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Do you need to pull the clutch lever for starting?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by michaelpthompson, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Still working on getting this '75 XS650-B started. I think I read somewhere that there's an interlock in the clutch requiring that the clutch be disengaged (lever pulled in) in order to start the engine, so I've been pulling the lever when trying to start. However, I accidentally tried it today without pulling the clutch in and it sounds different. More like the engine is actually trying to engage.It's up on the center stand, so there's no tension on the back wheel, and I'm pretty certain I've got it in neutral (though not absolutely sure), and the kick lever moves quite easily with the clutch pulled in. It's harder if I don't pull the lever and it sounds more like engine parts are actually moving. Could just be my imagination, but I'd thought I'd seek the advice of the experts. (Yeah, that's you lot.)
  2. grizld1

    grizld1 Grumpy old man Top Contributor

    The clutch switch is only found on very late model XS650s, last year or two of production; those had a side stand switch too, which cut off the ignition if you put the bike in gear with the stand down. Wherever the clutch switch is present on a Japanese bike you'll see the little black plastic switch with its connector on the bottom of the clutch lever perch. When you disengage the clutch you're also disengaging the kick start from the motor, since the kicker is geared to the output shaft of the transmission--can't turn the motor over with the boot that way. The electric start of course will work, since it's geared to the crank.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  3. xjwmx

    xjwmx XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    If there's wires coming from your clutch lever then there's an interlock. I think it came later than '75 though?

    I take it the chain is off the bike, otherwise you'd know whether it's in neutral or not. I suspect it's not, so the starter is trying to turn the whole engine when the clutch isn't pulled. If it was in neutral the clutch wouldn't make any difference. If it's in neutral the clutch is short-circuited, schematic-wise. It will start more easily if it's in neutral (faster revs and I assume higher voltage from smaller load).
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2016
  4. uncle meat

    uncle meat XS650 Addict

    I have a 75 as well and have no interlock. If your neutral light is working, it should be "lit", on your cluster when the key is in the "on" position

  5. XSLeo

    XSLeo XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    The way the kick start works is the kick start engages gears in the transmission then through the clutch to turn the engine. If you pull the clutch lever in you disengage the clutch, then engine won't turn over. If the transmission is in gear, clutch lever out, the bike will roll forward when you kick the kick start.
    So always have the bike in neutral when kick starting.
    On the Electric Starter, when you push the start button the starter engages gears on a shaft that turn gears that engage the engine crank directly. When starting with the E-start you can ensure the tranny is in neutral or pull the clutch lever.
    On the later models I think 80 was the first year they added interlocks so you had to pull the clutch or be in neutral before the e-start would work. In 82 they added the side stand interlock to prevent riding with the side stand down.
    Your 75 was long before any of these interlocks were used.
  6. 5twins

    5twins XS650 Guru Top Contributor

    So no, you don't have to pull the clutch lever in for starting. If you do, the kicker won't work. It will just push through without turning the motor over. If you're going to kick it, make sure it's in neutral and leave the clutch lever out. None of these 650s, no matter what the year, will kick start with the clutch lever pulled in.
  7. Thanks for all the information guys. This could explain a lot. :)

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