The Kicking is Killing Me!

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Kicking my 74 850Commando is exacerbating an old motorcycle knee injury on my right leg. The more I start the bike, the more I am up at night. I've had some relief by left kicking on the center stand, but If I mess that knee up, there's none left!

In my darker moments I have begun to have doubts if this is the right bike for me. I don't want to go to drastic expensive measures (retrofit electric start) because the bike is a lovely stock condition and I want to keep it that way.

I have searched the forum and found tips like a longer kick lever, for leverage I assume, and moving the kicker downward so I could use more body weight to kick (Once again an assumption). Is the longer kick lever the one Old Brits has pictures of on it's website, designated as a Mk 111? Or am I looking for something else? How far down can I move the kicker and still have an effective start?

There is no evidence of wet sumping or anything else I can blame for a hard kick, but there might be something I'm not aware of. I would appreciate any ideas, tips or suggestions to reduce the joint stress. I had a 77 Bonneville and it didn't kick anywhere near as hard. At least that's what I remember, but I was younger then too.
 
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Lower compression pistons or a thicker head gasket (copper ??) would make it easier to start. I don't know if anyone has ever fitted compression releases to a Norton, but I guess it couldbe done. One thing I would do for sure in your situation is to buy a set of rollers like these http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst/mc ... 70227.html to at least cut down the pain of starting at home which is most likely a cold start rather than the easier hot or warm start.

Jean
 
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I had a couple of inches added to a Mark three kick start lever. That, better coils, and a Tri spark ignition for no kick back made a big difference to my bike. The anti wet sump valve helps too, try draining your sump before you start to see if that is a problem. I no longer put my boots on to start the Norton.
 

grandpaul

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Jean- -That's less than 1/2 price on the Doc Z rig, I have one and i love it.

Cookie- - I believe he's ruled out wet sumping, but the Tri-Spark suggestion will get no argument!

tpeever - - He's got it down to 1 or 2 kicks, but it's the gamy leg that's the issue.
 
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My guess is that the extended lever may make it 20% easier. Anybody with a mathematics background?
 
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C-dos take a pretty hefty kick even when in perfect condition. I was commenting to my riding buddy today while riding my 96 Triumph Thunderbird that this is the ONLY electric start bike I have. It sure is easier to start than the Commando but I am not hampered by any old injuries and age is still with me for a few years yet!! What about an alternate approach to the starting ritual? I saw a guy kick start an old Harley and was amazed at the way he did it. He sort of kneeled on the seat and then threw his whole weight over the kickstarter. Awesome.
 
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Have you ever seen the result of a Harley kickback? It ain't pretty. Many a Harley has been sold for this reason to get an electric start model.
 
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the pazon electronic ignition i have has made starting my girl easy
usually first or second kick
oz
 
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Straight up ~ ( has the 74 go the 'Angular kick lever ' ? )

I fitted one ot my 73 850 ~

And it was a great advantage even though it is only that extra 1/2"

As stated a well set up bike will help..

I find cranking from 'half mast' works too ~

I only need ( by choice) one or two kicks ~ I like to crank over once before turning the ignition on `
 
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Cookie said:
I had a couple of inches added to a Mark three kick start lever. That, better coils, and a Tri spark ignition for no kick back made a big difference to my bike.
Is the Tri-spark set that much better than the others?
 
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I had a lot of trouble at the start of ownership, after the rebuild. Tight engine, bad settings, bad tecnique...
I would recommend you check your ignition timing and get it spot on, definately not too advanced!
Elecronic ign is better.
If Boyer then digital and make sure battery is charged up!
The secret for me is how...
On the centre stand is better.
Tickle carb
Prod cickstart lever down a couple of times slowly and bring up to the 'hard spot'..nudge round a bit more to get the pistons right on or JUST over top dead. (That is the important bit).
Choke on, ign on....Big smooth kick.

Also leave on TDC after a ride..stops wet sumping, and use 20-50 oil, not straight 50.

Stu.
 
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Stuart SS said:
Is the Tri-spark set that much better than the others?

Short answer ~ YESS!!!

Do the home work ~

(Plus Steve [Kelly] is a top bloke !! :D 8)

I see that you are from where they are made. Any influence there or is your answer based solely on experience?
 

maylar

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A good friend has bad knees and he starts his Commando by rolling it downhill whenever possible. It's also true that stock 750's take less effort than 850's, for whatever reason I don't know.

I bought my 850 from the legendary Fred Marsh at his shop in Warehouse Point Ct. in 1975. My previous bike was a 350 Kawasaki that I could start while sitting on it. Freddie was a small guy about 120 lb and in his 70's at the time and he showed me the technique required. Kick lever on compression stroke, all the way up, jump up with the left leg and follow through with the right. It's all about balance.

And yes, the Tri-Spark makes it easier. But the best that'll do is make a 2-kick machine into a 1-kick machine. You still need to bring it up on compression and kick it.
 
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I've only had points, Boyer, and the Tri spark, and of those the Tri spark is the big winner. If I recall there were only two wires to set it up and it pretty much stopped kickbacks.
I'm also not in the best of shape any more as a lot of the older guys here may be. Most of my problem is in my right arm but it still affects kicking for some reason , maybe balance.
The work I did was to allow me to use the bike as I get better, as well as to make it a better runner overall. The ignition change was inspired when I went out to test kick the Boyer without charging the battery and limped for a couple of weeks.
 
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rmak said:
Kicking my 74 850Commando is exacerbating an old motorcycle knee injury on my right leg. The more I start the bike, the more I am up at night. I've had some relief by left kicking on the center stand, but If I mess that knee up, there's none left!

In my darker moments I have begun to have doubts if this is the right bike for me. I don't want to go to drastic expensive measures (retrofit electric start) because the bike is a lovely stock condition and I want to keep it that way.

I have searched the forum and found tips like a longer kick lever, for leverage I assume, and moving the kicker downward so I could use more body weight to kick (Once again an assumption). Is the longer kick lever the one Old Brits has pictures of on it's website, designated as a Mk 111? Or am I looking for something else? How far down can I move the kicker and still have an effective start?

There is no evidence of wet sumping or anything else I can blame for a hard kick, but there might be something I'm not aware of. I would appreciate any ideas, tips or suggestions to reduce the joint stress. I had a 77 Bonneville and it didn't kick anywhere near as hard. At least that's what I remember, but I was younger then too.

What angle is the kickstart when you actually try start parallel to the ground gives the most leverage and correctly set up should start the bike with 2 kicks ...
 
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seaguy said:
Stuart SS said:
Is the Tri-spark set that much better than the others?

Short answer ~ YESS!!!

Do the home work ~

(Plus Steve [Kelly] is a top bloke !! :D 8)

I see that you are from where they are made. Any influence there or is your answer based solely on experience?

In response to the question, Is the Tri-spark set that much better than the others?", I have a Tri-Spark Classic Twin fitted to my Mk3, previously a Boyer was fitted, I have only set it up manually just now, strobing to come along with all the other road related adjustments once I put it through it's MOT. It was a breeze to fit and I don't so much as leap up and kick it as push it through, a big, big difference, it also starts on the button, whether that is to do with a good battery and using welding wire for starter leads I don't know, but it is a lot easier. I would give it a go, it certainly makes starting a lot easier.
 

Hortons Norton

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Get the wife to push you, Or better yet the girlfriend as she is younger! Just kidding, But the trispark is a nice ignition with its anti kickback feature.
 
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Thanks for the advice, but my wife doesn't have an anti kick feature. And she can kick hard!
 
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