How to install a tachometer on a motorcycle

Updated February 21, 2017

Tachometers for motorcycles are not complicated accessories in terms of operation or installation. The unit mounts on the instrument platform on the handlebars and provides engine revolution readings by means of a cable or electrical wires. Mechanical tachometers and electronic tachometers, including the cable or wires, are available as factory replacements or aftermarket accessories. Installing a tachometer is a fairly easy job that requires just a few basic tools. Installation is done with the engine off and the motorcycle parked on the kickstand.

Mount the tachometer in the instrument platform using the provided clips. Clips usually attach below the platform on each side of the gauge and connect to small, threaded studs on the back of the unit using machine nuts. Tighten the nuts clockwise using an open-end wrench.

Insert the square cable end at one end of the tachometer cable into the fitting on the back of the tachometer. Slide the cable coupler over the fitting on the unit and tighten it clockwise using pliers.

Locate the tachometer cable fitting at the engine crankcase where the other end of the cable will attach. The precise location of the fitting depends on your particular motorcycle, but it is not difficult to identify and should be in plain sight.

Insert the end of the cable into the crankcase fitting. Thread the cable coupler onto the fitting and tighten it clockwise using pliers.

Secure the tachometer cable to the motorcycle frame using cable ties at one or two points between the crankcase and the instrument platform.

Disconnect the negative battery cable from the negative battery post. Depending on the particular battery, the cable is connected with a hex-head bolt or a slot-head bolt that accepts a standard screwdriver.

Install the tachometer in the instrument platform using the provided clips. Secure the clips to the threaded studs on the back of the gauge using an open-end wrench to tighten the attachment nuts clockwise.

Check the owner's manual for your motorcycle to identify the power source wires for the tachometer. Typical wiring includes a lead for the tachometer and another for the gauge light. The wire colours and designations should be specified in the manual or the instruction booklet that is included with the tachometer.

Secure the electrical wire connections using the appropriate wrench or screwdriver as necessary for the particular wire connectors. Reconnect the negative battery cable to the negative battery post.


Refer to a replacement tachometer by year and model of the motorcycle. It may be necessary to remove your battery cover to access the battery cables. Refer to your owner's manual for battery cover information.

Things You'll Need

  • Open-end wrench
  • Pliers
  • Cable ties
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About the Author

William Machin began work in construction at the age of 15, while still in high school. In 35 years, he's gained expertise in all phases of residential construction, retrofit and remodeling. His hobbies include horses, motorcycles, road racing and sport fishing. He studied architecture at Taft Junior College.