Yes, we are here!

In times like these our hobbies become lifesavers. At MOTORCYCLE CLASSICS, we have been tracking down the most interesting and rare classic motorcycles and collections for more than 15 years. That includes researching and sourcing the best books on collectible and rare bikes available anywhere. Our online store is open and we are here to answer any questions you might have. Our customer service staff is available Monday through Friday from 8a.m.-5p.m. CDT. We can be reached at 1-800-880-7567 or by email. Stay safe!

Replacing Honda CB500 speedometer and tachometer face plates

| 10/14/2009 3:02:13 PM

Tags: ,

CB500 Speedo and tach, done
The finished gauges on the Classics Project Cafe, complete with custom face plates. Pretty cool, eh? 

If you’re old Honda has spent any time in the sun, it’s a pretty good bet the speedometer and tachometer face plates are cracked and faded. Thirty-some odd years out in the elements will do that to a bike. The good news is, you can make those face plates look like new – or give them a personalized look – and it’s not as hard as you think.

CB500 gauges, before rebuild
Here's what we started with. Pretty typical, really, and pretty ugly, really. 

As part of our Classics Project Café, the 1973 Honda CB500 Four we’ve slowly transformed from a tired dog, ready for the parts bin or the junk yard, into a gleaming, lovely little café for the street, we decided to freshen up the bike’s clocks. We’d never tried disassembling a set of Honda gauges, so we went into this as cold as the next guy. And while it definitely takes a little time and patience, we discovered it’s a project completely in reach of the average guy.

Unfortunately for us, the telling of this tale got let down by technology, or maybe just bad “best practices,” you decide. I documented the entire process, taking pictures of the speedo and tach from start to finish as we worked through, but an unexpected and pretty devastating system failure in my computer resulted in losing just about every pic I took. A few – the ones you see here –survived, but that’s all. Had I backed everything up to a disc, I’d still have all my pics. There’s the “best practices” element. Fortunately, someone else has already documented the job.

It was, in fact, because of Steve Swan’s excellent step-by-step instructions for disassembling/assembling CB750 gauges on the SOHC Honda CB Motorcycles website that we decided we were up to the task. The process is nicely documented on the SOHC tech pages, and we relied heavily on the SOHC article to get our gauges apart.

6/8/2010 11:06:41 AM

If you go to flickr and search under caffeineandpixels you can see some gauges I designed for CB750's. You can also go to MilVinMoto and look at Godffery's Garage for some incredible restorations of CB's of all sorts.

3/21/2010 8:39:28 PM

Restoring gauges is an art form that covers all aspects of their inner workings, especially the proper way to open and reseal the bands so they do not leak. I do not use and dont subscribe to using pliers of any sort to reseal gauges opened for restoration. Doing this will not create a correct and even pressure onto the rubber seal thats sandwiched inside the ring/bezel joint, and you risk the possibility of marking the bands upper visible surface with impressions as well. While the factory did use a two stage roller principal to fold the band and correctly pressure crimp it, a similar process can be used without making such an elaborate tool as the factory one. I do restoration work on mostly GT750 gauges but HTMLs are not allowed to be posted here so do a google search for gaugerestore to see my site and restoration work.

10/15/2009 3:54:32 PM

Great how to. I have a 1977 Yamaha XS650 that I recently rode to a local rally. I had done a front end rebuild and only two problems on the trip. The cable came out of the back of the speedo( I must have forgotten to tighten the new one when I installed it) and on the way home the screws vibrated out of the already loose gauge face letting it spin about 90 degrees. I was able to uncrimp the bezel as you have described. Cleaned the gauge face and glass. put some loctite on the screws and re-assembled successfully. So you know where to get Honda about replacements for faded XS650 clocks?

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

click me