Friday, June 12, 2020

Replacing my Royal Enfield brake light switch

Illustration from parts books.
Marked No. 9, the switch I needed appeared in the online parts book.
There it is in the Hitchcocks Motorcycles online parts book for the 1996 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 motorcycle, export model.

It's Part No. 141892, Switch, Front Brake Light With Cables, Magura.

And now I have one — the switch, at least, it didn't come with cables.

It came from an eBay seller, in a battered plastic bag, marked only with the scrawled number I eventually decided might be 141892.

It's not exactly like the original switch I found installed in my early-1999 Royal Enfield Bullet, but it was close enough. And, unlike the original unmarked switch, this one is marked "Magura."

Two switches side by side, one on left very worn looking.
The worn out original switch, left, with my new Magura switch, right.
That's a magic word, since Magura made the handlebar controls fitted to my Bullet. That changed mid-year in 1999, and later switchgear bits won't fit on my motorcycle. The parts I need when my controls wear out are now nearly unobtainable.

When my handlebar brake light switch first stopped working I made a mental note to always press down on the foot brake in traffic, since it would still trigger the brake light to signal I was stopping, or attempting to stop, at least.

Probably adequate. But there is something about something not working on the bike that bugs you. Really, a rider has enough to keep in mind without having to compensate for some missing contribution from the controls.

But I was stymied: my outdated handlebar controls use that specific looking switch and normal suppliers don't stock it. Their suggestion — just replace all the controls — didn't appeal. Hitchcock's seemed to have it, but the price was high.

Then a kind gent in the UK stepped up and said, since he had replaced all his controls, I could have the precious switch I needed from his parts bin.

I was back in business. But the new switch — it looked brand new and was in original packaging — quit working after only four months. Obviously, these things aren't eternal.

So, when I saw an eBay ad for a switch in Minnesota, I hopped on it. This one had no wiring, no original packaging, and it didn't look perfectly identical to the two non-functional switches (the original and the one from the UK) now in hand.

But, unlike those, it carried the precious word "Magura." It might be no better, it might even be counterfeit, but it appealed to me.

As a precaution, I asked the seller to test the switch to see if it worked. There was no response. Take it or leave it, I suppose. I took it.

And it's working (no thanks to the horrible soldering job I did attaching the wires).

I wonder how long it will last?

3 comments:

  1. That '90s Megura export-only switchgear, levers and such are indeed getting rare and pricey, with folks starting to ask "crazy money" for it. But at least your front brake switch is a reasonably robust metal. The subsequent Minda brand switch is a flimsy little plastic thing with retaining "ears" that click in to hold it in place, and they'll snap if you so much as look at them too hard. Mine broke a while back, and as a "temporary fix" I used one of those little screws used to hold down computer components and a good dab of Locktite. That was about 2 years ago, and my "temporary fix" is still holding fine. Before you order a new switch, try the bodge described more fully here: https://forum.classicmotorworks.com/index.php?topic=26156.msg304614#msg304614








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  2. Unfortunately the brake switch on the Magura bike was a weak link. Some but certainly not allc would short out in such a way that the fuse would blow. Its great that you actually found one. Your OEM switch certainly gave you good service though.

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    1. Thank you for adding to the value of this blog item. Problems in these old Bullets seem most often to be with the most modern components. They're clever and no doubt cost effective but defy repair sometimes.

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