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Thread: Question: 70's Kickstart Transmissions

  1. #1
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    Question: 70's Kickstart Transmissions

    Did the 4 Speed Kickstart external shaft have a straight shaft lever, and the 5 Speed Kickstart have an offset shaft lever ? I can't remember.

    I think I recall there were a few kickstart 5 Speeds made in a transition year.
    There were Gasp and (Guffaws ?) at the delima of having only an electric starter back then.


    Charlie
    Last edited by 72r60/7; 03-09-2017 at 01:35 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by 72r60/7 View Post
    Did the 4 Speed Kickstart shaft have a straight shaft lever, and the 5 Speed Kickstart have an
    offset shaft lever ? I can't remember.

    I think I recall there were a few kickstart 5 Speeds made in a transition year.
    There were Gasp and (Guffaws ?) at the delima of having only an electric starter back then.


    Charlie
    I assume you're talking about the kickstart pedal. I had a /5 and still have my R90s with a kicker. I know they're different. The /6 (R90s) is curved a bit and the /5 was straight I believe. Between the two tranny's, the 4 speed is much more robust in terms of kickstarting. The /6 system isn't up to repeated kickstarting as the shaft internal to the trans will bend over time.

    It's not an issue because in nearly 40 years and 140k miles, I've had to actually use the kicker on the S, maybe six times.

  3. #3
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    RPG
    Yes, external.
    Will edit post to clarify.

    Thanks
    Charlie

  4. #4
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    Yes, curved kickstart lever.

    Found this 5 speed transmission on a '71 pulled out of the woods.

    image.jpg

    What was the last year that the '70's bikes had a Kickstarter ?

    Charlie

  5. #5
    Registered User barryg's Avatar
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    Looks like a 4-speed /5 tranny with a '74 /6 kickstart lever. But then again I suffer from Oldtimers syndrome and I may be totally confused.

  6. #6
    That's a 4-speed, and all of those had kickers. Kick was used on various models throughout nearly all of Airhead production: sometimes as an option, sometimes for a specific market, sometimes on a specific model.
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  7. #7
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    Just remember that the kick start mechanism on all /5 and newer models are for emergency use only. As a proper BMW rider you are expected to maintain your battery in proper order to start the bike as it was intended!
    Now that we have that caveat out of the way both 4 and 5 speed transmissions have weak kickers. The 5 speed is most noted for having weak engagement gears with teeth that break off with a frequency that corresponds with how often the owner likes to show off how he can "kick over" his bike, or the lack of battery maintenance that forces the use of the kicker instead of the push button. More devious is the pin that holds the idler gear on a 4 speed. It is a steel pin pressed into the aluminum cover. After enough kick cycles the pin tends to loosen in the cover. This shows up as a slight leak. [I]t is repairable. Keep kicking away and eventually the pin will be loose enough to drop inside the transmission with the idler gear attached.
    And the fastest way to tell what you have is to look at the left side of the transmission. The fill plug on a 4 speed is on a protrusion of the case and is at an angle from vertical. The 5 speed has the fill plug on a horizontal plane.
    Boxerbruce

  8. #8
    I had a kickstarter on my /6 along with electric start. I used the kickstarter ALL the time and never had a problem!
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

  9. #9
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    I've rebuilt over 20 5-speed transmissions with broken pawl teeth laying in the bottom. Just saying...
    Boxerbruce

  10. #10
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    Bottom line:

    Rally Rat
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    ...........................And the fastest way to tell what you have is to look at the left side of the transmission. The fill plug on a 4 speed is on a protrusion of the case and is at an angle from vertical. The 5 speed has the fill plug on a horizontal plane.
    Invaluable infomation to me since long, long ago, I figured out I don't know everything. Thank you very much !

    Now 1074 (or others),
    Were the curved external kickstart shafts straight for the 4 speeds and curved for the 5 speeds (because the extra length for the added gear ?

    Charlie

  11. #11
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    That's the kicker!

    Quote Originally Posted by 72r60/7 View Post
    Bottom line:



    Invaluable infomation to me since long, long ago, I figured out I don't know everything. Thank you very much !

    Now 1074 (or others),
    Were the curved external kickstart shafts straight for the 4 speeds and curved for the 5 speeds (because the extra length for the added gear ?

    Charlie
    I just don't want to confuse this issue. There is no difference in length of transmission, 4 or 5 speed. They are interchangable with only a neutral switch modification.

    I have no idea why BMW changed from a straight kick start arm to a curved one. The /5 series came with a straight kicker. The /6 introduced the curved kicker as standard on the 74 year models and optional in later years. These kickers are also interchangable as can be seen in a previous post photo of a 4 speed with a curved kicker.
    Boxerbruce

  12. #12
    Rally Rat 1074's Avatar
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    Forgot to mention, the GS models came with a different curved kicker that is also interchangable!
    Boxerbruce

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by 1074 View Post

    I have no idea why BMW changed from a straight kick start arm to a curved one. The /5 series came with a straight kicker. The /6 introduced the curved kicker as standard on the 74 year models and optional in later years. These kickers are also interchangable as can be seen in a previous post photo of a 4 speed with a curved kicker.
    It is called "design". Otherwise it could be shaped like a little I-beam and the engineers could be happy. Curves are elegant, or sensuous or somesuch.
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  14. #14
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    Had a friend back in the eighties who had an early R75/5. He road it regularly and for long distances for some fifteen years with a dead battery. Always used the kick and never had any issues. Also, using the kick takes a little technique. Doing it right can help preserve the internals. Doing it wrong can just beat the stuffings out of them.
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  15. #15
    #4869 DennisDarrow's Avatar
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    Yes, It is a totally elegant design that RETAINS it's functionality. I remember learning one technique to turn the engine over rapidly. With the machine on the centerstand, straddle the bike by standing on the pegs. Lean on the bars, hook the start lever with the left foot, find top dead center by cranking slightly and feeling for the stiffness, then as fast as one can, perhaps every second or so, push through with the left foot, raise it as the lever does on it's own and then repeat, repeat, repeat...............Yes, he learned it from his father who returned from Stalingrad strapped to the top of a sidecar. This was in the dead of winter for me in 1967 Herzo Base. Herman worked at the base mechanic shop. Learned a lot from him about true OLD SCHUL maintenance..............

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