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Eric
06-27-2007, 09:09 AM
As much as I like (overall) my Kaw KL250 dual-sport, I really hate that it has an electric starter. I much prefer a kickstart - esp. for a dual-sport/dirt bike. And yet, as with cars, bike manufacturers are increasingly designing their machines to be "easy to use" - for weak/fat/inept people, anyhow. I can't think of a single good reason for an electric starter on a small cc/single cylinder machine; just one more thing to stop working when you need it to work - and when there's probably no hill available to roll-start the SOB!

I have been eyeing one of my friend's bikes - a KLR250 - which is kick start but has the downside (for me) of being water-cooled. One of the reasons I bought the KL is that it is air-cooled; no radiator to deal with (or break). But there's that electric starter....

How do you guys feel about electric vs. kickstarters - on dirt bikes/dual sports?

DonTom
06-27-2007, 05:03 PM
"As much as I like (overall) my Kaw KL250 dual-sport, I really hate that it has an electric starter."

Didn't that bike come with a kick starter only, just a few years ago?

I thought that was one of the differences between it and my DR200SE.

BTW, I don't think it's a big deal. If the starter craps out, just find a small hill and put it in second gear as you're rolling down.

-Don-

chiph
06-27-2007, 05:24 PM
Are four-strokes harder to kick-start than two-strokes?

Chip H.

Eric
06-27-2007, 07:16 PM
Are four-strokes harder to kick-start than two-strokes?

Chip H.



Not in my experience... and I can easily kick-start my '76 Kz900 (really a Kz1015 now) and that's a big four-cylinder engine with pretty high CR...

Eric
06-27-2007, 07:19 PM
"As much as I like (overall) my Kaw KL250 dual-sport, I really hate that it has an electric starter."

Didn't that bike come with a kick starter only, just a few years ago?

I thought that was one of the differences between it and my DR200SE.

BTW, I don't think it's a big deal. If the starter craps out, just find a small hill and put it in second gear as you're rolling down.

-Don-


You're thinking of the KLR250, which does have a kick starter. The KL250 (no R) is a different bike; it has an air-cooled (vs. water-cooled) single and uses disc brakes front and rear (vs. drum rear on the KLR250). Different frame and suspensioon, too. The KLR is more "dirt oriented," while the KL250 is more inclined toward the street...

I sometimes miss my old Honda XL250. It was one of the best bikes of any kind I have ever owned... absolutely reliable, started every time... and you could not kill the things.

DonTom
06-28-2007, 02:41 AM
"Not in my experience... and I can easily kick-start my '76 Kz900 (really a Kz1015 now) and that's a big four-cylinder engine with pretty high CR..."

But if that 900CC was all in one cylinder, it would be a lot tougher to start! With four cylinders, some of the values are open, making it easier than a single of the same displacement. BTW, my BMW is somewhat hard to kick start as it's 750 CC in just two cylinders. More cylinders would be easier to start.

But I never owned a two stroke bike of any size, but I wouldn't think there would be a noticeable difference if all else is the same.

-Don-

DonTom
06-28-2007, 02:53 AM
"You're thinking of the KLR250, which does have a kick starter."

You're right.

Wouldn't it make more sense to do it the other way around and put the electric starter on the less serious dirt bike? I mainly only ride on dirt roads, not often off the road.

I did route the head and tail lamp on a switch, however. I know the alternator on these small Japanese bikes is usually the first thing to crap out. I also have a permanently mounted Garmin GPSIII+ mounted on it, that can test the bike's battery voltage (I bet you didn't know you could do that with some Garmin GPS's !). So if I see a charging problem, I can switch off the lights and ride home on what's left in the battery.

-Don-

Eric
06-28-2007, 06:41 AM
[quote=DonTom ]
"Not in my experience... and I can easily kick-start my '76 Kz900 (really a Kz1015 now) and that's a big four-cylinder engine with pretty high CR..."

But if that 900CC was all in one cylinder, it would be a lot tougher to start! With four cylinders, some of the values are open, making it easier than a single of the same displacement. BTW, my BMW is somewhat hard to kick start as it's 750 CC in just two cylinders. More cylinders would be easier to start.

But I never owned a two stroke bike of any size, but I wouldn't think there would be a noticeable difference if all else is the same.

-Don-
All true!

(Though my Kaw 1015's cylinder each displace about as much as the single cylinder of my Kaw 250....)

PS - Kick-start bikes (the ones I've owned, anyhow) usually have a decompression cable that makes it easier to turn the thing over manually, as you stand on the kicker, etc.

Eric
06-28-2007, 06:46 AM
"You're thinking of the KLR250, which does have a kick starter."

You're right.

Wouldn't it make more sense to do it the other way around and put the electric starter on the less serious dirt bike? I mainly only ride on dirt roads, not often off the road.

I did route the head and tail lamp on a switch, however. I know the alternator on these small Japanese bikes is usually the first thing to crap out. I also have a permanently mounted Garmin GPSIII+ mounted on it, that can test the bike's battery voltage (I bet you didn't know you could do that with some Garmin GPS's !). So if I see a charging problem, I can switch off the lights and ride home on what's left in the battery.

-Don-



I guess that's how Kaw looked at it!

My own view is that a kicker is desirable on any small cc bike - because it is effective, s imple and almost never breaks. Why add complexity - and potential hassle - by eliminating it in favor of an electric starter? There are situations where an electric starter not working can be a real PITAS. Such as a sitution where there's no downhill in sight to roll-start the bike... or are in a field/woods where that's almost impossible anyhow....

I look at it like I do those power liftgate/door closers on some cars: If you're that weak/lazy maybe you should let someone els drive. Only it's more distilled with bikes, since (you'd think) anyone riding a dirt bike/dual sport is at least reasonably fit/physical - and surely capable of kick-starting the thing.

mrblanche
06-28-2007, 03:02 PM
My brother had a Yamaha Twinjet 100 that was made back in about 1967. It had an electric starter, but the thing ran so well, you almost never even heard the starter.

DonTom
06-29-2007, 06:24 AM
"Such as a sitution where there's no downhill in sight to roll-start the bike..."

On such a small bike, you might even be able to start it on level ground, but I don't think I tried that yet with my DR200SE.

BTW, there are also times when it's nice to have an electric starter, such as when you're in a tight spot and then pop the clutch and kill the engine. With the electric, you can restart so fast it's like in never happened and can still keep both feet on the ground. Perhaps that's why they decided to put the electric starter on the more serious dirt bike!

But I am not the serious dirt type. My DR200SE can legally go anywhere, even on the freeways in CA. No pickup truck needed to go anywhere. I like to ride my bike up to the peaks of many hills around here. All have a dirt road to the peak, but some are not all that good of condition.

I have been up to Babbit Peak (9,000 feet) Verdi Peak, Pevine Peak and several other mtns around here many times just to look at the views. Going nowhere in the dirt never turned me on. I always need a destination, even with my dirt bike.

-Don-

Eric
06-29-2007, 07:50 AM
"On such a small bike, you might even be able to start it on level ground, but I don't think I tried that yet with my DR200SE."

Trust me, that ain't gonna happen! You need an incline decent enough to build to at least 10 mph or so in order for the roll-start thing to work. I have been there/done that (many times!)

"BTW, there are also times when it's nice to have an electric starter, such as when you're in a tight spot and then pop the clutch and kill the engine. With the electric, you can restart so fast it's like in never happened and can still keep both feet on the ground. Perhaps that's why they decided to put the electric starter on the more serious dirt bike!"

I suppose - but I have never had any trouble kicking my big Kz back to life... and a small cc dual sport ought to be no challenge for anyone who is capable of getting on a bike in the firstplace... then again, maybe it's because of women? I know my wife would have trouble with the kick starter...

"But I am not the serious dirt type. My DR200SE can legally go anywhere, even on the freeways in CA. No pickup truck needed to go anywhere. I like to ride my bike up to the peaks of many hills around here. All have a dirt road to the peak, but some are not all that good of condition. "

Actually, the DR series is fairly "serious" - it's a solid dirt bike that can do a helluva lot off road and on.

"I have been up to Babbit Peak (9,000 feet) Verdi Peak, Pevine Peak and several other mtns around here many times just to look at the views. Going nowhere in the dirt never turned me on. I always need a destination, even with my dirt bike."

You're missing out; it's an adventure to explore some trail that heads off god-knows-where - and end up someplace pretty neat that would have taken you hours to get to walking...

And making it up a challenging fire road with very steep grades that's slogged with foot-deep mud.... that's exhilirating!

Eric
06-29-2007, 07:51 AM
My brother had a Yamaha Twinjet 100 that was made back in about 1967. It had an electric starter, but the thing ran so well, you almost never even heard the starter.


Did you get a chance to listen to the audio of the H2 I posted the other day?

Now that got me going...!

DonTom
06-29-2007, 06:10 PM
"You're missing out; it's an adventure to explore some trail that heads off god-knows-where - and end up someplace pretty neat that would have taken you hours to get to walking..."

I have been on a lot of "motorcycle only" trails in the Tahoe national forest. I meant I don't go off the roads and bike trails.

-Don-

mrblanche
06-29-2007, 06:45 PM
Did you get a chance to listen to the audio of the H2 I posted the other day?

Now that got me going...!


Yeah, I listened to it. I don't miss two strokes all that much, though.