1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

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ColinS
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1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by ColinS »

I note from the parts list that there is a different speedo listed for the US market. A friend has said that the US spec. bikes of that period were required to have a 0 -85 mph speedo rather than the 0 - 140 (0 - 220 kph) unit fitted to European bikes? Does anyone have any info on this topic please? The reason for enquiring is that the previous owner/restorer of my SSD has fitted a "US spec." 0-85mph speedo and I'm curious about the subject. Presumably the gearing is the same for both speedo's which would make them interchangeable but I feel a need to check this out. The PO bought a speedo/tacho pair as NOS from a US source and they look very good, much better than the slightly battered and aged originals which I do have.

Image

Thanks & Regards

Colin
Last edited by ColinS on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Colin Steer
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BevHevSteve
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by BevHevSteve »

Hi Colin, I dunno about that but my SSD is exactly as shown in your photo.
Image
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Craig in France
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by Craig in France »

ColinS wrote:I note from the parts list that there is a different speedo listed for the US market. A friend has said that the US spec. bikes of that period were required to have a 0 -85 mph speedo rather than the 0 - 140 (0 - 220 kph) unit fitted to European bikes?
Hi Colin,

Yep, your friend is right. Introduced from September 1, 1979 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Speedos had to have 'special emphasis' on the number 55 and display a maximum speed of 85 mph (137 km/h). (Absolutely barking, eh? :doh: ). For more info, look up "National Maximum Speed Law".
ColinS wrote:Presumably the gearing is the same for both speedos which would make them interchangeable but I feel a need to check this out.
2 thoughts:
1. Does the US parts book say anything about the speedo drive on the axle? The standard unit was a Veglia 25/9.

2. Ask Steve if his bike uses a 25/9. If it does, I reckon you can take it that the reduction was done in the speedo head.

Ciao

Craig

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ColinS
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by ColinS »

Thanks for the confirmation Craig, you can see the 55 highlighted in red on this speedo and my '98 M900 has such a highlighted 55 too. The parts list shows only one speedo drive, hence my thought that the heads do interchange and hence read correctly. I would like to revert to the 0 - 140mph item but the originals are well-used and would detract considerably from the otherwise pristine condition of the bike. If I get a chance later on I'll take a photo of them and post it here, at least Steve will see what the European bikes had. As you implied it does seem crazy to stick a 0 - 85 speedo on a 125 mph bike, did they think it would discourage people from trying to bend the needle?

Cheers

Colin
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ColinS
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by ColinS »

I read up on the "National Maximum Speed Law" on Wiki and was surprised to see for how long after the '73 oil crisis this law remained in force in the US. It was an interesting insight into how the matter was handled in the US and why does my M900 still have the 55 highlight so long after the law was repealed? Maybe the Italians haven't caught up yet.
In the UK we had a 50mph restriction but it only lasted for 5 months.

Anyway, partly for Steve's benefit, here's a photo of the original 0 - 140 mph (0 - 220 kph) speedo from my European 1980 SSD. You can see why, for aesthetic reasons, I'll retain the 0 - 85 mph version until I can find an NOS 0 - 140 or an ND restorer.

Image

Cheers

Colin

PS: In the first photo the broken "Gen" light is visible. Are these available anywhere?
Colin Steer
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Craig in France
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by Craig in France »

ColinS wrote:You can see why, for aesthetic reasons, I'll retain the 0 - 85 mph version until I can find an NOS 0 - 140 or an ND restorer.
I dunno .. with 94,000 showing on it, I rather like the old one :) . That said, I'm pretty sure that Ian Gowanloch (nat' ...) has new ones for sale. Otherwise, they do come up on eBay occasionally - often, for some reason, ex-Germany.

Btw, there are a number of variations. Mine is marked in mph only, for example. And there are kph only ones, of course. Pantah ones, which are otherwise the same as the Beveldrive ones, often have the inner dial markings in orange/yellow.
ColinS wrote:In the first photo the broken "Gen" light is visible. Are these available anywhere?
Photo seems to have gone now, Colin - ? But in reply to your question: not new - or very rarely. But try Ian Gowanloch. If it's just the bulb that's out on yours, they can be picked out and replaced.

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ColinS
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by ColinS »

Hi Craig,
The photo's back now. I did some maintenance on my photobucket account last night and moved some photos which causes photobucket to lose track of them. It's the lens that is broken across the bottom edge.

I don't mind the 94,00 kilometres on the speedo but the exterior of it is in dreadful condition, not fully visible in the photo.

Cheers

Colin
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machten
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Re: 1980 Darmah SSD ~ US Speedo?

Post by machten »

But in reply to your question: not new - or very rarely.
Craig's right. I haven't seen any new anywhere for quite a number of years (even eBay). Your best bet may be to buy a complete instrument panel. I know several people who have had to do that just for the idiot lights. As Craig said, you can replace the bulbs (it ain't easy!), but surprisingly I haven't seen anyone making reproductions yet. I guess the demand isn't high enough to justify it. If anyone knows differently, then post it up here.

I got lucky about 5-6 years ago and got a few sets for my bikes, although only one "Lights" one. I've always found that and the indicators the hardest ones to find. There must be some other bike that was using these.

I've also kept all my old ones in case I need to end up doing a cut and join at some stage.

Image

Kev

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