Sunday, July 27, 2008

Electric starters on Velocettes......

Electric starters years back were not really able to be easily adapted to English motorcycles...but with the changes in battery technology, Japaneses auto starter motors being ever smaller, and I guess the aging in riders who enjoy these motorcycles, the electric starter is a viable alternative to not riding at all.

Seen on the outskirts to Perth, Western Australia.
I've selected four versions that I 've seen in the last couple of years, two eminating in the USA and two in Australia.

The US versions seem to me to be the more suited to our needs, as they encompass alternators and even belt drives in their setup so that the final package is good.

Bryan Cave's starter operating into the kick start housing.

I'll start with the two Australian ones, which seem to be an early development of the US versions, although I'm pretty sure their existence was unknown to each other.
Travelling to the Cape to Cape Velocette rally in Western Australia in 2003 from the Eastern States, as we approached Perth, we were greeted by a local Velo rider, who'd ridden to meet us...sadly his name escapes me, but I quickly noted his mid 1950s Venom had an electric starter on it.... he had no generator and just charged the battery nightly, with some 30 starts in the "package" interesting solution.
At the 2004 Australian Velocette Owners Club National Rally at Bright in Victoria, Bryan Cave had his version of an electric start, which curiously drove into the gearbox via the kick start housing.
I never really questioned Bryan over the why's and wherefores of it....
Onto the USA......

Paul Zell's second version.

Paul Zell of California, had two versions of electric starters on two of this Velos. The latter is illustrated, with chain drive and a neatly placed alternator on the engine crankshaft...sourced from a Japanese motorcycle wrecker. Paul had coil ignition with no advance until about 300rpm, so there would be no engine kickback which he found had done damage on his other setup.
Cory Padura from Canada came up with the last illustrated...he utilised a heron "v' type drive belt arrangement and a starter from a Honda Accord car from memory with a gear drive arrangement, illustrated. Cory also made provision for an alternator on the crankshaft.The belt is a really good idea, using the offset V rather than the straight teeth which require a belt that won't fit into the narrow Velo primary chaincase.
Cory's set up will and carries the load. The belts are freely available from GoodYear.
All appear to do the job for the owners and Cory has produced small quantities for sale to those who were prepared to wait.
Cory's set-up and ingenious V belt primary drive.

Left click on images to enlarge....

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