They sell license plate mounting bolts that have built-in LED lights, but I don't worry about not having a license plate light. It's required by law here, but it's not an item they check during a "safety inspection."
I'm not one to break laws, but after the first few times a police cruiser was behind me at night and I was wondering if they were going to pull me over and they didn't, I stopped worrying about it. I really think they just don't care and, unlike a larger car plate, by the time they get close enough to actually read the numbers on the smaller m/c plate, it's definitely going to be in the full glare of their headlights.
But, if I were to feel inclined to illuminate it, I'd probably just hit a junkyard and get a license plate light off a car and wire it in.
After having my license plate chewed up by suspension flexing and the attendant interference with the rear tire, I moved the replacement plate up by fastening it to the fender via the two lower (versus the upper) bolt holes.
The passive rear reflector was occluded by this modification; I compensated by using four reflective bolts fastened to the holes in the license plate.
Tight fit, but . . . looked to me like the plate was then illuminated by the license plate light, as before.
I just drilled a couple of holes in the fender and moved the whole thing up: bracket, reflectors, plate and all. The right side red reflector isn't much use since my exhaust keeps it covered in black soot. I've got black reflective tape all over the bike so compared to it the red plastic reflectors don't serve much purpose, anyway.....
Here is a license plate in the standard KLR position; mangled, as you can see (perhaps you can see; these total-darkness shots lack detail available under other lighting conditions). Suspension flexing and knobbies caused this:
Here is a relocated plate, as mentioned: Instead of using upper tag holes, lower tag holes were used for mounting:
Again, apologies for the "flare" of the image; total darkness flash shots sometimes bring such consequence.
Here are some cropped images of the two respective mounting positions:
Hope the images are legible enough to explain the concept: Raise license plate; use two lower mounting holes instead of two upper mounting holes to affix to fender.
Use four reflective bolts for mounting in the alternate position, compensating for covering up the fender reflector.
I drilled my fender and used the OEM mounting plate, too. I figured I could always plug the holes with rubber plugs if I didn't like it. Also added a stick-on red reflector below the plate, in case the taillight goes out. It looks to me like the taillight illuminates the plate well enough, but that hasn't been verified by the law ;-). Wiring in the LED bolts looked like sort of a pain, but I might still do it.
So are you guys using a backing plate, attached with two bolts? Because the fender is irregular, with the ridges, and it doesn't seem that bolting the plate directly onto the fender would work out real well.
When I did the search, I saw some old threads with a guy making a mount that connected under the tail light somehow ... where you took the light off, attached the plate mount, then re attached the light, then the plate stood off the fender, a little more straight up and down, right under the light. Anyone know if he's still around and making those?
Thanks Tom. I knew the photo you provided in the above link was around somewhere but I couldn't find it on my PBucket. I don't know if I inadvertently changed some setting, but I don't like the way they display your Library now: seems to take forever to load 20 more pics where as before I could scroll through them pretty quickly.
Thanks, yes, the CraigES one is exactly the one I was talking about.
Planalp, I like your idea too. Looks nice. I'd even consider cutting the side reflector straps off, flush with the plate, and just leaving the bottom reflector.
Anyway, those are both good options, and I'll be doing on or the other, soon.
Edit: The only problem I notice about the CraigES one is that the plate definitely will not get any illumination from the tail light, so the LED bolts or frame would be more necessary. I don't suppose they're hard to wire up, just more expense & time.
Planalp: Did you ever check yours at night to see if it gets partial illumination from the tail light?
It would probably look better with the side reflectors gone. I mostly left them because I wasn't sure if there was some legal requirement for side reflectors. I don't think there is. With an illuminated tail light, there's really no reason for the larger reflector to be mounted beneath it, either.
I've looked and it doesn't get any substantial illumination from the tail light, even with the reflective coating on the plate. You'd have to be within 6-8 feet to read it in the dark. I would say there's no mounting option where you can depend on the tail light to illuminate the plate. It just isn't bright enough and as far as legality goes, Missouri demands that the license plate be illuminated with a white light.
In this day and age of police taunting/high speed motorcycle pursuit videos and public outrage, I'm surprised states haven't decreed motorcycles will use full-size plates and it's the owner's problem to figure out how to mount them.
Planalp, I actually kinda like the look of your setup, even with the side reflectors. I may go with that too. I guess it's not extremely likely to get into a situation with it. If so, one could play dumb ... ya know, "gee it was like that when I bought the bike used, I never thought about it." Anyway, it sure looks better getting it up on the fender. Thanks for the suggestions.
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