How to Connect a Speedometer Cable on a Motorcycle

Written by chris gilliland Google
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A motorcycle speedometer cable consists of an inner drive cable housed in a protective outer sleeve and mechanically transmits the front wheel's rotation though an axle-mounted drive gear to the speedometer to be converted into travelling speed. Although mechanical speedometers have been replaced by electronic-operated units, older motorcycles still rely on a properly operating cable. Unfortunately, many of these "vintage" bikes may have lost components over time, often meaning that the speedometer cable has been misplaced or damaged. Replacing a damaged or missing cable on your vintage bike is simple once you know what to look for.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Pliers
  • Cable lubricant spray
  • Rag or Towel, clean and lint-free
  • Service manual (optional)

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  1. 1

    Locate the front wheel's speed drive gear assembly. The assembly is on the front wheel's axle between the wheel hub and lower fork leg. It is often snail-shaped with a short threaded post pointing rearward.

  2. 2

    Locate the threaded post on the backside of the speedometer. If necessary, remove any "cups" or components from the rear of the speedometer for easier access.

  3. 3

    Slide the inner cable out of the protective sleeve, being careful not to kink or damage the cable. Coat the cable with a motorcycle cable-specific lubricant and slide the cable back into the sleeve. Wipe away excess lubricant from the ends of the sleeve.

  4. 4

    Connect one end of the sleeve to the speedometer, placing the flattened side of the inner cable into the speedometer post. Then screw the locknut over the post's threads. Tighten with pliers.

  5. 5

    Connect the opposite end of the sleeve to the speed drive gear assembly, placing the flattened side of the inner cable into the assembly's post. Then screw the locknut over the post's threads. Tighten with pliers.

  6. 6

    Test the speedometer for proper operation by taking the motorcycle for a short test ride or by lifting the front wheel off of the ground and spinning the front wheel by hand.

Tips and warnings

  • If you do not have access to the proper lubrication, you may use WD-40 as a temporary solution.
  • A mechanically operated tachometer cable may also benefit from this process by following the same steps outlined above.
  • For in-depth details regarding this process, refer to a service manual specific to your motorcycle.
  • If you do not feel comfortable performing this task, have the work done by a qualified technician.

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