Harley Turn Signal Switch Conversion

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by foxtrapper, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    I want to convert my Harley over to a Japanese bike style turnsignal switch. I know, I'm supposed to love the Harley design of a button on each side of the handlebars, I don't. It definately wreaks havoc with me and my braking for a right hand turn.

    I've been looking around for someone making a kit or such that would let me switch over to the single switch on the left bar, like every other bike I've ever had in my life. But darned if I can find such a critter.

    Surely I'm not the only person who wants this?
    #1
  2. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    Just change the left switch out with a dirtbike switch (a lot of Harleys have 1" bars vice the 7/8" you find on japanese bikes)

    You'll have to rewire but that shouldn't be that complicated.
    #2
  3. bobw

    bobw Harden the phuck up

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    BMW has/had the same until just recently going to the one switch does it all design. Give it a genuine effort by practicing and it becomes second nature in no time. Used to have bike with shift levers on opposite sides, etc., and it is livable.

    Other than that, plus 1 on Tripped 1's suggestion and I would first make sure the wiring mods were compatible with canbus/sensors/ridebywire/etc. if this is a newer bike, older would be fairly simple.
    #3
  4. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    I have to agree. After many years of riding bikes with the typical Japanese style turn signal switchgear, I bought my GS. After years of reading magazine testers bitching about the BMW style switches I fully expected to hate it like everyone else seemed to. But after a relatively short time I got used to it and it was no big deal, and I began to wonder what all the hoopla was about. Then after a longer period of time I jumped on one of my other bikes with the "normal" switchgear and I felt lost!

    I then realized that I had become a convert and begin to believe that the BMW designers were "right" in designing a superior system. I was actually more than a little disappointed when I read that BMW had changed to the more "normal" system on their newer bikes.

    Then, I got my H-D and discovered that the H-D designers had one upped BMW with their system. The H-D, two button system with auto cancel is better than the three button, non-self cancelling signals on my GS, IMO.

    Just activate your signal a little earlier, before you begin braking and then just forget about it and let the self cancel do it's thang. I also like the push once to activate and push again to cancel, feature on the H-D, over the separate cancel button found on the BMW.

    So, I'd say to give it a little time to get used to it and it should become second nature. A lot of things about riding a motorcycle are foreign when we first ride one, but as you know, it all becomes instinctive with a little saddle time. Nothing really different about getting used to something a little new, IMO.

    Other than that, I'm not sure what options you have. AFAIK, H-D is unusual in using the 1" bars. Every dirt bike I've ever dealt with or owned had 7/8" bars. Even Buell used 7/8" bars, although they did use the left side does all turn signal switch. I don't know of any manufacturer that uses 1" bars and the standard turn signal switchgear, unless you can find another line of cruisers that uses that combination. Do any of the Japanese cruisers use 1" bars? What about Victory? The only other option I can think of would be to convert your 1' bars to 7/8" bars, but that would require changing out all of the bar controls, which would be expensive!

    I'll wish you good luck in getting used to them first, and then if that fails, I wish you luck in finding a solution that works for you.

    :1drink
    #4
  5. EricD10563

    EricD10563 Been here awhile

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    You'll get used to it if you give it time. Thirty years of owning bikes that had the usual setup took me some time but now the Harley system is normal to me.
    #5
  6. blk-betty

    blk-betty bam-a-lam

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    As far as I know HD has had these system for at least the last 13 years. My first HD, a 2000 Sporty, had the same setup as my '12 Road Glide. I had been off bikes for 20 years before that Sporty and it wasn't until later when I picked up a Triumph followed by a Suzuki that I realized the other mfgs didn't design their systems like HD.

    Personally I much prefer the HD design with the self cancelling feature as it's just a quick bump with the thumb rather than a push left or push right on other bikes and no need to hit again to stop.

    Like Randy says, just tap the button with your thumb right before you begin your braking and forget about it.
    #6
  7. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    CanBUS only works between the gauge and the ECM/sensors most of the time. A switch is a switch is a switch, it doesn't really matter what you are plugging them into as long as it has the right number of poles.
    #7
  8. davevv

    davevv One more old rider

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    This. If as you say, "It definately wreaks havoc with me and my braking for a right hand turn", then you aren't giving people much warning before you start into the turn. How is the guy behind you supposed to know you're going to be slowing for a turn if you're already reaching for the brake before you turn on the indicator? It's a pretty simple matter to have the turn signal activated before you ever need to reach for the brake.
    #8
  9. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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  10. davevv

    davevv One more old rider

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  11. Tripped1

    Tripped1 Likely Lost.

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    I'm aware of that, I was referring to the guys talking about other makes.


    I can't stand the dual switch set up either.
    #11
  12. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

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    All right, I'll keep trying to get used to it. Weather and such is keeping riding down to a minimum right now.

    Normally I do give lots of advance warning with signals. But I'm also pretty durn good at swerving around someone who just cut me off or such while hitting the turnsignal at the same time. That's the part I can't do with the Harley. It's semi-new Harley for the record, an 04 Road King.
    #12
  13. DAKEZ

    DAKEZ Long timer

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    Push Right go Right
    Push Left go Left

    Then you will be looking for a Harley or BMW system to put on your other bikes. :lol3


    :ricky
    #13
  14. Dave in Wi

    Dave in Wi Long timer

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    I grew up on the standard Japanese system but when I had a Harley in '95 I adapted pretty quickly. I actually grew to like their system, the self cancelling feature works very well. Just push the button and forget it, it shouldn't interfere with braking at all. Unless it's the really old-school harley system where you have to hold the button down to keep the signals flashing. Then all bets are off.
    #14
  15. Shooter1

    Shooter1 Been here awhile

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    I bought an '89 FXRS-Sp new and it had individual buttons on each bar side, but to activate the sigs, you had to hold the button down and let up when you wanted to cancel the sig. It was not self cancelling. Try making turns and using the clutch or front brake while holding the sig button down with your thumb, and operating either the throttle or clutch lever!! For some reason it was an aquired skill and never really bothered me untill I got older and have a touch of arthritis in my hands, then it got to hurt a little bit. Three years ago I bought a used '00 FXDX SG Sport and it has the HD self cancelling sigs with a button on each side. Shit, I thought I was in heaven compared to the old FXRS signals. :lol3 I love them and still do. Kinda like moving into the 21st century as far as turn sigs goes! I think you'll get used to them and like 'em.
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  16. JerryH

    JerryH Banned

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    As much as I like Harleys (never owned one, but put quite a few miles on a couple of Sportsters) I hate their turn signal setup. I have also owned a number of Japanese bikes with "self canceling" turn signals, and wound up converting all of them to "normal" What works great on a car simply does not work on a bike. I was constantly having the signal cancel before I made the turn, having to reset it, then have it continue to blink for some distance after making the turn. You had to watch for it to cut off, so you could turn it back on again, then remember to cancel it after making the turn. Some things really do work better when YOU control them.
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  17. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    I would agree with that on some of the Jap bike self cancelling systems I've used, but I haven't found that to be the case with the Harley set-up. Not sure why, but I would assume that their timing is set pretty well to match my normal signaling habits. Honestly I don't even know how they function. Are they just a straight timer based system, like some Jap bikes and aftermarket cancel thingies, are or they more sophisticated than that?

    Either way, for me they don't seem to cancel prematurely, or stay on too long after I've completed my turn.

    The only downside I can see is that after I get spoiled to them is that when I ride my other bikes I'll probably look like some old, forgetful codger riding down the road with my signals going, and going, and going.... :rofl


    :1drink
    #17
  18. FR700

    FR700 Banned

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    If you haven't worked it out , the two buttons are also your hazard light switch. Press both at once. To cancel , press both at once again. You can turn them on when the ignition is on and then turn off the key and they still function.

    Individual turn signal will cancel after a set distance or the bank angle sensor detects that the bike has returned to vertical after a turn.







    .
    #18
  19. Shooter1

    Shooter1 Been here awhile

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    2000 FXDX, my manual says that you push the sig button and release and the sig flashes for a set period of time and cancels itself due to time, or, after you make the turn the bank angle turns it off. If you want it to signal longer before it automatically shuts off, you depress and hold the button down for maybe 2 or three seconds, and it flashes longer before it quits, the longer you hold the button down before releasing, the longer it flashes before shutting off. If you are at a complete stop and depress the button and let up, the signal will flash forever until you make your turn or manually cancel it.

    I also ride an old KTM 620 dual sport ont he street and it has the sigs activated via one stalk on the left bar only. After owing the HD for a few months, I found myself forgetting sometimes to turn off the KTM sigs after turning. :lol3
    #19
  20. Randy

    Randy Long timer

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    So, it has a distance signal, AND a bank angle sensor too... I wondered if it might. I noticed that it seemed to have an uncanny ability to "know" when I had completed a turn, and then also "know" when I was sitting at a light waiting to make a turn.

    Of course there's no reason all this circuitry couldn't be used on a "traditional" single lever switch too. But, I'm just fine with it as is, personally.


    :1drink
    #20