Motorcycle Wiring Simplified – The Basic Diagram

Have you ever flipped to the back of your motorcycle manual and looked at the stock or factory motorcycle wiring diagram?  It actually looks like a bowl of spaghetti – like if you unwound it and made it a straight line it would go from here to the moon.  I want to take motorcycle wiring and give you the motorcycle wiring simplified version.

I am not denying that those stock diagrams are not complex.  They include the proper routing and connections for every possible accessory – turn signals, horns, etc.  In an ideal world, you would run a wiring harness just like that – that is, if you don’t mind forking out the bucks for a pre-built color-coded harness.  Some of us though are DIY-ers.

Put another way, what if you want to run a basic diagram or are building a stripped down cafe-racer or scrambler?  You may not have turn signals or maybe you just need an absolutely basic setup in order to test fire your newly rebuilt motorcycle out – just the basic set of wiring and connections necessary to fire up your prized possession to see how it runs.  That is what this post is about.

Especially if you have a kickstarter, things can get REALLY simple, REALLY fast (i.e motorcycle wiring simplified).  You can actually wire things up from scratch in about half an hour and be ready to give the bike a kick and listen.

In a prior post, I go into 10 amazing pieces of advice for how to do your wiring right.  That post was really “geared” (no pun intended) toward building your final harness.  Again, this post is about what it really takes just to get that engine running.

My current harness is actually drawn on a piece of graph paper my wife gave me, but what was the initial basis for that diagram.  It was the two drawing below.  I like these the most, because they are clear and easy to read – plus the Homer Simpson looking character on the first one.  Together, these two will get you wired up and ready to go in under an hour.  Things like turn signals and accessories can be “added-back” from here.

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