Key Mods

Carry Your Bike's Theme In Your Pocket or Hide It In Plain Sight

If The Key Fits!

Thanks to Jax and Wes (TNKawboy) Head For These Two creative IdeasMost of us keep our ignition keys on some sort of fob or ring. It serves a purpose, a fob is easier to find in a pocket and you can usually hang a bunch of keys from it. But what about those who'd like to be a bit more creative? Well, check out these two creations from Jax and Wes Head. Jax decorated the top of his key while Wes did a nice job of camouflaging his. You can probably come up with a variation to match the theme of your bike.

The JAX Key

Normally I use my key on my main key ring to start the bike (VN1600) and then remove the keys and stick in my pocket but I been getting tired of digging in my pocket for my key to open the gas tank at fuel stops and then have my keys hang on the tank while refueling. So I had some spare keys made for the saddlebags (Leatherlykes) and for the ignition. I then modified them where I could leave them on the bike while riding and add a conversation piece but still take them with me when we got off to go in somewhere.

What You'll Need

  • 1 (or more) spare keys
  • Something that reflects your bikes theme (Jax used dice)
  • Epoxy glue

How To Make It

  1. Lock your new key in a vice (or use Vice Grips or a C-clamp to clamp it to a table) and shave down the large end using a file or Dremel tool. How and how far will depend on the ornament you're attaching to your key.
  2. For the 'dice' mod shown use a drill to put a hole in the di then use a Dremel or other suitable tool to elongate the hole.
  3. Test fit your key and theme part. Use JB Weld or other Epoxy type glue, fill the hole (or notch or whatever worked for your situation) you've just made then insert your newly modified key.

A tip: If you have multiple keys (maybe one for your bags another for a trunk another for ignition etc, use a different colored decoration for each.

jaxkey2.jpg (77262 bytes)
jaxkeyskull.jpg (19930 bytes)
jaxkeyskull2.jpg (33875 bytes)

Wes' Hidden Key

My goal was to be able to leave my key in the bike, but not make it look like the key was in the bike. The result is shown in the photo at the right.

What You'll Need

  • Spare ignition key
  • Extra chrome end cap from stock Vulcan grips
  • Epoxy glue

How To Make It

First, I had a spare key made. We have a great locksmith shop in town that can make most any kind of key. They made me one for about $5. Much cheaper than getting one from Kawasaki, or even just getting a blank from them.

I put the new key in the ignition so I could know how far it in it goes then pulled it out and put tape on the part that had been in the ignition for a reference point. Next I used a bolt cutter (a Dremel tool or hacksaw would work) to snip off the big part of the key, leaving just the stem, with enough left over for the next step.

weskey2.jpg (41251 bytes)
Since I had installed Kuryakyn grips I had the chrome end cap from the stock left grip. I filled the inner portion with two part epoxy and put the remaining "top" of the key in it and here is what I got:To keep the key as straight as possible, I put it in a vise right side up. I put a slit in a thin piece of cardboard and slipped it over the key so the epoxy wouldn't drip down where I didn't want it. Then I put the chrome cap on top of the key. I didn't get it as centered as I had hoped, but I don't think anyone will notice.

The epoxy I used sets in 4 minutes, and is fully cured in 12 hours. After 1 hour, I could use the key just fine. The result is kind of like having a thunder ignition in that I can just leave that key in it if I want to chance it, hoping no one dishonest will catch on. And, even better than the Thunder ignition, I've always got a way to open my gas tank and/or saddle bags whenever I'm riding, even if I forget my "normal" key.

Oh, and if I want to totally secure the bike, I'll just lock this "big" key in my saddle bag, so I don't have to try to keep it in my pocket.

Addendum, a tip provided by Steve Ebert:

Use a little bit of "Plasti-Tak"

plasti-tak.jpg (14963 bytes)
a re-usable plastic adhesive that's a sort of putty to hold the key in exactly the position you want it then pour in the epoxy. Plasti-Tak is available at most stationery stores oronline.

Here's another twist on Wes' hidden key mod:

Exactly the same as shown above except the ignition switch has been relocated to a horn cover on the left side. Instructions are here.

hide_key_ba.jpg (114990 bytes)
If you can't find grip ends there are plenty of other ways to decorate the key. Like? At right is pretty much the same as above except I used a chrome bathroom faucet. Just use a Dremel cutting wheel (or hacksaw) to cut the top off the faucet knob, shove the key in what used to be the 'bottom ' of the knob and fasten in place with JB Weld or your choice of glue. Finally, add whatever decoration you want to the center

Share It

Be the first to comment