Jim's No Drill Ultra Low Cost Spotlight Mount
Are you really willing to fork over more than $100 for a light bar? If the thought gives you pause read on because Jim has come up with a very inexpensive and simple way to mount fog or spotlights on the 1500 (and perhaps some other models but not the 1600) Vulcan. And, as a bonus, you get to use a hammer! Take it away, Jim...
The brackets I made for my lights were designed so the light bulbs would be in line with the bulb on the headlight and the front of the lenses would line up with the lens on the headlight. In other words, if I change the lights and the new housings are different, I will have to make a new set of brackets if I want everything to line up as before. (Don't tell anybody, but the lights I used came from an agricultural supply store and were meant for use on tractors, combines, etc. Apparently Alberta farmers like to pimp their rides too!)
What You'll Need
2- Spotlights of your choice. Keep in mind there are different lenses and reflectors to serve different functions. The most basic are the fog light (with fluted lenses to disburse the beam. They typically have a short range and sharp cutoff. Spotlights. They usually have a clear or nearly clear lens and smooth reflector for a pencil like beam. Of course you can find colored lenses and hundreds of designs and sizes.
10+ inches of 1/8" aluminum stock 1 1/2" wide.
Optional, wire loom to hide and protect wire from spotlights to power source
Tools: Drill, soft face hammer, hacksaw, hex keys
How To Do It
First thing to do is buy the spotlights you want. Dimensions will differ according to the type of light and it's easier to measure if you have the lights in hand. If you are going to polish the aluminum bracket, it's easier to do before bending it. Keep in mind that very little of the bracket will be visible so it's not necessary to get carried away with buffing and polishing.
Several steps involve clamping, drilling or bashing aluminum. The material is very soft and easily scratched, so it's best to use wood in vice jaws, soft faced hammer, etc. Ready? Read through the following instructions and check out the photos first just so you know where you're going. Done? Ok, it's tool time!
- Remove headlight.
- Mark signal light wires with masking tape (L & R) for referrence when re-attaching and then disconnect the wires.
- Remove signal light bar. 1 bolt on each fork and 2 hex head bolts under steering head.
- Remove signal lights from bar. (The nuts are hidden under a weather resistant cap.)
- Re-attach the bar without signal lights. For now, only attach the hex bolts under the steering head. Finger tighten only.
- Use a strip of cardboard or thin plywood to create a template for the aluminum. Bolt the template to the signal light bar and mark the location for the holes to be drilled. The location of the holes will determine the angle of the bracket. (I used a plywood template with slots ( picture left) so I could adjust to the desired angle.) Make another template about 2x2" (square in photo left) with a slot in the middle for the light mount bolt. Mount the spotlight to this template and hold it perpendicular to the first template to get the desired location for the light. When the light is where you want it, use the base of the template with the light on it to mark a line on the first template with a felt marker This line will determine the height of the light and the angle of the base that the light will be bolted to. This base doesn't have to be horizontal. Mine came out at an angle that matches the signal light bar. Adjust the light in the second template to determine how far forward it will be mounted. Measurements taken with the first template can now be transferred to a clean sheet of paper (or plywood) to create the final work template (picture right).
- Remove the signal light bar.
- Cut your aluminum into two separate strips a little longer than demanded by the final template remembering the bend is going to eat up a little space. Clamp the two pieces of aluminum together so you only have to drill one set of holes. Using the first template, drill holes (starting with a small pilot hole) in the aluminum stock. Don't forget the smaller hole. It keeps the signal lights in place.
- Use a hacksaw to score along the felt marker line about 1/16" deep. This will make it easier to bend the aluminum in a straight line.
- Sandwich the aluminum (one piece at a time, you're making mirror copies) between two pieces of thin plywood and insert into a vice so that the scored line lines up with the jaws of the vice. Use a plastic hammer to tap a 90 degree bend at the score line.
- Using the second template, drill a hole on the top of the bracket you just made for the light bolt.
- Use a hacksaw to cut to desired shape. File, sand, polish, etc. as desired.
- Re-attach the signal lights to the signal light bar by passing the signal light bolt through the bracket and into the signal light bar. Make sure the small stud on the signal light base goes into the proper hole. Run the wires through the nut and the water resistant cap and tighten the nut. *OPTIONAL: You may want to make a rubber grommet (photo right) from an old bicycle inner tube to prevent the bracket from scatching the signal light bar.
- Re-attach the signal light bar (photo left) to the bike and hook up the signal light wires.
- Bolt the spotlights to the brackets (picture right). Be careful of the length of the bolts. It's possible they might be too long to secure the lights without interfering with the signal light stem. That was the case with my lights. The solution was simple: The hacksaw.
- Re-install headlight.
- Tidy up. This is obviously optional but if you're going to all the trouble to create a great looking spotlight mount you don't want a bunch of ugly wiring hanging out of the housings. Most auto supply stores carry a wire loom product that comes in various colors including -- chrome!
- Now that the spots are mounted you'll need to power them up. Check this Gadget page for simple instructions that'll protect the rest of your stock bike wiring.
- Aim your new spotlights. Instructions are posted on this Gadget page.
- Go ride!