You may have noticed my lack of shovelhead progress. Don’t worry, I have too. But, that’s not to say nothing has been done! In the last 6 months, there’s been a ton of work done on my Sportster. I’m going to be giving you the lowdown on some of those projects, but in this post, I want to focus on one specific thing — how not to update or rewire your bike like a total asshole.
WTF Happened Here?
Since purchasing my Sportster, it’s gone through a lot of changes. My bike was stolen then fixed, modified then in pieces. While engine work was being done on the bike, I decided now was a good time to make a few additional modifications. Little did I know what would be uncovered. In the process of stripping down the bike, there were a lot of “WTF” moments. A big one of those moments happened when the layers of electrical work were peeled back.
What Was Found
A lof of the electrical work on my Sportster was beyond ghetto. Wires were spliced multiple times, there were butt connectors used everywhere, and nothing was secure. And I mean nothing. My taillight wiring was actually rubbing on my back tire.
While I’m so grateful to the people who helped me discover all of these problems, I was a bit shocked that this was the situation in the first place. While butt connectors are a common way to connect wires, when you’re doing any electrical on your motorcycle, I think you should considering soldering
Here’s what I’m not going to tell you right now — how to solder your wires. I will post a video of how I did this on my Sportster soon, but this post is about WHY you should solder and avoid butt connectors in most situations.
But first, wtf is soldering?
Soldering is the process of joining two electrical wires. When you solder, you heat up a metal filler material and form a bond between the two electrical wires. When soldered correctly, your wires will stay together more securely and for a longer period of time than when you use a butt connector. When you use butt connectors, you run the risk of one or both of the wires falling out.
Now, it’s important to note that this is 100% my own paranoid opinion, but if I’m logicing correctly, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s better to solder your electrical on your bike rather than use butt connectors. The last thing you want is for a wire to fall off while you’re riding, or for a wire to get ripped away because it was loosely connected.
Of course, before you do any of your own electrical work, do a shit ton of research and consult and actual mechanic. While soldering isn’t terribly difficult, this is your bike and your life we are talking about here.
I’ve Soldered Some Stuff, Now What?
Alright mamasita, if you’ve tacked a soldering project, don’t think just because you’ve connected your wires you are good to go. Although the wires are connected, you should protect them from the elements and other road grime. For this, consider using heat-shrink tubing. I think these bad boys are pretty much the coolest thing in the world. Put them on before you connect two wires, place over the connection, and use a heat gun to secure. Shrink tubing will help keep your electrical in place and protected.
If you’re having any electrical work done in the near future, talk to your mechanic about how the work is being done, what they are using, and why. Ensuring that the work is being completed exactly how you want it will help you avoid numerous headaches and hazards later.