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Can You Add a Kickstart System to Your Motorcycle?

Can You Add a Kickstart System to Your Motorcycle?

Modern motorcycles are fitted with an electric starter that allows the rider to start the motorcycle with a single push of a button. For most classic motorcycles, a kickstart lever must be kicked to ignite the motorcycle’s engine. A kickstart system uses a mechanism that turns the crankshaft and creates a spark that starts the motorcycle. Meanwhile, the electric starter uses a battery-operated motor to provide the initial push to help start the engine.

A kickstart system has several advantages, including being more reliable and being able to be operated manually. However, you may not be able to start a motorcycle with an electric starter if the battery is completely drained, especially in cold weather. Therefore, it is useful to have both electric and kickstart systems installed on your motorcycle. Read this article to learn if you can add a kickstart system to your motorcycle.

1. Electric System Vs. Kickstart System

An electric starter requires less effort to start a motorcycle. Meanwhile, a kickstart system requires kicking the lever downward to start the motorcycle.

Despite being easier to operate, an electric starter is less reliable since it requires more repairs and replacement parts. If it stops working, your motorcycle may not be able to start until it is repaired or replaced. Meanwhile, a kickstart has a simple design and requires fewer repairs and replacement parts.


2. Can You Add a Kickstart System to Your Motorcycle?

A kickstart system can be added to a motorcycle if the model can support the extra installation. Kickstart system kits are readily available on the market that ensure easy installation. You should consult a mechanic if you have little experience or don’t know how to safely install a kickstart system since it requires opening the engine and removing the clutch plates and other more fragile parts.

3. How to Install a Kickstart System on Your Motorcycle

Installing a kickstart system on a motorcycle can be easy if you have experience maintaining a motorcycle. However, if you are new to motorcycling, make sure to first learn how to install a kickstart system and follow the procedure step by step to avoid damaging the engine.

To add a kickstart system to a motorcycle, you will need a kickstart kit, which should include a gasket, shaft, gears, bolts, and kickstart lever.

3.1 Remove the Exhaust and Rear Brake Pedal

To install a kickstart system on your motorcycle, carefully remove the exhaust system and the rear brake pedal to ensure better access to the engine.

3.2 Drain the Engine Oil and Coolant

Completely drain all the engine oil and coolant into a closed container if you plan to reuse them later.

3.3 Open the Power Valve

The power valve is located next to the engine and can be easily opened by unscrewing the bolts. Make sure not to damage the power valve gasket by pulling it off. You will need to remove the little clip that holds the actuator arm and power valve together. Pull the clip with a pin to separate the actuator arm and the power valve.

3.4 Remove the Engine Case

To remove the engine case on the right-hand side, unscrew the bolts and pull it outwards. As you remove the engine case, any leftover fluid will start leaking. Wait until the fluids are completely drained from the engine. Removing the engine case will give you better access to internal parts, including the clutch plates.

Note: Gently remove the engine cover if you do not want to rip off the engine gasket. You can still use the current gasket if it is in good condition.

3.5 Remove the Clutch Assembly

To remove the clutch assembly, remove the center bearing first, then remove the nut and the washer using the bolt extractor. Now you can easily pull off the clutch assembly and start installing the kickstart.


3.6 Installing the Kickstart Assembly

After the right-hand side engine cover and the clutch assembly are removed, you will see a hollow section in the top-left corner of the crankcase where the kickstart assembly will be installed.

3.7 Mount the Return Stop

Take the return stop and bolt from the kickstart kit and mount it in the hollow section of the crankcase.

3.8 Install the Idling Gear

Before you install the main shaft and kickstart gear in the hollow section, install the idling gear between the input and output shafts. Take a washer, lubricate it with gear oil, and install the idling shaft so that the flat side touches the interior washer. Now take the exterior washer, lubricate it with gear oil, and install it on top of the idling gear. Install a snap ring using a snap ring plier on top of the exterior washer to keep the idling gear fixed in place.

3.9 Install the Kickstart Shaft Assembly

The kickstart shaft assembly includes a gear, an inner spring, and an outer spring (return spring) installed on a shaft. The return spring ensures the kickstart lever returns to its original position after being kicked. The outer spring’s coil has a bent edge that goes into the small hole in the crankcase. Make sure the gear on the shaft assembly is properly tucked in and push the edge of the coil into the small hole using a plier.

3.10 Remove the Plug from the Crankcase Cover

The crankcase cover you removed earlier has a plug in the top left corner. Remove this plug using a plier since this is where the kickstart level will be mounted to the shaft assembly. After removing the plug, clean the area and install the gasket on the exterior.

3.11 Reinstall the Clutch Assembly

The interior gear on the clutch assembly must align with the idling gear to ensure it is reinstalled properly. To tightly affix the clutch assembly, use washers and tighten the nut using the screw extractor. You can also replace the crankcase gasket at this point with a new one in the kickstart system kit. Reinstall the power valve gasket before you start installing the crankcase cover. After carefully connecting the actuator arm to the power valve with the clip, reinstall the power valve cover as well.

3.12 Reinstall the Exhaust System and Rear Brake Pedal

Before you install the kickstart lever to the shaft, reinstall the exhaust system and rear brake pedal while making sure the lever will not be obstructed.

3.13 Install the Kickstart Lever

While installing the kickstart lever, keep it at a higher angle to make sure it does not touch the exhaust. After putting the lever on the shaft, install the washer and tighten the bolt to affix it in place. You can now start the motorcycle with the kickstart system.

4. Is It Worth It to Add a Kickstart System to Your Bike?

Adding a kickstart system to your motorcycle can provide an alternate way to start your motorcycle if the electric starter stops working. An electric starter can stop working due to battery drainage and the starter breaking down. If you want to avoid being stranded in the middle of a road or a forest while off-roading, it is safer to have a kickstart system as a backup. This is why most dirt bikes have both electric and kickstart systems installed.

Video Credit: @Every Single Sunday

5. Conclusion

Most modern motorcycles do not come with a kick-start system installed. They solely rely on the electric starter to ignite the engine. If you don’t like being stranded in the middle of a forest because your electric starter has malfunctioned, it is better to have a kickstart system as a backup. You can install a kickstart system on most modern motorcycles using an installation kit. Make sure the kickstart system kit is compatible with your vehicle’s specific make and model. Adding a kickstart system to your motorcycle is ideal if you love to go on adventure rides and motorcycle tours. You can also find various motorcycle parts available at Viking Bag’s online store, including saddlebags, sissy bar bags, touring packstank bags, sissy bars, crash bars, and backrests, to ensure a better touring performance.

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