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To Kick (only) or Not to Kick (only)

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Cafe-Dave, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. Hi,

    I'd like some opinions on Kick-Only. Bike will probably be ridden 5 times a month, go to some shows, etc. My other bike (SV1000n) is my main get-somewhere motorcycle.

    Bike will have a PMA, Pamco. Needs to have the starter fix applied to it, if I keep the electric starter. I still have the OEM battery box and mounts.

    I can either retain the electric starter :
    • Apply the MikesXS fix package.
    • Retain battery box
    • Get an AGM battery
    • Retain solenoid and the starter safety (37 years old)
    • Retain hand control with start button
    • Delete kick starter lever and apply a block of in the RH case
    • Some extra wiring

    Pros : Electric leg. No kickstarter lever. No future ankle problems. Exhaust possibilities are unencumbered by having to make plans for the kicker. Rear sets would be easy in the future.
    Cons : Money, weight, now I can see the battery box through my newly hewn sidecovers. Still have a dorky throttle/hand control.

    I can go Kick-Only:
    • Apply parts I already have
    • Buy a dual cable throttle

    Pros : Light weight, everything is mostly already bought. Fits the vibe of a resto-mod. Fewer parts = good mantra.
    Cons : Kick lever looks weird on the RH side of the bike. Hilarious ankle pain in the future. Potential for looking like a complete idiot in a group of people. Makes sorting out rear sets a pain in the future. Makes sorting out exhaust a pain in the future.

    For those of you who have Brats/Bobbers/Choppers that are Kick Only...do you regret it? How often do you wish for an electric starter?

    I'm on the fence, but I don't have to choose a side just yet.


  2. SINKING78

    SINKING78 Oil, Grease, & Gas Please

    Well, I'm not going to give a in depth technical reason why or why not but, I will say this: If you are running a battery set-up and have a charging problem, the kicker will get it started when the battery doesn't have the juice to crank it over and become a lifesaver. And I think it's kinda cool to fill up at the station and "kick that fucker to life" and turn a couple of heads.:) Been MY experience...I'd keep it
  3. Patches

    Patches XS650 Junkie


    I've done a couple kick only bikes. Some with a Pamco and others with the Boyer. You will still need a small battery with the PMA but all of those bike started on the first or second kick. If it sat for three weeks or so they might take three kicks, but that was very rare.

    A starter is nice, but it just depends what you are going for. You can save a lot of weight by removing the starter and big battery, and build a reliable kick start only bike, but at the end of the day its all personal preference.
  4. I'm cool with a small battery. I just don't want kick only to make me regret it. I'm okay with a few kicks if the bike has been sitting, no sweat.

    Thanks man.
  5. jchrisk1

    jchrisk1 XS650 Junkie

    Starters are for women and children.:) These kick over easy. And you won't hurt your ankle as long as your timing is correct and you follow through. Advanced timing equals pain. Mine is kick only and the only time I wished it wasn't was when I hurt my ankle at work and couldn't start my bike to get home. I had to have my boss start it and that wasn't fun to watch.
  6. Hoperator

    Hoperator book stains on motor oil

    kick while you can. Starters will always be there. Your cons for kick only are based on your own self-consciousness. If you're worried about what others think about you, then maybe you should hop in a Camry. Your cons for starter can be covered eventually...while saving money being a kick only brethren.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2012
  7. Marvelicious

    Marvelicious Naturally Aggravated

    For the electric start, you can use a small light lithium battery (shorai, ballistic, others...) and there is no reason you have to retain the stock wiring. In the end, all you need is an on/off switch and a momentary for the starter button. That cuts a couple of your cons out of the list...

    I guess I don't need to prove myself by doing something the hard way. At this point in my life I've earned all the tough guy points I need to. Call me a wimp if you want, but I dare you to do it inside an arms length!
  8. gggGary

    gggGary Stop that! XS650.com Supporter Top Contributor

    Leave the starter in the engine. I hate the kick starter when trouble shooting. I've been riding and (kick starting old bikes) for more than 40 years and don't limp yet. Usually a pliers squeeze on the spring or the XS John mods will cure the E start graunching noise, at least for a while, longer if you don't use it much.
  9. xjwmx

    xjwmx It's just the unknown. Top Contributor

    ^I put the Mike's starter kit on mine, coming with a gear and a spring or two and maybe some other stuff. I've used it to start probably ten times a day year round for the last couple of years and it's still like new. That probably equals twenty years of multiple bike hobby riding. BTW, the only reason to remove the starter is youth or insanity. Pretty much functionally equivalent. And the faster you grow up the more rewarding your life will be, so start now with...your starter.
  10. never. These things if timed properly never kick back, especially if you find TDC first. All of mine have been kick only. my 78 motor im building now has all the estart stuff removed. All of mine are 1 to 2 kick bikes and they start.
  11. Tomterrific

    Tomterrific XS650 Junkie

    The engine has an electric starter so if you have a battery then you might as well keep the electric boot. I'm of the age when my long time bike buddies are talking about giving up riding. I have a kick start only big single with a bored out high compression piston from one of them. The very worst thing that can happen is the bike stalling in traffic. What a bitch. I don't use the E-boot on the XS much but the few times I did stall at a light, I quickly thumbed the button and no one but me knew about it.

    I say keep 'em both.

  12. Detale

    Detale XS650 Addict

    Keep em both man. Electric start although not as cool is way easier. Don't give up function for coollness. If its there let it be. I have both on mine and love to kick her up but sometimes I'm just too tired from work or simply just don't feel like it.
  13. ReycleBill

    ReycleBill Part Time Tyrannicide XS650.com Supporter

    I've owned kick only. I've owned electric only. I will never again own a motorcycle that doesn't do both.
  14. good2bsims

    good2bsims XS650 Enthusiast

    I'm a newbie... Why would kick-only have anything to do with dual/single throttle cable?
  15. Marvelicious

    Marvelicious Naturally Aggravated

    The start and run switches are attached to the stock throttle. Not a big deal to change, they're just switches.
  16. Yamaha_chop

    Yamaha_chop Fabricator Extraordinare

    Something different to think about. My chop is kick only and maybe it's just me, but whenever I want to ride the bike somewhere and it's only a short distance then sometimes I'll pass on it. Not worth the effort to kick it over just to ride 10 min. I dunno if it's just a mental thing or not, but it's nicer knowing you can just walk outside, thumb the button and ride. Doesn't feel like a whole production.
  17. tonyc

    tonyc XS650 Guru

    I have kick-only on all three of my bikes and love it. With a n electronic ignition and tuned right, they are one or two kicks.
  18. If you have a decently tuned bike with a Pamco, kick only is great. It's basically not going to kick back on you unless you grossly mis-manage it. It's preferable to the electric start IMHO. My starter button fell out and I haven't had electric start in a couple of months. Only time I miss it is when dead cylinder tuning the mixture. Even that is ok if I let the bike warm up a bit before tuning. The XS is an ideal kick only bike.
  19. pahako

    pahako XS650 Addict

    I agree. I have an electric start and, that is the only thing I haven't fixed on my bike yet. The only time I would ever use it would be if I killed it in traffic. Just pull in the clutch and hit the button. Sure beats having to put down the side stand and find neutral before kicking. Other than that, don't really need it.
  20. twowheelinjim

    twowheelinjim twowheelinjim

    My present ride (61 FL) was only offered with a kick start-only feature. ReycleBill and I can assure you that it was a pain in the a$$ to get it started after we installed a new set of points. I recently found the intake boots to be worn and loose causing a lean mix and increasing the difficulty to starting the bike.
    I'm presently building a cafe racer and was planning on blocking the starter off to save wiring issues, go with a small moped battery, and shave off a little weight. In reality we are accustomed to such amenities like power door locks and power windows, ATM's and McDonalds so our (at least mine) automatic lives need such contraptions.
    I think what really convinces me is trying to start up the one bike that doesn't have a starter that has no way to install a starter on... If that makes any sense....:wtf:

    ReycleBill, let's ride to the Ironhorse Rally this year.. I'll bring the tent..

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