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non starter


mark revelle

My Shadow normally starts first or second kick. No more. Instead the kick start feels as though it's driving down through treacle. Nothing has changed - the plugs are fine, compression seems fine, lsing the lifter simply allows the engine to spin as usual (but without firing).

Could it be clutch slip? If so, where should I begin?

All ideas welcome...


Forum Website User
Non-VOC Member
by clutch slip the engine does not turn - my '46 Rapide has magneto ignition - can be a bitch - do you have coil/battery ignition - or maybe even electronic sparks - then it could be a weak battery
Just looked up "treacle" - You have a clutch slip no doubt - I had lots of clutch trouble during the years - sometimes it was the spring locking the centernut that gave up so the centernut worked it's way out. Could also be oil from the gearbox penetraiting the seal and fouling the linings ... You have to open up to the clutch to have a look.
mfg hrd46 in CPH
Last edited:


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Hiya, how long since you last rode it? did you top up your oil level? sounds like wet sumping, put a drip tray under the bike, take out the sump plug, let it drain out, replace, check oil level in tank & try again. (If it was clutch slip you wouldnt kick it over compression)
might help, good luck.


Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Extra bit, you say the plugs are fine, I assume you have a spark when kicking the bike with the plugs resting on the heads, the "treacle" feeling when you try to start is usually caused by too much oil in the crankcase giving resistance to the engine turning over.

roy the mechanic

Well Known and Active Forum Website User
VOC Member
Draining the crankcase sounds like a good starting point. Before stripping the clutch, it may be an idea to check the clutch adjustment, to be sure that it still has some freedom in the system. The procedure is explained in the handbook+K.T.B etc. Good Luck, Roy.
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