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Went for a ride on my 1969 441 Victor Special a few days ago. Man, I love that bike! I ran into a guy that started badmouthing BSA singles when he saw mine, about how they were hard to start, etc. He was on a Ducati. I tried to explain that my 441 VS almost always started on the first or second kick. He challenged me with a $20 bet that it would not start on either the first or second kick. The bike had been sitting for about 4+ hours and was completely cold. I accepted the challenge. He laughed and thanked me in advance for the twenty bucks. I was very careful to go through my starting procedure exactly. He actually threw the $20 at me and left without a word when it fired up on the first kick and idled perfectly. Several watchers started cheering.


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
Previous Non-British Bikes: 1983 BMW R80RT
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DOPE
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okay

what exactly is your starting procedure?

ive heard at least a dozen, and my 69 441 doesnt like any of them.


i'm old enough to remember when patriotism meant not trying to overthrow the government.
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Originally Posted by kevin
okay
what exactly is your starting procedure?
ive heard at least a dozen, and my 69 441 doesnt like any of them.

Kevin,
This is what I do.

Cold Starting
1. Tickle the carburetor until you see gas while the bike is vertical and not on side stand
2. Pull compression release and use kick starter to turn the engine over 5 - 6 times
3. Bring the engine up to compression and pull the compression release and then bring the engine slightly past compression
4. Bring kick starter up to top and then kick it over while the bike is vertical. Do not hold the throttle open while kicking over - leave it closed.

Hot Starting
1. Don't tickle the carburetor
2. Steps 3 - 4 as above.

I've found that it is very easy to flood the engine during hot starting. If my engine is hot and recently shut down, I never tickle the carb. It virtually always starts on the first kick when hot just by turning the key on and doing nothing but kicking. If I tickle the carb when the engine is hot, I end up looking for a hill to roll down because my leg gave out! I also know that every motorcycle is different and just because my starting procedure works with my 441 VS, doesn't mean it will work the same for someone else.
Gary


Current Bike: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, 1969 BSA Victor Special, 1975 Norton 850 Commando John Player, M1030M1 U.S.M.C. Diesel
Previous British Bikes: 1968 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Lightning, 1969 BSA Firebird Scrambler, 1972 BSA B50 Gold Star, 1974 Triumph Trident
Previous Non-British Bikes: 1983 BMW R80RT
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having just got a long neglected A65 on the road, my nearly as long neglected victor is next.

i will use your technique and return with my confessions


i'm old enough to remember when patriotism meant not trying to overthrow the government.
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Gary: Great $$ story. My son Rick and I put some time in on a couple of 69 Victors and starting was really never an issue. They were set up with only the Lucas blue capacitor and no battery. Rick had no experience with a Brit single before the Victor but caught on very quickly.

I agree that the technique is important.

Gordo


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I actively hold my throttles closed when starting.
While technique is paramount, setup is critical as well.
I suspect British Singles got a bad rep from young first timers buying clapped out (cheap!) bikes with worn out leaky carbs and cruddy points / capacitors (Jo Lucas was not known as the Prince of Darkness for nothing!).

Just like I did 50 years ago!

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I find that setting a slightly higher idle while cold starting then dropping the idle when the bike is warm helps.
With the idle set for a low enough tickover i find that the bike will fire but won't catch and run. other than that what i do is very similar to the proceddure mentioned earlier and it usually starts first or second kick.


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Yes, Sam...and the knurled knob on the idle screw makes it much more convenient. Assuming you got it running, when you shut it off it is probably idling fairly low so turning it up a little works. If something goes wrong, like flooding, you'll probably have to start from scratch. Clear cylinder, find the correct slide height, etc.


69 A65T
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Good on ya Gary

the way i see it is any man who bad mouths another mans bike is a dork!

My friend who is a bike wrecker describes Ducati as " top dollar for scrap alloy" , he doesn't carry parts for them and doesn't even wreck them

PS he isnt being a dork because by the time he sees them they have either exploded or been in a smash


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
...the way i see it is any man who bad mouths another mans bike is a dork!

Got to give him credit though for putting his money where his mouth is.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
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Originally Posted by Mark Z
Originally Posted by Ignoramus
...the way i see it is any man who bad mouths another mans bike is a dork!

Got to give him credit though for putting his money where his mouth is.

That's the way I see it. It's one thing to just be a rivet counter or anorak or big-talker. It's another to lay down money on your opinion and win it or lose it. Takes one out of the realm of "Anorak" and into "Sporting Cove", which is OK by me .... !!

Lannis


Starting today, customers will be requred to unload the semis at the back of Wal-Mart, in addition to their self-checkout duties.
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fair comment guys however :

OP stated " He actually threw the $20 at me and left without a word when it fired up on the first kick and idled perfectly. "

doesn't exactly sound gracious in defeat does he ... RUDE *&%#*&er if you ask me


"There's the way it ought to be and there's the way it is" (Sgt Barnes)
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Originally Posted by Ignoramus
fair comment guys however :

OP stated " He actually threw the $20 at me and left without a word when it fired up on the first kick and idled perfectly. "

doesn't exactly sound gracious in defeat does he ... RUDE *&%#*&er if you ask me

No argument there.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
2007 Triumph Bonneville Black

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