Possible production reason for speedometer error - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:00 AM Thread Starter
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Possible production reason for speedometer error

I've been running a Metzeler Tourance Next 150/70-17 on the rear now for a 1,000 miles or so. I checked the speed with my gps and the speedometer now reads proper speed (at least according to my gps and my ability to look back and forth without hitting anything).

Summary: My reasoning for speedometer error being related to bike production at the factory. I believe the engineers originally designed the bike's gearing to support the 150/70-17 dual sport tire size. But perhaps as things got closer to assembly they wanted to cut even more cost so they substituted a 160/60-17 in its place that they already had on hand.

Tech: First 3 digits of tire size is width, next two digits are aspect ratio of sidewall height to tire width. A 160 wide / 60% high is going to be 96mm tall. A 150/70 is going to be 105mm tall. I think each tire model is going to be a little different but I think you can figure on close to a 1/2" increase in rear tire height between the two sizes. The greater circumference covers just enough additional ground with each revolution to correct the speed.

Casual observation: I had cyclegear take off a pilot road 3 160/60-17 and put on the meztler 150/70-17. The new tire looked taller and was significantly heavier. The metzler seemed to be closer in weight to a heavy crusier tire than a dual sport bike tire. So for my riding on central texas rough back roads i'm ok with the heavier tire and the proper speedo. The bike also tips into corners much more quickly, doesn't seem to require any counter steer at speed, just falls in, takes some getting used to.
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Old 06-02-2015, 08:15 AM
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Speedos are always off, usually reading faster than you're going. Been that way on most bikes I've owned, with stock gearing and tire size . My theory is that they are trying to prevent speeding tickets. Lol.
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:48 AM
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Not always off.... my 19 year old Honda Pacific Coast is dead-on, per GPS. I consider it a gift, as I do know that "many" are off, but not ALL..

In the same vein as what your talking about, I did not like the fatty Ninja like back tire my 08 had. It was sort of squared off by the previous owner, and until you were rolling along at a brisk pace, the bike felt tippy as it was on and off the "square" spots of that steam roller wide back tire.

In reading and conversing with other riders, I think Alaska Jeff was the fellow I got some tire sizes from, at least for my front tire (thanks Jeff).

I too, switched to a 150/70/17 for the back. It's a touch taller and narrower. It's the same size that the Yamaha Super Tenere runs and I believe the BMW GS Adventure.



I went on the wild side for the front, running an omnidirectional Shinko.



Both are mounted up and look smart on the rims, but the bike not totally back together as part of a rebuild so I can't yet comment on ride or speedo accuracy. I also switched to a 16T so if I was momentarily in theory dead on from the back tire switch, it's now boogered up again from the 16T swap.

I watch the speed on my GPS anyway..
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:06 PM
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Almost all bikes have over-ambitious speedos (at least all of my bikes did).
I've seen them cured with a change in sprocket gearing, tire sizing, and digital soutions like the SpeedoHealer: http://www.healtech-electronics.com/products/sh/

I personally like it running a couple % over true. Keeps me (more) honest...

Ride safe...

Barry
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Old 06-02-2015, 12:11 PM
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The inaccuracy is designed in by the engineers.

I have a GPS on board to compare to. The speedo is off by about 7% with stock gearing and wheels. The odometer is pretty much spot on however.

The only vehicle I have ever owned with a accurate speedo is my current Honda Ridgeline truck. Everything else is around 7% high.

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Old 06-02-2015, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWKSHOT99 View Post
...The only vehicle I have ever owned with a accurate speedo is my current Honda Ridgeline truck. Everything else is around 7% high.
BOTH my '03 Mazda Protege5 and '01 Nissan Maxima SE, are RIGHT ON, as compared to their GPS's.

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Old 06-02-2015, 02:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
BOTH my '03 Mazda Protege5 and '01 Nissan Maxima SE, are RIGHT ON, as compared to their GPS's.
O, I'm sure there are some that are accurate, like I said my current truck is accurate. But my previous 3 cars, 2 bikes, and several trucks at work, are all off by approximately 7%.

You can always tell if it is intentional, or just crappy design, based on the accuracy of the odometer. Every vehicle I have owned, the odometer has been within 1%.

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Old 06-02-2015, 04:08 PM
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The odometer on the Versys is accurate but the speedo indicates a faster speed than reality. All my cars and bikes are like this.

All these dual sport tires are available in 160/60-17 & 120/70-17 for the Versys
Pirelli MT60 - 60/40 radial
Heidenau K73 - 50/50 bias ply
Metzler Tournance Next - 90/10 radial ( not all stores carry these tires in 160 & 120 )
Pirelli Scorpion 2 - 90/10 radial
.... also Honda branded Bridgestone dual sport 90/10 radials tires that only Honda dealers sell (come standard on Honda NC 700 X)

With all the dual sport tires now available in the recommended sizes why go with other sizes that will potentially have a negative impact on handling and corner grip and require modifying the front fender?

Last edited by twowheels; 06-02-2015 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 06-02-2015, 05:21 PM
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The speedo is deliberately off. The odo is dead on because that is what warranty goes off of.
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Old 06-03-2015, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by waltermitty View Post
The speedo is deliberately off. The odo is dead on because that is what warranty goes off of.
them we put a 16T on the front and enjoy millage and lower km's on the odo
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HAWKSHOT99 View Post
...You can always tell if it is intentional, or just crappy design, based on the accuracy of the odometer. Every vehicle I have owned, the odometer has been within 1%....
I BELIEVE that odometers are required by LAW to be accurate. 'Speedos' - not so much.

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Old 06-03-2015, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fasteddiecopeman View Post
I BELIEVE that odometers are required by LAW to be accurate. 'Speedos' - not so much.
I have always heard this as well. I have always heard that if the speedo is off, it must be high.
But on our bikes the speedo/odometer is done through coding in the ecu or some computer. Asince the odometer is spot on, that means they WANTED the speedo to be off. Personally that pisses me off.

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Old 06-03-2015, 06:23 PM
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Yep, deliberate.
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:05 PM
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not just bikes. Many cars have optimistic speedometers.

My Versys Travels:


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Old 06-03-2015, 07:56 PM
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My cars lately have been dead on, even reading a little low because I keep the tires a little over factory pressure.
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:42 AM
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In Australia we have design rules for vehicles. I suspect most other countries are the same. Vehicles have to meet these design rules before they can be put to market.

There is a design rule for speedos. Its really convoluted, but the short story is: the speedo can be up to a certain % out. Lets say 10%. But, in no circumstance is it allowed to read slow.

To make sure that their vehicles meet a demand such as this manufacturers deliberately make their speedos read fast. It allows for manufacturing tolerances and ensures compliance with the design rule.

The '15 V is the most accurate Japanese speedo I've used - car or bike. Most were about 8% fast. The V is abt 4% fast.

The most accurate speedos I've used were on two MZ's (or MuZ) an East German bike that used a Yamaha 660 single engine. They were both 1% fast.

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Old 06-04-2015, 02:16 PM
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2011 Ford Escape = less than 1% error (OEM tires)
2013 Ford Fusion = less than 1% error (OEM tires)
2015 Ford F250 = 2.5% optimistic (OEM tires)
2006 Honda VTX1300 = 12% optimistic (OEM tires, same with aftermarket equivalent)
2010 Honda Gold Wing = 3% optimistic (OEM Bridgestone tires. Same with aftermarket tires of same model)
1973 BMW R75/5 = less than 1% error (Shinko's)
2008 Harley FLSTF = less than 1% error (Aftermarket Pirelli Night Dragons)
2015 Harley FLSTC = less than 1% error (OEM tires)

OK, these were measured with GPS. I understand that the GPS accuracy can vary a fuzz... but I did try them on several roads.

In most cases, the odometers are all +/- 1% on these

Last edited by kballowe; 06-04-2015 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:19 PM
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Dang, the Harley appears to be pretty tight.

Who knew!
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:50 PM
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Dang, the Harley appears to be pretty tight.

Who knew!
Yeah - surprised the hell out of me
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Old 06-05-2015, 05:43 PM
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Harleys have always been accurate.

Not sure why the imports have almost always been high - has to do with $ for sure. I always wondered if it afforded wiggle room against lawsuits. But don't know this to be true.

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