How-To: Kensun HID Conversion Kit Installation

Prelewd:

Flicker. Flicker. Pop. Crap! Let there be light, I think to myself as I flick the high-beam switch to shed some lumens on the situation. My turn-signals only work when they feel up to the task, my emergency flashers have given up the ghost a long time ago, and the high-beam switch needs three-fingered coercion to be pushed into the “on” position. In short, my left-hand combination switch is an embarrassment and needs replacing. However, I really am not up to spending $228 plus shipping and handling on a collection of space-age buttons. After all, that’s a third of the cash required for that Dainese leather jacket I’ve been lusting over, or a new rear tire, or almost the cash needed to procure a Power Commander on sale. I can think of a multitude of things to waste $228 on, a multifunction switch isn’t one of them.

I ride around in semi-darkness for about a week or so, before it finally gets on my nerves. The Beemer’s headlight throws what looks like the image of a ghost rider’s full-face helmet on the road before me. It’s starting to creep me out; never mind that I can’t see shit and had almost run over a steaming pile of fresh deer guts one evening. I wondered where the rest of it was…

It’s time to buy an H7, 12V, 55W bulb to replace the burnt out low-beam stocker. I look around online and am not happy to see that one of those bright, bluish-white HIDesque jobs costs around $30. Hell, that’s a pair of knee pucks, right there. How much are HID conversion kits anyway? I go look and find very good reviews on a company by the name of Kensun. Never heard of them, but for $55 + $9.95 S&H, I’m going to pull the trigger on a set of 8000K Xenon eyeballs with slim-fit aluminum ballasts.

Three days later, I almost trip over the box on my doorstep on the way out for a high-velocity pleasure cruise. Needless to say I didn’t go for a ride that day. It’s time to wrench. Yet, again. It’s really quite the tragedy. I now own two bikes (yes, I bought a dedicated race bike while I was on my hiatus), do twice the wrenching and ride half as much. Hand me a pit crew shirt. Hell!

Preppy:

It’s easier and less frustrating if you take the nose off the bike, although you could do this without bothering with the plastics. To remove the nose, you’ll have to take the following fasteners off of both sides and nothing more (unless you absolutely insist on it):

· Unplug headlight connectors

· Remove mirrors

· The two screws above the headlight assembly

· The two screws on the uppers, forward of the BMW roundel

· Top screw on tank trim panel

· Lower plastic rivet which secures the inner fairing cover to the tank trim panel

· The three top-most screws on the inner fairing panel

Carefully work all the interconnecting parts free, and then pull the nose forward until it comes free. Take the damned thing inside and get comfortable with a beer and some power tools. 😉

Mod:

The OEM protective screw-on caps have to be modded to allow for the additional wires and plugs of the HID bulb’s wiring harness that connects the bulb to its ballast and the bike’s factory power plug. The best tool to use for the job is a step drill bit. The HID kit is pretty much plug and play.

1. Unscrew one of the protective caps and stick the thing in a vise.

2. Drill a hole in the center of the cap, just big enough to allow you to shove the biggest of the three connectors through. If the hole is too big, the HID bulb’s rubber grommet will be too loose to allow for an adequate seal against the elements; if it’s too small – you guessed it — the connector won’t fit.

3. Once you have drilled the correct size hole, smooth out the rough edges. I used my Dremel tool and one of the orange grinding stone bits for this.

4. Rinse, repeat for the remaining cap.

Bulbous:

1. Unplug the power plug from the back of the bulb.

2. Gently push on the lower two retaining tabs and remove the stock bulb from its socket by lifting the bottom out first. Do NOT use a screwdriver to pry the tabs open, or you’ll spend 30 minutes bending them back into useful shape to get a tight fit later. Ask me how I know… This is important! The bulbs have to be fully seated and be tight. Any rattling around in there and you’ll burn one out in let’s say… two commutes. Again, I don’t wanna talk about it…

3. Unplug the spade connectors from their plug and set the bulb aside.

4. Take one of the HID bulbs out of its protective case by unscrewing the top and gently pulling the base off of the wiring harness. Be careful not to touch the bulb or its burn-out time later. For once, I didn’t learn that one the hard way. And no, it is not an old wives’ tale that fingerprints, debris and various other contaminants will create hot spots and shorten the lifespan of a bulb. It’s true. It’s true. HID bulbs have a very thin wire running along the outside from their tips to their bases. Don’t mess with that either.

5. Route the harness through the modded stock cap and seat the grommet into that (hopefully correctly sized) hole which you’ve drilled a little while ago.

6. Install the HID bulb in the headlight socket. The little tab goes into the upper retention tab first, then push the bottom into the lower two retention tabs. The bulb should seat properly and should be in there tightly and flush against the socket.

7. Plug the spade connectors into the power plug. I don’t think polarity matters, but to be on the safe side, I plugged the blue wire into the slot which was previously occupied by the yellow wire marked with a white line.

The rule of thumb with same colored wires is that the one with the markings is usually hot (+) and the other ground (-). But what do I know? I’m a girl who’s scared of lightning.

8. Find a suitable place for the power plug inside the headlight housing. Pull any excess wiring through the rubber grommet, you should have the excess on the OUTSIDE of the socket, with just enough slack to avoid chafing or stress on the wires.

9. Screw the modded cap back on.

10. Rinse, repeat. You’ve got one more to do.

Ballast:

1. Get your hands on some industrial strength Velcro and stick some to the back of each of the aluminum ballasts. I prefer the loop side on the bike, in this case. Do as you wish, but please clean both surfaces first with some 50/50 alcohol-water mix or any other suitable chemistry. The Velcro won’t stick for long if you don’t. If your shit falls off at a buck-fitty-plus, you have nobody but yourself to blame.

2. Decide how you are going to route the wires and determine the placement of the ballasts. Clean the spot, peel the backing off of the Velcro and stick it to it.

3. Plug in all three connectors. They are all keyed, so no worries about which end goes with what.

4. Rinse, repeat. One more side to hook up.

Fused:

· Take the nose back outside and reinstall on bike. If you have fasteners left over, and followed the optional step above to booze it up while you work, you’ll have to stop here and continue after you sleep it off. Otherwise, read on.

· If you have fasteners left over and you didn’t follow the optional step above to booze it up, I dunno what to tell you other than I hope it doesn’t fall off at an inopportune moment. Please continue…

I should have told you this earlier, but if you had read the installation instructions that came with the kit, you would not be in this predicament right now. I know, I know. It’s downright un-American to read instructions, manuals, traffic signs, or indicate a lane change by using proper signaling via actuation of the blinkers.

· Replace the 7.5A fuses in positions 4 and 5 with 20A fuses.

Yes, I had to run to the auto parts store to hook myself up. Half-blind and 15 minutes before closing time, Miss Busa could be found squidding it up the road with her Hello Kitty Pirate wallet shoved down the back of her pants, an iPhone snug as a bug in her bra and not a stitch of gear on her other than the legally required lid. ATGATT no more! As luck would have it, I had one 20A fuse, so I just unplugged the stock headlight connector on the high-beam side and went to the store. Glad I did, too. The two dudes working there followed me out the store and drooled all over my baby while I was putting in the newly acquired 20A fuse and reconnected the high-beam connector.

· Wipe drool from bike once you get home.

I would say, go for a test ride, but if you’re like me, you already did. Only one thing left to do:

· Adjust the headlights according to the instructions in the owner’s manual (or the ripped off BMW service manual I know y’all have downloaded) and be prepared to be illuminated!

Tying Up Loose Ends:

After you’ve made sure everything is working properly, route the wires to your liking, secure with cable ties and seal the rubber grommets with a suitable substance. I used Clear RTV Silicone Adhesive & Sealant. I should have used the black stuff.

Review to follow… after I’ve put some miles on these puppies.

Picture Menu:


Evoluzione Cyclesports Quick Release Pins

At last! No more twisting two T25 screws until the wrist aches and their heads are stripped, no more jiggling to get them seated right before tightening them up again, either; and a lot less risk of scratching the paint when removing the seat.

At $25 plus S&H they are overpriced, but so are the OEM screws of which I already had to replace one due to stripped threads. These puppies turn what used to be a three-minute job into mere seconds.

After shopping around, the only place I could find them, that I trust to place an online order with was Sierra BMW. I couldn’t find them cheaper anywhere else either.

The install is simple. Just put some blue thread lock on the pins and screw them in. I used mechanics gloves and just tightened them up with my fingers. Some have suggested to cut a slot into the tip with a rotary tool to make installing and removal easier.

So far, I am happy with the purchase. The pins haven’t worked loose; and the seat doesn’t feel any different to me. The ability to get under there with just a quick “push ‘n’ yank” is well worth the cash I dropped on these.

Let’s see how they hold up on the track next weekend.

image

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Miss Busa Stamp of Approval

Miss Busa Tested & Approved: 4/5

I’m giving this product one heart less for its price point. Also, Evoluzione should update their pins to a slotted design, to make removal easier without risk of damage to the product and make those of us happy who like to torque stuff to proper values.

UPDATE:

I will have to amend my review after crash-testing the quick-release pins during racing. They performed up to expectation during a low-speed lowside at about 50 mph; however, when I tucked the front end at about 120+ mph, the seat came off during the bike’s slide into the gravel trap and the battery was ejected. The battery was found hanging off its heavy-gauge ground wire, which kept it from becoming a projectile missile. All other connections had been severed. Fortunately, no damage was done to any electrical and electronic components, and I was able to bend the battery terminals back into serviceable shape. However, it did damage the seat, which is still serviceable though.

I would only recommend these for racing if you have your battery properly secured or are running one of those 2-ounce high-performance cells. I will not change my four-hearts rating, since this failure may have been due to the battery forcing the seat off the pins rather than the seat coming loose and enabling the battery to dislodge. I will, however, properly secure the electrolyte cannon ball before the next race. Securing the battery is a tech requirement for ECTA, but not for WERA. I should have had this done already, regardless. I have the hardware for the project lying around at home. So much for just doing the bare minimum.


A Pirate’s Dress Rehearsal

Just a quick update on the Pirate’s new skirts: The S1000RR’s Armour Bodies race bodywork. The five-piece fairings are supposed to be fitted before applying paint, but I had to work with the weather and my schedule, hence I’m fitting them after the color-keyed base coat. Of course, I scratched the paint and chipped it in places, but I had no hopes of this turning out like a professional looking paint job to begin with, given that I have neither the right equipment nor a good place to paint. I have not the patience required either. All I can hope for is that nobody gets too close. =D

AB (Left)

A few tweaks are needed. I have to cut out a little section on the belly pan, since it is touching the pipes underneath, which I am assuming isn’t really a good thing. The cutout for the windshield on the right needs to be made a little larger, so the mounting hole on that side will line up correctly. I’m also still trying to figure out why the lowers and the uppers don’t line up any closer. They are aligned perfectly on the horizontal plane, but not vertically. There seems to be too large a gap, and since the DZUS fasteners are the clip-on style, I really don’t want to have too much tension on them, for fear they may work loose eventually.

I also forgot to order mirror block-offs to secure the one-piece uppers to the bike’s fairing stay. Doh! And I’m debating as to wether or not to get a dark smoke windscreen. I’m thinking about it. It would look awesome on the Pirate when she’s wearing her “street clothes”. I’m sticking with OEM though, I really am not going to mess with the aerodynamics of the bike. I like the way it is performing and I’m not taking any chances with aftermarket parts, even if they say they are identical to the OEM windscreen. Besides, I’m still not over the way the Zero Gravity windscreen shattered when I crashed my ‘Busa. Zero Gravity does not hide that fact. They tell you that their screens are neither DOT approved, nor for street use; but knowing and seeing are two different things. I’ll stick to OEM this time and pay the premium BMW demands.

Since pictures are worth a thousand or so of my distracted words, here are a few for your viewing pleasure…

This is a slow moving process. My allergies are making me comatose shortly after I step outside, I am starting to have difficulty breathing, my chest feels so tight, I can’t seem to get enough oxygen; and I am really starting to get worried that I might not get everything done in time for my first race weekend in Nashville.

Mr. Slow also has informed me that he may not get the day off he had requested, so I’m again looking at going by myself. I am desperately hoping that I’ll luck out again, as I did with the weekend at JenningsGP. I don’t know if I have the testicular fortitude to go it alone. I’m ok once I’m on the track doing my thing. Everything before the green flag, however, is scary; and if that isn’t backwards, I don’t know what is. I’m a freak. A freak, I tell ya!

Because this girl won’t know if she can go the distance…

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags go up.
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank. (<~ @MsXXFastRR =D)
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
As they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
All alone in her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He’s going the distance.

No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine,
He’s haunted by something he cannot define.
Bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse,
Assail him, impale him with monster-truck force.
In his mind, he’s still driving, still making the grade.
She’s hoping in time that her memories will fade.
‘Cause he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s striving and driving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

‘Cause he’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
All alone in her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
He’s going the distance.

The Distance by Cake


The “Yes, it is fast. No, you can’t ride it!” Dilemma

Left: Proper Right: No!

Left: Proper Right: Nooooooo!

Picture this: The Germans finally get around to making that thing that not anybody thought would ever happen, but plenty of us dared dreaming about it: A superbike. But give them enough time and keep them in the beer supply and eventually they do come around.

I ask you then, why in the name of all that’s holy and properly fermented with just the right ratio between hops, malt and yeast, did they stick us with a completely superfluous, not to mention ugly, pillion seat and nothing to do about it? Well, we have the option to buy a pice of color-matched plastic for $346.95 (plus S&H) to cover up the horrid eye sore; and in conjunction with the removal of those equally extraneous passenger pegs, serves to squelch any idea that might be forming in some random head about asking for a ride.

I’ve waited for the aftermarket to come up with a cheap way out of this dilemma caused by gross oversight by the German engineers. The weight savings alone would have dictated it being the other way around: Get a cowl and race hooks out of the crate, buy a seat and some foot roosts if you wanna take the ole lady (or the ole fart) for a ride. I’ve waited… and waited…

I’m done waiting. I need a substrate to stick number plate decals to. What an awesome excuse to finally make the Pirate’s ass look as bootylicious as it is proper for ladies of her ilk. She looks insanely fast just sitting still. Poised to obliterate the egos of any young Peregrine Falcons that dare get sassy, with her nose down and her tail up in the air. Perfection. Engineered with purpose. And then you’re gonna mess it all up by slapping a two-up ass perch on her? Sacrilege!

Save yourself 98 smackers and recycle with this S1000RR mod. Well, technically it isn’t a mod. Nothing has been modified. This is a recycling project. 🙂

You don’t get the mounting hardware with that $350 purchase, nor a new coded lock cylinder. Both these items are $98 extra. Imagine that! BMW for ya. Get you hopelessly drunk on lust and then take advantage of your quivering lovesick heart.

  1. Take your seat off, remove the two phillips head screws that hold the retention plate for the lock assembly in place. Take junk off. Lay it to the side.
  2. Remove the three smaller phillips head screws that hold the lock cylinder housing in place.
  3. Stick the key in, unlock it. Use a flat head screwdriver, depress the retaining pin and the cylinder will slide out and bounce off the floor and roll a little ways, since you’re holding the thing upside down.
  4. Pick it up.
  5. Leave the key in and carefully insert it into its place on the cowl. As you insert it, you’ll have to again depress the retaining pin to get the cylinder to slide into the housing. It’ll click when it is properly seated.
  6. Use a #10 hex socket and remove the nylon locking nuts from the hinge bracket. Remove the washers, then remove the bracket.
  7. Drop the washers back onto the bolts and screw the nuts back on. You are done here.
  8. While you’re at it you might want to put the lock assembly back together loosely, so you won’t wind up with missing parts; and tape the locking pin with its plastic clip to the underside.
  9. Sell it on eBay to someone who has the audacity to actually ride two-up on the S1000RR to replace their worn out one. (You know who you are: One word: Onions!)
  10. Now what?
  11. I really hope you have two plastic washers, two T25 fairing fasteners, and two bodywork retention clips laying around. I do. I bought a few extra because I always keep losing stuff in “The Void”. The Void is the black hole that resides somewhere between fairing panels. Location varies; however, every fully faired motorcycle comes with one standard.
  12. Insert the clips into the spaces provided for them, put hinge bracket on top (make sure the openings of the hinges face toward the wide end) then use the two screws with their plastic washers and secure the mess.
  13. You are done-done. Unless you haven’t removed the passenger pegs yet. Do that now! Put some bolts in there and paint them or get some race hooks to replace the anchor points you just lost.
  14. Optional (but highly recommended. Miss Busa tested and approved!): Reverse your shift pattern, slap a “GP” sticker on your upper triple tree clamp and never again be bothered by the twinge of guilt when refusing requests for test rides from your street-squid buddies. 🙂
Lock assembly

Closeup of the pillion seat's lock assembly holder. The cylinder is already removed and the hardware loosely reattached.

Hinge bracket bolts

The pillion seat's hinge bracket bolts after removal of the bracket

Retention clip

The bodywork retention clip on the cowl's bracket attachment point. I actually found out later on that this is indeed what they intended you do. Online microfiche is awesome!

Rear Cowl

All hardware is now attached to the cowl and it is ready to go back on the bike.

Important Note: If you tour on your S1000RR and you are using BMW’s model-specific tailbag, hang on to your pillion seat and hardware. You will have to swap the seat back in to be able to use the tail bag. It says so in the instructions. I’m sure it has to do with the lesser height of the cowl (paint damage likely) and the lack of support (the cowl is hollow, no place to put that tool and no straps to secure luggage either). You have been warned, but do as you wish. 🙂

This no-guilt, drama-free solution to “Yes, it’s fast. No, you can’t ride it!” is brought to you by Miss Busa.


Plastic Surgery

I have been working my tail off being a Domestic Goddess. Cleaning the spaces in between and repairing stuff that had been items on my longish To-Do List for eternity, or at least as long as I’ve owned an iPad. The house hasn’t looked this nice in forever. As a matter of fact, you haven’t been able to eat off of my floors since roughly the end of September 2008, when I first started learning to ride motorcycles. You can now, if you’d want to. The cats won’t mind as long as you stay out of the catnip and leave their dish alone. 😉

I should feel a sense of accomplishment, but the lingering thought of not doing enough keeps nipping at my happiness. What the hell? The Slow One keeps telling me that I’m too hard on myself (he has a small point there), but I think the feeling stems more from my To Do List (Race Flavored) getting longer and longer and I keep researching, learning, and it seems at times I’m making little to no progress. It’s downright depressing. The business (read: financial) end of things is overwhelming to me. Just looking at the numbers is cause for distraction.

Case in point: The bellypan.

Ilmberger Carbon Fiber Bellypan

Ilmberger Bike Part Pr0n: This thing is absolutely gorgeous and works with the OEM uppers and with a little careful trimming in the appropriate places works with the stock exhaust. Engineering Porn at its finest. Jawohl!

WERA requires a bellypan that is capable of holding five quarts of liquid. The S1000RR’s lowers are a joke, albeit a good looking one. There’s more air than plastic under there. I’ve thought about fabricating something myself to plug up all those holes and use the existing bodywork as a cradle for my fluid-retaining creation, but I’m not sure that would pass Tech, but it might still bear looking into a little further, if I can find the proper materials to make it work.

The only bellypan that also works with the stock exhaust and stock uppers (that I can find) is made by Ilmberger Carbonparts in Germany and it costs around $530. I could get it a little cheaper if I dealt with Ilmberger directly, who — by the way are awesomely helpful and friendly folks; but making Papa ship that stuff to me is a little rude, since S&H would be free by the way of sponsorship by the First Bank of Dad. Then there is risking getting customs to take a closer look, which in all my years only happened once, but still… Easier, not to mention faster, just to pony up the dough and get it from their distributor here in the States, which will set me back $690.

Hotbodies Race Bodywork

The S1000RR dressed in a full set of unpainted but primed, undrilled Hotbodies race bodywork. I WANT!

A full set of race fairings costs $5 more, if I get them from Hotbodies Racing, and those people must have forgotten to update their website since they still have their Black Friday Sale active. Buy one set of race fairings get one set free. WTF?!? No way, right? It still works, I tried it in their cart, made it all the way to the payment method page. This would be a killer deal. I would have a spare set for when I wreck myself (yeah, it’s when not if, I’m a realist… I just hope it doesn’t happen too soon). Then I’d just rattle can spray paint those puppies, slap my homemade vinyl decals on (more on that later), apply my sponsor stickers and I’m off to the races. Literally.

Where to get that kind of money before they find their mistake and correct it?!? What did I say about luck? Yeah, if I had normal luck, I’d have enough cash to click that order button in a hurry; but I don’t. I have probably about $700 worth of Hayabusa parts (Gilles Tooling rearsets in black anyone?) and miscellaneous other junk laying around that I could unload on eBay or Craigslist. But that takes time. I should have done that a long time ago, but I’ve been too lazy. I just hate dealing with listing stuff on eBay. I guess I’m too perfectionistic in my listings and it takes me forever just to get one item up, but so far I’ve never had a problem out of any douches saying they didn’t get exactly what they ordered, so I’m not changing the behavior.

And these are the trials and tribulations of a wannabe novice female knee dragger with sponsors who are equally broke and just trade off advertising between each other. Yeah, that’s racing (on a “What color is money again?” budget).

And this brings me back to the feeling of being overwhelmed with all this stuff. I think it’s mostly emotional in nature with a side of impatience thrown in. But the more I do my research and learn what I must, the more apprehensive I become. The more I feel I’m totally off my rocker and grossly irresponsible with my personal finances for even entertaining the notion of such an outlandish, no-monetary-gains undertaking. But it’ll be so much fun!!! And what is money anyway? Fun Tickets.

As far as that is concerned, this has got to be the worst business plan ever. Any VCs (venture capitalists) out there wanna unload some dough to ease the tax burden for next year? I’m spunky, look good in tight leather and have a cute ass of just the right proportions. My number is (706) 9…

Maybe I should look into incorporating Team PLD Racing, so Mr. Slow can use it as a total loss write-off next year when tax season is upon us like the Sweats on a church rat. The camera body (Canon 1D Mark II, is it?) that he’s been lusting after with drooling desire would end up a tax deduction on the accountant’s ledger. *cracks up laughing*

Well, hell… I might be onto something here… I need to make a phone call.


In Case of Get-Off, Pull Here.

Miss Busa’s How-To:

Installing a Tether Kill Switch

on the

2010 BMW S1000RR

RND: Research & Delirium

PMR Stealth Tether Kill Switch Combo (finished setup)

PMR Stealth Tether Kill Switch Combo: The finished install.

I’ve googled myself to death trying figure out what type of switch I needed for the S1000RR and how to hook it up. A tension headache, one 800mg Ibuprofen, and a nap later I was still pretty much clueless. What little information I could dig up was conflicting and not very useful. Heck with it, I can figure this thing out myself. The biggest pain was trying to ascertain whether the S1000RR utilized a “normally closed” or “normally open” switch for the engine kill. Blech. Apparently nobody knew. The one reference I found on a certain S1000RR forum turned out to be wrong. Not that I gave much credibility to the thread, since it sucked and was no help to the people who wanted to know and were wanting to install a tether kill on their Double-R. The more I googled the more confusing it became. I finally found a reference on Pingel’s website that paired the words “normally open” and “magneto ignition” and “normally closed” and “battery ignition”. Magneto? I didn’t really know what exactly that was, but I’ve heard the term before in reference to old junk. So “normally closed” is what I put my money on. Off to buy a switch. My bike was in the shop, so I couldn’t look at it and couldn’t recall the information needed from memory. I really liked the PMR setup. The kill switch housing replaced part of the brake master cylinder bracket and it came with optional switch options. An extra switch? Always good for likely future upgrades. But I couldn’t recall if the S1000RR had a Nissin setup or not, so I decided to err on the safe side and bought an MPS switch, which was only half of an inch wide and fit 7/8-inch bars. It later turned out that I didn’t have the ½ inch to spare to cram that sucker onto the bar. Damn. I should have gone with my initial instinct. Oh well. Anybody want to buy a brand new MPS switch? Hit me up. ☺

PMR Switch Housing

The PMR Stealth Switch Combo housing replaces the front bracket on the Nissin front brake assembly.

Pingel has decent looking switches up for grabs, however I definitely don’t have room for them on my clip-ons and the panel-mounted option just didn’t fit the bill for me. I wear one-piece leathers. I have nowhere really to clip the tether other than making a wristband which will also keep the lanyard out of my way. I stole the wrist strap idea from the Pingel site, so kudos to them. ☺) I didn’t want a setup that would reach across bike or body parts. The Pingel switches to me look more to be made for cruisers or Harleys, not that I would have had the room for the bar-mounted ones anyway. I really wanted something a little more subtle and sporty.

Those are the only three viable options that I came up with in my research. There are other choices out there, but I dismissed them for various — now forgotten — reasons. I’m sure some of them were due to looks, design, price, or workmanship. I’m picky when it comes to my bike. I get the best I can afford and I want the stuff to last. The Pingel switches probably would outlast my bike. 😉

Slapped On The Wrist!

Yes, I could have just bought Pingel’s ready-made one, but I wanted to save some money and it would be kind of cool to make my own. I had most of the stuff already lying around from various other projects. I went to Joann’s to get a parachute buckle. 1-inch wide red canvas strapping, black retro-reflective iron-on ribbon, a 1-inch metal D-ring, the purchased $2 buckle and a sewing machine did the trick. I opted for white thread to do a little “contrast stitching”, but I should have just used red because my sewing skill leaves room for improvement… lots of wide-open room.

Exploratory Surgery

My difficulty finding a tether kill switch and trying to figure out how to install it stems largely from a lack of sufficient knowledge of electrical circuits, switches, basic wiring, and how ignition systems work. I had to beef up on long-forgotten high school physics subjects and educate myself in the application of the fine art of soldering wire joints. Basic Electrical Wiring 101 with a little something thrown in about relays, switching and simple circuitry.

Armed with a multimeter, Torx screwdrivers in various sizes, a clipboard, pen and my BlackBerry I got up close and personal with the Pirate. I took the engine switch/mode selector control pod apart and had a peek inside to figure out which one of the wires is the one the tether kill switch gets spliced into. This should also confirm whether or not the S1000RR employs a “normally closed” or “normally open” circuit. I had read somewhere that a good way to distinguish one from the other is by the number of wires that come out of the engine stop switch: two wires means “normally closed” and three wires is a sign of a “normally open” switch. I took the thing apart. I was presented with five wires hanging out of a keyed plug and a small PCB sporting three push buttons. Five wires? Great. I should have known. Why was I even thinking this could be as easy as following the one coming out of the stop engine button to note its color for later reference? I looked at the circuit board closely. I could definitely make out the paths of the circuitry. The pins on the plug are numbered. I also saw tiny numbers printed on the PCB. That made things a lot easier. The keyed plug also helped with keeping the orientation of things aligned correctly. It was time to draw a wiring diagram. After having studied the thing for a while it dawned on me that there is a place left for an option. A very faint cutout line on the switch’s front housing, an indentation on the PCB for an additional button with all the necessary circuitry in place, and three open slots in the keyed harness plug. Noting that, the whole mess became a little less confusing. Four functions, namely: Mode, Engine Stop, Engine Run, and Engine Start; one common connection to them all; it adds up to five wires. This started to actually make sense.

The multimeter proved useless, since the probes are too thick to fit into the harness plug and the entire circuit board is encased in some sort of clear plastic — to weatherproof the whole affair, I’m sure. So I ran my findings by Mr. Slow, but he refused to get involved, claiming lack of knowledge on the subject. I mulled it over in my head off and on for a few hours and then ended up sleeping on it.

Kill Switch Wire (Black with Blue Stripe)

Found it! This is the wire to the Engine Stop function. This is where the tether kill switch needs to be spliced in.

I need a method to test my findings nondestructively. I don’t want to cut into a $1500 wiring harness on a hunch. I need some way to connect the male end with the female plug in isolation to engage in a little simulated wire snipping. Test leads. I could make myself little test leads to jump the pins. The female end is easy, but the pins on the male side need insulation to keep them electrically isolated from each other. After scrounging around for supplies I come up empty, naturally. I had, not too long ago, relocated my “computer graveyard” from its home in a closet to the neighborhood dumpster. It never fails. Hang on to the shite for years, not finding use for a single thing and as soon as you throw the crap out to make room for new junk you end up needing something from the pile.

I didn’t know what those “test leads” were actually called, so googling the subject proved to be coma-inducing, but eventually I hit on the name of the thing and once you can name it, you can find it in 0.0289 seconds. They are called jumper wires. They are used in robotics and prototyping to easily and quickly connect header pins on breadboard setups. They’re cheaper to buy than to make unless you have the stuff already lying around. I still would just buy them… trying to get those little fragile crimp pins onto the stripped end of a teeny wire sucks! I scored a pack of 10 6” male-to-female ones for about $4.

A Kick in the CANBus

With five jumpers in five different colors I set out to validate my thoughts on the kill switch subject. I dismantle the control pod once more, this time it only takes me a few minutes. I pull the plug out of its socket and use my spiffy wiring diagram to jumper the pins. After double-checking my work, I turn the ignition on and the RR begins its initialization. The RPM needle executes its customary sweep through the entire range of the dial, all LCD segments are displayed at once and all LED lights come on and blink off. The DTC and ABS indicators remain lit and blinking, as is expected. After the POST is complete, I put the transmission into Neutral and push the Engine Start button, the bike comes to life. No faults are tripped. All is as it should be. I pull the black wire that connects Pin 4. The engine dies instantly, just like it would if you had put the kickstand down while in gear. Still, no faults are thrown. I turn the ignition off and back on and try to start the bike again. Nothing. That too, is as it should be. I reinsert the wire to Pin 4, start the bike and press the Mode Selector button repeatedly to scroll through the four DTC modes. Again, all functions as expected.

I would have been so wrong!

Just for giggles, I yank Pin 5’s jumper wire out and nothing happens, the Pirate keeps on idling sedately. Pin 5 is the other half of the engine stop switch circuitry. Pin 4 is the connection that is common to all of the functions. Pin 5 is the wire I would have cut with a shaky, clammy hand had I have been on the bomb squad, sweating bullets with three seconds left on the ticker. Aren’t you glad I’m not on the bomb squad? I am. I am also glad that I took my time with this one and did it right. On the Hayabusa I would have spliced a wrongly cut wire back together. On the Beemer, the fear of the almighty CANBus and its renowned bitchiness saved me from myself.

The Pirate Is A Dead Man Girl!

This is a walkthrough of installing the PMR Stealth Kill Switch Combo. If you have another bar-mounted switch the install should be fairly similar.

  • Remove the two-part housing of the right-side control pod. There is a small Torx-7 screw on the bottom part of the control pod’s housing, use firm, steady pressure and a precision screwdriver to remove it. Pull the front of the housing down and towards the front of the bike, until the plastic hinge on top separates and the two halves are free of each other.
  • Unplug the harness plug from the top portion of the housing and place it out of the way.
  • Use a Torx-27 socket or screwdriver to remove the two bracket bolts that secure the front brake lever assembly. Hold the assembly with one hand while you switch out the OEM bracket with the PMR switch housing and use the supplied #5 Allen bolts to fasten it to the bar. Don’t torque the bolts down just yet you still need to be able to move the assembly around a little.
  • Route the wires of the tether kill switch to your liking and determine where you are going to splice them into the OEM harness.
  • Once the position of your splice has been determined, cut the rubber tubing that protects the wires from the elements and from chafing. I used hubby’s nail scissors from his grooming kit, which are extremely pointy and razor sharp (shhhhhh! Don’t tell Mr. Slow.) Be careful not to nick the wires’ insulation. Once separated, cut a horizontal slit into the sleeve. This makes it easier to pull it out of the way and will also accommodate the added thickness of the bundle due to the newly spliced-in wires.
  • Pull, then push-roll the tubing out of the way to expose the wires where you will splice in your tether kill. Give yourself plenty of space to work here.
  • Snip the black wire with the blue stripe. That’s the common. IMPORTANT: If the colors of your harness wires do not match mine, you’ll have to find the wire that is connected to Pin 4.
  • Strip about ½” of insulation off the ends of the four wires.
  • Slip heat shrink tubing over the wires before you twist them together. I used 3/32” diameter tubing for the v-joint and 1/8” diameter for the straight joint. This way you won’t have to bend any wires and they’ll lie nice and flat against the harness bundle. It doesn’t matter which of the wires get paired, as long as you make the circuit whole again.
  • Twist the wires together then solder the connections.
  • Position the heat shrink over your solder joints and use a heat gun to shrink them down. Be careful where you point that thing, you don’t want to melt any of the S1000RR’s tasty bits, such as your brake or throttle lines.
    [Alternatively, you can use crimp-style butt connectors, solder or crimp in quick disconnects, or use gel-filled 2-wire IDC (Insulation Displacement Connectors) butt splices but they will make your harness bulky and unless you can hide them somewhere, extremely visible.]
  • To test your work crank up your bike. If it doesn’t start recheck your connections. Pull the plug out of the tether kill switch and your bike should die. If it doesn’t, in my best guesstimation I can’t help but assume that you screwed up somewhere… big time. I’m washing my hands of that one right now. *nods then turns and walks off quickly* “Gotta go!”
  • Carefully pull the protective sleeving back into place. You might have to slit it some more to accommodate the new wires without bunching.
  • Use electrical tape to wrap the spliced area tightly. It’s best to do it at a 45-degree angle and keep the stuff taught as you wrap the bundle.
  • Follow up with friction tape to keep the electrical tape in place and from gumming up the works first time it gets hot and dusty. I also secured the ends with smallish cable ties to prevent them from unraveling.
  • Go for a test ride. Don’t skip this step, it is VERY important to the entire process. It bears repeating: Go for a damn ride!

My work here is done.


Wired For Sound…

…and finally snag-free. I do love my BigEar stereo earplugs. Noise protection for your ears you can pump your tunes through and kill those little hairs in there with more style than road and wind noise, engine whine, and the loud-ass pipes (on the Harley sitting next to you at a traffic light) can provide. I couldn’t find any earbuds that would fit under my helmet without hurting my ears or without coming back out when I pulled the lid over my noggin or without them just falling out miles down the road. Not to mention that I couldn’t really hear my music until I cranked it way up. Yeah, that helps. Then I found this company at the IMS in Greenville, SC in February 2009: BigEar Inc. We were on an unprecedented spending spree armed with the trusty credit card, and after hours of mulling it over I pulled the trigger on a set of custom-fitted stereo earplugs. I liked the concept. Earplugs to keep out the annoying, not to mention mentally tiring, cacophony of riding a motorcycle. They were expensive. But comparable to the price of Shurs and with the same sound quality. So I whipped out the plastic and got fitted. I told Mr. Slow he should get fitted as well, since they keep the molds on file, and can make a set for you later if you so desire. He declined. He “ain’t spending almost $350 on a set of stinkin’ earbuds.”

BigEar BE-1C

My stereo earplugs. I really love these puppies!

I loved those things right up to the point when I dropped them and hubby stepped on them. Crunch! Damn! Why did that happen? I had looped them around my iPod which I was wearing strapped to my thigh when riding and the mess came undone while we were exiting a restaurant; hubby was walking behind me, I noticed them dragging across the ground, stopped to pick them up and hubby behind me stepped on them. My fault, entirely. Shouldn’t have stopped, should have just grabbed the wire and pulled them off the ground instead of stopping and bending over to pick them up. Doh! That little adventure ended up costing me close to half the price of a new set in repairs and I had no tunes for over a month!

I got a little smarter after I got them returned to me. However, the wires have always bothered me. They would snag on things, the wind would eventually work them loose from where I stuffed them out of the way and I’d have wires flapping in the breeze getting caught on this and that. Not to mention that one way or another I always managed to get caught up in them and yanked them out of my ears, or at least dislodged them slightly. Now I had to pull over, undo my helmet, put them back in my ears, put my lid back on so I could continue on down the road without a massive pressure headache. When I noticed last winter that my trusty iPod couldn’t handle the constant change in ambient temperatures. Riding in almost freezing temps then going inside where it was sometimes 40+ degrees (Fahrenheit) warmer, then going back outside was slowly getting to it, as was increasingly evident by the multiplying stuck pixels in its display. Once I stopped using it on my bike it mostly recovered from its bizarre behavior with the exception of one row of dead pixels that runs the entire width of the screen. Hubby bought me an iPod Shuffle and an accompanying replacement warranty at BestBuy to pull entertainment duty on my bike. I already had to use that warranty once. Now I understand why The Slow One told me on the way to the store that he was getting me some “iPod Insurance”. My baby loves me. 🙂

With the iPod Shuffle came the move of the device from my thigh to my right arm. The iPod Classic 160GB is too heavy to wear on my arm while riding. My upper arm is too thin and the armband strap too long and the thing eventually slides from its position, either around the circumference of my arm or down my arm, by its own weight and the fact that I could only use a small portion of the velcro closure to anchor it. It was also made of stretchy neoprene, which didn’t help matters either.

Wire management was so much easier on the upper arm; snagging the wires or yanking the plugs out of my ears were but an infrequent occurrence. I had to finally succumb to moving it to my thigh, however, when I was going down the road at approximately 70 mph one day and the armband came loose. I noticed it because the iPod promptly fell off my arm and dropped down to my elbow hanging by its neoprene armband. I immediately and instinctively covered the band with my left hand keeping the end from sliding out of its plastic “wrap-back-on-itself” buckle (what do you call those things anyway?). Now what? I can’t stop safely because I can’t use my clutch lever and there’s traffic all around. I can’t go on down the road like this indefinitely. Eventually, I’ll have to make a right turn. I have about 30 miles to figure a way out of my predicament. It seems I have three choices: a) let the thing go before you wreck yourself; b) undo the strap and hope you can hold onto it while clutching your way down to first as you pull off onto the shoulder; or c) redo the strap while going down the road maintaining lane position and speed. What an adventure that was! I eventually opted for choice “c”. “A” was unthinkable; “b” was iffy and probably would end up in “a” anyway, so the course of action here was clear. Normally, this would take two hands, but I only had one, since I don’t have a Throttlemeister like Mr. Slow. Normally, I’d use my chin as a “helping hand” but I was wearing a full-face helmet, not to mention that I would have to turn my head completely away from the direction of travel. I tried. Can’t see anything out of the corner of your eyeballs. Nada. It also introduces steering inputs that could lead to losing an iPod AND a Hayabusa, maybe even a limb or two. I slid around the Hayabusa’s tank like I was hanging off in the straights. That enabled me to use the side of my helmeted head without having to look away from the path of travel to hold the armband in place and preventing it from coming completely undone. It also helped keeping the throttle steady. Meanwhile, I used my clutch hand to feel around for the proper end of the strap, pull it tight and align it correctly so the velcro would grab and hold. After a few miles of cold sweat, visions of an iPod bouncing down the road with a Hayabusa crashing shortly thereafter, a few choice curses and riding pretty much like a drunk ass, I finally managed to do just that and I could then grab the now doubled on itself fastened armband and pull it back up to its proper place on the fattest part of my upper arm. Wow. I checked that thing every paranoid mile until I arrived at my destination to make sure the velcro kept its hooks in the loops. Once I strapped the thing to my thighs I could use the entire length of the velcro fasteners and haven’t had a problem with it since.

At first I clipped the little blue Shuffle to my collar by its metal clip. I’ve almost lost the thing several times doing that. And you do have to have the unit in possession when invoking the replacement warranty. Loss or theft are not covered, understandably so. Once, I actually caught it with my hand before the wind yanked the plug completely out and set my little iPod free. It was then when I realized that history was repeating itself and I went shopping for an armband. I finally found one that fit my skinny arm without too much overlap, which was part of the problem that almost cost me an iPod once.

I’ve been using that setup now for almost a year. I still have problems with snagging the earplug wires and consequently yanking or dislodging the earpieces, especially when I’m wearing my backpack. With winter approaching I am pretty much riding in the same gear every day and now I have the added problem with managing the thick-gauged wires that run from the bike to my heated gear. All this junk hanging off of me was starting to really get on my nerves. It took me forever to get ready again. Fiddle with this, fiddle with that. No big deal when you’re riding alone, but when with other people, I’m always the last one to be ready and everybody ends up waiting on me. Bah! I can’t have that. The other day I had the idea of attaching the high-viz vest I wear during the winter months to my riding jacket, since the thing always slid off my jacket when I was taking it off. I also ran the wires that run from my heated vest’s power distribution unit (that’s what they call it) through my sleeves and used the liner hookups in my jacket to secure them. Perfect fit. I never snap the liner in anyway, since in Georgia a lot of times you ride to work layered up, but it’s too warm to wear all of it on the commute home. That is the case in early and late winter, anyway. In the dead of winter (most of December through February) it’s freaking too damn cold 24-7! I’ve tested the setup and I’m liking it. I’m a lot faster getting ready to ride and it’s a lot more convenient at fuel stops. I always know where my plugs are, so I can plug it in without stopping if I forgot before I left or if it came undone because I stood up on the pegs. I always know my earplugs are safe from harm, and ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

This wire management thing got my perfectionism cranked up. Hence, I decided all those safety pins weren’t good enough and it needed some minor adjusting anyway, so I got the needle and thread out and fixed my armband. Now I don’t have to hunt for the control pod when I want to skip a song or turn the volume up or down. I kept making wrong inputs too frequently as of late and that’s getting annoying. If you own an iPod Shuffle or fondled a friend’s, then you know we’re dealing with teeny buttons, one of which has multiple functions, depending on the number of times you press it or for how long. So does the adapter that you have to buy if you don’t want to use Apple’s provided proprietary earbuds. Quick push on center: Pause. Long push on center: Voice-over (announcing the song title and artist). Double-press on center: Skip to next song. Triple-press on center: Restart current song from the beginning. Triple-press on center twice: Skip to previous song. The volume controls are standard: Up and down, each has their own dedicated button. One above and one below the center control button. Now try to hit that just right with gloved fingers, especially with winter gloves. It takes practice, and when the thing moves around or rolls to the side it gets even more challenging.

Proper rerouting of the wires and using the “spaces in between” that DLO had the decency to create by not sewing all the seams closed on their armband (by design or by coincidence?) provided the means to hide and position the wires; needle and thread enabled me to secure the entire setup. Neat. Tidy. Functional. Just the way I like it. Make your gear work for you and enjoy it more, that’s where it’s at. Less chance of saying screw this, I’m riding without, too. A few pics are worth a thousand words (although the current word count stands at 2102).

Oh, and I also fixed the zippers on my riding pants which got trashed in my crash. Luckily the damage is on the bottom end of the zipper, so I sewed the bottom zipper pulls in place where they can’t come undone anymore due to the missing tooth. No more wardrobe failures. =D w00t!

I feel so accomplished as a woman right now.