Author Topic: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?  (Read 594 times)

Offline alexdecker

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Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« on: May 12, 2022, 12:02:48 PM »
Hey all

So, people always tell me that I can use the kickstarter to start my bike if the battery is flat. I can't figure this out, as I can definitely NOT kickstart my bike into submission when the battery is flat. Which made me wonder - I have taken my motor apart now, and can see that the kickstarter engages directly with the gearbox of my CB550.

Can someone explain to me (as you would explain to a 5th grader) how a kickstarter works? Can I use it when the battery is flat?

Offline Johnwebley

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2022, 12:22:36 PM »
You can use it if the battery is low,

Not enough power for the starter to spin the engine,
As long as you have around 9v,it should give a spark,

But with a completely flat battery,

I don't think so,

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Offline Rozabikes Tim

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2022, 01:10:25 PM »
Real men always use the Kickstart  ;D
One day I'll have the time to restore it, not just talk and dream....

Offline McCabe-Thiele (Ted)

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2022, 04:18:55 PM »
Real men always use the Kickstart  ;D

Sure they do - they also hand crank the car every morning - only pussies have starter motors.
Honda CB400 four super sport

Offline MrDavo

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2022, 05:38:42 PM »
Kickstarts are a legacy thing from an earlier time, like phone boxes and ashtrays.

I've only ever used the ones on my Honda and Kawasaki in the garage, setting points and tappets etc. My Harley 1200 doesn't have one, like using the non existent centre stand, it would probably give me a heart attack if I tried to kick it over.

If everything is set up perfect, they are satisfying if the bike starts first kick, ambulance inducing if it won't start at all. I used to say that the number of kicks needed to start my 750 Triumph was proportional to the number of people watching. If there was noone about, first kick, if there was a crowd no chance, but handy to blag a push start from them once they'd stopped laughing.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2022, 05:48:08 PM by MrDavo »
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Offline SumpMagnet

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2022, 08:44:44 PM »
Kickstarts allowed me to run my old CB125 twin back in the day, with a bone dry battery.... I don;t think that was why Honda made them, but the battery case cracked and the electrolyte dripped slowly away until none was left and I never noticed. Still started just fine ( no electric start... )

It can also serve as a theft deterrant. I once owned a Harley WLA 750- side valver. This had a manual advance/retard mechanism...and if you parked it up with teh ignition fully advanced, any would be thief hot wiring the ignition would be treated to a massive shin breaking kick back thus incapacitating themselves and preventing theft.
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Offline Laverda Dave

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2022, 08:53:05 PM »
Both of those replies made me chuckle. My Triton was the same Mr Davo, would always start from cold first kick, never though when warm. I learnt never to put my jacket and helmet on until I started the bike unless I wanted an impromptu sauna.
I'm still laughing thinking about the potential low-life with a broken ankle after trying to start the Harley on full advance🤣🤣🤣
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Offline Lobo

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2022, 11:41:42 PM »
Possibly, some folk are remembering the older / smaller bikes with magnetos when saying you can start with a flat battery - which indeed you could.

Magnetos use permanent magnets as part of their make-up (embedded within the flywheel), and on kicking the bike over electricity is produced - as it spins around the power (for spark) & charge coils.

Alternators do not have any permanent magnet within, this is replaced with a ‘Field coil’ which, only when energised, produces the necessary magnetic field for the ‘stator coil’. And therein lies the problem; you’ll always need some battery voltage to power the Field coil, typically 9v as John suggested.
Once running, it all becomes self sustaining…

Yea I know….ZZZzzzzz.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2022, 12:50:55 AM by Lobo »

Offline Bryanj

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2022, 01:02:28 AM »
The kickstart fitted to a Velocette Venom 500 is a device used to launch the unsuspecting owner/rider to the roof of the nearest shed, screaming in pain and clutching a leg!

Offline SteveD CB500K0

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2022, 06:56:26 AM »
Who remembers how shocked we all were when Honda introduced a bike without a kick starter?

Was it the CB900FZ, or the CX500?


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Offline Johnny4428

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2022, 07:20:48 AM »
The kickstart fitted to a Velocette Venom 500 is a device used to launch the unsuspecting owner/rider to the roof of the nearest shed, screaming in pain and clutching a leg!
😂😂😂 Brilliant!
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Offline K2-K6

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2022, 09:03:35 AM »
Who remembers how shocked we all were when Honda introduced a bike without a kick starter?

Was it the CB900FZ, or the CX500?


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I thought the CX was first, but KZ 750 was first of the fours as I remember it.

For starting on kick though, all the two stroke triples were easy, most you could start with your hand on the lever.

Offline McCabe-Thiele (Ted)

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2022, 10:16:14 AM »
My Ariel Leader was a pig to kick start when the engine was cold - there was a small button on the top of the carb that if you depressed it would flood the carb enabling it to start first kick - trouble was you had to take the side panel cover off to access the carb a pain in the butt.

Bearing in mind I was only 17 at the time my fix was to drill a small hole in the side panel so I could fix a length of welding rod through the hole fitting some rubber pipe between the end of the rod and attach it to the carb button. It took a few tries to adjust it so it worked every time including fitting a small return spring. It was a bodge but it worked - I would not do anything like that today - the naivety of youth eh!
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Offline taysidedragon

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2022, 11:09:22 AM »
My Ariel Leader was a pig to kick start when the engine was cold - there was a small button on the top of the carb that if you depressed it would flood the carb enabling it to start first kick - trouble was you had to take the side panel cover off to access the carb a pain in the butt.

Bearing in mind I was only 17 at the time my fix was to drill a small hole in the side panel so I could fix a length of welding rod through the hole fitting some rubber pipe between the end of the rod and attach it to the carb button. It took a few tries to adjust it so it worked every time including fitting a small return spring. It was a bodge but it worked - I would not do anything like that today - the naivety of youth eh!


The carburettor tickler - it wouldn't be called that these days. It would have a much fancier name, with no chance of a double meaning. 😁 My old Brit bikes had them, and my leather gloves always stank of petrol because of them.
Later ones have an extension piece on the tickler button so that your gloves don't get wet. 👍

I've never been launched by a kickstart, but came close a few times. It hurts! The big singles always had a reputation as legbreakers, Goldstar 500, Panther Sloper 600 and Velocette 500. You had to get the position and technique dead right or you did your first solo flight!
« Last Edit: May 13, 2022, 11:19:07 AM by taysidedragon »
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Offline Laverda Dave

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Re: Can someone explain a kickstarter to me?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2022, 11:22:47 AM »
This image sums up a kickstarter
1976 Honda 400/4
1981 Honda CB250RSA
1977 Rickman Honda CR750
1999 Honda VFR 800FX
1955 750 Dresda Triton
1978 Moto Morini 350 Sport
1982 Laverda 120 Jota
1924 Triumph 550SD
2012 Stanley Battery Drill

 

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