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Old August 16th, 2021, 07:13 AM   #1
thedrewski86
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fixing up my Dad's old Ninja

A Ninja I built for my Dad several years ago came back to me over the weekend. He was through riding something with a clutch (he still gets around on a scooter... he's 78yo though so I'm not judging ). It's been started up and run here and there over the last year but he really hasn't had time to rip on it in a bit. I guess that's my job.

So here it is as it rolled into the garage Friday afternoon:


And with some new Michelin City Grips ready to mount:
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Old August 16th, 2021, 07:24 AM   #2
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Fresh rubber mounted up:


I'm a sucker for reverse shift pattern. My SV is set up this way and I like consistency.


The old grips were making the throttle sticky so I found an old pair of Renthals in a box of spares. It's on the money now.


I pulled the carbs yesterday as it was hanging on the idle. They were pretty varnishy so a blowout was in order. It's running a lot better but one more go-through should have it dialed. I may get to it tonight after work.
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Old August 16th, 2021, 07:29 AM   #3
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It's not a perfect specimen, but I sure do like working on it. It's been years since I took one of these first-gens apart but there was a lot of muscle memory involved. They're just great machines.

Here's it's "good" side:
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Old August 16th, 2021, 08:50 AM   #4
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I'm a sucker for reverse shift pattern. My SV is set up this way and I like consistency.
I reverse the shift pattern on every motorcycle I buy. When I was 20 I found that when street racing my H2 it was easy to miss a gear in the heat of the moment. I thought that stepping down to shift made more sense so I made a new shift lever and tried it. I immediately liked it, and have stuck to it ever since. Most are pretty easy, but my 1989 Moto Guzzi Mille GT was a pain. I had to make a bunch of parts, but it was worth it. I put the stock parts back on when I sold it, so if anyone wants to reverse the pattern on a Tonti frame Guzzi, I'm the guy to talk to.
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Old August 16th, 2021, 09:53 AM   #5
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I reverse the shift pattern on every motorcycle I buy. When I was 20 I found that when street racing my H2 it was easy to miss a gear in the heat of the moment. I thought that stepping down to shift made more sense so I made a new shift lever and tried it. I immediately liked it, and have stuck to it ever since. Most are pretty easy, but my 1989 Moto Guzzi Mille GT was a pain. I had to make a bunch of parts, but it was worth it. I put the stock parts back on when I sold it, so if anyone wants to reverse the pattern on a Tonti frame Guzzi, I'm the guy to talk to.
I hear you on that, it's the best pattern once you get used to it. It also makes the bike incredibly frustrating for would-be thieves.

I had a BMW k1200 that I didn't even attempt to reverse the shifting on. It had so many over-engineered parts making its way to that agricultural transmission I figured it was easier to reverse my mental shift pattern rather than mess with it. It was probably similar to your old Guzzi.
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Old August 16th, 2021, 10:01 AM   #6
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I had a BMW k1200 that I didn't even attempt to reverse the shifting on. It had so many over-engineered parts making its way to that agricultural transmission I figured it was easier to reverse my mental shift pattern rather than mess with it. It was probably similar to your old Guzzi.
I had to make the lever and the black bracket it was mounted to and buy a different lever for the transmission shaft. With that transmission, getting into 3rd gear took a little more lever travel than the others, and it was easy to miss that one. Reversing the pattern really helped. I sold the Guzzi when I decided I was done with 500+ lb. motorcycles, and replaced it with a Yamaha MT-07 that weighs right around 400 lbs.
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Old August 16th, 2021, 10:30 AM   #7
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Yup, that's what I would have had to rig up on the BMW. I was done with heavy bikes too, especially when I had a nice SV sitting right next to it. Yamaha's 700 is so nice, I would be sorely tempted if I didn't have the Suzuki.
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Old August 16th, 2021, 11:58 AM   #8
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A Ninja I built for my Dad several years ago came back to me over the weekend. He was through riding something with a clutch (he still gets around on a scooter... he's 78yo though so I'm not judging ). It's been started up and run here and there over the last year but he really hasn't had time to rip on it in a bit. I guess that's my job.

So here it is as it rolled into the garage Friday afternoon:


And with some new Michelin City Grips ready to mount:
A Ninjette and an SV! Perfect garage!
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Old August 16th, 2021, 12:28 PM   #9
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Let us know what you think of the Michelin City Grips.

I've got another cycle with 16s that could use something better than what's on it now.

I know you from SVRider.


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Old August 16th, 2021, 12:36 PM   #10
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Sup Jay! I recognized the bike in your profile pic The City Grips came on recommendation from another ninjette forum member here who actually opted for a narrower 120 rear. I really liked the sound of that so I did the same. 16s are hard to come by in any kind of quality, these really look nice. I'll report back when I get the carbs dialed in and I can stretch its legs.

Topaz, I agree. It's hard to improve on the SV, and I believe this little 250 will be a good pairing.
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Old August 23rd, 2021, 10:34 AM   #11
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I'm waiting on a couple of parts to arrive in the mail, so here are my current questions:

How does one go about replacing the brass fuel line fitting on this carb? The plastic part broke off before I got it and a 1/4" fuel line was shoved on and held with a hose clamp. This *shockingly* leaked, so I order part number 1003-0257 from Drag Specialties. It looks much better, but I wonder how the installation will go once it arrives. I'm pretty sure I can twist the old one out with a bench vice or vice grips. Should I install the new one by rigging up a way to press it in? Or square it up and tap it in with a soft brass hammer?


Question two, anybody have an extra rubber tank grommet to hold the side fairing on with? This bugs me:
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Old August 23rd, 2021, 10:58 AM   #12
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Partzilla lists the grommets, part 92071 for $4.45 each, and says they're in stock. They're in the "Side Covers/Chain Cover" section.
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Old September 1st, 2021, 08:39 AM   #13
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I got the 250 out for a successful test run last night. It idles very steadily around 1300rpm and rips nice and smooth up to 10k or so. I was in the neighborhood so I was trying to keep the noise level civilized... these yoshi pipes are way too loud. I'm taking it out for a go in my local canyon route this Friday morning so it will be interesting to see how it handles redline. I'll just be sure to wear my earplugs.

My first observation was that the front springs seem to be the weakest link in the chain. The brakes are great, but they cause a lot of nose-dive when applied so Race Tech is getting some of my money before Spiegler and EBC! One piece at a time... I can't wait until this feels like it's on rails. I know it will do well, it just needs a little love.

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Old September 1st, 2021, 08:56 AM   #14
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In the meantime you might try adding some fork oil.
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Old September 1st, 2021, 09:15 AM   #15
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Good point Jim, or at least checking to see that the level is in spec. I can do that tonight or tomorrow, maybe that'll keep me from tucking it Friday
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Old September 1st, 2021, 09:35 AM   #16
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You can go higher than spec. From the wiki:

"Start with 200mm of fork oil level. Try to bottom with hard braking, hitting sharp bumps, and cornering hard. If you don't bottom, it's not a worry. If you bottom the forks, add 10ml to each leg and try again (or measure 5mm more oil; it should be close to the same). Keep doing this until you bottom on intentional maneuvers, but don't often bottom in daily riding. The goal is to use as much of the suspension travel as possible, as much of the time as possible. If you don't bottom out though, or even get close... then there's too much oil. "
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Old September 1st, 2021, 09:39 AM   #17
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Nice, I will probably be able to fix a little bit of this front-end frailty with some oil. @Topaz How are those new springs treating you? Good rate?
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Old September 1st, 2021, 03:38 PM   #18
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Nice, I will probably be able to fix a little bit of this front-end frailty with some oil. @Topaz How are those new springs treating you? Good rate?
I'm happy with them. I installed Sonic springs.

Sonic springs are supposed to be a bit cheaper than Race Tech ($120 shipped vs $150 shipped). But someone on the N300 forum had found a deal and got the Race Tech springs for $110 shipped. I guess he found that on eBay, new stuff, not used. So check ebay before buying directly from Race Tech.

I put about 300 mls with the new springs, half street half track.

It feels very nice compared to stocks. Much more solid and got a better feeling on the front brake. I tried several hard brakes on the street and I was able to modulate more the braking to the point of making the front tire screech (my bike is non ABS and I have a CBR600 Nissin front caliper)

At the track it feels more precise entering the turn. With the softer springs and lighter oil it would move more. It gives me more confidence.

The .8 kg/mm springs give me 10mm of static sag and 10mm more when I get on the bike. After the hard braking I tried, the zip ties on the forks showed me 90mm of total travel, so it's leaving me 30mm of unused fork travel. There's no way I'll bottom out these springs. Maybe .75 km/mm would have been better. I weight 155lbs without gear.
Also, I may have left too much preload, as I'm only getting 20mm (actually a bit less) when I sit on the bike. I may pull the spacers out and cut them out a bit more.
And very probably install the valve emulators or initiminators as @InvisiBill suggested to me.
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Old September 1st, 2021, 03:47 PM   #19
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Perfect, sounds like they did the job for you. The numbers put me at a .85kg/mm so I think I'll stick with that. What oil are you currently running?
I can vouch for the cartridge emulator upgrade, whether it be via emulators or initiminators. It's a definite upgrade from damper rods.
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Old September 1st, 2021, 11:17 PM   #20
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The .8 kg/mm springs give me 10mm of static sag and 10mm more when I get on the bike. After the hard braking I tried, the zip ties on the forks showed me 90mm of total travel, so it's leaving me 30mm of unused fork travel. There's no way I'll bottom out these springs. Maybe .75 km/mm would have been better. I weight 155lbs without gear.
Also, I may have left too much preload, as I'm only getting 20mm (actually a bit less) when I sit on the bike. I may pull the spacers out and cut them out a bit more.
And very probably install the valve emulators or initiminators as @InvisiBill suggested to me.
yeah, slightly less preload. Also give yourself some travel in reserve. There's actually instances where you can load it more than your tests. Such as going around a corner and then suddenly braking to avoid an obstacle, like deer in road. Then hitting a bump while braking & cornering. Definitely don't want to bottom forks when hitting bump, it'll wash out front-end and crash.
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Old September 2nd, 2021, 06:30 AM   #21
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...
What oil are you currently running?
...
I used Maxima 10wt.
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Old November 1st, 2021, 08:19 AM   #22
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The 250 was finally ready for its second "maiden voyage" after I discovered it had a low charge condition. New charging system in place, I felt like it was good to test out on my local canyon route. It's about a 90 mile loop by the house that involves lots of twisty, technical, and potholed hillclimbs. I have been riding it for years now on my SV, but my riding buddy just got a Kawasaki 300SM which inspired me to ship this little 250 out here to Cali. After getting one really good ride in this past Friday, I can say it's my new favorite rig for this road. Stock gearing is great, 3rd through 5th works great and most can be done in 4th. So long as I can keep the rpms around 9k it pulls fantastically.

The suspension has proven to need all the upgrades. After my ride Friday I confirmed that everything will bottom out on this road and damping is slow, especially on the rear. When I got home, a new used shock from a Ninja 300 was sitting on my step so I fitted that up yesterday. New fork springs should be here this week, along with some sintered front pads to replace the paper-thin ones I have been running so far.

The big discovery after Friday's shakedown was a broken front fairing stay. By the end of the ride my front fairing was basically hinging due to this and shaking itself apart.



I'll weld this up so I can properly mount the fairing, but it got me thinking about what I want to use this bike for. I don't like how heavy the factory sealed beam is, and the front fairing has been through the ringer in its rough life. I like keeping things stock, but I'm going to run this as a naked for awhile. The weight loss will be good for where I ride, and it's not really an environment where I will make much use of the fairings wind protection. I did some thinking on a minimal mounting option for the gauges (I'll post pics when I get this worked out) and I plan to just run a cheapo ebay headlight to stay legal. I don't ride at night, so I'm not too concerned about quality there, keeping the front end light is my main concern. So she's sitting about like this now:



I think the suspension upgrades and lack of moving/falling off parts will improve the next test ride. Engine and trans-wise I was pretty happy though: it goes, it stops. It kinda turns, and it holds a line in a corner well. Carbs could idle better so I'll probably pull them again, but I'm nit-picking there. I like the idle at 1500 and it's about 1700 to keep it smooth. I would rather find a set of 32mm carbs to replace these with anyway.
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Old November 1st, 2021, 09:14 AM   #23
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Good to see a bike brought back onto the road and happy again.
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Old January 7th, 2022, 07:15 PM   #24
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Got the 250 out today; not a full run but a good rip around the the area here. I got my carbs back clean as can be from Gordon; he did a professional job and was too quick for me had to let them sit until I had time for a ride! I put two gallons of fresh 87 and Sta-bil in the tank, choke on, crank and ran good. Let it warm up, went around the block, chased down a couple weird noises here and there. Seemed good. Did some other stuff around the house and let it cool down, fired up again and took a longer ride, it pulled great to redline and seems stronger after the deep clean and the valve adjustment I did a few weeks back.
Overall I don't have much left to do. Better mirrors should arrive this weekend, and I splurged just a bit on a Trailtech digi gauge. The mount I made for the factory cluster is fine, but I get a bit of wind noise funk off all that plastic hanging out there. I clutters up the space in front.
Hopefully I can hit the canyons on the next warm day.

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Old January 9th, 2022, 12:27 AM   #25
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Hay guys.... I'm wondering WHY you wanted to take the "Dive" out of the front forks when breaking because that brings the geometry into a better cornering angle if I understand it correctly and i found that really makes my little Ninja corner really good just by adding a little brake on the front wheel going into a corner..... if the dive is excessive I can understand wanting to calm that down
no one likes a bike that dives excessively when the front brake is applied but
if I apply just a tiny amount of front brake when entering the corner the bike does the rest all by itself i have also found that i don't even need to do the brake at all just lean a bit more forward and it does that ....
am I missing something somewhere ?
Bob......
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Old January 9th, 2022, 06:54 AM   #26
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Which Trailtech unit did you get, Drew? How do you like it?
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Old January 9th, 2022, 03:26 PM   #27
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Excessive dive is what I'm eliminating, and the springs did that. Now I'm not hitting the bump stops just riding around the neighborhood.
I got the Vapor gauge for the '99-'19 sv650 per recommendation here on the site. I'll check the part no. Tach is still on the fritz but everything else seems to be working. I'll figure out what's up with my strange ability to hit 17k rpms
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Old January 9th, 2022, 03:43 PM   #28
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I'll figure out what's up with my strange ability to hit 17k rpms
I'll await your post. At some point I'll replace my stock instruments.
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Old January 9th, 2022, 03:54 PM   #29
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It's a slick piece. Very light. Gotta sort the tach out, I know I'm not hitting 14k gently cracking the throttle here:
https://youtube.com/shorts/V3dDvCtMAnw?feature=share
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Old January 9th, 2022, 04:06 PM   #30
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It's a slick piece. Very light. Gotta sort the tach out, I know I'm not hitting 14k gently cracking the throttle here:
https://youtube.com/shorts/V3dDvCtMAnw?feature=share
It seems to think you have one spark for two revolutions, or something like that. Set it for one spark/rev and see what happens.
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Old January 9th, 2022, 05:36 PM   #31
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Yah those speedos have a bunch of settings it may take a day or two to figure out the right settings for your Ninja( what ever you do don't loose the instructions !)
.... sounds good though ! i think I like that necked look !
.... Bob.....
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Old January 9th, 2022, 06:40 PM   #32
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Well TJ, that did the trick. The computer has a PPR variable with the options 0.5, 1, & 2. 2 seems to be what I need; it's working fine now. The bike also idles great now that @ducatiman has been through the carbs. No complaints there whatsoever!
Bob, I dig the naked look on this too, although I am conflicted. I have always preferred stock/factory full fairings on my bikes. The pre-gen is pretty iconic with the dated skins and this bike has history between me, my Dad, friends back in Chicago etc. (the paint is even Bears colors!), but it's just so easy set up like this. If I brake anything in the canyons, I just get a replacement on ebay. I'm pretty sure the fairing will just be garage art for now.
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Old January 9th, 2022, 07:37 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by thedrewski86 View Post
Bob, I dig the naked look on this too, although I am conflicted.

You know which side of the fence I'm on. And I'm glad you fixed the tach.
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Old January 9th, 2022, 07:39 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedrewski86 View Post
The bike also idles great now that @ducatiman has been through the carbs. No complaints there whatsoever!
I dunno, must have gotten lucky...yeah, sure thats it. We got lucky on that idle thing, LOL.
Seriously, special attention to detail pays off every time, fo' sure!
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Old January 9th, 2022, 07:53 PM   #35
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I was looking at one of the pictures I took of my TT250 ...thinking of a headlight for you and that one on the TT250 sports a small faring of sorts
it's LED and really reasonable in size to match the front end of the bike
I think it would look really good on a ninja !
Bob...
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Old January 9th, 2022, 08:05 PM   #36
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i've tried to fix that image twice and I'm tired of messing with it....
i need a better photo manipulator as paint 3d just isn't very good
anyway they sell the headlight and associated parts separately in the OEM parts section if your interested CSC carries almost all parts in stock at all times.
...if your interested.... I think that headlight would look great on a bare bones Ninja ...a heck of alot better than it does on a dirt bike LOL
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Old January 10th, 2022, 08:17 AM   #37
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Here is what came in the box from Trail Tech:



Wheel speed sensor(s)





I just JB Welded the magnet onto the rotor



The coolant temp sensor threads right into the existing location on the bike



Power is wired to a 12v always-on circuit (direct to battery), but the gauge goes to sleep like this:



I have some wiring to tidy up here.



When you roll the front wheel, the backlight comes on:

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Old January 10th, 2022, 08:27 AM   #38
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Here is what the Vapor lacks:
oil psi idiot light
neutral light
voltmeter
Here is what it could use (but not essential)
turn signal indicator
high beam indicator (I really don't mind that not being there)

I plan to wire up a simple neutral light asap, along with an oil light. I found some cheap ones on ebay that should be straightforward. I plan to install a digital voltmeter as I have on my Suzuki as well. I think I'll live w/o turn signal indicators.
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Old January 10th, 2022, 08:47 AM   #39
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Has anyone used these? They seem simple and low profile:
Neutral light
Oil light
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Old January 10th, 2022, 11:07 AM   #40
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You can also get add-on indicator-lights for Vapour gauge.
https://www.trailtech.net/en-us/shop...icator-lights/
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