Friday, October 21, 2016

My Royal Enfield's speedometer cable took a bad path

I'm very proud that my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet has covered more than 42,000 miles. So I was saddened recently when the odometer stopped cold at 42,480 miles — although the motorcycle was still moving.

My speedometer kept working! It was only its odometer that froze up.

Chatter on the Classic Motor Works Community Forum tells me that the original equipment speedometers do tend to die at about 40,000 miles.

One forum member, Singhg5, pulled his speedometer apart to see what makes it tick.

"It is pretty much non-serviceable," he wrote. "It is like a fine clock/watch with small, delicate and precise parts inside. ...A small change in its parts or misalignment or loose joint can mess it up. It can't be put back together."

Singh5g posted a helpful YouTube video on how he replaced his old speedometer with a new one.

I decided first to examine my speedometer cable, to make sure it was not the problem. What a surprise I got!

Speedometer cable on my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet was begging for trouble.
View into the nacelle is from right side of the motorcycle facing forward.
First, it was apparent that the way the cable was routed into the nacelle, turning the handlebars to the left caused it to squeeze the wiring loom tightly against the headstock. The wiring bundle had literally rubbed paint off the headstock from the intense pressure and friction. Clearly not a good thing.

Secondly, turning the handlebars to the right pinched the speedometer cable itself between the stops on the frame and forks. The cable's outer sheath was slightly kinked and rubbed down to its metal at the point of contact.

Since the speedometer continues to work, I re-routed the cable back into the nacelle in a way I hope eliminates these two problems.

Even though the outer cable is slightly bent, the inner cable appears to turn normally, so I may put off replacing the speedometer and its cable until the speedometer, too, quits working.


  1. Anonymous10/24/2016

    Looks as though the stop needs to be adjusted or slightly bent outward and the cable should be replaced with an aftermarket piece a couple of inches longer.

    1. It's hard to see in the photo, but as it was that stop is going to get that cable if it's to work at all as a stop. I can't blame this on the factory; I've had the cable off to lubricate it and I may have replaced it wrongly. I have now re-routed it outside the stop and hope things are fixed. I do appreciate your suggestion.


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