04 June 2017

Installing a New Brake Light on the 2016 Ducati Multistrada

I went through the procedure to install a 3rd party brake light from Custom LED on Andrea's new Ducati Multistrada to get the "four flashes then solid light" behavior I have on my GS. We both like this feature a lot as it seems to attract a lot more attention from the driver(s) behind.

As the light came with just the information that it is installed just like the OEM brake light without any further hints, here are the steps and some tips.
Disclaimer: Know what you are doing, this procedure can and will break something on your massively expensive motorcycle. I will take absolutely no responsibility that the below steps are correct, in the correct order, even close to what you need to do or whatever else.

If you mess up, blame yourself!

Make sure you also document the steps you take so you can reverse them properly, don't break expensive stuff and take a bit of time.

And please don't tell me you followed my procedures and broke something – that's your problem, I told you so!
1) Remove passenger and rider seat. Place a towel or such on the rear tire / hugger / spring so you don't drop small pieces into inaccessible areas (hmpf).

2) Disconnect the cable connector:

3) Remove the two bolts underneath the fender, be careful there are two friction washers between the lower and the upper fender, you don't want to drop them into "nirvana" (ask me how I know):

4) Loosen the four bolts under the passenger seat, do not remove them just yet, just loosen them so that a few turns remain:

 5) Once all bolts a loose, press on them from the top as the lower part of the fender connects to the upper part through four rubber grommets and the friction, especially on a new bike, can be high enough to make it feel like you'll break it if you just pull from the bottom.

6) Now remove the four bolts and set them aside while holding the lower fender carefully so that it doesn't drop. You can carefully pull it out of the four rubber grommets if it doesn't come off by itself (and gravity).

7) When you lower the fender a little bit, you'll find two "friction washers" where the two bolts from below came through. Make sure you don't miss them!

8) Drop the fender lower and carefully thread the disconnected cable through the plastic opening. You'll see it when you do it, it's straightforward.

9) Now that you have the fender in your hand, remove the the license plate and three bolts underneath the license plate.

10) Remove the four bolts from the underside of the fender, then you can carefully pull of the "lid" from above:

11) Disconnect the tail light:

12) Remove the three screws that hold the tail light in place, note that the ones in the picture below are the new ones needed for the CustomLED tail lights larger plastic openings, I didn't take a picture before mounting this one:

13) Take note of the cabling (see #11) and carefully pull out the tail light. It sits in three rubber grommets. 

14) Install the new tail light by reversing the process outlined above. 

Some tips:
  • Be careful during steps #3 and #7 to not drop the two friction washers. When re-installing, it might help to attach them to the fender with a drop of silicone or so.
  • Do not over-tighten any of the screws/bolts. Most of them are just "hand warm".
  • Use a zip tie or so to tidy up the cabling inside the fender before re-installing. 
  • You don't need to hook up the signal or control cables for the Custom LED tail light to get the "four flashes" behavior, it's the default setup.
  • Don't drop the signal lights, they are only "rubber grommet mounted" between the fender and the "lid"(see #10)
Here's a video of how the brake pattern looks, in real life this is MUCH brighter than the camera makes it out to be.

Regarding the Custom LED kit:

At first I was little put off by the fact that there were no instructions, then the three OEM screws that were supposed to fit the new tail light didn't fit (too small) and I saw the note about "programming" the light with the grey cable and thought I'd definitely had to do that. 

After a slightly miffed email from me to Custom LED, the good folks there explained the lack of instructions with the fear that customers break something and will sue the company; the wrong screws (or rather the too large opening in the lights plastics) with miscommunication during beta testing with their first customers, and the programming to be not necessary if the four flashes default pattern is what the user wants. 

They also gracefully provided me with three screws that fit perfectly as you can see above.


  1. Welcome back to blogging! I'm told that the flashing then solid behavior is a California requirement. I've always preferred it as I don't like staring at someone's flashing brake light.

    1. Yes, we have been lazy ...

      California allows "four flashes then go to static" brake lights as far as I know. That's what I have on my GS and what we now have on the new Multistrada (more thorough introduction to come soon).