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1,058 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ive been meaning to share this info here for awhile

Installing a Tachometer on a VTX 1300 is pretty easy and straight forward. Any bike i have has to have a Tachometer.

The Barons Tachometers (for example) are really nice and look great but most of the $175-$250+ price for them is for the Billet Housing, imo. The Tachometer itself, or the "guts" of the Tachometer is very likely the same as the cheaper Generic or Bikers Choice Tachometers, imo.

The Bikers choice Tachs can be bought for anywhere from around $40-$70. I've had one on my VTX for over 3 years and 25K miles and it works just fine, It's illuminated so Tach can be seen at night. With the Black background and white numbers it's easy to read in the daytime. I also found a Gauge Visor that fit it well on Ebay for a few bucks stuck it on with 3M VHB Tape and its held up nicely so far (3 years heavy use). It was a visor that would normally go on a Peterbilt truck dash gauge that had the same I.D. as the Tach's O.D., i forget the item number, so please dont ask.


Connection to a VTX 1300

Black/Brown stripe wire is Positive (ignition on) and Green is Ground on the Honda Fog light 3-pin option plug inside the VTX's Headlight.
(The other wire on the 3-pin fog light option plug is not used in this installation and is there to activate a relay that comes with the OEM lightbar that turns off the lightbar if the high-beams are turned on.)

On my VTX Tachometer (Bikers Choice) there are 4 wires.

The red (Tach power) and blue (Lamp power) wires are twisted together into one connector and connected to the Black/Brown wire on the fog light option plug (in headlight), this way both only work with the ignition on (keyed power), which is what you want, I put a fuse between the tach and the bike connection. The Tach black wire is ground which connects to the green fog light option plug wire (or any good ground). I also found a 3-pin Male Plug on Ebay so i wouldnt have to splice into the bikes wire harness, (someone was selling a used harness for a OEM Honda Lightbar).

The green wire on Tach goes to the front (or rear) coil on the bike using a Splitter, like this, which slides over the coil terminal making one terminal into two terminals, one for the for the Tach one for the connector that was already there and one for the Tach. There are 2 terminals on the bikes coil, i believe its the coil terminal with black/white stripe wire on the VTX but check this youself (my memory fades) if one won't work the tach the other coil terminal will. The Tach should come with the splitter terminal, if not they're easy to get..
Splitter Terminal

Here's the tachometer i bought, got mine on Ebay at the time though.

There are many choices for Tachometers out there. For the VTX 1300 make sure you get a Tach that works on carburetor V-Twins (NOT EFI fuel injected V-twins). Look at the Tachometer customer reviews before purchasing, if people say it works great on any older Honda or metric V-Twins with a carburetor, it will very likely work fine on your VTX 1300.

Conversely, if the Tach description says it will work on a EFI fuel injected V-twins, or customer reviews say they installed the Tach and it worked fine on one of EFI V-twin models, do not buy it for your VTX 1300. A Tach that works on a VTX 1800 (EFI) will NOT work on the VTX 1300 (Carburated) and vise-versa,

If the manufacturer says their Tachometer will work on your bike if you purchase an optional "Adapter" DO NOT buy that Tach for your VTX, it will be a nightmare and likely cause the Tach to be unstable causing the Tach indicator needle to jump around and not operate smoothly.

The above procedures worked for me on my VTX 1300 and is only meant to describe my experience installing a Tach on my bike. Bike owners should do their own research before installing a Tachometer on their Bike.

9,602 Posts
I have installed my share for customers....

as long as it's FOR that bike.. it mostly straight forward.
a few have called out the wrong color wires.. so a call to tech support does correct it.

24 Posts
Nice job on the install and pics!!

I have one exactly like yours and also used a splitter. I added another splitter to the positive side of the coil for my power (red/blue-bulb wires). Soldered/heat shrunk blue and red wires together to female butt end so they both go on when the power is on and kill switch is off, ready to start. Ground to fan ground on frame.

Did not add a fuze as it draws very little amperage but .....that does add extra protection. It has been on for over a year with no issues. Maybe I'll add one next time tank is off!

Looking for the hood now as it adds a nice touch!

Again, great job!

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