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Lannis Offline OP
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I had a meeting to go to last night, it was a pretty evening, so I checked the tires on the Norton, tossed on jacket, helmet, and gloves, and rode in.

We were finished just before sundown, and the attendees came out to the parking lot. As I was gearing up, a couple of guys came over to look at the Norton. One was driving a late model hybrid car (some nameless Japanese ovoid); the other guy commented that he had a 2019 Honda bike, and he'd never seen a bike like mine before.

I got a few questions.

"What are you doing there?" "I'm kicking it through with the clutch in to make sure that the clutch plates are free".

"What's that lever you turned?" "That's the fuel valve - it's gravity feed into the the two carburetors".

"Why are you pushing those buttons?" "I'm priming the carburetors with the 'tickler' buttons, it lets some raw gas into the intake for a rich mixture."

"What's that?" "It's the choke lever for starting and cold running".

"Why are you kicking it slow?" "That's just a priming kick to get the rich mixture into the cylinders, no need in bashing it round to get that done, just turn the engine".

No more questions, because I turned the key on (they recognized that), kicked it, and off it went.

I wish I'd been on the M21, I could have explained the magneto advance/retard lever too.

It's amazing to think that the newer bikes with FI and EI and ECUs and stuff do all that work for you. If you didn't grow up with it, it all seems rather primitive, I suppose! I'm glad that I at least realize what all the new technology does for me so that I can appreciate it, although I don't mind ticklers and chokes one little bit. To me, it's strange to NOT have them ... !

Lannis


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Did you allow the petrolgas to drip onto the tarmac?

Did you flagrantly sniff your gloved fingers after the flooding ritual?

Kickstarting a classic Brit has become a spectator sport.

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Lannis Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dibnah
Did you allow the petrolgas to drip onto the tarmac?

Did you flagrantly sniff your gloved fingers after the flooding ritual?

Kickstarting a classic Brit has become a spectator sport.

Good questions .... For the Norton, when it's been an hour or two since it was run, it wants a LIGHT tickle, unlike the A10 which has no air cleaner and wants a nice sloppy pool of gas in the intake for a one-kick start. So the INSTANT you see gas bubble up next to the tickler, git off of it. If gas is dripping off the bottom of the float bowl, you're flooded. It wants choke any time it's not hot.

And it's well known that the number of kicks that it takes to start an old Brit is directly proportional to the number of interested spectators watching ... so one easy clutch kick, one priming kick ignition off, and one kick to start for 3 people watching .... Could have used the button to start it, but you don't get your man-card punched for doing THAT ....

Lannis


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I'm a relative youngster only being 40 years old, but I've been working on and enjoying old (and new) cars, motorcycles, and airplanes my whole life. One of the more interesting things I've done is being a flight instructor - even the newest small airplanes have engine controls that would be common in the 1950s. This makes starting an airplane an interesting event, not unlike starting an old motorcycle. It can get even more interesting when the engine is hot. What I have found the most interesting is how quickly people forget what things were like longer ago. I have had numerous flight students that are older than me and would have driven many miles in carbureted cars that have zero understanding of carburetors or any recollection of how to start something that doesn't just immediately fire up with the turn of a key. I've come to realize that much of the knowledge and experience that I've taken for granted and expected others to know is just not common anymore.

It's nice to read that someone had questions and was interested enough in the Norton to ask them.

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To really confuse the modern bike guy, start and ride a tank-shift, foot-clutch Harley or Indian.

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My wife an I are 73....we have never owned a vehicle with an automatic transmission...manual transmissions are now a form of theft control...


79 T140D, 89 Honda 650NT ,61 A10 .On a bike you can out run the demons
"I don't know what the world may need
But a V8 engine is a good start for me
Think I'll drive to find a place, to be surly"
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I can relate to every one of these posts as I've dealt with all of the scenarios. I'm just not sure if it makes me a member of an exclusive club a Luddite, or just plain old. Either way I wouldn't change it even if I could. thumbsup

Last edited by MikeG; 04/13/21 10:56 pm.

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"It's nice to read that someone had questions and was interested enough in the Norton to ask them." - Mondtster.

That's just what I thought. Good for those guys. Many times people will ignore you because (I think) they don't like bikes or don't want to reveal their lack of knowledge.


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Lannis Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Al Eckstadt
"It's nice to read that someone had questions and was interested enough in the Norton to ask them." - Mondtster.

That's just what I thought. Good for those guys. Many times people will ignore you because (I think) they don't like bikes or don't want to reveal their lack of knowledge.

It was something different going on, I suppose. One guy who was watching rode a new Honda, one didn't know anything about bikes at all but is a mechanical guy ... When I see something that's new to me, I never hesitate to ask!

Lannis


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Originally Posted by Dibnah
Kickstarting a classic Brit has become a spectator sport.
I thought it always was.. leastwise with a big single.

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Originally Posted by Stuart Kirk
Originally Posted by Dibnah
Kickstarting a classic Brit has become a spectator sport.
I thought it always was.. leastwise with a big single.
Isn't it scheduled for the 2024 Olympics? smile

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Reminds me of the old proverb "A watched bike never starts".

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For the most part I never stop long enough to involve a starting ritual when I venture out, though it's not that complicated with the Mk2s on my Bonneville.
The Trident only requires tickling when it's dead cold.
I did have a minor incident once with valet parking. The attendant couldn't start my '74 Honda Civic when I needed to leave. I couldn't manage to explain the manual choke on the Weber to him, so I had to retrieve my own car.


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Originally Posted by Tridentman
Reminds me of the old proverb "A watched bike never starts".
Then there's the old line "Sure kid, if you can start it, you can ride it." Then everyone else just stands there and spectates.

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Originally Posted by Lannis
[quote=Dibnah]Did you allow the petrolgas to drip onto the tarmac?


And it's well known that the number of kicks that it takes to start an old Brit is directly proportional to the number of interested spectators watching ...

Lannis

Reminds me of the time in the early '70s when I was looking at a Velo outside a pub in Sydney (the "Vanity Fair" in Goulburn St). The owner came out and told me that Velos had an undeserved reputation for hard starting. Wrong thing to say. He was still kicking (and cursing) when I left.

That said, I have had a couple of bikes with valve lifters. They both had attracted complicated starting instructions, but in the end I found that the easiest way was to ease them over TDC, then give a mighty kick, releasing the valve lifter about halfway through. This worked for me nearly every time.

Last edited by sammysnail; 04/15/21 11:45 am.

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Originally Posted by sammysnail
That said, I have had a couple of bikes with valve lifters. They both had attracted complicated starting instructions, but in the end I found that the easiest way was to ease them over TDC, then give a mighty kick, releasing the valve lifter about halfway through. This worked for me nearly every time.

I've started quite a few valve-lifter-equipped singles, and the starting process seems to be the same for most.

The two times I started a Vincent 1000cc twin, the directions were "Ease it up to compression, pull the compression release and hold it, give it a good kick, and halfway through, let go the compression release. If you try to start it like a single, it'll bite your ankle ..."

Worked well! Every bike has its own deal ...

Lannis


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Sammy's story about the hard-to-start Velo reminds me of my 1960s friend Kenny, who rode a '66 Harley XLCH magneto equipped "Sportster".....
.....WHENEVER he managed get it started.

One July day in 85 degree F. temperatures I counted him jump about a hundred times on the kickstart before it finally fired and ran.

The real laughs began when he settled down on the seat and said "Finest motorcycles ever built!"

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Originally Posted by Irish Swede
Sammy's story about the hard-to-start Velo reminds me of my 1960s friend Kenny, who rode a '66 Harley XLCH magneto equipped "Sportster".....
.....WHENEVER he managed get it started.

One July day in 85 degree F. temperatures I counted him jump about a hundred times on the kickstart before it finally fired and ran.

The real laughs began when he settled down on the seat and said "Finest motorcycles ever built!"

I remember my Enfield giving me a similar workout one fine summer day. Even better is when after it started, unless you had someone to blip the throttle while you geared up, it would stall about the time you got the jacket zipped and the helmet strapped on.


1960 BSA A10
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Originally Posted by MikeG
Originally Posted by Irish Swede
Sammy's story about the hard-to-start Velo reminds me of my 1960s friend Kenny, who rode a '66 Harley XLCH magneto equipped "Sportster".....
.....WHENEVER he managed get it started.

One July day in 85 degree F. temperatures I counted him jump about a hundred times on the kickstart before it finally fired and ran.

The real laughs began when he settled down on the seat and said "Finest motorcycles ever built!"

I remember my Enfield giving me a similar workout one fine summer day. Even better is when after it started, unless you had someone to blip the throttle while you geared up, it would stall about the time you got the jacket zipped and the helmet strapped on.

LOL, When I showed my '70 Interceptor at local car/bike shows, I'd have old-er guys come up to me and reminisce about "back in the day"when either they owned an RE or their buddy did. EVERY one said the same thing: when they ran, they ran really well. But they were SOBs to start !


They say every dog has his day..
Trouble is, nobody tells the dog which day it is !

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Originally Posted by oilyamerican
Originally Posted by MikeG
Originally Posted by Irish Swede
Sammy's story about the hard-to-start Velo reminds me of my 1960s friend Kenny, who rode a '66 Harley XLCH magneto equipped "Sportster".....
.....WHENEVER he managed get it started.

One July day in 85 degree F. temperatures I counted him jump about a hundred times on the kickstart before it finally fired and ran.

The real laughs began when he settled down on the seat and said "Finest motorcycles ever built!"

I remember my Enfield giving me a similar workout one fine summer day. Even better is when after it started, unless you had someone to blip the throttle while you geared up, it would stall about the time you got the jacket zipped and the helmet strapped on.

LOL, When I showed my '70 Interceptor at local car/bike shows, I'd have old-er guys come up to me and reminisce about "back in the day"when either they owned an RE or their buddy did. EVERY one said the same thing: when they ran, they ran really well. But they were SOBs to start !

Once I figured out that the mag was the culprit I knew enough to stay in whatever bar I was at till it cooled a bit...a hardship I was willing to endure laughing


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yes, Mike G.
That was our cure here in the midwest, too.

We Triumph and BSA guys would have another beer, until we heard the Sportsters fire up, then we'd go out, give our bikes one or two kicks, and we'd all roar off together.

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Originally Posted by sammysnail
I have had a couple of bikes with valve lifters. They both had attracted complicated starting instructions, but in the end I found that the easiest way was to ease them over TDC, then give a mighty kick, releasing the valve lifter about halfway through. This worked for me nearly every time.
That's the technique that most of the pre-War BSA Owners Handbooks specified. I've never had any particular trouble easing over TDC with the valve lifter engaged, letting the kickstart return to the top of its travel and then using the mandatory "long swinging kick" or "depressing the starting pedal briskly"

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Hey Lannis, if you really want to bewilder folk, try explaining the MZ staring ritual! laughing


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Originally Posted by Hillbilly bike
My wife an I are 73....we have never owned a vehicle with an automatic transmission...Manual transmissions are now a form of theft control...

Crash gearboxes add to the challenge. 1920's Vauxhall 30-98 with a clutch-accelerator-brake pedal arrangement would need concentration, particularly at the 100mph it was capable of. I'd like one please.

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Originally Posted by KarlB
Hey Lannis, if you really want to bewilder folk, try explaining the MZ starting ritual! laughing

One of the great experiences of a lifetime, that trip that Alec and I made to the IOM on your bikes ...

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]
[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]

Wonderful machines, those MZs. But I don't remember anything particular about the starting ritual?

Fueling ritual, now, that would baffle anyone today. Take off the gas cap, fill it with gas, turn the gas cap upside down, fill it with oil from a container you carried with you, and dump the oil in the tank as you replaced the cap. No oil changes, no oil pump, no oil lines, simple.

I'm wanting one of these jewels myself now. Rare here for the same reason that Guzzi Nuovo Falcones are rare - the only ones here are ones that people brought over privately, or bought in a crate as a "parts kit"! Never imported by dealers.

As far as easy starting, reliability, simplicity of repair (especially taking apart the carb in the rain to get a dandelion seed out of the mainjet - Bing carbs, were they?), you can't beat them.

Lannis


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