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ET: Engine (Twin) Electric start, Rapide

Phil Arundel

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VOC Member
Has anyone had any experience of fitting electric start to a Rapide? The engine I am working on is on the bench being rebuilt.
Any advice on where to purchase and fitting advice would be most welcome.
Thanks
Phil
 

peter holmes

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VOC Member
I can’t see that you have too many options, on a twin engine the Francois Grosset electric is just about the only one out there, that is unless Alton have entered the fray. I have been using the Grosset electric start for a few years now without any problems. In pre Covid 19 times you could go over to Brittany in France and have Francois supply and fit the starter kit for you at an approximate cost of £2k, it could be more now, or fit it all yourself if you have the skills, I think the kit alone was around £1.7K, but again that might be more now. I think comprehensive fitting instructions have been loaded up on this forum in the past.
 
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vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Yes its a bit of a short list. The obvious solution is a short chain via the LH kickstart tunnel to a chainwheel on the clutch this has been done quite a few times but not yet commercially as far as I can find out
 

BigEd

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VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
Depends on your skill levels and thickness of your wallet. :)
If you have the engine on is on the bench being rebuilt then you are obviously comfortable with spanners. While it is on the bench is the easiest time to fit an electric start.
Unless you want to devise your own the Grosset starter is the only way to go. The gear cover alterations can be done with hand tools, i.e. hacksaw, drill, grinder/sander. You will need a bit of machining doing to alter the ratchet gears. It is not a huge job and if you don't have a lathe you should be able to find someone to do that bit for you as it is a fairly simple mod.
 

stu spalding

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Phil, I've mentioned this before but here goes anyway. If you fit a Grosset starter you must make sure that the motor is totally waterproof. The brush springs have no plating to prevent corrosion and will rust and eventually break. I would like to think that this problem has been rectified but I'm not sure. Cheers, Stu.
 

oexing

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VOC Member
Maybe they could come up with brushless motors, unbelievable power from these today. Needs a little bit of electronics but cheap enough to get. Most model aircraft owners operate these in their high performance planes and helicopters.

Vic
 

craig

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VOC Member

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
This post will not help Phil, but I think I am right in saying that Colin Jenner, ex of Conway Motors was in the process of developing an electric starter for the twin engine, but if you will pardon the pun, the project stalled, but it would be interesting to know how far the project got, and what was proposed, I think it was around the same time as the Southwell/Grosset starter appeared, so perhaps as has happened previously with VHS and Betamax, there was only room for one in the marketplace.
 

peter holmes

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VOC Member
Re: Post 8, how much use had that sprag had, what configuration of engine was it starting, was there a backfire, or was the conclusion simply that something was wrong with the manufacture of the sprag gear, and lastly what is the cost of a replacement part, I believe it is pretty costly when compared to the cost of the entire kit.
 

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
One problem I do experience with the Grosset starter is selecting 1st gear from neutral when you are stationary on an incline, I have to try and push the bike forward whilst simultaneously hooking the gear lever up with my right boot, all a bit tricky for me, is this unique to my set up, or does everyone that has a Grosset starter experience the same niggle.
 

vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Re post #8 Years ago ,the first day I had it, I got a replacement and always use a de compressor and I hold the clutch in when switching on a coil ignition
 
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vibrac

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
One problem I do experience with the Grosset starter is selecting 1st gear from neutral when you are stationary on an incline, I have to try and push the bike forward whilst simultaneously hooking the gear lever up with my right boot, all a bit tricky for me, is this unique to my set up, or does everyone that has a Grosset starter experience the same niggle.
typical sprag clutch
 

Hugo Myatt

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
One problem I do experience with the Grosset starter is selecting 1st gear from neutral when you are stationary on an incline, I have to try and push the bike forward whilst simultaneously hooking the gear lever up with my right boot, all a bit tricky for me, is this unique to my set up, or does everyone that has a Grosset starter experience the same niggle.
Pete,
"They all do that, sir." It's even trickier with the added weight of a sidecar as it is not possible to go backwards in gear with the clutch disengaged. Even the slightest backwards movement will lock it up. On a hill stop this often means keeping it in gear, clutch pulled in and the brakes full on. Not the best practice but there it is.
Hugo
 

Sakura

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Bearing in mind the Grosset starter is a retrofit on a difficult gearbox arrangement it is incredibly successful and good value for money. Most other conversions are done on pre-unit engines. It's more difficult on a unit construction engine. Thank you Francois/Trevor say I.
 

Marcus Bowden

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VOC Member
I find the non reversing of the bike when in gear is very handy on a hill with both feet on the ground, clutch in and throttle hand ready to increase tick over for take-off. Camita's "C" Rap has one 17 years ago and my "B" Rap had it fitted 2 years ago, with one sprag failure that was repaired in 3 to four days by Trevor, very efficient service.
bananaman.
 

Glenliman

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Chris Kleps has the Grosset starter on his Egli. It was problematic for years with lots of broken shear pins.
Fairly recently the engine had major work done. I believe Robert Watson was elected to set valve timing. With valve timing set via the equal lift method, the bike now starts perfectly. It doesn't kickback and it doesn't break shear pins.
So the starter was fine all along, cam timing was the culprit.

Glen
 

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Marcus, that is probably ok for a short stop, but I am not comfortable keeping the clutch lifted for long periods of time, that seems to be bad practice to me, so I select neutral, and if I am on an incline I then struggle to select 1st gear.
 

erik

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I am Fitting a Grosset starter kit in the Moment on my rapide. All the work with a lathe is done by a friend ,but all the other work is a straight go and no Problem.I am thinking About a Splash guard which prolonges the rear mudguard so that the starter Motor has an easier life, keeping moisture and dirt away.Later I will fit the Dave Hills stand and Try to fit an additionel oilfilter in the return oil line.Erik
 

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