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Old 31 Aug 2002
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Location: Bärenklau, Brandenburg, Germany
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the crate of is mine - if you once come to berlin. i've won that kind of bet once on a campsite near damascus, syria. everything grant said is right, but there is one more little help:

forget the side-stand, always put the bike on the center-stand. both hands on bars, left foot on left cylinder (yes! dont worry, it wont break down, but be carefull wth the plug), when you stand comfortable kick wth right foot (remember what grant said about throttle). if carbs & ignition is ok it will work at last with the third kick - after some experience ;-)

i have a 73 model now for 17 years and have no e-starter since 91 - it works perfectly each morning.

may long you run
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Old 17 Oct 2003
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Location: Oxfordshire, UK
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I managed to kick start it this evening after the battery failed. Wally at CW Motorcycles had shown me how to do it. Very easy, involves very little force, just keep slowly and firmly proding the lever until it goes. No choke, no throttle. The action must be slow and smooth.
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Old 18 Oct 2003
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I reckon if your man enough to kick one into life then your also fit enough to bump it so why bother spending all that cash, get pushing or carry a spare battery!
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Old 18 Oct 2003
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It's hard to kickstart but it's worse to bumpstart a touring-loaded BMW in soft sand, mud and rivers. Yes, even Istanbul at rush-hour :-)
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Old 18 Oct 2003
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: British Columbia
Posts: 239
Just a note of caution on the bump starting option.....

Apparently this can be hard on the output flange in the transmission. The sudden loading caused by poping the clutch in lower gears can get you into a very expensive rebuild. If you must, use 3 gear and try to let the clutch out easy. This will of course necessitate a steep hill and lots of speed, so you had best be in good shape. Beleive me, I spent some heart pounding moments pushing that beast up a hill only run out of space on the way down (again)! getting enough traction for this on a sandy/ gravely road also presents a challenge. No, I think that lever could just save one's bacon in the right (or wrong) situation.....
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Old 19 Oct 2003
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No really, it is much easier to kick start it, once you get the technique right. Definitely worth learning how to do.
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Old 12 Apr 2009
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Most people tell me these are just not possible to start from cold however I have found the technique for mine also, R80gs with 1000cc siebenrock kit and dual plugging, From cold open choke to full, bike on centre stand, stand one foot on left cylinder other on kickstart, ignition off, open throttle with each of three to four kicks to get a build up of fuel, build up last kick towards tdc /compression, turn ignition on and a very firm kick opening throttle to about half as doing so and she fires up - its all practice, mind you still think its a harder bike to master starting than most other kickers I have had before but once you have got it its good to know both how and also that it works.
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Old 25 Apr 2009
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Location: Ångermanland or Skåne / Sweden, The World, or on the Seven Seas
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It's like a lot of folks have said, It's an art and a technic you can learn if you really want to (like smooth and silent gearshifting )

It's a long time since now, almost 30 years, but when I had my first Beemer, a 90/6 by the way, I learned to kickstart it with my left leg, standing over the bike with my right foot on the ground.
I even rode a whole season with the electric starter dismounted.
With the engine in tip top condition you can actually kickstart it with your hand.

My recent Beemer, an R100RT '79 doesn't have the kickstarter and I don't loose any sleep over it, but when I have got me my airhead GS, or/and "built" my RTW Beemer I'm gonna fit a kickstarter. And probably fit dual batteries and carry a spare startermotor.

I know, sometimes I can be a bit anal/obsessive/sicko/in more dire need of a blowjob than any white man in history, but for me it is as important to be able to do all work on the bike myself as to do the actual ride. And have all possibilities covered.

However, I would see it as a sort of emergency starting. I wouldn't expect the gearbox/kickstart to last for 30 years or several 100 000 miles.
Senior Airhead Mechanic
'79 R100RT
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Old 17 May 2009
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Location: Caracas, Venezuela
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My G/S has a kicker

I've started it with the kicker a few times, just to ensure I can do it in case of need but I much prefer the electric start. As others have posted, to convert yours, you'll need to get a transmission with a kicker -- they are hard to find, and if you can find one, it will be expensive. For me the kicker is a device that makes me appreciate the electric starter.
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