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The wiring harness is one of the most unsightly parts of a motorcycle after you have started cleaning it up. The wiring harness can become discolored, broken connectors, and electrical tape is all over the place. It is also routed in a random order around the motorcycle.
These are the top five ways to hide your motorcycle wiring.
- Run black wire looms along the frame
- Install a lot more wires in your headlight bucket
- It can be attached between the frame rails beneath the seat
- You can add extra wire to route it around open areas.
- As part of the seat, create an electrical box hidden from view
I have tried all 5 of these methods personally on different motorcycle builds that I’ve done in the past. In the sections below I’ll walk you through how to do each one and tell you about my personal favorite methods, because some ways work better than others. However, the best approach is to combine the methods that work for you.
Use black wire looms that run along the frame
Every motorcycle I have restored, I paint its frame black to hide imperfections and conceal the black electrical wiring. Click here to read my article about how to paint a motorcycle’s frame. And when I say inside the frame I don’t literally mean in the center of the pipe (although that is possible but extremely difficult). I mean the outside of the pipe, not the side facing the middle of the motorcycle.
You should wrap all of your wiring in black wiring loom. This can be bought online or at any auto parts shop. Buy the smallest diameter loom that will barely fit all your wires inside it, you don’t want bulky loom that slides around. It can end up looking terrible after a while.
Once you have wrapped all your wiring harness with black loom, attach it to the frame with black zip ties. Put them in the most inconspicuous spots, but don’t put a zip tie in the middle of a stretch of frame, it will look bad. Zip tie on edges and corners that are out of the way where people don’t tend to look as much.
By running your wires along a frame, it makes it appear that there is no wiring harness if you look at the side view. If your seat and fuel tank are removed, this project can be completed in just a few hours.
Remember to wrap any unsightly connectors with black electrical tape. Connectors are the places where two sets wires attach together. When all of the electrical is black and looks brand new it’s really an eye sore to have a discolored connector in the middle of a stretch of wires. Wrap black electrical tape around them really tight so it doesn’t come loose over time and sag.
Put as Much As Possible in the Headlight Bucket
The best place to keep as much forward wiring harness in the bucket for headlights is there. Due to all the lights and controls on the hands, there are many electrical connectors. To clean up the triple clamp and front forks, a lot of these wires can easily be stuffed into the bucket.
To save space, I cut off any wires that still have the original black plastic sheath. Those black sheaths take up a lot of room and aren’t accomplishing much good since the wires are very protected inside the headlight bucket.
You can also move small electrical accessories, such as the turn signal flasher, into the headlight bucket. But a word of caution, don’t overfill the headlight compartment because as wires get smashed together there becomes an increasing chance that a ground and power wire could touch each other. Make sure that everything is properly wrapped.
I remember filling up the headlight bucket on one of my first motorcycles with a lot of wires. I then put the headlight back into the socket, tightened the screws at the sides, and turned on the key.
The headlight bucket was leaking smoke and it smelt horrible as soon I turned the key on. To inspect the damage, I turned the key off again and pulled out the headlight. Two small wires had become tangled and I needed to replace them all. Take care!
Tucked under The Seat
The motorcycle’s most troublesome part is the middle of the bike, near the stock battery location. There’s usually all these connectors, small electrical boxes, fuses, relays, etc. It’s a gigantic mess and It’s hard to know where to start. Start at the front and work your way back.
You can hide the wires in the center by wrapping everything in black tape or black loom. After it’s wrapped you can pack it up really tight in between the frame rails in the center of the bike, just below where the seat is. So from a side view you won’t be able to see the wires at all. But from a top view with the seat taken off you’ll be able to get to everything very easily.
This method is used on all my motorcycles. I use black zip ties to secure everything in a flat profile, then zip tie it to the frame rails. It is so clean looking from the side when you see through the triangle frame.
The wires should be tucked under your seat. There are usually two sections on the frame that extend from the seat down to the bottom section of the frame. These two frames can be used to conceal wires and you can connect them to your rear brake light switch or stator.
You can hide a lot of wiring in your seat, so use the bottom of your chair to pack as much as possible. I remember the time I finally got the triangle on my first motorcycle completely cleaned out and you couldn’t see any wires, it was an awesome feeling to know that I had done all of that myself.
Add Extra Lengths Of Wire
One frustrating thing that often happens when trying to route wires along the frame is sometimes one or two of the wires aren’t quite long enough to go where you want them to. It is easy to do and takes only a few minutes, if you have all the tools. Click here to view my recommended tools.
Before you cut the wires, take a photo of them. This will give you a record of how they look. Mark one wire if they are both the same color so that you can identify which one to connect after you have cut them.
After cutting them, you can add the length of wire needed by twisting the ends of copper wire together and then soldering. You can then cover the soldered connections with shrink wrap and shrink it using a hair dryer or other heat source. Wrap both wires in electrical tape or wire loom after they have been reconnected.
Now that the wires have been lengthened you can route them however you’d like. It’s important to keep those wires hidden from view.
This video series shows you how to fix up a motorcycle. The video series covers how to conceal wiring and includes detailed instructions to give you that clean look. In-depth instructions are also provided on how to repair carbs, do bodywork and fix electrical connections. Click here if you’re interested in building your dream motorcycle!
As A Part Of The Seat, Create An Electrical Box Concealed
This concealment method requires a lot of work. The wires must be lengthened and the box made from sheet metal must be fitted to your specific motorcycle. I have done this method once but I didn’t like the end result as much as the other methods I have mentioned previously.
For a concealed electric box, you will need to have thin gauge sheetmetal that is easily formed. You can also ask a friend who has a welding machine to help you. There are many options online and social media for mounting the box. You can mount it underneath the seat, or as the rear hump of a cafe-racer seat.
When creating an electrical box to conceal your wires, remember to make sure that the bottom is water-draining. At some point you’ll get water in there while washing the motorcycle or riding through rain and water can cause serious damage to both the wires as well as the box itself.
How can I hide my battery on my motorcycle? A majority of motorcycles allow for an AGM battery to be mounted on the side. If you want an even lower profile battery then consider an anti gravity lithium ion battery, but these smaller batteries won’t have the cranking life as larger batteries.