How To Replace Or Repair Your Motorcycle’s Speedometer Cable
July 1, 2014 by Brandon Kostkowski
I was out riding my motorcycle the other day when all of a sudden my speedometer stopped working. No matter what my speed, the speedometer told me I wasn’t going anywhere. The needle seemed to be stuck on “0” and my odometer failed to continue racking up my miles.
“What the heck!?” I thought to myself. “How did that happen?”
Has this ever happened to you? If so, don’t worry. Fixing this small problem is a total breeze!
When I got home from my ride, I looked down at my front wheel and noticed that the speedometer cable, which runs from the dashboard speedometer to the hub of my motorcycle’s front wheel, had come loose and was now dangling near the ground.
The photo below shows the speedometer cable coming in from the left (right where my finger is pointing) and connecting to the hub of my motorcycle’s front wheel. This is how the cable is supposed to be connected.
Unfortunately, over time, the cable had wiggled itself loose and totally detached itself from the wheel hub.
At some point, the cable became so loose that it totally snapped off the hub and started dangling near the ground. This is when my motorcycle’s speedometer stopped working. Unfortunately, I failed to even notice that the speedometer cable was now hanging upside down near the surface of the pavement.
When this happened, I should have stopped immediately and reattached the speedometer cable and tubing. But that’s not what I did! Instead, I just kept driving… and that was my big mistake.
What I didn’t realize is that by continuing to drive with the speed-o cable now completely disconnected from my front wheel, the long skinny cable that you see in the photo below popping out of the black plastic tubing, was now free to work itself loose and fall completely from my bike. That’s right! The actual speedometer cable, which is the long metal cable that sits inside of the black plastic housing is not actually attached to anything. When the speedometer tubing is hanging like it is in the photo below, the cable on the inside of the tubing can easily fall out…. and that’s exactly what happened to me.
When I got home and saw that I had lost my speedometer cable, I knew I was going to have to order a new part. I could try and retrace my route on my motorcycle and hope that I might find the speedometer cable laying in the middle of the street somewhere, but I knew the chances of that happening were extremely slim.
So, I called up my local Kawasaki dealer (because I have a 2009 Kawasaki KLR 650) and asked him to mail me a replacement speed-o cable for my bike. I paid about $35, which is probably about $20 more than I would have spent if I had simply ordered the part online.
About a week later my new speedometer cable arrived.
To reinstall the cable, I simply pushed the long, skinny metal cable back inside the original black speedometer tubing on my motorcycle. You should note in the photo below that the speedometer cable has a small groove in the middle of it. This is important to pay attention to, as this small groove needs to line up with the notch on your motorcycle’s front hub.
Then, I looked for the hole on the front hub of my motorcycle where the speedometer cable would need to be attached. Inside that hole I could see the small notch into which the groove on the speedometer cable would need to be inserted.
Then, I carefully reconnected the speedometer cable to the front hub of my motorcycle, making sure to tighten the tubing as best as I could.
After that, it was simply a matter of getting on the bike and going to a test drive. To my delight, the speedometer was working again and has been working perfectly ever since! I
nstalling a new speedometer cable set be back about $35 USD, but the overall repair was as easy as pie.