Mechanical Bicycle Speedometer – How They Work and How to Install Yours

Mechanical Bicycle Speedometer

In this article, we’ll discuss what Mechanical Bicycle Speedometers are and how to install them on your bike.

Let’s get started!

How Does A Mechanical Bicycle Speedometer Work?

You can add a Mechanical Bicycle Speedometer to pretty much any type of bike. Not only does it allow you to track your speed but it can also add a classic look to your bike.

They operate with the help of a cable that you connect to the front wheel of your bike. As you ride your bike, the revolutions of the wheel allow the cable to move which changes the readings.

Whether you own a Mountain Bike or another type of bike, you can use a mechanical speedometer to measure your speed while riding. You’ll need to use the correct “wheel drive adapter” depending on your bike’s wheel size.

Right and Left Mechanical Speedometers

Most mechanical speedometers come with the wheel drive adapter that you need to mount on the wheel’s right side. This is determined by the direction the speedometer’s indicator needle moves.

If the needle is meant to move from right to left, you’ll need to attach the wheel drive adapter on the left side and vice versa.

Can You Put A Speedometer On All Bicycles?

Can you put a speedometer on a bicycle?

Yes, you can find hundreds of models of bike speedometers that are fully compatible with all types of bikes. Including mountain bikes, road bikes, and e-bikes.

Most modern bike speedometers are digital that come with a built-in battery. These Digital Speedometers (also known as Bike Computers) measure many details like current speed, average speed, trip time, calories burned, and more.

But if you prefer classic speedometers you’ll want to install a mechanical bike speedometer on your bike.

How Do You Install a Mechanical Speedometer on a Bike?

Installing a mechanical bike speedometer on your bicycle is a simple process. You can do it yourself by using the following steps even if you don’t know much about bikes.

  1. Start the process by removing the front wheel of your bike
  2. Take the speedometer’s wheel drive adapter and attach it to the front wheel’s axle.
  3. Install the adapter on the right or left side according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. If you install the adapter on the wrong side, your mechanical bike speedometer will not work.
  4. Don’t forget to place the washer in between the fork and tire.
  5. Once you have secured the adapter properly, reinstall the wheel.
  6. Next, attach the speedometer bracket to the handlebars.
  7. Attach the speedometer gauge onto the bracket.
  8. Attach one end of the cable to the back of the speedometer gauge.
  9. Insert the other end of the cable into the wheel drive adapter that you installed onto your wheel.
  10. Now use the ties to make sure that the cable doesn’t make contact with the tire.
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Your mechanical speedometer is installed.

How to Choose the Best Mechanical Bike Speedometer?

How to choose the best mechanical bike speedometer

The best way to choose the best mechanical bike speedometers is to do thorough research. These products don’t come in “one size fits all”. 

It’s important to define your budget and needs first and then start looking for the products based on your own requirements. 

There are also some important factors that you should also consider while choosing a mechanical bike speedometer. I’ve listed some of the most important ones that will help you choose the right product for your needs.  

Features and Functionality

You don’t necessarily need to buy a product with every feature. You should look for the features you will find useful. Additionally, a mechanical speedometer only needs to perform one job, which is to measure your current speed. 

You can find products that offer a built-in odometer for total mileage along with a reset button. However, you need to make sure that the product you choose offers accurate data reading in all conditions. 

Ratings and Reviews

Superior ratings indicate that a larger number of customers had a better experience. Ratings and customer reviews provide you with trustworthy and accurate information regarding a particular product that has already been used by hundreds of real-world customers.

Value for the Money

You get what you pay for, as the adage goes. Cheap isn’t always the best option. However, spending a lot of money on a showy but undeserving product isn’t a smart idea either. Before buying a mechanical bike computer, it’s important to determine how much value you will receive for your money.

Reliability and Durability

Reliability and durability go hand in hand as they are inextricably linked together. Good quality and long-lasting mechanical bike speedometers can stand up to the test of time and they will serve you well for years to come. 

You can find an old-school-style bicycle speedometer that comes with a classic style featuring a chrome bezel. Most modern mechanical bike speedometers can also be mounted on both the right and left sides of the front tire. 

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You can also find mechanical speedometers with an anti-shock function, waterproof build, adjustment setting control, quick release wheels. These features allow them to offer accurate data and withstand harsh weather and terrain.


New products come to the market every day and they replace the older ones. Companies continue adding new features to their products and stop manufacturing the old ones. Buy a product that is readily available and sold by a reputable vendor.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mechanical bicycle speedometer?

A mechanical bicycle speedometer is a device that calculates how fast you are going on your bike by measuring the rotation of the wheel using a sensor and a magnet.

How does a mechanical bicycle speedometer work?

A mechanical speedometer works by using a magnet and a sensor. The magnet is attached to the wheel of the bike and as the wheel turns, the magnet passes by the sensor, which records the number of times the magnet passes by. This number is then converted into speed.

Can I use a wireless speedometer on my bike?

Yes, there are both wired and wireless speedometers available on the market.

What are some features to consider when purchasing a cycle speedometer?

Some features to consider when purchasing a bike speedometer include GPS connectivity, battery life, easy-to-read LCD screen, backlight for use at night, monitor for speed, distance, and stats, and the ability to connect with third-party apps such as Strava.

How do I install a mechanical speedometer on my bike?

Mechanical speedometers are relatively simple to install. You will need to attach the sensor and magnet to your bike’s wheel and frame, respectively, and then connect the wire to the monitor on your handlebars.

Can I use a mechanical speedometer with other bikes?

Yes, mechanical speedometers can be easily transferred from one bike to another. However, you will need to make sure the magnet is placed properly for accurate readings.

What is a GPS bicycle computer?

A GPS bicycle computer is a device that uses GPS technology to calculate speed, distance, and navigation. These devices are typically more accurate than mechanical speedometers, but also tend to be more expensive.

What is a heart rate monitor for a bicycle?

A heart rate monitor is a device that tracks how fast your heart is beating during exercise. Some GPS bicycle computers come equipped with a heart rate monitor, but these can also be purchased separately and synced with your bike speedometer.

How do I know which bike speedometer is best for me?

The best bike speedometer for you will depend on your needs and budget. Consider what features are important to you, such as battery life, GPS connectivity, backlight, and connectivity with third-party apps.

How accurate is a GPS bicycle computer?

GPS bicycle computers are generally very accurate, but factors such as weather, terrain, and interference can affect accuracy. It’s important to calibrate your device before use and periodically during use for the most accurate readings.

Final Words

Mechanical bicycle speedometers are the best options for people who love classic and vintage styles. The process of installing this type of speedometer on your bicycle is very easy and you don’t really need professional help.

We hope this guide will help you understand how a mechanical bike speedometer works. You can also use this information to choose the most suitable product for your bicycle and install it in the right way.

About Informed Cyclist
Michael Rogers
I’m Michael, a cycling fanatic and the founder of Informed Cyclist. I started this site to give back to the sport I love! My mission is to bring the very best cycling advice & know-how to my readers. I hope you enjoy this site as much as I love working on it. I put a lot of heart & effort into it!

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