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"Fast Bikes", April 1, 2013


When a brake light gives you grief, it’s often a simple fix. But then again...

Yamaha’s older Fazer ranges seem to love an issue or three with rear brake lights...

Q Dear FB. I’ve got a 2006 Yamaha FZ6 which is in need of an MOT in the next few weeks. However, there’s a slight problem – the brake light doesn’t come on when I push down the rear brake pedal. When I use the front brake lever the lights shine up nice and bright, but not when I try the foot brake. Looking at the bike there seems to be an electrical connector thingy on the brake assembly. Is this the root of my problems? I’m a bit crap with tools by the way...

Peter, Cirencester

A Peter, it sounds like you have located the rear brake light activation switch, so you are halfway there already! The good news is that as the front brake makes the light glow it is unlikely that there are any major wiring gremlins. The chances are that the rear switch is at fault. Does the ‘electrical connector thingy’ look like a back plastic cylinder with a spring poking out of it? Hopefully it does, as this is the switch. When you depress the rear brake the spring is pulled out of the switch, activating the light. As this is located right in the line of fire for loads of road crud it often gets caked in dirt, causing it to stick solid. The first test is to see if it is moving freely by pushing down on the brake lever. If it isn’t moving then spray a load of WD-40 onto the switch and see if this gets it going. Hopefully at this point the rear brake light should shine bright. If it does then simply adjust the switch to ensure the light goes on when you depress the brake and you should secure that MOT with no hassles – well, no hassles from the brake light anyway. If this still doesn’t cure the problem then try replacing the switch (they only cost a few quid). If a new switch doesn’t solve the issue then you are looking at a more in depth study of the wiring loom, a job that may be best done by a professional if you are mechanically inept... Funnily enough, Beej had the same issue with his 2005 Yamaha Fazer 6, except in his case the brake light would work, but the passive light wouldn’t, or would blow the bulb. He never got to the bottom of it, in the end. C’est la vie!


Q I bought a cheap second hand exhaust can for my ZX-10R the other day on eBay but it turns out the link pipe is slightly damaged and won’t seal properly with the rest of the pipe. Any tips?

William, email

A A nice easy one here William. Get some exhaust putty and use this to create a tight seal. It’s designed to be heat resistant and should stop any leaking gasses. You can also pack the pipe with a bit of aluminium kitchen foil as well if necessary.


Q Dear chaps, in a word HELP! I have a Triumph Daytona 650 which has suddenly stopped starting for no apparent reason. When I push the starter button the engine rips over perfectly happily but for some reason that I simply can’t fathom the bloody bike refuses to fire up. It was running perfectly a few days ago, what on earth could it be?

Jody, email

A OK, avoiding the obvious cause by checking that the kill switch isn’t in the ‘off’ position there may be a very simple cure to your issues here Jody. The Daytona 650 has a clutch cut out switch that only allows the bike to start when the clutch lever is pulled in, something we are sure you are more than aware of. The switch is a little back plastic thing that is located on the clutch lever assembly and pokes through so that when the lever is pulled in the switch is activated. Have a look on your clutch and you will spot it quite quickly. On older bikes this is known to get worn, something that allows it to slide back slightly in its locating hole, which stops the bike starting. Push it back into place and possibly secure it with a bit of tape. It’s a silly and simple thing that often causes a lot of frustration and head scratching! Sidestand cut-out switches have also been to blame for this kind of behaviour in the past, on various bikes, but as already mentioned it’s better to go through all the simple options first, before calling in an expert, as they can get quite expensive!

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