A short story of deferred maintenance, dirty carbs, and broken kickstarters.
At the last trials a few weeks ago, I noticed that my ’04 sherco was becomming a little hard to start and was occasionally kicking back during starting.
So I got on the horn and ordered a few parts for some maintenance, and some improvements. One of the improvements was a 9‑tooth coutnershaft sprocket to slow the thing down a little. So I changed the sprocket and was going for a short test ride. Got the bike started, but it wouldn’t run without the choke on. uh-oh, this doesn’t sound good. it died, and when I re-started it, it kicked back, and I heard something go ‘ting!’. When it immediately died, I looked down for the kickstarter, and the end of it was gone! When the bike kicked back against my foot, it snapped the ‘foot’ part of the kickstarter off! capital CRAP. lucky i wasn’t wearing trainers!
so. next step is to order some parts. so i place an order for some new spark plugs, a kickstarter , and just to be safe, a couple of woodruff keys. The woodruff keys are because one of the things that can make a 2‑stroke kick back is bad timing. on a modern engine like our bikes, the only way the timing gets inaccurate is for the woodruf key to shear and the flywheel to slip on the crankshaft. Maybe that’s what happened…
While waiting for my parts, I pulled the carb, the airbox, and the flywheel. The woodruf key was good, everything looked clean inside the engine. The carb was a different matter though, crud in the float bowl, and and apparently a plugged pilot jet. a good cleaning later, i reassembled and reinstalled the carb, and waited for the parts.
When the parts arrived, I put a new woodruf key in, just on general principles, poped in a new spark plug, and reassembled enough of the bike to start it. Got it started, tuned the low-speed jet a bit, and it runs great.
So the morale of the story is: buy your bike a new spark plug and clean it’s carbeurator every few years, it will thank you. oh, and be very careful kick-starting a bike in trainers!