View Full Version : Electric start as an add on...?

04-12-2010, 02:55 PM
O.k. guys......probably a really dumb question:

Can you add electric start to an old Brit Bike: 68 BSA 441 Shooting Star. I'm on the steep downhill side of 60 and the Beeza is getting harder and harder for me to kick over. I can handle her just fine, but the kicking is getting a bit much.

So what do you think?

dave in University City, MO
61 AH BugEye Sprite
05 Vespa ET4
04 Mini cooperS
68 BSA 441 Shooting Star

04-12-2010, 06:12 PM
I'm thinking that would be a fairly major engineering job. A quick Google didn't come up with anything useful.

Probably the best way is to get an old Honda instead. :devilgrin:

04-12-2010, 06:32 PM
There is this
not much good on the road.

How about



04-12-2010, 06:53 PM
The man's a better Googler than I am. :smile:

04-14-2010, 02:24 PM
Thanks for the leads, SilentUnicorn.

04-21-2010, 07:30 AM
I don't blame you for seeking a starter. A friend of mine has a 750 Norton Atlas that I get to ride about twice a year.

It is a BEAR to kick start, especially since he never has the carbs adjusted right and it takes about 5-6 kicks to get it going.

After a long ride, your leg feels like a piece of spaghetti! :cryin:

05-19-2010, 08:43 PM
If it is hard to kick over, you are not doing something right. Key on, tickle the carb. Press down on the kick start lever until it stops with compression. let the lever return to the top. Pull the compression release, and EASE the kick start lever through about 1/2 the travel. Release the compression release, and let the lever return to the top, and give it one good swinging kick. Thump thump thump....By doing as I outlined above, the engine is on the compression stroke, and when you ease it down half way, the piston should be at Top Dead Center, or maybe just past it. When you kick it, you are turning it through the "power" cycle, exhaust stroke, and when it comes up on compression again, it should light off just fine. The weight of the flywheels is doing all the work this way, not your leg. I also found it easier to start my Victor standing next to it, instead of straddling it. Since the kick stand was more of a "fall", this worked out as a much easier method.

Hope this helps

05-19-2010, 11:20 PM
Jesse, I have 78 T140E, a fairly recent acquisition so I really don't know alot about these bikes. Could the difficulty in kicking them over be related to not getting the clutch freed up? From what I understand the clutches in this old Brit stuff can be a problem. Mine was, especially if I did not ride it often. Every time I finish riding it I strap my clutch lever down to the grip with a short loop of leather and a snap. The clutch is always freed up and it seems easier to kick over and the first few shifts especially are easier than before the strap.

05-20-2010, 12:06 PM
The twins are a little different problem. Unlike the single cylinder 441, the twins are "up on compression" every revolution. Careful tuning helps there (at least is starts right up...) Many 650s and 750s have been rebuilt over the years with high compression pistons, to "enhance" performance. Over the years I have read many many tests of older brit bikes in the classic bike magazines. It seems the most pleasant rides are on the earlier "soft" tuned lo compression versions. The solution might be to lower the compression a bit (compression plate under the barrel, change pistons etc)Sure it won't be as fast, but who cares?
I had never thought about strapping the clutch lever. I would sit and warm the bike up, check oil return flow and all that while holding the lever in. The running engine and rotating plates usually freed it off with no problem.