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Author Topic: Suzuki Bandit 600/1200 streetfighter, vintage or cafe racer headlight conversion  (Read 3570 times)

  • *****
May 25, 2015, 04:57:03 PM
I recently got rid of the front cowling (including windscreen and headlight) on my Suzuki Bandit GSF1200S and replaced it with an affordable British style chrome headlight and simple aluminum headlight brackets. I did it in a day and didn't rush. It could've been done even quicker. If you're interested in giving your Suzuki Bandit a streetfighter or cafe racer look on the front end, this info might help.

NO cutting or splicing of wires was needed! This sort of streetfighter headlight conversion could be done on the Bandit 600 as well.



Tips:

The headlight you choose makes a difference with regard to all the extra wiring Suzuki wrapped up in the front cowling. The chrome bullet headlight made by Emgo I chose can hold and hide ALL that wiring. Smaller headlights will require that you cut and shorten wires.

There are already some accessory wires located near the headlight plug in the wiring harness, brown and a ground wire with a black plug on the end, so if you get a headlight with LED's or something extra you're all set... depending on how you want to run your accessory lights. The LED halo in my light is on all the time.

The outside edge of your fork tubes are around 9.5" wide while common headlight housings are 8". My chrome housing measures about 7" wide where brackets bolt on. So, for an 8" housing you'll want brackets that generally extend from the center of the fork tubes. For a smaller housing like mine, you'll either need brackets that come from the inside of the tube, or do as I did and bend your brackets (vice + torch + angle iron + flat bar to pull on + gloves). I used a pair of simple, clean aluminum headlight brackets that match the bike fairly well. However, they mount to the outside edge of the tubes. I had to put a considerable bend in them (pretty easy) and still add spacers between the bracket and headlight housing. Looks good, though.

If you need to bend your brackets, they will become shorter. Be sure you don't shorten them so much that your headlight is going to bump into the lock mechanism or gauges. I put about a 45 degree angle into a 1 1/4" section of the bracket ONLY. Any more and my chosen headlight would have not fit so well. Even still, I can't go higher with my headleght, and I'd like to.

The Emgo headlight housing I purchased requires 5/16 fine thread bolts. Button head or recessed cap bolts/screws would be best. I couldn't find any and used standard hex head bolts for the time being.

Despite what I've read on other forums or seen in videos, the front cowling, headlight and mounting bracket don't weight much. One guy said he removed almost 30lbs. More like 5. Still, the front end does feel lighter. Every bit counts I guess.



Steps:

1. Take all the plastic off. Requires a couple allen/hex wrenches, phillips screw driver, and a small 10mm wrench to get rid of brackets on either side of the frame rails, above the engine. The turn signal lights are also in the way. I believe they use a 15 nut to hold them on.

2. Remove the headlight and headlight/cowling bracket. The bracket uses 2 14mm bolts to connect it to the head tube of the frame.

If you have two-piece brackets that can be put on your fork tubes easily, skip to step 9.
One-piece headlight brakcets that need to slide over the fork tube require all the following.

3. Jacket the front end up. Either hoist the front from something overhead, or tie the rear down to something heavy while on the center stand... whatever. Just make sure it is stable and safe.

4. Disconnect the speedometer cable under the speedometer.

5. Disconnect the brake lines (x2) from the calipers. Crack them first, let the drain or drip into a pan, and be sure to keep the washers clean. Clean them before reuse or use new ones.

6. Wipe your fork tubes down really well. Put a block or something under the front tire. Then loosen all fork clamp bolts just enough so that the fork wants to drop. Cleaning the tubes will help keep them from getting scratched when they slide down.

7. Allow the fork to slide down out of the top clamp about an inch or only as much room as needed to slip your brackets on. The less it slides down, the less you have to lift it back into place later.

8. Slide your brackets onto the tubes being careful not to scratch anything. At this point you may want to hold your headlight in place to see where things line up. My brackets required considerable bending. Keep the brackets loose so you can slide them up and down later.

9. Bend your brackets if needed. Just ask and I'll give some tips on that. My billet aluminum brackets were easy to bend. The real trick is getting them even and not rushing it. You don't want to crack the metal. Along with your bends, you might need a spacer like I did. I purchased some nylon spacers at Home Depot in the hardware section. They were located in the drawers along with fasteners and other specialty washers. The width was good as is but I did have to drill the holes a little larger.

10. Mount your headlight. Slide your brackets exactly where you want them and tighten them down snug, but not too tight. Snug the headlight housing into place, just enough to make it rigid while you work. You'll likely need to adjust it once you get the bike back off the center stand/lift.

11. Pull all your wires through, one at a time. Pull one plug through at a time in the order that makes it easiest. They'll all make it (if you use the same Emgo light as me). Connect all the plugs back together. Make sure all the extra length of wire is pulled in. Then simply coil the wires and rotate them while stuffing them into the housing at the same time. They should hold in there under their own tension.

12. Plug your headlight in and mount it. You may need to stuff the wires a bit, but there is plenty of room. Test the lights before closing everything up too tight.


For two-piece brackets, that's it. You're done. For the ones that required dropping the front fork, now you need to slide it back into place (be sure it is in even),  tighten it down, attach the speedo cable, attach the brake lines, and fill and bleed the brakes. But then you're all done. The photos below show the highlights.


Giving my Suzuki Bandit 1200 a retro, streetfighter look was a snap. The "sporty", dated plastic is gone, and the hunched up tank and muscle-bound engine are the new focus. I should have done this sooner. The riding experience is great, too. A bit windy, but a small windscreen will be mounted soon.

Whether you're riding a Suzuki Bandit or otherwise, I hope this helps you to do your won streetfighter headlight conversion.

Linkback: http://motoatak.com/forum/index.php?topic=128.0
« Last Edit: May 25, 2015, 05:09:11 PM by TABA »
There and back again.


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