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You are most likely right about the pulse generator, but, I believe that the speedometer cables run through a gear reduction so that there is less than one revolution of the cable per wheel revolution. VWW
 

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Re: Why do it the hard way?

I gave some thought to reversing the direction, but I wasn't sure that the cable didn't turn a worm gear. Now that I think about it though you couldn't roll the bike backwards too far without damaging the gears in the odometer if that was the case. VWW
 

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You make an interesting point, however isn't a speedometer operated by a spinning set of magnets working against a spring preload? If so when the speedo pegs the needle that will be the maximum that the spring is streched, so the only added difference in strain between say 180 mph, and 1000 mph would be the added load on the barings and the gear teeth of the speedometer. VWW
 
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