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ET: Engine (Twin) Electric start, Rapide

Phil Arundel

Well Known and Active Website User
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
 

RapHRD

Website User
VOC Member
My rapide came with a Grosset starter when I bought it. I'd prefer it didn't have one. It won't role backwards in gear which is annoying when I stop at intersections on a slight incline or when finding TDC for any maintenance. I always use the kick starter anyway. Unless you need some assistance to start your rapide, I wouldn't be fitting a starter.
 

BigEd

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
VOC Forum Moderator
My rapide came with a Grosset starter when I bought it. I'd prefer it didn't have one. It won't role backwards in gear which is annoying when I stop at intersections on a slight incline or when finding TDC for any maintenance. I always use the kick starter anyway. Unless you need some assistance to start your rapide, I wouldn't be fitting a starter.
For maintenance, it is a simple matter of just removing the three cap head Allen screws that secure the starter motor to the extended G50 plate and then sliding it out of engagement. Not being able to go backwards when in gear is a function of where the sprag clutch is located in the drive train so not much you can do about that except select neutral.
Why don't you use the starter motor if it is fitted and in good working order? An electric starter is pretty much universal on any modern motorcycle or car.
 

peter holmes

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
A lot of modern cars and vans have the hill start function, which simply stops you rolling back when you are pulling away on a gradient, when I learnt to drive 55 years ago we called that a handbrake and you had to operate it whilst balancing the accelerator pedal in unison with handbrake, anyway back to point in question, with the Grosset starter this facility is inbuilt, probably not by design, but a by product of the sprag clutch, this can be useful in stop start traffic on an uphill gradient, but it is a real pain in the ass if you select neutral on a gradient and then try to engage first gear and the sprag clutch baulks the gear change.
Having said that I would not now want to be without the electric starter, saving me from embarrassment and my ankle, knee and hip from further punishment.
 

Marcus Bowden

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Remove starter motor & sprag clutch re-fitting the other half of ratchet and you are back to original set-up. But depending how long you intend keeping the bike I would keep it on the shelf until you reach the age when kick-starting becomes a problem or sell it on and the new owner will have an easy fitting, getting the two bikes together swapping G50 plates will be the hardest thing you do and can easily be done in a day.
bananaman.
 

Gary Gittleson

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
A lot of modern cars and vans have the hill start function, which simply stops you rolling back when you are pulling away on a gradient
Yes. It was also a feature on my dad's 1948 Studebaker. It seems Studebaker introduced the feature in 1936. My Subaru Forester also has it. It's useful but I'm not so sure I'd like it on a bike.

I'll be 79 next week but still kick-starting the Beast. Hope I can keep it up.
 

erik

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
I fitted the Electric starter because we want to travel to the IOM this year and further on to northern Ireland and down the Atlantic coast to Cork ,then through France and Luxembourg back home.All with a full loaden bike. I think sometimes in wet wether conditions an Electric start could be an Advantage.Kickstarting with rain boots and a dirty kickstart Lever could be no pleasure. Erik
 

RapHRD

Website User
VOC Member
For maintenance, it is a simple matter of just removing the three cap head Allen screws that secure the starter motor to the extended G50 plate and then sliding it out of engagement. Not being able to go backwards when in gear is a function of where the sprag clutch is located in the drive train so not much you can do about that except select neutral.
Why don't you use the starter motor if it is fitted and in good working order? An electric starter is pretty much universal on any modern motorcycle or car.
Thanks BigEd, I'll keep that in mind regarding maintenance.

So if you stall on the road in traffic, you can't quickly start it to get going again as you need to find neutral, unlike any modern motorcycle or car. No advantage there. My rapide is a consistent first kick starter and I'm more than capable of kicking it over so I prefer to start it the way it was designed to be.
 

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