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Old 01-07-2005, 10:14 PM   #1
meat popsicle OP
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Kick Startin' the Beast

(Editor's note: posted this in Blood Sweat and Gears, didn't get one bite, only 50 nibbles... is it a lonely place or does everyone already know this stuff?)

I have seen information here and there on kick starting bikes (usually when someone is complaining about having to... ) but never a dedicated thread. That and owner's manuals never seem to cover it well enough.

So I thought I would post this method taught to me by a friend who used to restore Husky's. In his obsessive/compulsive anal-sadistic ways he developed a system for kick starting large thumpers. It works like a charm on my 03 KTM 640 Adventure - easy as pushin' the button.

This was key just this week when turning on the key gave me nada - a sign of my ongoing problem (to be fixed tommorow ). So here it is - what do you think?

And please, answer truthfully. This is for posterity...


Kick starting thumpers
Before anything else: is the bike on and out of gear? Kill switch set to run? Choked if cold? Remember to not touch the throttle! Good, now stand on the same side as your kick starter, lean the bike towards you slightly, and:

1) Engage manual decompression lever,

2) Kick thru several times with decompression engaged to get a fresh charge in the cylinder,

3) Disengage the manual decompression lever,

4) Lightly push the kick starter down until it engages the compression stroke (won't go down further),

5) Engage the manual decompression lever again,

6) Note: some of this step is KTM LC4 specific so you may need to experiment with other bikes. If you have e-start, gently push the kick starter down one more inch (stop!) to get the stroke past TDC reducing the compression for the kick start. If you don't then leave the engine a TDC (no extra inch!),

7) Disengage the manual decompression lever and release the kick starter so it tops out,

8) (Get Ready) Hop up and bring your weight down on the kick starter. Violence is not necessary, just a complete kick thru. If you give it a half-hearted, sissy-la-la, titsie-baby, candy-ass, rooty-poop kick... and don't reach the bottom, that the motor will take offense and try to put your knee thru your nose. Also, use whatever foot you prefer, and stop asking me to specify... user preference ,

9) Is it started already!?!

Mine starts very easily this way; even the actual kick was easy! Replaces cursing with a smile. It only took my friend a year of troubleshooting to refine this method...

The fresh charge might be one of the keys, but I think that #6 is the real key; this puts the piston just past TDC so that the piston is past the compression portion of the stroke. Even a high compression 600+ cc thumper is easy with this method.

PS - the LH kick doesn't bother me a bit. what all the fuss is about...
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meat popsicle screwed with this post 01-10-2005 at 08:28 AM Reason: Adding new info
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Old 01-08-2005, 02:38 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle
8) (Get Ready) Hop up and bring your weight down on the kick starter making sure your foot comes off to the side and away from the kick starter's return swing (just in case she wants revenge! ),
This is not needed Meat... well, not really.
All kick start systems have engagement and disengagement points. They engage, or "connect" to the driveline at some point just a few degrees past the position in which they normally rest, and disengage, or "disconnect" very near the bottom of the kick starter stroke.
In other words, if you can kick it thru, to the bottom of it's stroke, go ahead and leave your precious foot right there... 'cause the motor could blow itself to kingdom-come with no ill effects to your body.

It's only if you give it a half-hearted, sissy-la-la, titsie-baby, candy-ass, rooty-poop kick... and don't reach the bottom, that the motor will take offense and try to put your knee thru your nose.

Love ya'
Creepy
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:19 AM   #3
meat popsicle OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by creeper
This is not needed Meat... well, not really.
All kick start systems have engagement and disengagement points. They engage, or "connect" to the driveline at some point just a few degrees past the position in which they normally rest, and disengage, or "disconnect" very near the bottom of the kick starter stroke.
In other words, if you can kick it thru, to the bottom of it's stroke, go ahead and leave your precious foot right there... 'cause the motor could blow itself to kingdom-come with no ill effects to your body.

It's only if you give it a half-hearted, sissy-la-la, titsie-baby, candy-ass, rooty-poop kick... and don't reach the bottom, that the motor will take offense and try to put your knee thru your nose.

Love ya'
Creepy
Thanks for the enlightenment creeper, I will edit the original to include this info.

I noticed that my RD350 doesn't kick back on the bottom of the stroke, but with the LC4 I had never stayed on the kicker, I always popped off. Maybe it was because the first time I tried to kick it, I didn't move the stroke past TDC and when I jumped up and came down on the kicker, it didn't move... and the bike almost fell over away from me! And I am 200lbs.
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Old 01-08-2005, 07:31 AM   #4
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So gentleman, is the concensus that you stand to the left of the bike for these left-side kickers and use your right leg? I've had my LC4 for over a year and have never kick-started the beast. It's probably time to give it a shot so I'm not attempting it for the first time in a "must do" situation.

Speaking of which, I almost had to give it a try "in the field" the other day. I ran low on gas and the thing sputtered to a stop at a stoplight. I switched to reserve, but couldn't get a fire relit for quite a lot of cranking, almost running the battery down. It finally fired and ran again just as the battery was giving its last gasp. (I was running around in traffic with an electric vest going, so I probably had the battery a little run down even before the stall. I don't get the impression these things have a lot of extra generating capacity.)

I don't know whether it was conincidence but I think my opening the fuel valve on the right tank valve was necessary to finally get the thing to fire - just turning th petcock to reserve didn't seem to be doing the trick. I note that the manual says that if you run it low on gas, you may need a full gallon to get it to pump again, which is about the total reserve capacity in both the standpipe reserve and the right lobe reserve. Given that these bikes have a rinky-dink vacuum fuel pump, I wonder if they're marginal at priming and pumping when you get down into the reserve supply. The PO also fitted an inline filter - perhaps this adds to the pump's difficulty.

It's a bit of a shock to pull up to a pump and run up nearly a $20 fuel bill on a motorcycle!

- Mark
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Old 01-08-2005, 07:32 AM   #5
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Same exact method I use. works like a charm even on the chilly 20* mornings.
Just don't try that method on an old XT/TT 500 . it will put your knee into the bars and it will hurt for at least 3 days+
"The green dot damnit the green dot"
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Old 01-08-2005, 07:59 AM   #6
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I do that stuff, except number 6. I can feel the sweet spot just kicking through easily. The kicking it through a few times with the decomp lever pulled in is the key, at least for me.

Both my BST equipped 640 and my FCR equipped 620 usually start on the first kick, and I do that sitting on the bike.

My old Yamaha SR500 needs a different ritual.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspipe
I do that stuff, except number 6. I can feel the sweet spot just kicking through easily. The kicking it through a few times with the decomp lever pulled in is the key, at least for me.

Both my BST equipped 640 and my FCR equipped 620 usually start on the first kick, and I do that sitting on the bike.

My old Yamaha SR500 needs a different ritual.
SR500, xt/tt500 , I imagine motors are the same or close and yes it was a Ritual fersure. with Jaba the chickenblood and Rum it was still risky at best until you got it down.
"Hey Dude, Can I take it for a spin?" Sure if you can start it.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:13 AM   #8
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[QUOTE=markjenn]So gentleman, is the concensus that you stand to the left of the bike for these left-side kickers and use your right leg? I've had my LC4 for over a year and have never kick-started the beast. It's probably time to give it a shot so I'm not attempting it for the first time in a "must do" situation.

No. Not at all.

In my experience, no one who has owened an LC4, without electric start, for more than a week uses their right foot to kick it through. Well I did see one guy, once, in 1995, that did it that way, but I only saw him start it the one time. It took him a while, too. It is very awkward unless you have a box to stand on. I have no experience with LC4 owners over 6'2", however.

Take 5 minutes and learn to kick with your left foot.

Put it on the center stand if it is not warmed up. or you are new at this.

The rest of the description is pretty much perfect. The only thing that I would have added, is "DO NOTHING WITH THE TROTTLE"
When I was learning, I had to put my hand somewhere else, other than the throttle.

Harley guys are especialy bad at this part.
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Old 01-08-2005, 08:38 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagwood
"Hey Dude, Can I take it for a spin?" Sure if you can start it.


If you don't know the drill, it could be an experience on those Yamahas, especially if you have a bigger carb (38mm) on there.

Same motor, BTW.
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Old 01-08-2005, 11:49 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle

And please, answer truthfully. This is for posterity...


Kick starting thumpers
Before anything else: is the bike on and out of gear? Kill switch set to run? Choked if cold? Good, now stand on the same side as your kick starter, lean the bike towards you slightly, and:

1) Engage manual decompression lever,

2) Kick thru several times with decompression engaged to get a fresh charge in the cylinder,

3) Disengage the manual decompression lever,

4) Lightly push the kick starter down until it engages the compression stroke (won't go down further),

5) Engage the manual decompression lever again,

6) Gently push the kick starter down one more inch (stop!) to get the stroke past TDC reducing the compression for the kick start,

7) Disengage the manual decompression lever and release the kick starter so it tops out,

8) (Get Ready) Hop up and bring your weight down on the kick starter. Violence is not necessary, just a complete kick thru. If you give it a half-hearted, sissy-la-la, titsie-baby, candy-ass, rooty-poop kick... and don't reach the bottom, that the motor will take offense and try to put your knee thru your nose,

9) Is it started already!?!

Mine starts very easily this way; even the actual kick was easy! Replaces cursing with a smile. It only took my friend a year of troubleshooting to refine this method...

The fresh charge might be one of the keys, but I think that #6 is the real key; this puts the piston just past TDC so that the actual compression ratio from you kick stroke is lower than the full stroke's compression ratio. Even a high compression 600+ cc thumper is easy with this method.

PS - the LH kick doesn't bother me a bit. what all the fuss is about...
Hi Meat,

Nice tutorial
But
its only true for the E-start generation of the Lc4 engine
It worked like a charm on my ADV '03 and all the other @ventures I know, but not on my Rally. The difference that finally makes my Rally start, ist this little inch after the Autodeko shuts the Outlet Valves (the loud klick).
On the older Kickstart Versions you shouldn't set the piston after centre.
The rest is exactly as you'd described.
I had to learn it the hard way as I bought the Rally. I was kickin' for nearly 5 minutes and my lungs were hurting, I was sweating like a pig. Then the previous owner came and showed me how to do it, it was just this bloody inch. The Rally started first kick
And it does it ever since

cheers

Stefan
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Old 01-09-2005, 07:55 AM   #11
meat popsicle OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dagwood
Same exact method I use. works like a charm even on the chilly 20* mornings.
Just don't try that method on an old XT/TT 500 . it will put your knee into the bars and it will hurt for at least 3 days+
"The green dot damnit the green dot"
Quote:
Originally Posted by gaspipe
I do that stuff, except number 6. I can feel the sweet spot just kicking through easily. The kicking it through a few times with the decomp lever pulled in is the key, at least for me.

Both my BST equipped 640 and my FCR equipped 620 usually start on the first kick, and I do that sitting on the bike.

My old Yamaha SR500 needs a different ritual.
Fellas,

If you have the time please add your kicking methods for those bikes. How do they differ from the method you use for the LC4?
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:01 AM   #12
meat popsicle OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper
In my experience, no one who has owened an LC4, without electric start, for more than a week uses their right foot to kick it through. Well I did see one guy, once, in 1995, that did it that way, but I only saw him start it the one time. It took him a while, too. It is very awkward unless you have a box to stand on. I have no experience with LC4 owners over 6'2", however.

Take 5 minutes and learn to kick with your left foot.


Put it on the center stand if it is not warmed up. or you are new at this.
I don't know why bikes w/out the magic button would need a different foot? Happe said his non e-start rallye is different too; what foot do you use Happe?

Plus I have been told not to kick start with the bike on the stand. I tried this once and even though it was the fact that I couldnt get the kick starter to swing (full compression :eek) that caused the crisis, the bike still tried to fall over as I was thrown off balance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jasper
The rest of the description is pretty much perfect. The only thing that I would have added, is "DO NOTHING WITH THE TROTTLE"
When I was learning, I had to put my hand somewhere else, other than the throttle.

Harley guys are especialy bad at this part.
I will add this into the description - any nay-sayers?
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Old 01-09-2005, 08:02 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happe
Hi Meat,

Nice tutorial
But
its only true for the E-start generation of the Lc4 engine
It worked like a charm on my ADV '03 and all the other @ventures I know, but not on my Rally. The difference that finally makes my Rally start, ist this little inch after the Autodeko shuts the Outlet Valves (the loud klick).
On the older Kickstart Versions you shouldn't set the piston after centre.
The rest is exactly as you'd described.
I had to learn it the hard way as I bought the Rally. I was kickin' for nearly 5 minutes and my lungs were hurting, I was sweating like a pig. Then the previous owner came and showed me how to do it, it was just this bloody inch. The Rally started first kick
And it does it ever since

cheers

Stefan

Thanks Stefan, I will add in that non e-start caveat. Could you elaborate a bit on the part I put in bold above? I don't know if I follow you exactly. Also check my original post, I edited in what I thought you meant. Lemme know if this is correct.
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meat popsicle screwed with this post 01-09-2005 at 08:09 AM
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Old 01-09-2005, 10:32 AM   #14
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Is standing next to your KTM to kick it with your right foot kind of like sitting to piss?

I had a XR400 which need a ritual with the decomp, right hand on the cross bar so no trace of throttle until it fired, etc.

I've had no problem kicking my 640, and I have not been so precise about the process.

Clearly some thumpers have more tolerance than others.
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Old 01-09-2005, 02:21 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meat popsicle
Fellas,

If you have the time please add your kicking methods for those bikes. How do they differ from the method you use for the LC4?

it's been along time but basicly they have a little window on the right end of the cam cover with either a green dot or red dot. red dot is 180 out green dot is just past tdc. manual decomp no clicker . one or two blips on the gas roll it over two or three + ,times run it to compression stroke pull decomp just until green dot shows or you feel the release sorta, right hand on the cross bar so no gas, give it your best shot. After awhile you dont much use the window and go by feel but if you screw it up it will bite back


BTW I kick the Lc4 standing next to it. no biggy. I've used the left foot when I fuckerd up the start switch packed full of mud on the trail and it was like using my left...well you know. it worked fine but just felt like ...strange.
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