Speedometers and Instruments
How fast was I going? - Speed and other displays
As soon as the motorist - two-, three- or four-wheeled - became faster than pedestrians and horse-drawn vehicles, the interest in the actual speed began. To avoid having laboriously calculate it (it's 20 km from A to B and it took me an hour, so I was probably going 20 km/h :-/) and to have an up-to-date display in each case, the motorcycle has a speed indicator or speedometer. While only electronic instruments are in use on today´s Harleys, until the mid-1990s the pointers were still driven purely mechanically by flexible shafts. These shafts need to be properly routed and occasionally lubricated - and yet they remain wear parts. Changing speedometer drives was almost a routine job on some motorcycles in the '70s and '80s. So it's no wonder that the electronic sensor with two or three easy-to-route cables eventually prevailed.
Control lamps and other displays
The field of view is much wider than the area you focus on. While "reading" the road while driving, one still notices when, for example, an indicator lights up at the edge of the field of view. So it makes sense to group other indicators at the lower edge of the field of view near the speedometer: e.g. indicator lights. Of course, you can find neutral without such a light, and even without an oil pressure control you will notice when the engine is struggling. It's just that an indicator light connected to an electrical sensor is definitely faster and more reliable.
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