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Why Tickle?

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Tornado, Jun 28, 2018.

  1. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Forgive the newbie question by why do we tickle our Amals prior to startups? I understand the need to initially fill the float bowl at first start in a while, but why do we do it at subsequent starts throughout a day? Shouldn't the float valve make the fuel level sufficient upon opening the petrol taps? Is there some reason to "overfill" the bowl via tickling?
     
  2. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    It’s not to fill the float bowl, gravity will do that, it’s to ‘flood’ the pilot circuit with fuel so the engine gulps in plenty of it when being kicked.

    Correct term is actually to ‘flood’ the carbs... ‘tickling’ is a nick name.
     
    SteveA likes this.
  3. rvich

    rvich VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    And the other version of the answer is “because the bike starts”!
     
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  4. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    So with fuel level at max by float valve alone, the pilot circuit fueling passages may not be filled and suction up the float bowl passages not sufficient upon initial kicking?
     
  5. XTINCT

    XTINCT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    Back in the day, some folks ( me included ) would remove the chokes from new bikes.
     
  6. worntorn

    worntorn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    In my experience most old British bikes just need tickling for cold startup.
    After that it's just kick and go.
    The exception is my Commando if left sit for twenty minutes or so on a hot day.
    Things dry out and it often requires use of one or both ticklers to fire up on the kicker.

    The e start whirls it over faster so the ticklers aren't ever needed on restart, even in the above situation.

    Glen
     
  7. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2015
    1st to go: Choke
    2nd to go: Center Stand

    I got my first Triumph (a 66) in 1968 and those were already gone. It's hard to find a center stand these days because not only did we remove them, we threw them away!

    I have several British bikes - the chokes go the first day I get them - I guess it's just habit! On the other hand, I install center stands.
     
    xbacksideslider likes this.
  8. maylar

    maylar

    Joined:
    May 13, 2007
    It's only required for a cold start (on most machines). A cold engine wants a rich mixture. Tickling the carbs floods them and puts raw fuel in the intake. It's the equivalent of pumping the gas pedal on a carburetted car - except that Amals don't have an accelerator pump to do that for us.
     
    Nater_Potater likes this.
  9. RobinKent

    RobinKent

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Correct. The passages run just above the float and run to the back of the carb and down to the bottom of the bowl. It's a long way and they drain down again rapidly when the engine sits though that varies machine to machine. And faster if the gasket seal there is bad. The Amal site has some useful info.
     
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  10. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Yeah, for me a little different, lost the side stand kept the center stand, hacked off it's toe lever.
    Long ago, my attitude, riding in SoCal, was "who needs a choke when you have ticklers? The darn things might hang down into the air flow at WOT."
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2018
    Nater_Potater likes this.
  11. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    If you are using Mk2 Amals with the choke levers and you have the midrange jetting right, if you try to start the motor from cold without the choke, it will spit and fart like a pig. Once the motor is slightly warm, it will usually start very easily and run without the drama. I usually cold start with the chokes on and let the motor run at idle for a bit, before I take them off. Once you have got some heat into the motor, starting it is usually easy - even if the bike has been standing for an hour. It only has to be very slightly warm.
     
  12. Steves

    Steves

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2016
    And I have to say in summer (UK) if starting the bike within an hour or so of last start I kick it over with no tickle and the petcocks off. It starts first time (usually) then I turn the fuel on.
     
  13. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I use methanol fuel, so the motor usually runs as cold as a nun's arse. At race meetings, the bike can be left standing for hours, then still starts without the chokes.
     
  14. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    I
    Interesting...my bike has been starting running nicely since I renewed the needle/needle valve....up until I stopped for fuel on a warm day after stop and go city traffic. She would not fire for many a kick. I did tickle, no choke. Wheeled it to the shade more for my comfort than the bike's, a few more tried and up she came. Might have been vapour locking or maybe flooded. But really think it was my just karma for trying to impress the twenty something Bonne riding gal that came over to ogle the bike while I was fueling....
     
  15. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    You know trying to show off to the pretty ones the Norton will play up they get jealous you know.

    Ashley
     
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  16. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    She made it up to me later that evening after local bike shop BBQ Bike Night....was one of only a couple vintage rides there (even though this was a vintage specialty restorer shop)...was afraid to embarrass myself in front of all the on-lookers when I went to leave...but got a first kick fire up and everyone cheered!
     
  17. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    They only play up when you are looking at a pretty one lol, any other time they don't care.

    Ashley
     
  18. MichaelB

    MichaelB

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    The amount of kicks is proportionate to the amount of people watching.
     
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  19. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    There are some people who cannot tell by the way it feels when they are kicking their motor over, whether it is flooded or it has no fuel. When I used to ride bikes with kick-starters, I could always tell when the motor had a guts full of fuel. It always felt softer when I brought it up to compression, than when the mixture is right. If you use the whole stroke when starting the motor, you don't have any feel. I usually bring it up to compression and just flick it over the top.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2018
  20. rvich

    rvich VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    In my experience it is pretty hard to flood one of these. If I have a group watching, I always tickle the carbs just because if freaks so many people out!