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Are speedometers required on motorcycles?

125cc speedometer

A speedometer is one of the most common parts of a motorcycle that stays in front of the bike rider. Although most people don't think much about this critical part of the motorbike, it is inherent to all the motorcycles you see in the market. It serves the primary purpose of letting the rider know about its current speed.


With advancements in technology, the market is inundated with two types of speedometers; electronic and mechanical. There is nothing like the best speedometer as everyone has their preference. But the main issue here is that nowadays, many people have stated whether speedometers are necessary on motorcycles or not? Let's find out through this blog post.

Motorbike Speedometer Regulations

When it comes to necessary gears and equipment on motorcycles on a state basis, the U.S. follows the U.S. Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). According to the MSF, there are 16 states where having a speedometer in the motorcycle is necessary. These 16 states are as follows:

  • Utah
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Iowa
  • Connecticut

If you are riding a motorcycle in the U.S., you should know the law according to your state. Crossing the boundaries of state can make a paradigm shift in the law, and therefore, it is necessary to check the law of the state where you will be driving. In addition to this, the law can also vary based on off-road and on-road motorcycles.

Functions of a Speedometer

A speedometer is a particular type of instrument that helps the rider get an instant reading of the bike's current speed. The speed on the speedometer is usually shown in either a kilometer per hour (KPH) or miles per hour (MPH). 

The old speedometers comprised gears, needles, and wires to correct the measurement of the current speed of the bike. But with advancements in technology, the speedometers have also evolved.  

The modern-day speedometers consist of advanced sensors, and they show the speed readings in digital format. In addition to this, the digital speedometer has been accepted by riders with alacrity. It gives them the option to switch between KPH and MPH. 

There are also speedometers in the market that are a complete dashboard, and they display much more than just the speed. These modern speedometers can show coolant temperature gauges, fuel level gauges, tachometers, oil pressure gauges. 

But regardless of all these gauges, the speedometer will always be the most prominent gauge. Why? Because many times you look at the display sensor while riding your motorcycle. 

Another critical aspect of the speedometer is the two-milometer. These are also called odometers in many places, and they are installed in the speedometer. The first milometer is used to record the number of kilometers the motorcycle has been used. The second milometer is used to record the length of a particular journey.

Speedometer common issues

Even from the safety point of view, speedometers are necessary. But experienced riders know that speedometers are parts of the bike that are not an exception when it comes to technical issues. Many issues can lead to the malfunctioning of the speedometer. 

Some most common reasons for a faulty speedometer are dial malfunctioning, faulty sensors, and bad wiring. 

If you are dealing with a faulty speedometer, you might need to replace some parts of the speedometer, like the cable or the speed sensor. But the good news is you don't need to take your motorcycle to a repair shop to deal with such types of replacement as they can be done at home as well.

In addition to this, you might even have to deal with inaccurate speed readings. If there is a problem with the speedometer's accuracy, then it might show lower or higher speed. So, the rider might think that he is speeding even while riding at normal speed in such a case.

For example, a rider might be riding his bike at a speed of 60 kph, but the motorcycle might show a reading of 70kph.

In the E.U. countries, speedometers can be inaccurate up to 10 percent over-read. You can easily trace this factor in ECE regulation No.39. This document entails the accuracy of the speedometer for all the vehicles sold in E.U. countries.

It doesn't matter whether your state has made it compulsory to have a correctly working speedometer in your bike or not. It should always be inherent to your motorcycle as it will keep you safe while giving you proper readings.