Need advice on Electric Start Kits for XR650R


15 replies to this topic
  • Crash513

Posted January 27, 2007 - 12:38 AM

#1

Well, I searched this forum a fair amount, and I know this question has been asked before, so forgive my redundancy.

I have a 2000 BRP (XR650R) that has been uncorked but is oterwise stock, and is a joy for the kind of casual trail riding I love. Unfortunately, my knees are not what they used to be (I'm 45 and my other sport is Skiing). I am starting to have some challenges hot starting the bike. I am considering an e-start kit, and I would very much appreciate input from this community on what kits others have had, and how they have worked. I am considering either the Baja Designs kit (cheaper) and the Joe Racer kit (better?) but am also open to any other kits that may be out there if anyone can recommend one. I have asked around locally, and heard mixed reviews about both kits.

What I would like to know is:

1. Opinions about advantages of one kit over the other
2. How have they they held up for you?
3. Any experience with parts availability and customer service from supplier?
4. Any other observations or advice from your experience

Thanks for your consideration. My only other option at this point is to move to a CRF450X, which means one of the kids won't get to go to college.

Thanks,

Crash513

  • MrMike

Posted January 27, 2007 - 10:22 AM

#2

I've had the Baja Designs kit on for a while now. It was easy to install except that I had to send the flywheel in to get the ring gear put on, but that was ok since I had to have the stator rewound anyway so not a big deal. It took a couple of weeks to get it back. The starter motor is not the strongest so you need to pull in the Decompression lever to let it spin up then release it for it to start. The battery is pretty small so maybe that is why you need to do that. You can get a few tries before the battery goes flat if cold but starts right up when warm. The motor hangs out a bit but I haven't dropped the bike on it yet so I don't know how it will hold up to a direct hit on a rock, but probably not real well. I like the idea of the battery down on top of the trans as you don't feel much extra weight when riding. I bought an Edlebrock carb and there was a clearance problem with it hitting the battery, but I cut a little piece of the battery holder out and turned the bettery around and got everything to fit. All in all I am glad I got it. A few shortcommings but I can live with those now that I know they're there. Not factory, but OK.

  • Billahjack

Posted January 28, 2007 - 10:57 AM

#3

Have you tried tuning up your bike? Valve job, spark plug? Maybe a fatter idle jet will make it start easier. The stock 65s jet runs lean and can make it hard to start without the choke in the uncorked form. A 68s or 70 works pretty well with no choke. Usually, I give it a couple turns on the idle screw to raise the idle setting before I start it.

When hot, if it floods, then pull the decompression release, open the throttle all the way and kick through (you can do this slow and easy) about 3-5 times before trying to start with the throttle closed. It might backfire from all the fuel in the header.

Last, one of my friends showed me that you can pull in the decompression lever and release it half way through your kick to start the bike. It takes practice to get it down, but he is a master at this. He can start it with flip-flops on using this technique. Basically, you use your power to spin the motor and then release the decompression lever to use the flywheel of the motor to carry it through the compression stroke to start it.

Just some cheap suggestions that are worth a try before you dump $1k into a heavy starter for your bike.

Also, I'm not sure about your riding style. There are easier bikes to ride out there for causaul trail riding like the electric start yamaha TTR-250/TTR 225. We ride with my buddy's dad who is about 6'2" and 55 years old and he loves the smaller bike. His is dual sported and can cruise at 55mph.

  • JMo

Posted September 03, 2007 - 05:32 AM

#4

Thought I'd bump this thread up the list as I too am considering fitting the Baja Designs kit to a new XR650R - anyone else have experiance of the current BD kit and the other (Joe Racer) type?

What I want is something that works, on time, every time!

All info much appreciated...

xxx

ps. I know the technique/s for kick starting a bike (I have a 400), and the need to re-jet etc. - what a really need is actual user reports on the two e-start kits above, and any shortcomings etc. before I spend my money!

  • eastreich

Posted September 04, 2007 - 07:41 AM

#5

I do not have the e-start on my bike, but as I mentioned in another thread, I have installed two of the BD kits on 650Rs for others. I do not have any experience with the Joe Racer kit. Nor do I know anyone that does.

I will start by saying that the BD kit is very thorough. Everything that you need (other than the high output stator) is included. The directions are very easy to follow for installation. And BD wiring diagrams can't be beat. Very well done. I really like the battery mount under the carb, it helps to keep the additional weight low. The machined pieces are high quality.

The operation is good IMO as well. Yes, you do need to use the decompressor to spin it up when cold. But to me, this is not a big deal. I mean, when you kick start the bike, you have to follow the "drill" (at least I do): Kick slow to TDC, ease past with the compression release, kick hard and go. Same thing with the e-start: Compression release in to get the motor to spin past TDC, build momentum, let out the release and go. Seemed like second nature to me after the third time starting the bike. When the motor was hot, I did not need to use the decompressor, but it would have helped. One of the guys who I installed the kit for complained loudly that his battery was always dying and the starter wouldn't crank the bike over. Well, it turns out that he wasn't (wouldn't!) use the decompressor ("I shouldn't have to do that!"). Plus he was just out in his garage starting and stopping the bike to show his buddies. We all know XRs don't spit out a lot of juice near idle, so his battery wasn't getting recharged. Once he was "educated," he had no further problems.

There are a few disadvantages to the BD kit IMO. The big one for me is the width added to the motor. I have really big feet (size 15) and hit lots of rocks anyway. With the added width of the starter "case" between the motor and the stator, that really puts my left foot out in the danger area. I am pretty sure that this is a fault with the Joe Racer kit, as well. The starter is also a disappointment to me as well. It is freaking huge, but doesn't have a lot of torque. I think it was sourced from a watercraft; if that is the case, it was probably meant to spin a much lower compression two stroke engine. The final thing is the choke on the carb. If you have the stock tank, it is no big deal. Howver with a big tank, you have to use the included cable/extension, which to me seems kinda hokey.

In comparison to the BD kit, the Joe Racer kit looks to have some better design attributes but also some downers. As I previously mentioned, I don't have direct experience with the JR kit, so these are assumptions on my part, but I think they are pretty accurate. I like the starter location of the JR kit. It is up above the cases behind the cylinder like it shoud be. Protected and out of the way. However, this means that you can't put the battery there ala BD's kit. The JR kit also needs an intermediate gear between the starter and the stator. The BD kit doesn't need this with the direct mounting of its starter. The JR intermediate gear bothers me as this is a dry area on the bike: no oil for lubrication. The other thing that I really like about the JR kit is that it uses OEM Honda components. Parts are for the most part really easy to get! BD is really good about their parts as well, at least from my personal experiences with BD.

If I were spending my own money, I would get the JR kit (the one without the factory Honda parts) and then source my own Honda parts for it (JR sends you the OEM part numbers that you need to get). I already have a big BD stator and a DC/battery system (HID lights) so for me that cost is a non issue. I just wish that someone would make a kit to spin the starter on the clutch basket ring gear instead so that the motor would not have to be widened.

  • JMo

Posted September 04, 2007 - 11:06 AM

#6

Hey - thanks for the info, that was pretty thorough!

I too have similar concerns about the Baja Designs kit, but glad to hear that apart from visually, it seems to work pretty well... shame about the choke extension cable as you say, and the fact that it's a big motor for not a lot of juice? (hence the need for the decompressor)... I'm also not sure about the battery position with the BD kit as I do ride through a lot of deep water, although I guess it would be easy enough to relocate the battery higher, behind the side panel for example?

I've also heard differing reports about the JR kit (mainly from a supplier here in the UK) - he used to stock the JR kit, but had a few problems with them, so now uses a different manufacturer/supplier for a similar design kit*... it's very expensive here in the UK (how about $2400 list!?) but has everything you need included and can be fitting in a garage, no need for a machine press etc.

*presumably the same company that make then for HM Honda in Italy?

Anyway, I think I may suck up the cost of the pukka kit - I'm throwing a lot of money at this bike and it would be a shame to fit something that only just does the job?

xxx

  • eastreich

Posted September 04, 2007 - 11:21 AM

#7

I am assuming that the same kit that you are looking at is also the one that Monnier sells. This setup looks better than the Joe Racer, with the battery mounted at the back of the left side number plate. I only worry about a battery mounted in this location getting damaged more easily if I were to crash. OK, when I crash. But this is still way better than on the front forks like the JR kit. &%$#@! is up with that? Just what I want, a chunk of lead on the forks. I would fab up a mount and stick it in some other location.

The BD kit uses a completely sealed battery, as it lays on its side when mounted. If you sealed up the connections really well, it should withstand a water crossing or two. At least I would think it should!

  • bosshog

Posted September 04, 2007 - 02:17 PM

#8

I just wish that someone would make a kit to spin the starter on the clutch basket ring gear instead so that the motor would not have to be widened.


Me too. If you ever find a source for one let me know I'll buy it. The JR kit looks like it has potental. Would be nice to know how much it widens the case out. There must be something better out there.

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  • eastreich

Posted September 04, 2007 - 02:44 PM

#9

Me too. If you ever find a source for one let me know I'll buy it. The JR kit looks like it has potental. Would be nice to know how much it widens the case out. There must be something better out there.


I've got some ideas in my head on how to do it, but I just simply don't have the time right now to put it together. I am hoping that someone really, really blows their 450X apart, so that I can pirate the blown motor from the junkpile at the dealership and see what I can make with the starter and the old case halves. If I can ever get that far, everyone here will get to see what happens.

Provided Honda doesn't finally pull their head out and build us what we really want!:thumbsup: :ride: :bonk:

  • Potts228

Posted September 04, 2007 - 03:34 PM

#10

I've got some ideas in my head on how to do it, but I just simply don't have the time right now to put it together. I am hoping that someone really, really blows their 450X apart, so that I can pirate the blown motor from the junkpile at the dealership and see what I can make with the starter and the old case halves. If I can ever get that far, everyone here will get to see what happens.

Provided Honda doesn't finally pull their head out and build us what we really want!:thumbsup: :ride: :bonk:


I would worry about a 450X starter having enough power to start a 650! They barely have enough power at times to start the 450.

  • eastreich

Posted September 05, 2007 - 05:40 AM

#11

I would worry about a 450X starter having enough power to start a 650! They barely have enough power at times to start the 450.


That's the price you have to pay if you want to have the button yet keep the weight as low as possible. The smallest battery you can get away with to go with a nice compact starter. Using the manual decompression lever to get the motor to spin, and then letting the massive crank inertia of the 650R take over should still be an adequate way to start it.

I do want to keep the weight as low as possible. If Honda put a factory e-start on the 650R, but it added 15+ pounds in starter with a high mounted battery, I'll keep kicking my old beast to life.

  • bosshog

Posted September 05, 2007 - 09:08 AM

#12

I'ld take a 15lb hit just to have e-start. Heck I'll go on a diet and cancel that out.:thumbsup:

  • Old_Man_Time

Posted September 05, 2007 - 10:15 AM

#13

I own the BD kit and it has worked flawlessly for 2 years.

I didn't buy the JR Kit because I read two reviews from folks here on TT who did purchase it. Neither one of these guys could get it to work and when they called for support they both complained that they got none. They ended up taking the kits off their bikes never getting them to work. Probably sold them on E-bay. The JR kit does look nicer cause it is the XR650L starter being adapted to the 650R. I also have read somewhere that there is a weak point in the kit. A fabricated part essential to making it work.If you check out the JR kit closely you will notice battery mounting is an issue. Usually they place it behind the head light.

Also I have the Edelbrock carb on my bike and I was able to get the battery to clear it without modifying the position of the battery. I tipped the carb ever so slightly away from the battery. Not even noticeable to the eye and has not effected the carbs performance at all.

  • lintnercorey

Posted September 17, 2007 - 08:58 PM

#14

i bought my brp used with the bd e start already installed, and have had no problems with it. i also have a clark 4 1/2 gal. tank, it does fill up any extra space, but is a well thought out design. though half the time i kick the bike the old fashioned way out of habit, it is handy when you stall the bike at an intersection, or flood it. i probably wouldn't have spent the money on it myself, but it is pretty bad ass to have.

  • Desmo

Posted September 19, 2007 - 02:25 PM

#15

Lots of threads on this, but, truly the Edelbrock carb makes starting really, really easy, even if it does not make any more power than a correctly jetted stock carb.

Awhile back I crashed down a steep hill off some single track, bike was on its side for 45 minutes+

After we got it back up on the track....yep you guessed it, one kick start.

Last week, after not using the bike for a few weeks, I went to start it to check the oil. Yep, once again, 1 kick after a few prime kicks with decomp level in.

Maybe give one a try, if you don't like it you can always resell it. Plus you will save 15 lbs....

Cheers

  • martinfan30

Posted September 19, 2007 - 07:40 PM

#16

they dont make any more power, but with my fcr the throttle response is the selling point(i'm sure the eddie's carb is pretty much the same as far as thr. response).





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