DIY Motorcycle Paddock Starter Part 1

Published on 18 January 2024 at 15:02

I am getting old, I shall be 60 this year, diabetes has made me feel a lot older than that though. I am also extremely lazy, which is probably why I now have diabetes. It's also probably why I get knackered very quickly when trying to kick start motorcycles. It's alright with the Japanese stuff I used to do, they are nearly all electric start and nearly always start very easily. The bikes I am doing now don't have electric, usually require a very hefty boot and often decide that they would rather sit there idle than do a days work. I now have a couple of race bikes that have no self contained method of starting whatsoever - you don't want anything on a race bike that doesn't make the bike go faster, unnecessary weight is an absolute no no.

All of this means that the time has come  to look at some sort of paddock starter that will enable me to run my bikes without me feeling like I have just run a marathon. My Dr told me that it's good to do something every day that makes me feel a little out of breath so I have started smoking. It doesn't seem to have helped much. Tee hee hee. Seriously though, I have looked at various different types, on my Triumph drag bike I had welded an old impact socket to the sprocket so I could spin the engine over but even without attempting a proper start the drill I was using for power burnt out.  The one starter has to work for all my bikes without the bikes being modified so I decided the roller type would be best. I also want a type that I can operate by myself, the roller type allows this too, the sort where you have a motor acting on the crank or the type where you have a wheel that presses on to the back wheel require 2 people. I live in the middle of nowhere so most of the time it's just me so solo operation is a very important requirement.


I therefore decided that the best design would be a twin roller one where the rear wheel of the bike sits between the two rollers, which are chain driven. That decided the next thing is about power to drive the thing. I have a decent 240v mains powered motor but that's no good for taking out and about as I would need a generator as well and that's far too much faffing about. I thought about a petrol motor but then I remembered - I don't have one. The obvious choice therefore was the starter motor out of my old Jag v12. I know it to be in good working order and the fact that it will turn over a 5.3 litre v12 with great gusto suggests that a little 650 twin shouldn't be too much effort for it as long as I get the gearing right. I found some pillow bearings, some 1 inch round steel bar, some 5 inch diameter pipe for the rollers and a few other bits, I don't have anything to make the frame out of yet, I think some 40 x 80 box will do nicely. I have a box of sprockets and a huge pile of old motorcycle chains so I think I have most of the bits I need, it's just a matter of getting on and doing it. Sadly my only bandsaw blade broke half way through cutting the first length of pipe for the rollers so I am now stuck until a new one arrives. I could cut it roughly with my angle grinder and finish it in the lathe but I will get on with some other stuff for now and get back to it when the new blade gets here.

With my mini recently costing me an absolute fortune to get it through the MoT every money saving plan is needed, which includes harvesting parts from scrap.

Some other bits I had lying about, I ordered 2 more bearings the same, they will do for the rollers, I need to buy some other bits but this all helps the penny pinching.

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