FZ6 “Naked Conversion”

After being tempted for a very long time, I’ve finally decided to pull the trigger on naked conversion of my FZ6, and over the course of a few days of my vacation, I was able to complete it designating only a couple of hours a day.


Parts List:

– MT03 headlight bought on ebay with cheapo brackets

– Speedometer bracket made by a fellow 600riders.com member Puttin Along

– Speedometer cover bought on ebay

– Bracket extension and turn signal holder that I made out of aluminum

– Rizoma Dynamic mirrors + Rizoma mirror adapter from motostrano.com

– Black Emgo Universal mirror mount from Amazon

– Set of electrical connectors matching my bike’s from corsa-technic.com

– 2 pairs of cylindrical spacers

– Button-head socket cap M6 screws: 2x30mm, 4x20mm, 4x15mm with washers, lock washers and nuts



I’ve ordered the headlight from ebay, and it was delivered within 6 days (including a weekend in between).

The headlight is LSL MT-03 headlight. I opted for this particular item because I couldn’t justify spending $400+ on the same headlight with higher quality brackets sold by moto-madness. If I could – I’d definitely do it.

The kit comes with 2 brackets, 2 43mm fork clamps and 6 button head socket cap screws:

MT03 ebay kit

The brackets are relatively cheap, bear traces of fabrication, but seem to be sturdy enough:

brackets and screws back of brackets brackets, screws and clamps

My guess is that intention here was for these brackets to “hug” the headlight (horizontal distance between upper attachment points is greater than between lower points), but since I already had to buy spacers to have brackets aligned with forks, I chose sizes that allowed brackets to stay straight. The sizing is of by a few millimeters (I got 1/2 inch and 1 inch), but it’s much better, in my opinion, than what it would be otherwise. Because of the spacers, I had to buy longer screws.

Yes, they are from Home Depot. No, these are the only parts I got there, and only because I was at HD for another project.


Here is the resulting look with spacers highlighted:

spacers installed

The next on “to fix” list is screws that came with clamps – replaced them with the stainless steel ones that I now had as spares:

clamp bolts

Next comes, the most labor-intensive part, at least for my version of installation. As I mentioned above, if brackets are attached to the clamps, the only way to install the headlight on fz6 is much further down the fork so that the headlight “clears” the ignition lock cylinder. This would also mean moving the horn elsewhere (now, I am going to replace it with something a little louder, but that’s in the future). Instead, I decided to fabricate my own spacers out of aluminum (Yes, it’s from Home Depot, no, it’s not a part, so I wasn’t lying when I said that spacers were the only parts I bought there).

I scientifically guesstimated (by holding the headlight with bracket next to the forks and measuring) that I needed about 3 cm of space between the center of clamp bolt and the hole in the brackets, but I also wanted to mount my turn signals somewhere, so the total offset is 39mm. I chose two attachment points on bracket so that it keeps the angle constant. The other end is wide enough and square, so it sits against the clamp and doesn’t rotate even with vibrations.

First, I’ve put together cardboard mock-ups that would let me judge the angle and distance:


cardboard upclose

That looked like a decent fit, so I went ahead with aluminum. No CNC machine for me, so good-old fashion hand tools. In process, I learned that Dremel 400 is NOT the right tool of choice for cutting aluminum – I was faster with a hand saw. Somebody more used to work with tools would probably know that, but I didn’t:




With extension done, it was time to figure out electrical. I chose the more difficult way – I planned for making changes reversible, so I wanted to make a shorter replacement for the harness, rather than cutting the harness or the wires on the bike. I decided not to use the original harness and re-route wires, as I didn’t find enough space inside the frame to fit two connectors. I had ordered the connectors from corsa-technic.com (I found out about it from 600riders.com, just like tons of other useful info) and went to re-create the harness.



No major issues, the only thing that was difficult was having to deal with only 4 colors of wires (red, black, green, blue), and not wider variety – in retrospect, I should’ve ordered additional colors – I had to use black permanent marker for stripes (not sure if it will withstand the test of time) and documenting the new harness took a while. Here is what it looks like now, but I’ll be making a more official version in Visio, because in 2 weeks I won’t be able to decypher what I wrote there.


After some thorough testing side-by-side with the original harness and wiring schema, I wrapped it all up in lots and lots of insulation tape.


Well, this one was the easiest, by far. Fellow 600riders.com forum member Puttin Along started puttin together (see what I did there?) brackets for S1 speedo, so I ordered one. It came by mail in 3 days, and it fit perfectly:

Here is the bracket:


And here it’s installed:


The back cover came from ebay – I only had to remove the bottom piece to install. Here is what it all looks like assembled:


And here is the look from above:




I really want to like them – these are Rizoma Dynamic mirrors, afterall – fantastic finish, great design, stylish, but… what am I supposed to see in them? I think these are one step too far in the wrong direction on style-function continuum. That’s just me, but I need to see a bit more of what’s behind me. I’ll ride with them for a few days, but I think I’m going for a different model.

So, here is the after:






Skully Helmets – Motorcycle Helmets with Android-based HUD display

This is one of those “Must. Get. One.” moments. Skully Helmets decided to implement what many only dreamed of – HUD display in a motorcycle helmet. Better, yet it’s Android-enabled device and they are releasing an API so that developers can add programs to the platform. I don’t know how yet, but I am definitely getting one of these.

They are currently accepting applications for beta-testers.

HID lights “out”

Last Monday, while riding from train station around 7 pm, I got a strange feeling that something was “off”. The brakes worked, the bike handled well, but something was “off”. Only when I made it home and pulled the bike backwards into it’s spot on the parking lot, did I realize that my HID lights were off. I tried restarting the bike, checked the fuses and tried couple of the connectors that I was able to easily access without taking the fairing off to no avail. The “angel eyes” would not turn on either.

During the week I did not have time to take the fairing apart to inspect the wiring and try to figure out what happened. On Saturday morning, as I was preparing my tools to go downstairs to troubleshoot the lights, my one-and-only told me that my “blue lights” look like they are on. Now, this made me scratch my head – while technically, the angel-eyes had separate power feed, and me probably leaving the switch “on” accidentally, it’s a little strange for the lights to just come on. I went downstairs, and, indeed, saw the “angel eyes” on. I turned them off and tried to start the bike. Sure enough, they must have worked for a while because the battery was almost drained.

When I finally started the bike (it’s nice to live on top of a hill), the HID lights did not come on, and nor did the “angel eyes”. After running the bike for a while and letting the battery charge, I took the entire front fairing off and inspected the wiring, disconnecting and re-connecting the wires, and doing what I should’ve done when I put all that wiring together – drawing a schema of new wiring I put in place when upgrading to HIDs. Here are the findings:

  1. Connectors on the kit are not very good – I found water in one of the connectors (hi/low servo feed). Also, as I found out after putting the whole fairing back together, the other connector would break the connection when i moved it. Replacing connectors with something more solid is definitely on the winter “todo” list.
  2. “HID Wiring Harness Controller” unit (the controller that i mounted on the right hand side of the fairing performs “hi/low” switching w/o a problem and clicks when i feed the power to the main power input.
  3. Shielding on H4 connector (which I bought from AutoZone to combine hi and low feeds from FZ6 stock H4/H7 configuration) dried out and fell apart completely.

After brief checking and visual inspection, I put the fairing back on the bike and decided to call it a day – to be honest I became very frustrated with the fact that not having headlights will prevent me from riding these last beautiful days of the season.


Even though the controller unit “clicks”, given that probability of both ballasts going out at once is somewhat low, I suspect that controller unit is to blame. I’ve ordered a similarly-looking control unit but it will take a few weeks to come from China – if I can fix this for $13, it’s worth it.

Overall, looks like moisture is getting into the connectors, and possibly could get into the controller unit. This is not good news. I’ll have do a more thorough testing of the controller and see if it still passes the power to the ballasts.

On a more grand scale, given the findings, I am thinking more and more whether it’s worth going to a more expensive (and higher performance kit). At the end of the day, you get exactly what you pay for, and lighting on motorcycle is extremely important. If i cannot “shape up” this kit by replacing the connectors and control unit more weather sealed, I may go for something from this place.

Additionally, this makes me wonder whether or not I need auxiliary lights which would serve as enhancement and backup for the main HID lights. As powerful as HID lights are, they are a relatively new technology and their operation involves multiple devices which adds multiple points of failure. I believe having an “old-school” regular light-bulb lights as a backup. My concern is – where to mount them and how – after a brief search and getting a quick list of possible solutions from PIAA and Hella, on average, the lights are about 4-6 inches in width, and FZ-6’s mounting points for aux lights are limited.


Givi 3-Case Locks replacement

Last year, when I bought my “MiG”, one of the very first purchases I made was the Givi Monokey V46 topcase to address my storage needs for commuting. The case fits my helmet and jacket, but when touring I found myself wanting some additional room for my stuff. This is why in the beginning of this season I also purchased Givi N21 sidecases. I don’t carry them often, but when I do, I end up carrying two identical-looking keys for my luggage, which sometimes causes confusion.

As it happens,  Givi sells a 3-case lock set with 6(!) Keys included. It’s only about $20, so I eventually pulled the trigger and got the keys shipped to me by Twisted Throttle.

The locks look almost identical to the ones installed in sidecases – the only exception is that the weather cover on the key hole is red in color as opposed to the usual chrome of the original locks. I had no problem replacing the locks: open the case, remove the retaining rig from the inside of the lock, replace the lock, and replace the retaining ring (the lock set comes with 3 retaining rings, in case if you lose the one you just removed)

The topcase turned out to be a little more difficult. The topcase lock is about 13.5 mm in diameter, while sidecase lock is about 12.4.

Luckily, a sidecases lock can still be used inside in topcase ( it wouldn’t work the other way), but it introduces some “play” and makes the lock feel less solid.

Additionally the base of the lock cylinder (near the key side) has a different pattern of protrusions ( they serve as stops for the cylinder when it rotates) which makes it so that the sidecase lock cannot be fully set in place which, in turn, translates in the cylinder not coming out enough on the other side of the lock assembly. This means that the face of the rotating latch had to have about 0.5 – 0.8 mm filed off before I could put the retaining ring back in its place.

Overall, I am glad I was able to fix the incompatibility of the new locks with the topcase, bit it would be nicer if the 3-case lock set came with compatible locks.

Faulty Logic of Argument for Banning Motorcycles

Here is an interesting piece of opinion about motorcycles. In short, there are more fatalities among motorcyclists than among car drivers, therefore, we need to ban motorcycles altogether.

On June 13th, Hugh Curran published a post in a column of Sun Sentinel where he stated his opinion that motorcycles should be banned. The main reasoning is that motorcycling causes deaths which places significant costs on the society. The statistics Mr. Curran employs is number of fatalities per number of drivers, which is significantly higher for motorcycles than for regular cars. Additionally, Mr. Curran cites that motorcycles present environmental problem polluting the environment.

Aside from the fact that Mr. Curran’s close friends and relatives had motorcycle accidents, which I am sure had affected his opinion (and I am very sorry to hear about the accidents and wholeheartedly wish they recover), I cannot help but wonder why Mr. Curran’s proposed solution is to ban motorcycles altogether.

  1. Motorcycles do have higher fatality rates, as statistics shows, but laying the blame on motorcycles and/or motorcyclists is like blaming ALL of the car vs tractor trailer accidents on cars and their drivers. Car has lesser weight, sits lower, placing driver and occupants at higher risk. Following the same logic, we should, well, ban the cars, and leave highways to trucks only.
  2. Next, Mr Curran wonders how is it that car models that cause similar rates of fatalities would be pulled off the market while motorcycles are allowed on the roads. A car model that causes similar rates of accidents has a mechanical/design issue that causes the accidents. There is nothing wrong with motorcycles themselves – these machines are generally in fine mechanical form, aside from an occasional “squid”, who cuts wholes in his frame to lighten his crotch rocket, an action that causes hair to stand up on the backs of the rest of motorcycle community.
  3. Then, Mr. Curran cites costs to the society, assuming, but what is interesting, is there are no comparative costs for accidents caused by cars or any other mode of transportation. How about other causes of fatalities, for example, smoking? Or obesity?
  4. Additionally, Mr. Curran cites that driving is a privilege and not a right, a statement I absolutely agree with, but the author here derives a conclusion that it’s time to revoke that right from the motorcyclists. In doing so, Mr. Curran makes a blank, across-the-board underlying assumption that motorcyclists are irresponsible bunch, and therefore should be revoked the right of driving on the roads. Now, I understand that there are no statistics about “squids” vs responsible motorcyclists (maybe we could keep track of how many people riding in flip-flops and tank tops get into accidents vs. fully equipped motorcyclists that invested in gear and followed ATTGAT principle), but there are also a few “squids” that wear full racing gear, just to make themselves look cool.

In the follow-up post dated June 27th, Mr. Curran goes on to “address some of the more-colorful(sic) e-mails before sealing up my argument”, and at this point diverts onto his living situation, his body type, restates the “privilege vs right” phrase again without any meaningful conclusion being drawn from that and (finally) goes on to addressing the “well, then let’s ban the cars” reaction. In the author’s opinion, motorcycling is a hobby, a form of entertainment, and is not suited for roads, which were meant to be for “transportation, commerce, and national defense”. Here, Mr. Curran ignores people who commute to work on motorcycles (I’m not going to get into discussion that in some countries motorcycles are THE primary mean of transportation), or for business. I am riding my motorcycle for part of my daily commute. I am also a part-time real estate agent, and when I do not have to drive around clients, I find it easier (conditions permitting), to ride a motorcycle, which saves me money on gas, maintenance, and, sometimes parking, affecting my bottom line (clear example of commerce), improving my margins and thereby affecting the amount of taxes I pay which goes toward maintenance of those very roads.

And then, there is “so off to the track they go”. Here the author assumes that all motorcycles are made for racing and sport riding. The fallacy of this assumption is self-evident – just few words to google: “Goldwing” and “R-1200GS”

The post (i keep on typing “article”, and i keep correcting, as this post, in my opinion does not stand up to higher expectations of quality) then goes on to warn us, motorcyclists of groups of “widows or grieving mothers a la Mothers Against Drunk Drivers(sic)” who will “challenge your hobby”, and recommends us that we get fatality rates down and become champions of safety. Mr. Curran also suggests that we form a powerful lobby group similar to NRA. I don’t know where to start here. Firstly, Mr. Curran is clearly unaware of Motorcycle Safety Foundation which provides safety courses that I wish not only every motorcyclist, but also car driver took. I do not remember learning in driving course to pay attention of the wheels of the car in the left lane of the oncoming side as I approach intersection. Nor do I remember learning about the wind buffeting around 18-wheelers which affects cars as well as motorcyclists. I do know that i learned about it when i took MSF course. As far as association, once again, Mr. Curran shows that he has not done any research – all he needed to do is google “motorcycle association” which would lead him to AMA’s site.

The follow up post (darn it, typed “article” again!) ends with “don’t thank me for this epiphany, it’s what I do”. I hope he was joking.

Now, back from the self-aggrandizing conclusion of “schmuck with a column” post into the reality:

  1. Motorcyclist community is a large group of people of all walks of life and such group is bound to have its outliers – people who within the community are called “squids” – riders who do not understand the risks involved or take it seriously. Judging the entire community and take steps based on that judgment would be equivalent to saying that all car drivers are under-insured drivers who drive their cars that are about to fall apart in ways that put others at risk
  2. Motorcycle community always advocates safety, and I can speak from my personal experience that I became a better CAR driver since I learned how to ride a motorcycle – one of the things in particular – I am much more aware of my surroundings, as on the motorcycle the cost of not doing so is greater
  3. If one wants to improve the situation with motorcycle accidents, the approach should include (and perhaps, most importantly so) CAR driver education – there are way too many fallen riders whose only fault was bad luck of riding near a car operated by a driver who was not paying attention. Would requirement of taking a safety course prior to getting a license be helpful? Yes, granted that the courses would be taught properly and quality of education maintained. Would requiring helmets help? Here you get into the gray area – I myself not sure what I think about it. I know I’ve made a decision to always wear a helmet when riding, but I also believe risk assessment and decision is up to individuals. Requiring government to ban something or requiring  something will only increase spending and take away freedoms from citizens. One thing to remember is – you can’t safe a fool from himself.

There are many things around us that present danger (I am fairly certain a human being can do a lot of damage with a pen, both figuratively, and literally), and banning all of them is simply illogical. The best thing to do is educate people about them. Otherwise, and I’d like to underline that this is a humorous statement, lest some eager mis-directed soul tries to advocate it, we should just ban… life – it always ends the same and overall, seems to be a terminal disease that is transmitted sexually. 😉