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Old 11-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #1
bpeckm OP
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Joined: Apr 2008
Location: Road Island
Oddometer: 6,064
Installing an Acewell speedo/computer on an airhead --

I have now had the pleasure of "doing" two airheads, one a 1976 non-running R60/6 that became my little cafe; and the other a franken-beemer that had been sitting unused, but "was running when parked". Fun projects, both.

I guess that in the natural "evolution" of these bikes, and our tastes, and our desires of what we want (or think we want!) we all play with different combinations of this, that and the other thing.

So, it ends up that I put an Acewell electronic speedo/tach computer (sorta..) on Frank N. Beemer.

Yes, I am liking the result. A lot!

For those looking around for an alternative to the BMW instruments, for whatever reason, this is an excellent alternative. For those who don't know an Acewell from a hole in the ground (groan....), this is the Acewell unit:

Nice looking, in a modern but sorta-retro way.

Also under consideration had been several other possibilities. The Vapor has been widely used by the GS and offroad crowd. It does some similar functions, but definitely has a more contemporary look:

The Vapor has a few more "computer" functions meant for rally riding, etc, but pretty much works on the same principle: a little magnet and sensor on the front wheel and forks count how many times the wheel goes around, and computes the speed of the bike, based on rolling circumference and time. Simple concept, simple execution that works. Precisely.

And, there are other very nice, very retro-looking electronic speedos that could be mounted in much the same way. The only difference being that they are speedos, period. So, if you want a tach, and the usual cycle idiot lights, you have to add them.

One speedo that got serious consideration is from VDO, available in either black or white, and several other styles, but I liked these:

Nice looking units, each of them, but about 3" in size, and there is a matching tachometer as well.

Cost? The Acewell, all up, is about $130, maybe $150 for the Vapor once you add in the surround with the idiot lights:

The VDO's were not horribly expensive at about $120 plus the sensor, but then you have to add the tach, and the lights, and.... In the end, you are back to a pod of some sort. Nice, very nice, but not really what I was after.

And then there is the always-classic solution that was specific to the /5, and truly elegant:

So, those were some of the things that had come up while looking around and seeing what works. I found some truly gorgeous $800 speedos, but.... that ain't gonna happen, not in this lifetime.....

But then, if money were no object, maybe the beauty of perfection would shine through:

XS650 becomes a VT BackRoadRunner
Loving the 80ST
I love projects that take twice as much effort as should be needed. Should be an Airhead motto. (disston)

bpeckm screwed with this post 11-23-2009 at 07:24 PM
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