splice, or buy a ready-made harness. I opted to do the latter. I went with the New Bonneville harness. I was ordering something else from them at the time, so that was basically my reason. It cost $50. Yeah, that’s expensive but it’s professionally made. It probably would have taken me more money to acquire the tools and parts and much, MUCH more time to make it than it took UPS to deliver it. I took the easy way out. Not 100% DIY yet.
Anyway, I purchased both the rear wiring harness and the front turn signal wires. As stated earlier, for this post, I’ll just talk about the rear.
The New Bonneville rear wiring harness has everything you need. It allows for your tail light to have both running and brake lights (if you have double filament bulbs) and it allows for your turn signals to have running lights and also blink (if you have double filament bulbs and 3-wire turn signals).
(note: The tail light does not have a ground wire. It is grounded via its assembly itself. Further down in this post I discuss how I ground it.)
Take a good look at the above photos for the layout of the harness and the rear lights. I went ahead and spelled out everything. 0ne takeaway that might not be readily apparent is that the two double bullet connectors are each shared by both turn signals. Also, the black/white wires of the turn signals are ground, not the solid black as you might rightfully expect. The packaging of the Lockhart-Phillips turn signals details all of their wires and the enclosed note with the New Bonneville wiring harness details all of their wire color codes. I found N0 discrepancies – everything is in order, so read them carefully and you’ll be spot on. Follow them to a tee and Bob’s your uncle.
Please realize that the colors of the wires coming from the lights and the color of the wires from the harness do not match up. You need to pay attention to their purpose. For example, the lead of the running light from the left turn signal is black but it connects to the red double bullet of the harness. Do not try and match colors. They don’t match up. The two graphics that I created above will hopefully make this clear.
Take heed with the double bullets. I found them to be a bit loose. I connected everything, wrapped it all in electrical tape, and then 1/2 day later the left turn signal running light wouldn’t light. I unwrapped everything and sure enough, the bullet plug was out of its socket. I put it back in and then clamped all four of them with a pair of pliers.
You’ll notice in the above photo that I’ve attached the ground of the tail light to the bolt in the frame holding the Maund bracket. I’ve read in various forums that grounding to the frame is bad. I tested the head of the bolt and the tail light with a continuity tester. It was successful so ground is good. However, I recommend that you also test with a continuity tester whenever grounding to the frame. Not everything is conductive.
Also you’ll notice is that I wrapped everything up in electrical tape. 0nce everything tested successfully, I taped it all up in order to protect it from the elements. The winters get pretty corrosive here in Manhattan.
That’s it. That’s removing the rear fender. I also replaced the front turn signals but I’ll address those in the next post. This is a long post so I thought it best to split it up.
I’ll leave you with a few parting shots. I really like the look of ‘no-fender’. I realize that there are some who love the old-school look and that’s totally respectable. We all look at art differently.
From a functional standpoint, I L00000VE having running lights on the turn signals. It’s more for those behind me to see. Also, the blinkers themselves seem brighter. It’s not a scientific study, I’m just going by eyesight but they definitely seem brighter. I was surprised. They’re smaller and so I expected them to be dimmer. In regards to the blinkers being so close to the tail light, I know that there are studies that declare this makes them less visible. I can’t speak to that. The tail light is the same output – I was using the same Kisan bulb before so there won’t be any change there.
Anyway, it’s a great mod if you don’t mind ponying up the expense. If anyone out there has some great DIY tips to do this, I’d love to hear about it. Post a comment or send me an email.
0h yeah… don’t forget to reattach your license plate. Gotta keep the coppers happy.
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