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Kick start vs electric start when cold

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  Hi

 

  I pulled my 2015 KTM out of storage this weekend. It's still rather cold here (Montreal, Canada). It's several degrees below freezing during the night and warms up to a few degrees above during the day.

 

  Is it faster to start the bike using the kick start or the electric start when it's cold ?

 

  Thanks

 

  J

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Every bike is a little different....try each method and see for yourself.

 

For me...(I have virtually the same temperature conditions)...if I pull out the cold start knob....prime the fuel pump with a quick tap and open the throttle just a very tiny amount...it starts fairly quickly in the temperatures you refer to.

 

If it just wont start (very rare) I switch to kicking....by not using the e-start, you are able to ensure that all the cold battery power is being directed to just the fuel pump and the spark plug.

 

Also, if your bike is factory street legal (350 or 500 EXC)...then it will be wired for mandatory headlight operation at all times...(this is the law for all Canadian street legal bikes). I doubt you will be able to turn the headlight off with the stock wiring...but if you can wire in an on/off switch for the headlight, that might also help reduce the auxiliary draw on the battery during a cold start.

 

My 350 XCF-W (not officially street legal) comes stock with a headlight switch...I always leave it off when cold starting or when on the trails in order to reduce draw on the battery and electrical system....I just switch it on for the highway.

 

Of course....of prime importance is that you have a well charged battery in good condition.

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I had never started my KTM with the idle screw pulled out.. Mostly because a) I couldn't find the darn thing and B) when I do find it, it's bloody hard to pull it out.. I think I am going to have to slip a zip tie in there or something.

 

Anyhow, I managed to get it pulled up and whoa, what a difference. She starts up first shot at -5c.. But I should probably get some practice kick starting it just in case..

 

J

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Yeah its a major PIA to get to.  My technique is to slide just the middle finger of my right hand underneath the bottom of the plastic knob and pull it straight out.  Impossible to get two fingers in there.

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Yeah its a major PIA to get to.  My technique is to slide just the middle finger of my right hand underneath the bottom of the plastic knob and pull it straight out.  Impossible to get two fingers in there.

 

  Not exactly user friendly. ;-)

 

  Does yours lurch forward when putting it into first and then stall when it's cold ? I have to give her some gas, hold the front brake then pop it into first to keep it from stalling. But once it's warmed up, I don't need to do that anymore.

 

  J

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I kick it occasionally just because...kinda like my cat.

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I kick it occasionally just because...kinda like my cat.

 

Excellent procedure!

 

 

  Does yours lurch forward when putting it into first and then stall when it's cold ? I have to give her some gas, hold the front brake then pop it into first to keep it from stalling. But once it's warmed up, I don't need to do that anymore.

 

If its cold outside and the engine isn't fully warmed up....it will frequently lurch ahead when I first put it in gear.  However it never stalled. Generally the lurch is pretty minimal if I let it warm up a bit and with the clutch in...rev it a couple of times before putting it into gear. Don't rev it too much though 'cause the engine is still not up to operating temperature. Maybe your idle is a bit low.

 

On my bike...the cold start knob is also the idle speed setting knob...I think that's still the same on the 2015s...but has changed on the 2016s...but I could be wrong.....maybe another poster can confirm this.  On my bike, you turn it counter clockwise to increase idle and clockwise to decrease idle.    The opposite way from a carburetor idle adjustment screw (of course)!

 

You can also consider running a lighter oil....but its a bit of a pain to go thru all that when in a few weeks the outside temp could be much higher and you'll want your usual oil back.

 

The other thing you can try ...(I used to do this on my old British bikes but haven't needed to try it on my 350)) is before you start it up on that cold morning...pull in the clutch and kick the bike over with the kick starter (turn ignition off) until the clutch plates break free of each other...once that is accomplished the lurch from sticking clutch plates should be reduced...worth a try.

Edited by travertt
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The other thing you can try ...(I used to do this on my old British bikes but haven't needed to try it on my 350)) is before you start it up on that cold morning...pull in the clutch and kick the bike over with the kick starter (turn ignition off) until the clutch plates break free of each other...once that is accomplished the lurch from sticking clutch plates should be reduced...worth a try.

 

  Ah, that's what's happening.. Excellent advice. I will try that. Thanks !

 

  J

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