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Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 116
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Now that the Venom is up an running again, we're thinking of upgrading to the Alton electric start system. It's not cheap, so my question is: is this as fool-proof and reliable as the advertising implies? If I'm going to spend that kind of money for an upgrade, I don't want to spend a small fortune just to add whole new level of maintenance and fuss to the usual maintenance, fuss, and frustration that British bikes carry with them. Now, if it's generally reliable and it's truly a 2-hour job to install as claimed, then I'm all for it!

Appreciate if anyone has some experience with the Velocette Alton electric starter and can comment.

Thanks,

Eric


'69 Velocette Venom Clubman
'57 Norton 19S
'56 BMW R69 (for sale)
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Can only comment on the Norton Commando version but the mechanics are similar, the anti backfire device is a series of nylon pucks, if the bike backfires they shear and until you replace them you have no electric start. They first had no anti back fire at all, then added it with 3 pucks and now changed the material, they also had issues with the chain but Andy the Chainman does a heavy duty version.. Also for some reason the starter motor is only a 2 brush version when stronger 4 brush versions are readily available. On the Commando there are better alternatives but not on the Velo so you either buy it or do a DIY. That said most Commando installations are trouble free but not all as can be seen by the changes.

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Thanks for the reply. I should have thought to go search for "Alton" in the Norton section of the forum. Having read all the comments there, I haven't abandoned the idea yet. Would love to hear some first hand experience with the Velocette version.


'69 Velocette Venom Clubman
'57 Norton 19S
'56 BMW R69 (for sale)
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Hi Eric,

Only just joined this forum hence the delayed response. If you are still wondering I can provide some feedback for you. My Venom came to me with one fitted. Initial problem was when being prepared for delivery to me the seller left it ticking over, it stalled and damaged the pinion. As kommando said there are some small resin pins that are designed to shear to avoid this, unfortunately they didn’t. A new pinion was sourced and all was well again (I now ensure it has a faster tick over to avoid stalling). Next issue was the resin shock absorber on the crankshaft, this split one day when I was out meaning a loss of drive from the starter. I got home ok though and when I contacted Alton they sent me an new design (a spring and large washer) that I fitted about a year ago and had no further problems. If you look back in fishtail a number of people have reported the starter has caused the flywheels to shift out of true due to the tremendous forces applied at start up. To avoid this I use the valve lifter and gently ease the engine over compression stroke. I then keep the valve lifter operated and use the starter to get the engine really spinning before releasing it. I have a Manual advance so also retard about half way for starting as well as tickling the carb if cold. Thus far it works like a charm, much to the disappointment of the usual gathered crowd waiting to see me struggling to kick it into life. Hasn’t needed loads of attention or adjustment and as long as you are careful and fit a decent battery I’m a strong supporter.

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Hi Eric, I have an Alton Starter system fitted to my Thruxton, I have had a few issues with it so now I only use it if my bike refuses to start after 10+ kicks. I would suggest if you have a Viper or a Venum in a low state of tune it may be okay but you will need to set the bike up as if you were going to kickstart it (the Velo procedure) then pull the valve lifter in wizz it over on the starter and gradually let the vave lifter go. But remember you will need to be spot on with carb settings and the timing as one kickback will reck it! also stop only on the valve lifter! I have retarded mine an extra 2 degrees to prevent backfire ..... hope this helps cheers Tom


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