The third,"Can't have a Tach", Tach mod!


Well that's what I called it after both Cobra (the tach maker AND Kawasaki told me it couldn't be done to the EN500 with a Cobra tach!


I am used to a tach. PLUS, the 500 is SO quiet I couldn't tell when to shift with a full helmet on! And to tell by the speedo I had to crane my neck down so I could see it past the lower edge of my helmet. I don't know about you, but I like to watch the road and stuff out front rather than looking down at the tank when I am riding, especially on the superslab! All of the tachs I could find that said they would work on the EN500 were tacky looking cans ranging from 3.5" to 7", and looking like they were chrome painted coffee cans! That and looking like an afterbirth product not an aftermarket one, decided me against them.

I kept looking around and drooling about the Cobra tachs, but cringing at the price. $209 (or MORE, according to where you see them!) buckaroos is a lot of dollars for something going on a low end ride, whether you are in love with it (I unashamedly AM) or not! I kept searching and found one on eBay that was in good shape, but obviously not for the EN500. Well it went for $50 band shipping because the fellow said he couldn't find the rear mounting part! As you can see in these pictures there isn't one.

And that is the whole good part! There isn't one! On the bikes that have a handlebar that sits in a lower riser cradle and had a top clamp that bolts on to hold the handlebar in place, this tach REPLACES one of the top riser clamps!! There wasn't SUPPOSSED to be a back! Well I bought it and with less than $60 tied up, started in making it work.

I called Kawasaki and they said, "nope, won't work on that model"

I called Cobra and they said, "nope, won't work on that model".

You know, I have been a Ham Radio operator most of my life, have owned two R&D companies (one built the first color interface for a laptop computer - The Tandy Model 100, when IBM still used amber and green screens - It was called the Mikrokolor, and we made it just because someone said we couldn't!) and have ran an R&D division for a big commercial company, and I STILL LOVE IT when someone says, "nope, you can't do that"! I get to breathing hard and my daughter says my ears start growing Vulcan peaks! (appropriate here, huh?)


OK, so it won't fit or work. Found some half (almost) round clamps that were for plumbing use in keeping copper pipes in place that just happened to be made out of chrome plated brass (keeps the dissimilar metal caused corrosion down) that just fit (well, they did after a little elongation of the holes with a round file!). I used some more chrome plated ("and on the eighth day, God created Chrome!") hex head bolts and lock nuts to finish the back clamp that fit the 500's bars great!

Now after Cobra sales said it wouldn't work, I called one of their engineers and asked why? Well, he said they had actually tried it and the positive pulses from the coil pickups wouldn't activate the coil properly. So, I downloaded instructions for ALL of the two cylinder engines and they were all alike! You attach the green pickup wire to or wrapped it around, the coils POSITIVE wire! I tried it and my golly, it didn't work! Then I though about it. The tach uses the pulse as a trigger, nothing more. It is counting pulses and presenting a corresponding reading on the face, according to its internal makeup.It DOES NOT actually time the rpm's! In fact with a coil pulse there had to be a LOT of negative AND positive edges to that pulse. So what would it do if I spliced it into the NEGATIVE wire? (the Black with yellow WHITE striped one [Thanks to Roger G. for helping me catch this error!]) What do ya think? Yeah, it worked like a champ! I went to a local dealer who hooked up their commercial test set and the tach was within 2-3 percent pretty much across the board, which is better than Cobra claims for a bike that it IS supposed to work on! As I have stated, I hate to screw up original equipment and I hate to splice wires,as it weakens them, when the manufacturer may have just barely used enough to carry the normal current. (ever hear of a manufacturer "cutting corners to cut costs"? Of course not!) So I got one of the splices at NAPA (shown in the photo with the chrome pipe clamp) (actually YOU can go to NAPA, I just grabbed for one of the thousand or so boxes of odd electronics parts I have stashed in the garage to get mine) that allows you to simply tap off another wire from the connector by adding another welded tab to the connector. No current loss, nor splice. Green wire attached! DO NOT allow it to go too close to the frame though! Even at a low current, the pulse from the coil is high enough to arc!!

So here, we see the tach mounted and the wires ready to be run to the positive, negative and ignition on points (for the lit up face). The Black wire is ground and should go to any firm ground point, though I tied mine to the ground connector under the tank. (Almost all the mods grounds went there after a while. The Blue (usually) wire is the lighted dial face. The Red wire is the positive

Once I got it all wired up I covered it with chrome wire loom just to be pretty and ran it under the frame with standard heavy duty wire loom that will protect it from vibration or rubbing.

As in all projects I do, I fused the unit even though the instructions don't say to. I made a handy fuse connector using two 90 degree female spade connectors. When crimped on they form a prefect socket for the small automotive fuse I used. (2 amp)

Just throw a wrap of electrical tape around them and tuck it away! Then it got run and spliced into the main Red wire feeding the tail lights, as that is only on when the ignition is. This large red wire comes through the large wire loom on the right, above the connector that is circled.

The wire goes from the Ignition Switch and down to the right, and after breaking out of the wire loom wrapping, under the fender. That is where I spliced into it. I don't like splice connectors unless absolutely necessary, so I inserted an in line butt type connector set in the wire, and used a 2 to 1 adapter to provide power to the tach. I previously had said it went to the battery, but that was wrong as it would have always been on! Thanks to Jeff Anglin from the Yahoo EN500 group for catching that.

NOW I have a great tach that looks good on the little bike that couldn't have one! The lighted face is very bright at night, and as easy to read as during the day. And thanks to

See ya next fun mod!!