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There you stand… beautiful chrome (or black) motorcycle driving lights in your hand with an expected lighting output guaranteed to light up the world! Just one question… “How do I best wire these up so as to get the most use out of them?”
Historically driving lights on motorcycles have wired directly into the low headlight beam. This is the simplest form of installation, requires no additional parts and enables the lights to be used in most riding conditions. Well that is until you flip your high beams on! Driving lights wired solely as running lights will make you more visible to oncoming, will allow you to see better in most nighttime riding scenarios, but will be useless when you need them most.
The answer to this dilemma is the use and installation of a driving light wiring harness. All PIAA light kits come complete with a wiring harness, but most other aftermarket systems do not contain a switched and isolated wiring solution. Our favorite driving light wiring harness is the Universal and Handlebar Mounted wire harnesses from Kuryakyn.
Before we dig into the driving light wire harness, let’s talk a little bit about the driving lights themselves. Most driving lights will have either one or two wires. While this sounds like it may be troublesome, it is not. Most all driving light bulbs will have have two terminals. One will be power or “hot” and the other will be a ground. Half the time there will be one wire coming out of the driving light housing and the other half of the time there will be two. In both cases, there are two wires attached to the bulb; Positive or HOT and the Ground wire. In the two wire scenario both the positive and ground are visible. In the single wire scenario the ground wire is either soldered or screwed to the inside of the driving light housing. In situations such as this you will need to make sure you properly “ground your light” or attach it firmly to a grounded bolt / bolt hole. If at any time a driving light is not functioning, check to make sure it is getting power and then check to make sure it has a good ground.
Driving light wiring harnesses from most major manufacturers such as Kuryakyn and PIAA will all have very similar components. Any good wire harness will contain the following components:
Now that we have a visual image as to what these parts look like, let’s walk through the functions of each of the parts / components.
Battery Connections: These two wires usually have battery ring terminals attached and they connect directly to the battery. Be careful to get the positive and negative sides correct. As a general rule, the power wire (also known as hot or positive) will be the wire on which the fuse is attached.
Fuse: A fuse protects your motorcycle's electrical system and keeps any surges from “frying your system.” If a spike happens the fuse will “blow” thus cutting off all power from that line. Most of these fuses are 15 to 20 amps and are available at most auto parts or home improvement stores.
Relay: A relay “holds power” and ensures that a constant stream of power is being provided to the source. It is a kind of “regulator” if you will…
Switched Source: This is often a lifesaver! When hooked to a wire which turns on and off with your motorcycles key you can rest assured that if your keys are in your pocket, your driving lights are off.
Now that we are familiar with the components and what they do, let us walk through a sample installation.
Loosens and remove your seat, battery cover, tank or any object blocking your path between the battery and the driving lights.
Install the driving lights onto the motorcycle.
Attach your battery ring terminals to their respective terminals.
Run the wire up along the spine of your bike and secure all the way up to the driving lights.
Attach the driving lights to the wire harness.
Locate a 12V switched source.
T-tap into the switch source.
Mount your switch.
Test your lights.
With these super simple wire harness and relay kits, installing aftermarket driving lights onto your motorcycle is a breeze. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please call a Lighting Specialist at 1-888-857-5417. Thank you for taking the time to read this Driving Light Wiring Guide from Cruiser Customizing. If you have a topic you would like discussed or explored email egarrison @ cruisercustomizing.com with your suggestions.
Until next time, take care and ride safe!
Kyle Bradshaw and the Cruiser Customizing Team