Boss McKannick to the rescue


Dear Boss,
I’m wondering if it’s possible to install a speedometer on the Kawasaki KFX700? If so, how would you go about doing that? Thanks.

Paul Bassani

Colorado Springs, CO


On the surface your question is simple, but if you take a deep dive into all the equipment available that can read your speed, you had better pack a lunch, son! So, let’s start off with the simplest speedometer—the bicycle speedometer. Back in the day before speedometers were standard equipment on ATVs, the Sigma Sport or the Cateye digital speedometer was the go-to unit.

They hooked up just like almost every speedometer today, utilizing a Hall Effect magnet attached to some rotating part like a wheel or axle as the trigger and a pickup that reads how many times the magnet passes the sensor. Then the display calculates the speed based on a calculation that you input. Today, you can use a GPS to get an accurate reading and adjust the display accordingly. But if you really want to know how we did it manually, fasten your seat belts!

    Place the ATV on a flat concrete surface. Place a yardstick next to the tire and measure the tallest point by sighting across, parallel to the ground, from the yardstick to the center of the tire.

Take this measurement and multiply by 25.4 to convert to millimeters. Multiply this figure by 3.14 (π), which will give you the distance traveled by one tire revolution. Round to the nearest whole number. This figure can either be used as-is for km/h or round to the near- est 10 and drop the right most figure (which converts to centimeters) and use this if that is what is required by your brand of the speedometer.

If your speedometer requires you to convert the calibration figure for mph, divide the calibration figure by 1.61. Plug this figure into the display per your speedometer’s instructions. Then be aware that ATV tires grow at speed. A 3-percent growth is not unusual at 60 mph, which means your display will be 3-percent slower at 60 mph.


You can compensate for this by setting your speedometer to be accurate at a different speed than 0 mph. A good compromise is 30 mph. So, you would increase the tire size by 1.5 percent and recalculate. For bicycle speedometers, look here: com/best-sellers-sports-outdoors-cycling-computers/zgbs/sporting-goods/ 3403321. Whew!

    Okay, now back to the present. You can purchase just a speedometer/odometer, or that plus various sensors for battery voltage, temperature, etc. All the way up to a full-blown GPS with trail maps!

For the display itself, you can go with a modern rectangle display or old school with a round motorcycle style. Trail Tech is probably the most recognizable name in digital displays here: https:// kawasaki-2009-kfx700-374001.

They have various levels of features depending on how much information you desire. Another name in digital displays is Acewell, as seen here: portfolio/. And, if all of these features are a bit too much, there is the back-to-basics Koso XR-01S here: https:// speedometer-mpn-bb026001.html? singleid=1599912405. So, how was lunch?


Boss McKannick is the shop foreman here at Dirt Wheels. His main job is to answer questions you may have with your ATV or UTV. Any problem you may be having with your machine, Boss is most likely the one who knows how to fix it.


 To get his help all you have to do is email your questions to [email protected]

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