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I have searched the forums and I can't find what I'm looking for, so here goes, even though I'm sure it's been covered before. I just picked up a '68 Bonneville. I had issues re-starting it to the point where I worn down the battery. The next day, the battery somehow re-charged itself and it started on the first kick. I am perhaps flooding the bike? When starting, do most of you crank the gas before giving it a kick, or just push in the carbs buttons in a few times to get the gas "tickled" in? Sorry for such a basic question, but I'm still learning.
 

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If it has Amal carbs on it, you can twist the throttle all you want ... they do not have accelerator pumps and twisting the throttle does nothing if the bike isn't running ...

Tickle the carbs (use the plunger button) until gas oozes out.
Choke bike (slack the choke lever - loose = choked)
Kick the bike through with the key off
Turn on key
Kick bike (like you mean it!)
 

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I noticed that your post said restarting. Is the bike still warm? If so you should just have to bring the bike up to compression on one of the cylinders, turn the key on and kick it through. Bike should start easily. Unless the bike is truly cold I don't usually tickle the carbs. Since the battery is recharging overnight it sounds like you may have other problems. Unless of course you kicked the bike over for a long period of time.
 

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Do you kickstart it while sitting on it?

Don't wanna sound like a wuss here, but when I first got my 72 Trophy I stood next to it to kickstart it. The guy I bought it from showed me that's how he usually started it. You might give that a go until you get the hang of it.

As the others said, make sure to put it in neutral, pull in the clutch, then work the kickstarter a few times to break the clutch plates free inside the gearbox. You'll feel a little resistance at first, but once you hear that nice ratcheting sound you're ready to let out the clutch handle, give it a tickle, turn the key and fire it up.

And watch out for the kickstarter to kick back. It got my ankle once when I wasn't wearing boots.

You may not always need to use the choke. If it's warm out I doubt you'll need it. Some people find the open/closed positions on the choke counterintuitive. Here's the scoop: you don't want to drive around with the choke pushed forward, it should usually be pulled back.

I generally turn my headlight off while starting the bike, just to give that extra bit of juice.

Make sure to turn the fuel petcocks off every time you park it.

If you didn't get an owner's manual, get one here and check page 6 of the pdf (page 11 of the manual): http://www.classicbike.biz/Triumph/OwnersManuals/OwnersManuals.htm

And I usually kickstart it while sitting on it (now). It usually goes first time, unless someone's watching. :)

hope that helps
 

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Turn on fuel petcocks, wait a few seconds before starting, to allow float bowls to fill.

Employ choke lever to lower enricher slides on carbs. Depress the “tickler” buttons and hold until a good few drops of fuel flow freely, indicating full float bowls. Tickling is often required even when the choke is not needed on a warm engine.

Ordinarily, there is no need to open the throttle while kickstarting the bike.

The best method for kickstarting the bike is to gently push the kickstarter through the pistons’ Top Dead Center, and JUST PAST THAT POINT, release the kicker and then prepare to apply full force to it.

DO NOT kickstart the bike with it’s weight against the sidestand; this causes undue strain on the chassis and may result in fracturing at the mounting point.

Learn to maneuver yourself into position, and then apply your entire body weight onto the starter in one solid motion, with your knee slightly bent to avoid the risk of hyperextension in the event of a kickback or inadvertent clutch release.

Ordinarily, the engine should fire in one or two good kicks. If the bike has been sitting for some of time, several issues could make starting difficult, including:

-oil draining past your oil pump into the engine’s crankcase (drain & re-fill tank)
-stale fuel fouling the carburetor’s low-speed circuit and/or float needle (clean)

Attend to these troubleshooting points and it will likely be quickly resolved.

As soon as the engine fires, let it settle into a high tickover and when it will receive throttle blips without bogging, you can release the choke lever to the open position.
 

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Few more questions.....

Im a few months away from getting my 68 Bonnie running but have similar questions. 1st Brit bike and only used to Japanese and Bmw.

1. Is the Choke the "Air Control Lever" on the right handlebar?
2. Is the "Tickler" controlled directly on the carb bodies? Do you push it up or down to "tickle"? Also, do you do this for both carbs (im guessing yes).
3. Why both a choke and tickler? A choke richens the mixture so why do you need to force the gas thru with a tickler?

Cheers,
Kevin.

P.s. BD: thanks for that link to the manual. Very useful!
 

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Im a few months away from getting my 68 Bonnie running but have similar questions. 1st Brit bike and only used to Japanese and Bmw.

1. Is the Choke the "Air Control Lever" on the right handlebar?
2. Is the "Tickler" controlled directly on the carb bodies? Do you push it up or down to "tickle"? Also, do you do this for both carbs (im guessing yes).
3. Why both a choke and tickler? A choke richens the mixture so why do you need to force the gas thru with a tickler?

Cheers,
Kevin.

P.s. BD: thanks for that link to the manual. Very useful!
1. Choke is the air lever.
2. The tickler is the little plunger on the outsides of the carb bodies. There is one on each carb. Pressing on it presses down on the float opening the float needle to allow fuel to fill the float bowl.
3.You have both a choke and tickler because the Amal is a very simple carb. The choke is ACTUALLY a choke, not an 'enrichener'. All you're doing when you choke the bike is dropping down a little slide that blocks part of the air intake.
 

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GP has it right, however I will add a couple points.
First always switch off your fuel lines couple hundred yards before stopping, if the next start will be a cold start. ( If possible).
secondly turn fuel on for more than a few seconds before starting. Generally I switch off fuel for coming up the drive which is about 200-250 yards and turn the taps on when I go into the shed. I then wheel the bike out of the shed, and put my gear on. For some reason this helps a lot on both old Triumphs and BMW's :)
 

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its that choke that gets you confused!. Push the lever anticlockwise to start or choke. Pull it clockwise to return to normal running once its a bit warm no more the a minute or two, but keep blipping the throttle for a good few minutes until it will settle on tick over. Get electronic ignition and a good battery. get someone who knows Triumph to set the Amal and unless its worn out , it should be an easy start, ONCE YOU GET THE KNACK OF KICKING IT. Think of the person you hate most in the world and imagine jumping on this face, the taxman is a good start!!. keep the leg bent though. and use the centre stand until you have got it.
 

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Keyman - even using the terms "clockwise" and "anti-clockwise" (counter-clockwise) may lead to trouble.

The right-hand lever (integrated with the front brake) turns opposite the left-hand lever that is mounted stand-alone, next to the clutch lever, when that type is used (and sometimes are).

Bottom line:

PULLING THE CABLE de-activates the "choke";

RELEASING THE CABLE activates it.
 

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with my old tiger (72) i don't have a choke so it's just a matter of turn fuel on 1st, then put key in, tickle (up to 10 secs normally), turn ignition on, crank through to you can feel compression, then kick like you mean it. if it doesn't start in 2 kicks chances are i forgot to turn the bloody key on. i do beleive though that every bike is a little differant, it's all about learning how your old girl likes to be treated
 

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I have a friend that is an old Triumph guy. His favorite expression is "If a Triumph doesn't start on the first kick, take the engine out and pull it apart to see what is wrong with it". He learned that phrase from one of his "older" Triumph guys.
 

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That would be Howard "Shotgun" Winchester, past flat track champ for MANY years. He's got some cool old relics that he hauls around to the various shows.

He's immortalized in the book "Triumph, a Century of Passion and Power", in the section about the Triumph "SlickShift". He won a bunch of races with it before they outlawed it, then he just kept on winning without it (he was winning before he started using it anyway).
 
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