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Author Topic: Kickstart or electric?  (Read 3739 times)

exiledcarper

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Kickstart or electric?
« on: October 03, 2007, 01:48:42 AM »
I'm still trying to narrow down which RE to buy.  I notice that there's still some 4 speed kickstart only models available and can't help wondering if simpler is better, especially on a vintage machine.  I did see that someone had problems  with the electric foot when the back missfires/kicksback.  I tend to lean towards simplest is best, but  then again I don't know if you can get a kickstart only Classic with 5 speed box?  That would seem to be a good combination.  I think I'm leaning more towards the Classic than the Electra variants, mainly for the styling and maybe better parts availability in the long term, as it seems the AVL may be a short lived motor, any thoughts folks?

luoma

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2007, 02:04:33 AM »
I think all the newer 5-speeds are electric start, but not to worry. They also come with the kicker. There are some RE riders who never use their electric starter (or seldom), feeling that kicking the machine brings them closer.

prof_stack

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2007, 04:16:45 AM »
Once owning a kick-start only Yamaha SR500 I can attest to the relative ease in starting the bike by foot. 

However,

there were a few times when the bike stalled at an intersection and didn't want to start quite as easy as it did at home when cold.  That was embarrassing.

I would get the RE with both (as the new ones have) starters and use the kick-starter as much as possible.

Spitting Bull

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2007, 08:36:07 AM »
It depends on how much you want to go back to 1950s basics and live with the slight risks involved in only having a kickstart:

- embarassment if it cuts out at traffic lights and then won't start quickly
- embarrassment if it won't start while people are watching
- rapid onset of personal exhaustion if it's being really un-cooperative

However, when you have the bike well-maintained, you get an excellent feeling of pride when you just give the kick-start a nonchalant little prod and the engine fires up!

Tom


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RagMan

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2007, 01:25:18 PM »
A kick start is capable of doing you injury, if your timing is out even a little - I have a broken foot and ankle caused by the kickstart. That should be kept in mind when deciding what system you want.
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Thumper

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2007, 01:31:53 PM »
Once owning a kick-start only Yamaha SR500 I can attest to the relative ease in starting the bike by foot. 

However,

there were a few times when the bike stalled at an intersection and didn't want to start quite as easy as it did at home when cold.  That was embarrassing.

I would get the RE with both (as the new ones have) starters and use the kick-starter as much as possible.

What the professor said...

I rarely use the E-start on my Electra - and am basically saving it for the winter months. (It's a PITA to be bundled up in full winter regalia on an 18 degree morning, then dripping with pre-ride sweat after trying to kick start the beast for several minutes....).

Besides, with the Electra's decompression mechanism it's almost as hard to E-start the bike as it is to kickstart it (that is, if you want to release the compression on the piston prior to E-starting it).

Matt

dewjantim

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2007, 02:00:47 PM »
Go for the kickstart only, just like in the old days.......Dew.
If it hurts, you're not dead yet!!!!!

dave48

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2007, 02:03:41 PM »
"A kick start is capable of doing you injury"

Indeed it is! My 350 is going to have to spend a week unused after it kicked back at me a few days ago! Luckily only sprained my calf rather than re-tore the muscles which I damaged 10 years ago or it'd have been at least a month with no m'cycling.
Good job I've got an electic boot back up Virago as well.
As (in UK at any rate) bikers are in general an aging population,  there seem to be lots of older bikes for sale with the stated reason that "I need an electric starter"!

Spitting Bull

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2007, 05:47:35 PM »
Electric starters can do you injury too, you know.  A friend of mine had has a 500 and he says it kicked back on the electric starter once.  He showed me a terrible bruise on his thumb.  ;)
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Hulscat

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2007, 06:15:17 PM »
I was able to get a great deal on my 2000 classic because it is KS only. Previous owner was going to give it to his 18 year old son but the boy didn't want it because it had no cheater switch. (kids today! probably wanted a crotch rocket)  My bike will start with a very light stroke first time every time. Amal carb with tickler helps I think and it takes practice finding that sweet spot just past TDC. I've never owned a Bullet ES but I've read a lot of posts about troubles with the sprag clutch. Some owners have even gone to a lot of time and expense to remove the ES. Do they even offer a new KS only anymore??
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 06:17:20 PM by Hulscat »

Sam

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2007, 07:00:40 PM »
Electric starters can do you injury too, you know.  A friend of mine had has a 500 and he says it kicked back on the electric starter once.  He showed me a terrible bruise on his thumb.  ;)

 :D :D :D :D
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dave48

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2007, 07:21:14 PM »
"and it takes practice finding that sweet spot just past TDC."

An aside I know, but any clues as to HOW to find it??

Thumper

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2007, 07:47:52 PM »
"and it takes practice finding that sweet spot just past TDC."

An aside I know, but any clues as to HOW to find it??

Press through the kickstarter until you hit compression.

Without any decompression, continue to stand on the kickstarter as it slowly goes thru compression. (Or let the kickstarter come back up to get better leverage before you press through).

You will feel it as the compression dissipates - take care as it'll start to move quickly and you don't want to go too far past TDC; now push thru another inch or three

Let the kickstart lever rachet back up to the top

It is now just past TDC and there will not be signicant pressure to kick against. You're now ready to give it a good kick.


After becoming familiar with the routine, you can use the decomp so that you don't have to actually stand on the kickstarter and press thru the compression.

My Electra X likes about 2-4 inches once I've pressed thru the compression.

Seems like other thumpers I've had like it closer to TDC than the RE.

Note that before any of this, I kick thru about 6 times under full decompression just to get things fluid (and to tickle the carb on the last one).

Matt
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 11:42:26 AM by Thumper »

dave48

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2007, 08:49:02 PM »
Thanks - I shall study your guide!
Does it make a difference that I don't have a de-compressor?

Thumper

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2007, 11:39:28 AM »
Thanks - I shall study your guide!
Does it make a difference that I don't have a de-compressor?

No. What I outlined below is done specifically without the decomp.

dave48

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2007, 07:32:11 PM »
Bit slow there, wasn't I??
Tried it today and seems to help - thank you.

LotusSevenMan

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2007, 08:28:58 PM »
I use the kickstart as often as possible as I like that vintage feel. The electric start is VERY useful when you stall at an intersection/juntion as I have done on a couple of occasions when I  must think I'm on my Honda VTR. Although my Bullet 500ES is right foot change and the Honda is left, I still put ithe Bullet into second gear thinking it is really first being a clunk down!!! The electric thumb is then a godsend!!!!!  ::)
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exiledcarper

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2007, 11:29:28 PM »
I've got nothing against the electric thumb as such, I even owned a bike with one (and no kickstart :().  I'm just a little concerned about the electric foot/sprag clutch tearing up and all the bits potentially ending up god knows where.  I still can't help thinking that simplest is best on a vintage design like the Bullet.  I just saw the pics of the new unit constructed Enfield and note that it still sports a kickstart.  Unfortunately that's about as vintage as it gets, I hope and pray this very Japanese looking bike doesn't kill off the legend that is the Royal Enfield Bullet, but fear that the "suits" will insist so and prevail.  Bloody ridiculous, how much smog can a 500 single produce compared with ANY SUV?  I'm not knocking anyone who desires or needs a large vehicle, but PLEASE leave the dear old Bullet alone!

deejay

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2007, 01:52:05 AM »
Get the 5 speed e-start. Kickstart only is cool but that 4 speed gearbox is a pain in the @ss.

LJRead

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2007, 02:48:02 AM »
There was a suggestion on the Yahoo R E site today that might be useful to you all.  It suggest that, in order to remove the chance of damaging the sprgue clutch (whatever that is) you begin electric starting it with the decompression open a little and the engine gets turning, then kick in the compression.  Is that a good idea?

Sort of like bikes like the Moto Guzzi that have fairly large Bosch type starter motors.  Seem a lot more rugged to me, but how could one be fit?

Leonard

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2007, 11:30:47 AM »
That's how Snidal reccomends going it in his manual.  I may be tempting fate here but my '04 has over 12k miles and I have used the starter extensively without problem.  The starter motor is Japanese made and quite robust.....Leonard

There was a suggestion on the Yahoo R E site today that might be useful to you all.  It suggest that, in order to remove the chance of damaging the sprgue clutch (whatever that is) you begin electric starting it with the decompression open a little and the engine gets turning, then kick in the compression.  Is that a good idea?

Sort of like bikes like the Moto Guzzi that have fairly large Bosch type starter motors.  Seem a lot more rugged to me, but how could one be fit?
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exiledcarper

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2007, 02:49:11 AM »
Good to see you've had no starter problems in 12000 miles Leonard.  How's the overall reliability been also and have you done any of the common mods?  I don't intend to race my bike, but I would like to think that I could hold 60mph or so with a carb/pipe kit and higher gearing.  So how's your Bullet treated you?  I'm assuming of course, that you've kept up with your timing and valve adjustments, as I intend to?

RagMan

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Re: Kickstart or electric?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2007, 03:54:17 AM »
Make really sure you keep the timing spot on - the alternative keeps the bike in the shed for weeks..

Mine has the largest front sprocket, and manages to cruise happily at an indicated 70, and will go an indicated 75. It ain't too happy with that top speed though, but at 65 it just goes forever.
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