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Discussion Starter #1
This is a hard problem to describe but, not being around anyone with motorcycle (let alone Triumph) experience, and not having another triumph myself, I'm going to try...

This might be because I'm too light and short and/or because I'm too wary of the kick- and centerstands to kick it from any position other than just sitting in riding posture - I balance the bike and jump straight up, arms on bars, and come down with right foot on the kicker - but it sometimes seems like my engine isn't turning over freely when I kick it. "Mushy" is the best word I can think of, since it does move, but only through about half the kicker's travel.

I always ratchet it a few times to try to find compression, so it's not like when you mistakenly kick a small bike on the intake stroke (or whatever causes that). And it does frequently 'work' in what I assume is the correct way, where you can hear the engine turn over a few times, even if it doesn't start. I'm guessing it works about half the time.

My clutch seems fine when I'm riding - the plates look okay, if old, and I don't feel any slipping (though I know people have reported not knowing what 'slipping' felt like until they got new plates). So does this sound like a clutch problem, a starting technique problem, or something else?
 

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If you are at the top of a compression stroke and give it a good kick and it feels like it is not turning the crank with authority, I would say your clutch is slipping. Everything else is geared or chain driven so no chance of slippage. I suppose you could weigh so little that you do not have enough inertia to get it thru a stroke, but I'm really doubtful of that.

And the way you are kicking it, on the wheels and not side or center stand is correct. Using the stands usually causes them to fail over time.

regards,
Rob
 

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I would agree that it sounds like slipping clutch from the description.
As for starting on the side stand, have a look at this for another view:


Check out lunmad on youtube too for clutch set up.
good luck
R
 

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Your bike and your sidestand, so your choice. But the forces on that sidestand are pretty close to the same as for when you straddle the bike. Your weight and the force are still on the peddle and since the bike is leaning to the right, there is a force to the right that is a component that makes up the total force.

There is probably a slight reduction in the forces affecting the stand by your hand and hence some of your weight, not coming down on the right handlebar end. Maybe a little further reduction by your weight pushing harder on the outside left of the kicker pedal which takes a little weight off the stand and puts it on the wheels. But I'm doubtful is amounts to much.

Not to mention if you stand breaks while you are kicking the bike, you're screwed. It's going down. No risk of that if you straddle the bike and kick it on the wheels.

regards,
Rob
 

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Were you able to solve the mushy kick starter? I'm having the exact same issue.
 

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I balance the bike and jump straight up, arms on bars, and come down with right foot on the kicker - but it sometimes seems like my engine isn't turning over freely when I kick it. "Mushy" is the best word I can think of, since it does move, but only through about half the kicker's travel.
I think you might be describing is what happens when the bike is flooded with gas, but not starting.

My bike has a lot of compression which can be felt on the first kick, but if it gets flooded and won't start, there seems to be no compression and you get the 'mushy' feeling at the kick start pedal.

Wait a bit, or try again with wot (wide open throttle) and the flooding may clear.

Ignition timing and correct carb settings will affect the starting, as well as what type of 'choke' you use, and when.


Ran with points (contact breaker) ignition system for quite some time.
Most of my problems with starting was due to electrical connections inside the headlamp shell preventing a good spark at startup.

Just some thoughts- but have also had a 'mush' moment or two.
 

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Are your valve gaps set correctly? If the gap is too small or nonexistant, then the valves would be slightly open making the kick start pedal seem way too soft.
 

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Don't jump up and down

get the kicker to nearer 10 or 11 o'clock and push firmly. Go all the way though

I am around 9 stone and don't leap around when starting it
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Gosh, thanks everybody. There's a lot here and it sounds like a mix of issues.

Just to start with the technique bit: this bike wasn't treated too well before I got it. The centerstand mounting tabs are already bent and skewed (the tires both stay on the ground when it's 'up' on the stand, which is bent anyway) so I don't even have the centerstand installed. And it leans over so much on the sidestand that, even though the lug doesn't look like it's been repaired or re-attached, the whole thing looks iffy. So I start it on the ground (I think I was actually initially scared off of starting on the stand by you, Rob - it's been pretty successful advice). The thing is, without jumping up a bit, I'm not sure I can reliably turn it over without getting past some wariness about it kicking back. So...

What I'm hearing you all say, more or less collectively, is that if the carburetion and ignition are in good enough shape and if it's getting enough compression then I'd probably be able to worry less about kicking because it would start easier. So you're telling me to tune it up? Ha! Okay, so I should have thought of that. I do think I've got a charging issue since it never starts as easily after a ride as it does out of the garage. And regarding fuel:
I think you might be describing is what happens when the bike is flooded with gas, but not starting.

My bike has a lot of compression which can be felt on the first kick, but if it gets flooded and won't start, there seems to be no compression and you get the 'mushy' feeling at the kick start pedal.

Wait a bit, or try again with wot (wide open throttle) and the flooding may clear.
this makes sense in the abstract, maybe someone could clarify the difference between a flooded carburetor and a tickled carburetor(?). Is it a matter of the cylinder having taken in unburnt gas (in the former instance), and that's why the engine doesn't want to turn over?

But as for the clutch...
If you are at the top of a compression stroke and give it a good kick and it feels like it is not turning the crank with authority, I would say your clutch is slipping.
I'll check this out as well and start over on the adjustment. And I was so proud when I thought I had it the first time! They look like the original discs; is there any point trying to degrease them, or is that more helpful for keeping clutches from sticking and freezing? Or in other words, should I assume I need new discs if I can't get it back to life with by adjusting it a bit?

I am around 9 stone and don't leap around when starting it
I had to google 'stone', by the way (can never remember if it's 12 or 14) but knew enough to know that wasn't a lot of weight. I'll try to keep the non-leaping start in mind as a goal...
 

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Hello Rabbithole - good luck with your problem, it sounds like clutch slip to me. If your engine has good compression and if your clutch plates are a bit worn out, or springs are in need of tightening up or replacing, the symptoms you describe would be likely to occur.

Anyway, I shouldn't worry about your starting technique, it sounds spot on to me. I've always done the same thing, ie: give the carb/s a good tickling, turn the ignition on, depress the kickstart until I can feel the resistance of compression (I've never eased it just past compression as some used to advise, neither have I ever bothered with valve lifters), then make not so much a 'leap' as just taking my weight completely off my left leg and simultaneously giving the kickstart a hefty boot. All this done NOT on the stand, and not letting the kickstart go slack but keeping that 'on compression' feel until the hefty boot! This probably isn't necessary with low compression engines but its a habit I got into from owning a B50. In any case, my Commandos and T140s have needed the help of my full weight behind my boot, and I'm over 13 stone (or bushels or whatever you have in the States!). More than one kick to start surprises me, and more than two means something definitely wrong.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks again, everybody. I may have been experiencing an optimistic memory when I said initially that the engine turned over 'normally' about half the time. I hadn't ridden it in about 6 weeks until this weekend, when (while this time actually paying attention) the clutch seems to slip about 80% of the time.

I'll try to do whatever adjusting I can with the primary cover still on but will otherwise plan to open it up and try to degrease the plates.

I may have to come up with a new workout regime after I get the clutch figured out and my 10-stone-self doesn't have to do quite so much jumping up and down....
 

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Not much point degreasing the plates because they run in oil and are designed to do that without slipping. Sometimes the plain steel plates can get polished through slipping, and if that's happened its worth roughing their surfaces up a bit (get them grit blasted if possible, otherwise go over them with some fairly coarse grit paper).

When you take the cover off and undo the clutch springs, note how far done-up the spring nuts are. When you reassemble, do them up a bit more if possible (try out the clutch lever to check working ok - and also test that the pressure plate is lifting 'squarely', not one side lifting before the other starts to move).

Check your plates for wear against the workshop manual thickness limits, and also for wear to the tags that engage with the slots in the drum & the centre. You may need new plates, but they're not too expensive. Let us know how you get on.
 

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don't use oil with friction modifiers as they prove too slippy for the clutch.

use a proper "classic" 20/50
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks. i've been using the castrol 20/50 wet clutch motorcycle oil. i may need to experiment with something else... hoping to get to it soon and will definitely report back.
 

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I would seriously think about a new set of friction plates...the plain plates can be scoured a bit if necessary (and if , of course, they are not bent). If you are using castrol 20/50 you should be fine

R
 
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