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Author Topic: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...  (Read 1946 times)

Dallastheologian

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Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« on: November 13, 2012, 08:45:38 PM »
Due to living in an apartment I have to park it outside. It got down to 35 or so last night and wouldn't start this morning, but started right up when it warmed up this afternoon. In the morning the electric starter whirred and the engine turned over once or twice and then stopped. Do I need a new battery or do I need a oil warmer or what? Thanks in advance.

GSS

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2012, 08:57:18 PM »
Synthetic engine oil, new NGK spark plug and a new battery should make cold weather starting much easier. If you can plug in a Battery Tender Jr., that should keep the battery juiced up as well.
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Dallastheologian

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 09:15:07 PM »
Only problem is I can't park close enough to an outlet to use a Battery Tender

singhg5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2012, 09:19:46 PM »
Only problem is I can't park close enough to an outlet to use a Battery Tender

Check the voltage of the battery. 

Take out the battery, charge it overnight in your room and then put it back. My bike is also parked outside and I have to do the same, sometimes.  This bike runs really well in the cold.

Very likely it also needs a new spark plug. 
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2012, 09:23:03 PM »
If you can find a way to position something like this while you're parked you it may help you out.

Scott

Dallastheologian

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2012, 09:30:34 PM »
New spark plug already in. Think it will be easiest to bring the battery in and use a tender jr.

Arizoni

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2012, 09:45:51 PM »
The tender will help but the biggest help is just taking the battery inside and keeping it warm overnight.

Cold slows chemical reactions waaaaaaaaaaaaay down so even a fully charged battery won't show much power output on a cold morning.

It's kind of a PITA to have to remove the battery every night and to reinstall it the next morning but I'm betting that solves the problem.

Oh.  After leaving my bike sitting outside overnight with a low temperature of 26 degrees F (it was in Flagstaff @ 7000 feet elevation) I found that using the manual "Bi Starter" valve on the left handgrip it fired and kept on running on the crank.
Jim
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GlennF

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 10:54:33 PM »
Royal Enfields need at least 10.5 volts to the ignition whilst cranking in order to electric start properly.

In cold weather two significant things happen -
- the battery gets weaker or if it is faulty may even fail
- the oil is thicker and hence the engine becomes very hard to turn over

These two things combined mean starting problems are likely unless the battery is in good condition

Dallastheologian

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 11:08:46 PM »
It still has the stock battery in it. This will be the second winter that it will go through. I have read that the stock batteries are not that great. Would it be a good idea to just get a new battery here at the start of the cold part of winter?

singhg5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 11:26:12 PM »
It still has the stock battery in it. This will be the second winter that it will go through. I have read that the stock batteries are not that great. Would it be a good idea to just get a new battery here at the start of the cold part of winter?

Bingo ! Absolutely get a new battery - Yuasa YTX14AHL-BS

You don't need to take out battery every day to charge - not even once a week.  More likely once a month if bike is parked all the time. 

If you run bike for a good length of time at a moderately high speed once a week, that will be enough to keep battery charged throughout the winter.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 11:42:45 PM by singhg5 »
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2012, 12:08:33 AM »
+1.  Two years on stock and trying cold weather starts is not a good plan.

Scott

hortoncode3

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2012, 09:24:13 AM »
I'm in agreement on the battery, mine is starting to crap out, but it is 3 years old now..cold weather starts are a problem, not that i do a lot of that..it is Vermont after all, but I have tried starting it in temps below that, just out of curiosity doncha know. I'm sure if I kicked it it would pop right off.  I think a new gel battery is in my future next year.

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2012, 09:02:59 PM »
Don't forget to turn the headlights off when you are starting in the cold. Mine started real easy in the mid 30's the other day. I wish my Trumpy would start as easy.
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eda1bulletc5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2012, 09:21:01 PM »
I have a very similar problem. I changed the spark plug to NGK iridium 6 type, new battery which is on battery tender every night, checked solenoid voltage (as shown in singhg5's youtube video).
My dealer/mechanic thinks it is the sprag clutch system; but this happens only when it cold (I had to keep my bike in the cold over-night once and it almost took 25 to 30 cranks before it came to life) after engine warms-up no problem in starting. Basically, the starter motor just wines every crank and once in a while engages the engine...
I will be getting it replaced soon.
My MC has 8700 miles on it as of now.
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iowarider

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2012, 11:05:29 PM »
It kinda slipped by, but synthetic oil would crank a lot easier. I am curious though, what would be the lightest oil for these in cold weather? That with the new battery and I would be surprised if it didn't start right off.
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GlennF

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2012, 11:44:55 PM »
It kinda slipped by, but synthetic oil would crank a lot easier. I am curious though, what would be the lightest oil for these in cold weather? That with the new battery and I would be surprised if it didn't start right off.

Probably one of the 5w synthetics like Castrol Power RS 5w40 or Motul 300V Ester 5W30.


Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 09:18:10 AM »
I think it's been mentioned by Kevin a long time ago that 10w50 would be fine.  I would have no trouble running that if I was in a cold climate, and full syn of course.

Scott

eda1bulletc5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 11:13:56 AM »
I did manage to start the MC without too much cranks this morning; before starting I engaged and disengaged the clutch for around 10 times and then by pressing the clutch lever tried starting after around 2 or 3 cranks the engine came to life...
It could be that the clutch is getting stuck when it is cold - because of the oil being think? I am not expert on this!
Also, Do we periodically have to pour some oil in the left side case? I think this may not be required.
But I still think it is something with the sprag clutch system (atleast in my MC) that is slipping the starter motor and not engaging the engine.
BTW, I am using Mobil 1 V-twin SYN 20W-50; around 1.9L
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2012, 12:15:46 PM »
Have you removed the headlight shunt so that you can turn off the lights when you start it?

Scott

barenekd

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2012, 12:32:10 PM »
Be sure you are using motorcycle oil, not car oil. The car oil can only do bad things to your engine. 10W40 or 50 should be fine. If it's staying cool throughout the day, 10W40 would probably be your best choice. It doesn't have to be synthetic, semi-synthetic would be fine. But, motorcycle oil.
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barenekd

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2012, 12:47:19 PM »
Quote
Also, Do we periodically have to pour some oil in the left side case? I think this may not be required.
But I still think it is something with the sprag clutch system (atleast in my MC) that is slipping the starter motor and not engaging the engine.

If you have a UCE, you don't need to pour oil into it anywhere except the oil filler hole. The inside of the engine is basically one compartment, the oil goes everywhere.
If you have an iron barrel or AVL, the gearbox, engine and primary case are different entities and should have different types of oil in each of them.
This is why you don't run car oil, see above post, in motorcycles. The oil in a UCE has to handle three different lubrication jobs, where car oil only has to cover the engine. Modern car engines are designed for very low friction oils to get better mileage. The motorcycle bearings will not hold up to the lack of pressure resistance of these new oils. And guess what all this antifriction stuff does to clutches?
STAY AWAY FROM CAR OILS.
I'm omitting the truck oils, but I'll just say some of them are OK. They are old school oil that don't have the modern crap in them.
But if you're not into oils, don't mess around. Stick with motorcycle oils.
Bare
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2012, 01:28:14 PM »
A little more on what Bare said...

Moto oils are best for motos.  Diesel specific oils are similar, they both have much more of the zinc and sulphur compounds (I think it's those anyway) that are good for cushioning gears in trannies and everything else as well.  These have been minimized by law in modern car oils because they slowly erode the effectiveness of the catalytic converters and increase emmissions.  If you do have to use car oil just make sure you get one that is NOT labeled as energy conserving.  These have friction modifiers in them that can cause clutches to slip.  Probably not a big issue with our modest hp but better safe than sorry.

I would say go full synthetic for two reasons.  Air cooled engines run hotter than water cooled engines.  Full synthetics resist breakdown at high temps better.  Full synthetics also tend to flow better than conventional oils when it's cold, even for the same weight rating.

Scott


Arizoni

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2012, 04:39:53 PM »
If the daytime highs aren't above 70 degrees F I would think you could go to a 10-40 wt with no problems at all.
That's only 5 below the recommended low viscosity and the 50 in the 15-50 wt that is recommended is only useful for temperatures above 90.

I don't know if I would feel safe dropping to a 5-30.  5 weight oil is just about like water even when it's cool and its low viscosity could drop your oil pumps output pressure down to a dangerous low.

At least that's my thoughts.
Jim
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singhg5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2012, 09:28:42 PM »
I had tried 10W-40 oil one winter season and engine started easier when temperature was between 20 to 55F.  It may be OK to use if temperatures do not go above that throught day/night.

BUT I will not use it again even in NJ weather, because it is thin and light - it will not provide as much protection to engine when day time temperature rises to 60F or above. I am back to 15W-50 for all weathers and seasons of NJ.

Engine protection is far more important than small inconvenience of having to keep battery fully charged all the time. A good battery will start motorcycle in pretty cold temperature (mid 20F) without problem with 15W-50 oil.

Many good ideas have already been mentioned such as turning off headlight - very helpful.  Using motorcycle synthetic oil - good idea, though semi-synthetic will do.  Releasing clutch plates also helps. New or good clean spark plug - essential.

One more factor is gasoline quality.  Try adding a little bit of Star Tron fuel additive to gas tank. I use it throughout winter and see noticeable improvement in starting in cold temperatures. 
« Last Edit: November 16, 2012, 10:35:25 PM by singhg5 »
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eda1bulletc5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2012, 12:16:54 PM »
Hi All,
Wanted to update on this topic from my side.
Over the week I have been starting my 2011 C5 in the morning when the temperature has been around 40-46 F. What it seems as of now is, when I engage and disengage the clutch around 10 times or more and then disengage the clutch (by pressing the clutch lever) and at the same time engage the choke (or fuel enricher); the bike starts within 2 or 3 cranks.
Couple of cranks before the bike fires up, I can hear the engine getting engaged by the starter motor. What I had found initially (without doing the above procedure) was starter motor would just keep spinning. When the bike is warm I can get is cranked up within 1 or 2 cranks, no problem there.

1. Does this still seem to be a sprag clutch getting weaker? - my dealer does think that is case.
2. I have been only putting Mobile 1 V-twin syn 20w-50 moto oil into the oil hole on the RH crankcase.
3. For UCE, even though there is no need to pour oil (same type as above) on the LH crankcase, would it help doing so? especially for cold start and what I am observing with the clutch plates having to be disengaged - again not sure this required...
4. Could this be the auto-decompressor (?) needing adjustment, if any?

As regard with oil, going with 15W-50 moto oil could help out. The following oil came up as options, any suggestions on these, or do I have to worry about this at all?
Motul-5100-Ester-Synthetic-Engine
http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/14/71/988/21085/ITEM/Motul-5100-Ester-Synthetic-Engine-Oil.aspx?WT.ac=SLIsearch
Maxima Maxum4 Extra Oil
http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/14/71/988/7376/ITEM/Maxima-Maxum4-Extra-Oil.aspx?WT.ac=SLIsearch

Thanks to everyone for all the help!!
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2012 Honda NC700X 6-speed

Arizoni

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2012, 01:01:57 PM »
Just a few thoughts (and probably worth all that was paid for them).
Quote
1. Does this still seem to be a sprag clutch getting weaker? - my dealer does think that is case.
That is possible.  Wear on the sprags from their slipping without fully engaging can damage the profile on the end of the individual sprags causing them to slip more.

3. For UCE, even though there is no need to pour oil (same type as above) on the LH crankcase, would it help doing so? especially for cold start and what I am observing with the clutch plates having to be disengaged - again not sure this required...
There is no need to do this.  The right and left sidecover both communicate with the central oil sump thru several holes.
When the oil level is correctly filled, the oil in both sidecovers are at the proper level.


4. Could this be the auto-decompressor (?) needing adjustment, if any?
The auto-decompressor is located on the exhaust cam and has nothing to do with the engagement of the sprag clutch.  If it was not engaging, the starter motor would tend to 'bog down' as the piston rises on its first compression stroke but I don't think this would cause the clutch to slip more than it would with the auto-decompressor working right.

As regard with oil, going with 15W-50 moto oil could help out. The following oil came up as options, any suggestions on these, or do I have to worry about this at all?
Motul-5100-Ester-Synthetic-Engine
http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/14/71/988/21085/ITEM/Motul-5100-Ester-Synthetic-Engine-Oil.aspx?WT.ac=SLIsearch
Maxima Maxum4 Extra Oil
http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/14/71/988/7376/ITEM/Maxima-Maxum4-Extra-Oil.aspx?WT.ac=SLIsearch

I haven't used either of these oils but going to the thinner 15-50 weight oil could help quite a bit.
The sprags are usually located within a spring loaded device and the increased thickness of the cold 20-50 weight oil could cause them to 'hang up' on the springs rather than allowing them to freely engage the crankshaft as they should.
The thinner 15 weight oil will be more like the warmed up 20-50 so I would expect the clutch to act more like the 20-50 does when the engine is warmed.

As for activating the clutch lever 10 times I can't see where this could have any effect on the starting problem.
The clutch is on an entirely different shaft and its connection with the engines crankshaft (where the sprag clutch is located) is thru a duplex chain that won't transmit any horizontal movement of the clutch shaft to the crankshaft.
Rather than doing this activating the clutch lever 10 times I suggest that before you try to start the engine you pull the clutch lever in and then push the kick starter lever down fully.
The engine will not turn when you do this but the clutch plates will slide on each other breaking loose any stickiness they may have developed while sitting overnight.

Holding the clutch in while cranking the engine with the electric starter can reduce the additional drag of the transmission gears on the sprag clutch and starter motor
Jim
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2012, 01:10:31 PM »
If it engages sporatically (on-off-on-off) then I'd say it's either the sprag or a low battery.  If the starter just spins free for a bit and then it engages and stays engaged I'd say it's more likely a low battery.  If there isn't enough torque from the starter motor (from a low battery or other problem) then the sprag with not engage properly.

I also agree that an oil with a lower W weight (10W, 15W) is a better option.  The number before the W is the winter weight, or how the oil behaves when very cold.  Thinner is better here, allowing the sprags to move freely and engage properly.  Full synthetic is also better but it's tough to find 15W50 full syn in the US.  I'd say 10W40 would be fine for the winter.

Scott

eda1bulletc5

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2012, 04:05:49 PM »
Thanks Arizoni and Ducati Scotty!
Agreed, pulling the clutch lever 10 times will not have an effect on the starting problem. The reason I do this is because sometime (especially after the bike being parked for 2 or more days) when putting in first gear the bike sought of lurches forward, this can be avoided by pulling the clutch several time.
The battery is 4 months old and is being put on battery tender when bike is not in use. The solenoid voltage is also good (did it according to singhg5's youtube video)
I might try the 15W-50 after verifying the starting problem being less of an occurrence with the clutch lever pulled in.
I am learning from you guys quite a bit...Again, thanks for the help! :-)

Sajiv
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Ducati Scotty

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2012, 05:29:31 PM »
To avoid the lurch fan the clutch a few times with the engine running and the bike in neutral before you put it in gear.

Scott

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2012, 05:30:53 PM »
Dear Dallas Theologian, I have always found it beneficial to swear some when starting a stubborn engine, at least it eases the frustration. Are theologians allowed to do that?
  Automobiles, unlike motorcycles, have their own tin houses to protect engine & electrical componensts from the elements. Motorcycles, like Power Tools or Guns, should be kept indoors. You are simply going to have to move to a first floor apartment, or rent one with a garage/shed etc. if you want your Moto to last. At least Royal Enfields look nice in living rooms & dens.
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jonico61

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #30 on: November 21, 2012, 08:53:14 AM »
New battery, definitely. My stock battery only lasted a year, died in the 30 winter here. I bought a new battery with a few more amps to it, re-rigged the battery frame holder since it was ever so slightly bigger (damn!) but haven't a had a problem ever since.
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LarsBloodbeard

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #31 on: November 21, 2012, 01:15:32 PM »
New battery, definitely. My stock battery only lasted a year, died in the 30 winter here. I bought a new battery with a few more amps to it, re-rigged the battery frame holder since it was ever so slightly bigger (damn!) but haven't a had a problem ever since.

Out of curiosity, what did you do to the battery holder?  I've been thinking of putting a stack of washers on the bolts behind mine because the battery the dealer gave me hits the frame and the cover won't go on.   ???

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #32 on: November 22, 2012, 12:13:30 PM »
To avoid the lurch fan the clutch a few times with the engine running and the bike in neutral before you put it in gear.

Scott

FWIW, I can fan the clutch lever 'till the cows come home, but it doesn't free up the stuck clutch plates.  The best method for me is the pre-start hold clutch in / kick lever method (I have a kick start lever).  It doesn't come easy.  In warmer days, I could use the push bike with clutch in method, but now that it's cold, it's too hard.  The engine turns, or the back wheel drags...

barenekd

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2012, 12:32:35 PM »
If it's gotten that drastic, start it on the center stand, pull the clutch and put it in gear, then drop it on the ground...That'll do it! :o
Bare
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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2012, 12:51:54 PM »
Is that different than having the bike idling and putting it in gear?  When I do that, it stalls.

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Re: Bike wouldn't start in the cold this morning...
« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2012, 05:58:45 PM »
That sounds pretty harsh.  Is your clutch adjusted properly?  Does the bike have any shifting issues?  If yes and no, then I guess yours is just stickier than most.

Scott