Help needed to find a suitable handlebar switch replacement

Discussion in 'Classic Motorbikes' started by Steve Borland, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Evening all,
    I need to source some replacement switches for a T160. I'm using a
    different master cylinder, and the standard Lucas stuff uses the master
    cylinder to mount onto. Yes, replica stuff is available for the t140
    which would do, but it costs about 80 pounds per side. There are heaps
    of stuff on ebay for 1/10 of that price, but the problem is finding
    something more or less suitable in looks.

    I was looking at my neighbours Jota - it uses ND gear, which I think is
    originally from a Suzuki, but which? There are hundreds of different
    models to choose from. I would like something with the start & kill
    switch on the RH (combined with the throttle would be good) and the rest
    on the LH. Most Honda stuff looks just too tacky, the modern stuff with
    funny little pictures looks out of place. There are a lot of people in
    this group who dabble in older stuff, so I was rather hoping that
    someone could suggest something suitable?

    I live in Copenhagen, where bike scrappies are somewhat thin on the
    ground. The biking season has not really started yet, so not much to
    look at for inspiration.

    Steve Borland, Mar 28, 2011
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  2. Steve Borland

    Bob Scott Guest

    If your T160 is kick start only, smaller Suzuki GT (250, 380, 550?)
    switches should do. If it's got an electric start then the GT750 & some
    of the early GS (750, 1000?) should do.

    The switches are a fair bit cheaper if they're being sold as Suzuki than
    if they're being sold as either Laverda or Ducati - Laverda bought them
    from Nippon Denso rather than suzuki & they don't always have the same

    Might be worth trying cmsnl to check how expensive new switches are...
    Bob Scott, Mar 28, 2011
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  3. Hmm, thanks. I'd forgotten how pricey Oriental spares are. 135 pounds
    for the RH switch alone makes the Lucas stuff look low price...
    There seems to be a lot of GS 500 switches on Ebay, for example,
    but its hard to see if they are plastic, with modern rounded buttons and
    small pictures, or the older type (metal, squareish buttons, text).
    Any idea when the change over started?

    Steve Borland, Mar 28, 2011
  4. 1970s GT era stuff. Bob is right on the money.

    As for your later posting, Suzuki changed its switchgear, big time, with
    the GSX series in the late 1970s, and probably several times since then.

    Basically, any switchgear will do the trick as long as the major
    functions are the same. All you have to do is wire it in (I have a
    Ducati, and Honda XBR500 switchgear fits straight on, to give you some

    Even modern switchgear tends to be metal, actually. Plastic blocks were
    used by the Italians but they really are flimsy and evidently the Japs
    decided they were too weak. They were probably right, thinking of my old
    Moto Guzzi switchgear.
    The Older Gentleman, Mar 28, 2011
  5. Steve Borland

    Bob Scott Guest

    GS500 switches are most likely the new style.

    I think you'll be looking at pre '79ish switches - X7 250s had plastic
    rather than metal switches so pre-X7 GT250s
    Bob Scott, Mar 28, 2011
  6. Steve Borland

    Bob Scott Guest

    I should admit to a certain vested interest - I'm in the process of
    replacing the ND switches on my Laverda.

    And cursing the Italians for putting more wires on the bike than on the
    wiring diagram - specifically the left switch has 11 wires but the
    wiring diagram only shows 8
    Bob Scott, Mar 28, 2011
  7. Steve Borland

    Guest Guest

    I've just flogged my GT250 (as an almost-working box of bits, sadly),
    and the spares went with it, so I can't help directly, BUT a word to the

    The switches are mechanically OK, but electrically rather under-rated. I
    had a spare set because the LHS cluster burned out. It's the headlight
    current wot does it, I think. Obviously, I didn't get round to it, but I
    was seriously considering either relays or solid-state switching, so as
    to reduce the amps through the handlebar wiring as much as poss.

    Having stripped the failed LH cluster, I think it's horribly fiddly to
    repair and didn't try (usually I'm up for it). Since these things are
    beginning to smell like rocking-horse poo, too, I'd strongly recommend a
    'high tech' solution. If you can find room to mount the relays/circuit
    board somewhere, it might save much grief later on.

    No doubt someone will say this is a bad idea, and I haven't tested it
    myself. I can imagine vibration causing issues with a relay, possibly,
    but otherwise it ought to work. The upside _should_ be that you get a
    brighter candle on the front, as I've no doubt that the wiring systems
    of that era drop the volts under load considerably.


    Guest, Mar 29, 2011
  8. Thanks very much to both yo and TOG, that's helped clear things up for
    me. On digging through my spares box, (unseen by human eye for a _long_
    time..) I've found some switches and a clutch lever which look
    suspiciously like the GT stuff. I have a vague recollection that they
    did actually come off a 'zuki, and they will probably do fine.

    Actually, another suggestion has also been made - just make a new rear
    closing plate for the Lucas standard switch. Just a lump of alloy with 4
    screw holes and half a handlebar hole....
    Steve Borland, Mar 29, 2011
  9. Yes, thanks for the input. I've seen this idea proposed before on the
    Trident/R3 forum, and several people have reported doing this with very
    good results. It's on the list of Good Things To Be Done.

    Steve Borland, Mar 30, 2011
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