How To Replace Or Repair Your Motorcycle’s Speedometer Cable

July 1, 2014 by

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!

motorcycle speedometer on zero

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.

finger pointing at the front wheel of a motorcycle, where the speed-o cable connects tot he hub

Unfortunately, over time, the cable had wiggled itself loose and totally detached itself from the wheel hub.

speedometer cable coming loose

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.

this is how you lose your spedometer cable

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.

speedo cable installation guide

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.

hole where speedometer mounts to hub

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.

how to connect a motorcycle speedometer cable and tube

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.

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8 Responses to “How To Replace Or Repair Your Motorcycle’s Speedometer Cable”

  1. eli on June 30th, 2011 1:54 am

    Thank you for your simple and easy to follow instruction, the pics also help a lot.

  2. Richard on September 10th, 2011 11:26 am

    THANK YOU! My wife has just decided to do her own maintenance this is a wonderful resource you have provided. Do you have any thing specific to the cmx450? Honda only made the 450 rebel for two years and we’re having some trouble finding online help.
    Good Journey

  3. Darren Alff on September 17th, 2011 11:20 pm

    Sorry. I’ve only go a KLR 650 to show this on. Have you been able to fix the problem?

  4. Tom on October 14th, 2011 7:06 pm

    Thanks, I did this to my bike, and it works flawlessly!

  5. Jon on December 11th, 2011 2:29 pm

    Thanks for taking the time to put this up, exactly the same thing has just happened to my deauville and I’m hoping it will be this easy to fix!

  6. Phil Johnson on February 1st, 2012 3:07 am

    Whoever put you wheel on (probably the dealer during assembly) didn’t put the speedo drive on correctly. There is one tab on the fork tube that should be centered between the two tabs on the drive unit. The cable should be coming out of the drive at a 10 or 11 o’clock angle instead of 9. Mine was delivered the same way, along with the handlebars so low they scraped the paint off the fairings. My cable fell completely out on a dirt road and after an hour or two of backtracking I gave up looking. Still under warranty but the dealer said I had to bring it by to see the cable was missing before ordering a new one? I found a new one on ebay and would rather pay for it my self then have them touch my bike.

  7. arms on October 12th, 2012 6:46 am

    thank you

  8. 9 Lessons Learned During My First Year With A Motorcycle on July 29th, 2013 4:30 am

    [...] bike never broke down during my first year with it. The worst thing that happened was that I lost my speedometer cable and I let the battery drain by accidentally leaving the bike on overnight. In the future, I want to [...]

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