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electric starter problem


Website User
Non-VOC Member
Hi Chaps, a newbie here.
I have a Egli Vincent which has been rebuilt using a Gosset Electric Starter kit. When I first started it it truly sounded like the worst bag of spanners ever, like it was about to explode. Which it duly did! The shear pin on the starter had sheared, so I made a new one and refitted the motor. Bag of spanners sound again and then....no contact, as if the motor was spinning following another shear. Removed motor, and my pin was still intact. Now, do you guys think that it might be the sprag clutch? Does anyone know how well these things work? How noisy they should/shouldn't be in operation? I fully intend to fit a kickstart in due course but that doesn't excactly help me now!

I hope that you guys can assist.

Thank you



Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Hi Paul - have you got a fax number...

Hi Paul,

I've got the starter on mine and it is silent - it came fitted with the bike and the instructions are all there - if you have a fax number I can send them through to you if they would be of any help, I recall there is a drawing in it. I don't have access to a scanner at home. The instructions recommend only activating the starter when the engine and carb setup is a known quantity - it says trying to use the starter whilst setting up the engine risks damaging it too. In fact there is a pretty long list of things that will damage it!!

Once working - there is a grease nipple on mine - have you tried that to quieten it down, the instructions say you should do that regularly and also there is some special grease that comes with the starter to lubricate some other part from memory - it says once a year but I think you need to strip something to get at it.

It needs a fully charged decent battery on it, again the instructions say that if you try to use either a partially discharged one, or one with insufficient amps then you'll risk damaging the motor.

Finally - you could do worse than e-mailing the man himself, he's pretty helpful I understand.



Comet Rider

Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
Grosset Sprag clutch

A freinds twin fitted with a Grosset starter system had the sprag clutch fail last year (nothing to do with Grosset, just poor user maintenance) What failed was the case hardening of the track that the sprag rollers run on, and as a result the rollers began to break up. So it pays to Read The F*!|&ing Manual.:mad:
Please excuse the above.



Website User
Non-VOC Member
john Mossey Restorations.

I've now stripped out the entire starter gear and found a mess. I think the case hardening has failed on one of the intermediate gears and it's destroyed it, and the sprag clutch pinion. A real mess.

Ahh, old bikes, doncha just love 'em.....




Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The reason it`s failed is because the sprag clutch has stopped moving momentarily, like about 1 millisecond. This would happen with ANY machine using a sprag. There is something wrong with your set up, carburetion timing, duff battery, even switching off can cause the engine to pause momentarily, that`s enough.
You say you made a new pin for the motor gear, what spec did you make the pin to ?


Well Known and Active Website User
VOC Member
The original double gears in the drive train were sintered and the bottom gear to take the cylinder for the sprag cluch was hardened and therefore brittle. Several years ago there was talk of changing the bottom gear to see if a hardened cylinder could be 'shrunk' onto a sintered bottom gear. The problem with the brittle original gears was that when a tooth fell off, and they did, it went throught the rest of the drive train and wrecked the lot. I do not know whether this later mod was ever incorporated. One failing of the whole system is that if the bike is ever allowed to run backwards while in gear the sprag cluch will jam and the whole lot is likely to destroy itself. About 18 month ago I was in email contact with Francois trying to put him in touch with a company who could manufacture a Bendix gear for this. I did not hear from him so do not know if he ever found someone to do this at a sensible price. The alternative, seems to me ,to be a pre-engaged starter which should rule out the need for a sprag cluch but whether the overall design precludes this I do not know. Alternatives are a Bob Dunn starter which does not have any of these problems but is noticably present or start from scratch and use a modern clutch with a gear on the back of it and mount a starter where the dynamo was originally to pre-engage with the clutch mounted gear.

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