1976 Triumph 750: Hard to Kickstart


Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein

Editor’s note: If you’re having trouble with that old Suzuki, BSA or BMW, Keith Fellenstein is your guy. From motorcycle tuning tips to detailed motorcycle engine repair, he can draw from a wealth of experience to help guide you to success. Send questions to: Keith’s Garage, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609, or send an e-mail with “Keith’s Garage” as the subject.

Compression question

Q: I have a 1976 Triumph 750 I’m restoring for a collector. This is the third one I’ve worked on for him. His complaint is that it’s very hard to kickstart the bike. And it is. If you take out the spark plugs it will kick over very easily. If you put just one plug back in the kickstarter gets very hard to kick down and, if the key is on, it can kickback and really hurt your leg. I’ve checked the valve settings, the timing side gears and the timing of the Boyer electronic ignition. I’m only 165 pounds and can’t kick it over at all. The clutch plates are stuck together and that’s what I’m going to fix next. If that doesn’t help, I’m stuck. — John Woolson/Houston, Texas

A: It sounds to me like the bike has been modified for higher compression and has excellent rings and valves, making it difficult to kick through the compression stroke. Unless the transmission is locked up, the clutch plates shouldn’t be causing this problem. Possible solutions include either a thicker head gasket or two head gaskets used together. You could also put a compression plate underneath the cylinders. Any of these will drop the compression ratio, which should result in easier kicking. Volumetric testing and a compression test before doing any of these modification should help determine if high compression is the cause. MC

11/14/2013 1:14:13 PM

I know this may seem obvious, but perhaps the octane rating of the gas is too low. Often it is harder to get better than 92 octane gasoline at most gas stations, but high compression engines often were designed for higher than that and need 94 octane. Also, another solution may be a fuel additive to give the same result. It depends how badly you want to take apart that classic bike!

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter