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I recently bought a 2001 TXT280 which I have trouble starting. The problem is the kick lever is very hard to move due to engine compression. I'm about 145 pounds and still recovering from knee surgery about a year ago. However, I can stand on the lever and it won't stroke. It takes a really healthy kick to light the engine.

Is there anyway to make the bike easier to start? Can I fit a compression
release? Would stacking two head gaskets lower the compression enough to help my starting woo's without losing too much power?



With the water-cooled head, it would be very difficult to fit a compression release. The TXT doesn't use a headgasket per se, but o-rings and very accurately machined sealing surfaces to seal the head to the cylinder. I can think of a couple of possibilities and their drawbacks:

1) Get a second cylinder head and have it remachined by a competent engine builder that knows how to lower the compression without sacrificing too much power and throttle response.
Drawback: Expense and some loss in low-speed power and throttle response.

2) Add an extra base gasket to the cylinder to lower compression.
Drawback: possible loss of some power across the board due to reduction of compression and reduction of porting time/area numbers.

3) Retard static ignition timing to lower Initial Brake Mean Effective Pressure.
Drawback: Although this would not reduce compression, it would reduce the chance of "kickback" on less than enthusiastic prods and reduce resistance to flywheel effect as the piston nears Top Dead Center. I'd also try running straight race gas, as the slower burning gas may ease starting to a degree (I don't know this for a fact, just guessing). The retarded timing will smooth out the low-speed throttle response, which you may like better.

4) Have a friend ride with you and start the bike for you. This is not a flippant statement to be funny, but I know if my friend was recovering from knee surgery, I'd be happy to help him out so he could ride. Trials riders are great people and usually more than happy to help each other. I think this is due to the nature of the sport, where we are competing against the obstacles and ourselves rather than each other so much.

If I can think of any others, I'll e-mail you.


Thanks for the information and ideas. I had another idea which probably isn't "easily" possible; could I change the gearing of the kick starter so I can get more of a mechanical advantage? Also, since the bike only has 20 minutes on it, will starting get easier with time?

Changing the gearing on the kickstarter would require a total redesign and fabrication of the sidecase and kickstart system. The engine will loosen up
as it beds in and starting will be easier. The Gas-Gas engines are hand assembled and held to close tolerances, which is why they last so long. When kickstarting, take up the slack in the gears, slightly jump up off the left peg, keep your right leg stiff and slightly bent and let your body weight
coming down on the kickstart lever do the work rather than your leg muscles. This may help.


Professional tuner and 'Trials Competition' writer Jon Stoodley has very kindly stepped up to the plate to answer your questions. If you're having problems, or need some advice just send an email to Jon. If it's something that could be useful to others, we'll post it on the site.
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