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#598056 - 05/05/15 3:44 pm DocZ roller starter questions *****  
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I found several old threads on this topic but it seemed better to start a new one rather than revive one of those.

A week ago I ran into someone I hadn't seen for some years. He's a few years younger than me and was hobbling around in a plastic leg cast that he said was caused by kick starting his Indian Enfield. He's had motorcycles his entire life and said nothing notable happened the last time he started the bike other than it disabled him. Anyway, this triggered a search for a suitable roller starter to minimize this happening to me, especially when I'm trying to start a bike after rebuilding it and not necessarily having either the carburetion or electrics fully sorted out (or I remembered to turn the switch to 'on', or open the petcocks, orů).

Anyway, I lucked into a DocZ. However, it has only one motor and is reliably reported as not being capable of dealing with a 900 cc Ducati twin with high compression pistons. That's fine, but my question for those of you who have such a unit, will it deal with a Gold Star with 10:1 piston?

The reason for my question is I could add a 2nd motor for less than $100. But, if in its current single-motor configuration it is able to handle 500 cc singles and 650 cc twins there's no point in spending the money and time to upgrade. On the other hand, if it's marginal or worse with just one motor I want to upgrade it before I actually need to use it and find at that point it's not up to the task.

So, is one motor enough, or does it need two? Also, any thoughts on the minimum size battery needed to power it in a garage setting (as opposed to a weekend at the track) would be greatly appreciated. In the garage it might be used for a few starting attempts at a time, but then would sit on a charger while I tried to diagnose the problem before making the next starting attempt.

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#598059 - 05/05/15 3:52 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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You don't need two motors. If you spin it up with the compression release it will start any big single. Even that 900 duc will start if you bring it off compression before rolling onto the starter. I have the same unit and it's been able to start race bikes from manx Nortons to Thruxtons to two stroke screamers. bigt


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#598063 - 05/05/15 4:24 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Alex]  
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Originally Posted By Alex
You don't need two motors.
Thanks very much. That's very helpful (and cost saving) information. Any thoughts on the minimum battery size I can get away with for the garage use I intend for it?

#598064 - 05/05/15 4:35 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Originally Posted By Magnetoman
Originally Posted By Alex
You don't need two motors.
Thanks very much. That's very helpful (and cost saving) information. Any thoughts on the minimum battery size I can get away with for the garage use I intend for it?


Depends on how quickly you figure out that you didn't turn the gas on. grin

Seriously, I have run a standard deep-cycle battery, the smallest that Auto Zone had and it would last for an entire race weekend with several people starting their bikes. Heck, if you're just using it at home you probably don't need even a deep cycle, just keep a battery tender hooked up.

Here's a tip garnered from experience: attach some rubber to the bottom of the starter. Mine was bare metal and until I riveted some 1/2" rubber sheet to the bottom, it had a nasty habit of scooting around when I would roll my bike on.

Good luck...they ARE handy.


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#598070 - 05/05/15 4:54 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Alex]  
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Originally Posted By Alex
Here's a tip garnered from experience: attach some rubber to the bottom of the starter.
That's a very good tip. My smooth garage floor is covered with even smoother epoxy paint so it it would slip anywhere it would slip there.

Originally Posted By Alex
they ARE handy.
I haven't even used it yet and already I regret not having bought it years ago...

#598074 - 05/05/15 5:13 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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I bought one (invested in one!) a few years ago.
Mine has two motors.
I have used it to run up rebuilt motors for a few revs just to get the oil circulating prior to firing it up---and then used it for initial start up.
I don't have a big Ducati but have used it for Tridents (I guess that is only 250cc); the biggest single cylinder I have used on it is my B50 (500cc) single).
It handles everything that I have thrown at it with ease.
When I bought it I also invested in a pretty big deep cycle battery (one of my neighbors works at Advance Auto Parts and he got an enormous discount for me) and I keep this on a Battery Tender permanently so the starter is ready to go at a moments notice.
My usage is garage rather than race track.
HTH

#598075 - 05/05/15 5:41 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Tridentman]  
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Originally Posted By Tridentman
I bought one (invested in one!) a few years ago.
From previous posts we seem to be of a similar mind on many things (HF hoists, trailers, impossible to own too many motorcycles...) so when I searched the Forum I wasn't surprised when I came across your posts of a few years ago expressing an interest in rollers. Save those knees and hips for kickstarting when you have no other choice.

I'm reminded of an incident I may have written about before. Many years ago the lab where I worked in Illinois paid what seemed to be a generous mileage rate if you used your own car to drive somewhere on business. I don't remember the amount, but it certainly was quite a bit more than the cost of gasoline so it might seem one could make a profit by driving your car and collecting the rate. However, one graduate student explained why he wasn't going to use his car to drive to a conference in, I believe, neighboring Wisconsin. He explained that his car already had so much wear on it that it was clear to him that every mile he drove brought him that much closer to having to shell out thousand of dollars for a new car. This made him very conscious of the fact that the per-mile rate the lab paid didn't actually cover the full cost.

At 18 we can kick start bikes forever. A half-century later we realize that every bike we kick start today is one less bike we will be able to kick start in a few years. And it's not just about bikes. Hobbling around on a bad leg affects one's overall quality of life so it's to be avoided at all costs. Viewed in this way, a set of starting rollers is a wise investment. You, having already made the investment a few years ago, obviously are wiser than I am.

#598090 - 05/05/15 7:10 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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MMan-- I am sure that I am not wiser than you--perhaps my physical frailities are more advanced than yours?---thus giving me a head start on preserving leg muscles!
Your student had obviously realized the difference between marginal costs and fully amortized costs.
Certainly IME learning in a practical situation like that has much more impact than just intellectually understanding it by reading it in a book.
Personally I have never regretted buying my set of starter rollers and would advise you to go ahead and take the plunge.
A bit like the lift--- before you get one you get by. After you have one you wouldn't want to go back to not having one.
And in terms of it being impossible to own too many motorcycles----yesterday I bought another--a 1959 BSA B33. Still figuring out how I am going to store it--but I have decided that that is tomorrows problem!
HTH

#598092 - 05/05/15 7:23 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Magnetoman,

Alex is right about the rubber and the single motor, assuming it is a good starter. Art chose the Ford starter, initially, because he said it had the highest HP on the dyno. He also pointed out that the concept is to simply spin the rear wheel up to a suitable speed so that when the clutch is engaged that the flywheel effect of the rotating wheel is enough to start the bike. Although we have all done it, the object is not to use the motor or motors to sustain the rear wheel speed of a non-starting bike. At the track you often have a bike that won't start wheeled over to your rollers for a spin. That is when two motors and two batteries are useful. Good starting bikes don't need much prodding.

My routine was to roll the 500 single in front of the Doc Z, put it in second, roll it backwards with the clutch engaged and in gear until it hits compression, then pull in the clutch and roll it back on the rollers. Get the rear wheel up to speed and let the clutch out. The engine is as far away from the compression stroke as possible so it spins up nicely and starts immediately. Only a few seconds of roller power necessary. Static CR is 11.5:1, however, I have two motors, mostly because they were cheap.

The only other mod I made was to add bigger centralizing rollers (sawed up an old boat trailer roller) to the existing mounting spots. This keeps the rear wheel from moving sideways. It also keeps racers with really big rear tires from asking for a start.



I added the black frame and removable handle just to move it around easier.

David

#598097 - 05/05/15 7:58 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: David Dunfey]  
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Originally Posted By David Dunfey
Magnetoman,
The only other mod I made was to add bigger centralizing rollers (sawed up an old boat trailer roller) to the existing mounting spots. This keeps the rear wheel from moving sideways. It also keeps racers with really big rear tires from asking for a start.
David


laughing

Brilliant! Though I do have to say, you make a lot of friends when you show up to the track with rollers.


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#598125 - 05/05/15 10:19 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: David Dunfey]  
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Originally Posted By David Dunfey
The only other mod I made was to add bigger centralizing rollers (sawed up an old boat trailer roller) to the existing mounting spots.
That looks like an excellent modification to make. It's now on my to-do list.

I won't pick it up until tomorrow but I wonder if mine is an earlier version. The wheels on mine are on the rear end rather than on the side. Or perhaps you moved yours(?).

#598128 - 05/05/15 10:48 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Tridentman]  
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Originally Posted By Tridentman
Certainly IME learning in a practical situation like that has much more impact than just intellectually understanding it by reading it in a book
Referring to a story in another thread of my daughter's recent visit to ride a Gold Star, I warned her that the soft shoes she planned to wear were inappropriate. She scoffed at the advice saying her shoes looked much nicer than a clunky pair of boots. At the end of the day she admitted to a bruised arch and said she was planning to shop for hard soled, yet stylish, footwear before the next time she had to kick start a motorcycles.

You can have them read a book, or you can give them advice based on your own experience, but often they have to experience it themselves before the information sinks in.

#598187 - 05/06/15 11:26 am Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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You are absolutely correct there, MMan.
IMHO one of the disadvantages of the human species is that we spend 70 or 80 or so years acquiring knowledge and experience and then pass away and all that knowledge and experience goes with it.
Yes--it may be in books, on databases or accessible via Google etc but the reality is, as we have said, it only really goes home into some ones being when they do it themselves.
I guess it needs someone much more clever than me to come up with a human experience transplant process which means that succeeding generations didn't have to start from square one every time.
Ah well--I guess I am now well off the topic of roller starters!

#598215 - 05/06/15 2:06 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Magnetoman,

I suspect the frame is the same. I made the black frame around the motors and mounted the wheels there instead of the back because the motors are the heaviest item on the starter.

A note on the rollers. The ramps don't close flat for packing if the rollers are in place. It was not an issue for me as I carried the rollers and bolts in the tool box with the starter pedal. Just two pieces of angle iron welded in a "S" pattern with a 1/2" nut welded underneath. Taking them off is only an issue if packing space is a premium.

David

#598242 - 05/06/15 4:44 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: David Dunfey]  
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Originally Posted By David Dunfey
I suspect the frame is the same.
I can see now that it is.

I had a busy morning, the result of which the DocZ along with ~200 lbs. of machinist-made tooling and fixtures for Gold Stars is in my garage. Unfortunately, I can identify for sure only what about 25 lbs. of it does, despite identification the deceased stamped into a lot of it that provide clues. This will be the subject of a lot of photos and questions on the Gold Star forum over the next few months.

It's clear from some of the stuff I could identify that the guy would routinely spend two hours making a fixture that wasn't really needed, and even if used only might save 5 minutes. Still, just the pieces I could identify that I don't already have made the acquisition well worth it. But, this is a story for another time, and another Forum...

#598256 - 05/06/15 7:15 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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MM, It's too bad you already bought the rollers. While I was still racing, I built an aluminum set just like those from Doc Z. They're available if anyone wants them, just pay the shipping.

Also, we started with vehicle driven rollers, but these are easier to use solo. The difference is, with the vehicle type, the bike was a stable as could be. With the smaller rollers, the rear skitters about uncontrollably. I talked to Doc at the races one time, and he had the same problem. His solution, obviously, is the vertical rollers. I never added them, just went back to the vehicle rollers.


Hugh: Proof the Dodo is not extinct
1964 Bonneville
A couple others
#598266 - 05/06/15 8:55 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: HughdeMann]  
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Hugh, PM sent...

#598277 - 05/06/15 10:56 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: HughdeMann]  
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Originally Posted By HughdeMann
MM, It's too bad you already bought the rollers.
It worked out fine for all concerned because the rollers are now in a home where they'll be used and the price was a reasonable donation to the widow's favorite worthy cause. I infer from the previous post yours had no problem finding a home as well.
Originally Posted By HughdeMann
With the smaller rollers, the rear skitters about uncontrollably. I talked to Doc at the races one time, and he had the same problem.
I watched a few Youtube videos of starting on the same or similar rollers and the skittering in those seemed reasonably tame. However, maybe it will seem different when I experience it myself for the first time.

#598331 - 05/07/15 10:49 am Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Originally Posted By Magnetoman
I watched a few Youtube videos of starting on the same or similar rollers and the skittering in those seemed reasonably tame. However, maybe it will seem different when I experience it myself for the first time.


The only time I've had a problem with "skittering" was when the bike wasn't aligned with the rollers and the tire was rubbing on the sides. That's another reason it's important for the rollers to not slide around on the floor. Once you get it aligned, you kind of need it to stay put.


A smattering:
'53 Gold Flash
'67 Royal Star
'71 Rickman Metisse
'40 Silver Star
'37 Rudge Special
sixtyseventy Lightboltrocket road racer...and many more.
#598340 - 05/07/15 11:51 am Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Several years ago when my knee finally failed to live up to the kick start task of the Hornets and Firebirds 10:1 compression I built this setup. My buddies kind of poo pooed me for it. Since then they have been coming around asking about it.

It has 2 Ford starters and I utilized a large Group 29 deep cycle battery. Turns out the best deal around here on the battery was at Walmart. The yellow portions are Doc Z, with the black and white portions added for ease of use. The unit is totally self contained so it can easily be rolled out from the shop, or rolled in the trailer for a trip, which I did, when I took the Hornets and the Wasp to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel a couple of years a go. It will also go to the Columbia River Concours de Elegance in Vancouver, Wash. this August with the "three tenors". I had it at the I. Rally last year in Petaluma to start the Wasp.

The wheels that came with the setup are not installed. I installed an arm/disarm toggle switch on the unit that I can reach with my right foot while sitting on the bike. It doesn't really tax the battery all that much, as the battery hardly ever shows much discharge. I added some stick-on strips of anti-skid tape to the white bottom rails to help keep the unit from moving.

It's difficult to kick the west coast Hornet, when it's off of the side stand, while standing on the right side and kicking with the left leg. I almost dropped the bike a few times while doing that. The links at the bottom shows it handling the Hornets with no problem.





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiaVmfj1mAE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apXK5rgHBY4


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
#598347 - 05/07/15 12:17 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Short, heavy cables are best.

I really like the folding dolly; they are cheaper to make than to buy the DocZ option.


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
Author of the book "Old Bikes"
Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, some BSA & European
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
#598394 - 05/07/15 7:02 pm Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Gary E]  
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Originally Posted By Gary E
Several years ago when my knee finally failed to live up to the kick start task of the Hornets and Firebirds 10:1 compression I built this setup.
It's a very nice looking setup. Yours is one of the youtube videos I watched earlier that didn't show problems with the rear wheel hopping around.

Originally Posted By Gary E
It has 2 Ford starters and I utilized a large Group 29 deep cycle battery.
The DocZ site recommends for their dual-starter configuration a deep cycling battery that delivers 875 CCA, which is defined as the no. of Amps it can deliver for 30 sec. at 0 oF. I only have one starter and I promise not to try to start a motorcycle at oF, but the temperature coefficient means that corresponds to a capacity of ~1300 Amps at ~70 oF. However, the intended purpose for DocZ's recommendation is to have a battery that lasts a full racing weekend without recharging, which isn't how mine will be used.

I'd like the smallest battery that will do the job because smaller is lighter, easier to move around, and less expensive. At the definite risk of overthinking this, I measured the current required to start the 6.8 liter V10 engine in a Ford F350 (which itself has a 750 CCA battery in it). I found a surge of ~150 A for the ~1 sec. it took for the engine to start. Since spinning a rear wheel up to speed is less demanding than spinning a large V10 engine, 150 A is an upper limit on what I would need.

The second aspect is Ampere-hours. Group 29 batteries are rated somewhere around 125 A-hr. In the spirit of this very rough estimate it means such a battery could deliver the required ~150 Amps for 50 min. before being fully drained. I can't imagine using the rollers for even a full minute on a recalcitrant bike before realizing I have to stop to do more work on it before it will start, at which time the battery would go back on the trickle charger. A 30 A-hr. battery would deliver the required ~150 A for 12 min. which is a factor of 10x more than I expect I will need.

The third aspect is being able to recover without damage from having been deeply discharged. This would be needed for a battery used on a long racing weekend, but not relevant for my use.

The above (over)analysis indicates a normal, not deep cycle, 30 A-hr. battery delivering 150 CCA (=230 A at 72 oF) would be fine for my use. So, ~60-80 A-hr and 450 CCA should be sufficient overkill. Absent information to the contrary, that's what I'll be shopping for this weekend.

#598428 - 05/08/15 12:48 am Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Gary E's set up looks very well thought out . I wish i had one . The only thing missing is circuit protection.
Car/truck starters are commonly wired with no protection , but there are some good capable circuit breakers made in the 12 volt 200amp range
That could do the job . the breaker pictured is made by Blue Sea Systems .
This circuit breaker , made for marine use , is water proof with a manual switch to turn the circuit off when not in use. It is a time delay design that is capable of passing 400 amp for 20 seconds, and will pass its rated 200 amps forever.
... there are much cheaper version out there , but I'm not sure of their reliability.

.

#598429 - 05/08/15 2:04 am Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: quinten]  
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Originally Posted By quinten
the breaker pictured is made by Blue Sea Systems .
I just found that breaker on Amazon for $75 and a generic "Grainger approved" less elaborate (but waterproof) one on Grainger for $27.

Now that you mention it, $27 is cheap insurance ($75 is more expensive insurance) against shorted battery terminals that almost certainly would result in flying shards of plastic propelled by a quart of sulfuribc acid.

#598458 - 05/08/15 9:26 am Re: DocZ roller starter questions [Re: Magnetoman]  
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I haven't got a circuit breaker fitted to mine--but it is a good idea.
What I do have is a switch on one of the battery terminals (cheap from any auto store) which I turn off when the starter is not in use (the vast majority of the time).
This isolates the battery from the rest of the system when not in use and is I think a useful safety feature. It also ensures that the Battery Tender is devoted solely to the battery and is not feeding any minute electrical leaks elsewhere.
HTH

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