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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Last week I was inspired by the work of a member named Tim_Tom on the ADVrider forums, who posted pictures of his tail tidy made out of 1/8" aluminum. After seeing it, I got an idea of how to make my own based on his concept. This is for U.S. license plates. Here is what I ended up with:








I finished all of it today, other than painting it. I'm going to wait until I know I won't be riding my Scrambler for a few days so I can let the paint cure nicely. Until then, the brushed aluminum look is working just fine.

I have attached the PDF of the template I made to this post. It's a little bigger than an 8.5x11 sheet of paper, so you'll need to print it on two pages and tape them together, or use legal size. I put a lot of time into getting all of the measurements correct, and made probably half a dozen mock ups out of cardboard before getting it spot on. This design uses the factory license plate bracket and light, which actually saves a bit of work and ends up looking quite OEM. I couldn't be happier with my result!

After I had the template nailed, I'd say it took me about 3 hours from start to finish to make and install my tail tidy. If you wish to make one for yourself, here is the materials List:
  • $14.00 — 9x12 sheet of 1/8" aluminum from Amazon (shipped quite fast)
  • $4.40 — Two M8 x 20 1.25 pitch stainless allen head screws (I paid $2.20 each)
  • $1.60 — Two M8 stainless lock washers (I paid $.80 each)
  • $3.00 — Two M5 x 20 .80 pitch stainless allen head screws (I paid $1.50 each)
  • $0.86 — Two M5 stainless lock washers (I paid $.43 each)
  • $2.40 — Three M6 x 12 1.00 pitch stainless phillips screws (I paid $.80 each)
  • $2.25 — Three M6 1.00 pitch stainless lock nuts (I paid $.75 each)
  • $4.32 — 16 stainless M5 washers (I paid $.27 each)
Total investment: $32.83

Other than that, all you need are a jig saw with a metal cutting blade, a drill and drill bits, a wire wheel brush is helpful, allen wrenches for mounting, 2 clamps, and a file.

Step 1: Transfer template to aluminum, and punch the centers of each hole for precise drilling



Step 2: Cut out the bracket and drill out the holes. I'll give you a tip if you haven't done inside cuts like this before, don't drill right at the corner to start your saw cut. Instead drill a hole near the corner, but inside of the lines, and then cut out to your line like you see here:



Then you can go back the other direction and clean it up like this to get a nice clean 90° corner:



Step 3: Go around with a file and clean up any burs and smooth the edges of all of your cuts, and then get ready to bend it:



Step 4: Bend the bracket. I clamped it hard between two pieces of hard oak. If you look close you can see the point where you need to bend it, which is just about 1/16" inside the opening.



This is how far you bend it to get the perfect angle. The tip of the bracket is 3 3/8" lower.



If you prefer angles, you are shooting for about 37.5°



Step 5: Brush the surface of the bracket. You'll want to do this if you leave it raw (it looks better) or if you paint it. I took a wire wheel brush in my drill and went to town. Here is the final result:



Step 6: Prep your license plate bracket. There are actually several steps in here, but I don't have pictures. You need to remove the OEM fender arm, fender, and license plate bracket (the stuff you are looking to remove anyway!). The arm is very self explanatory to remove. It's just 3 big allen head screws holding it on. The license plate bracket has 3 allen screws holding it to the arm and fender. Take all that apart. You do not need to remove the light from the license plate holder. If you look at the very front of the rear swing arm, between it and the back of the motor, you will find a little clip to disconnect the license plate light:



Unclip that, and then undo the little fasteners that hold it all the way back and through the fender arm that the license plate is attached to. When you are done, all you are saving is the license plate bracket. The bracket has 2 big ugly red reflectors that I removed. I cut them off and then used a file to clean up the cuts:



Step 7: Mount the license plate bracket to the new tail tidy bracket with the three M6 x 12 1.00 pitch stainless phillips screws and the M6 1.00 pitch stainless lock nuts.

Step 8: Under your rear fender, where the new bracket will mount, remove the two furthest back screws. The bracket uses these holes for mounting. Once you have done that, you can mount the bracket. Using the two M8 x 20 1.25 pitch stainless allen head screws and stainless lock washers, and also the two M5 x 20 .80 pitch stainless allen head screws and stainless lock washers, along with the 16 small M5 washers. The M5 washers are needed as spacers on the rear mounting screws. I needed 8 on each side to get a perfect mount:



I think a nylon spacer might be better, but I couldn't find any, and washers work fine. When it's all mounted, it will look like this on the underside:



Step 9: Route the license plate light wiring. I followed the blinker light wires and removed the whole cover above the rear tire to access that space cleanly. I wound up the wires and zip tied them here, next to the battery area behind the boomerang shaped plastic cover:



And there you have it! Way cheaper than any option, and looks just as good! For 3-4 hours of work tops, I think it was well worth it, plus it was fun to make. The brushed aluminum does look good, but I will eventually be painting it black so it disappears a little more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I also forgot to mention, I did lay down reverse cow girl on my bike and put my chest against the seat, then grabbed the rear swing arm and pulled super hard to fully compress the suspension to make sure the rear tire does not contact the bracket. There was about an inch of space left, or maybe a tiny bit less, at full compression. So this will not rub.
 

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I used thicker steel for mine, with a bend to follow the mudguard profile for extra strength. Mainly because my two rearmost bolts won't undo, the captive nuts just spin. So mine is held by the forward two only, but is solid.
 

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I used thicker steel for mine, with a bend to follow the mudguard profile for extra strength. Mainly because my two rearmost bolts won't undo, the captive nuts just spin. So mine is held by the forward two only, but is solid.
Have you tried tightening the bolt to compress the captive nut more before trying to remove it?
 
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