Starting the MT500 - Helpful Hints

Posted by Force Motorcycles on

Armstrong MT500

The MT500 has a reputation for being difficult to start, which providing that all vital parts are in good order, is unfounded.

Armstrongs had the AMAL carburettor fitted as standard which is fairly basic and not particularly refined, but in good condition they should be reasonably usable providing perfection is not expected.

Some bikes will have been fitted with either a Dell'Orto or Mikuni carburettor as a modification by a previous owner, both of which should offer a substantial improvement in general running particularly at low rev's or in town.

The following starting hints should work for all of the above carburettors.

It is normally best to attempt starting with the bike on its mainstand, standing alongside it using your right leg.

Have the handlebars turned so you can feather the twistgrip with your right hand whilst operating kick-start lever. Follow these steps:

  • Fuel on, ignition on.
  • From Cold the bike will almost always require full Choke.
  • Rotate engine on kick-start lever until you feel compression.
  • At this point, lifting the valve with the decompressor lever: further rotate engine a few degrees over top dead centre. (Do not rotate too far though).
  • Return the kick-start lever ready for the attempt to achieve maximum throw of the mechanism.
  • Operate K/S lever in a full, fast motion, making sure the lever travels so far as to just lightly contact the footpeg.
  • Massive weight behind K/S lever is not as important as blinding speed.

Armstrong MT500

Providing the throttle is feathered at the same time as the above attempt procedure, the bike should start. If it does not, repeat above steps a couple of times. If it still does not, the bike will be flooded and the following method of clearing the engine out will be required:

  • Close choke, hold decompressor lever in and rotate engine with kick-start 10 or 15 times not even trying to get it to run.
  • Now repeat above starting procedure with choke still off, but expecting to put half choke on when it catches and runs.

It will almost always be necessary to keep your hand on the twistgrip, operating the throttle until at least the bike is off choke, before reliable tick-over can be expected. From hot, the procedure will be the same but without the choke.

Situations when the engine is neither fully hot nor fully cold may be tricky to perfect, almost always some kicks with the decompressor lifted to clear out the cylinder will be required.

Using the above technique, removing and/or warming up the spark plug will not be necessary, neither will  attempting to bump-start the bike, which is not very successful.

If you continue to have difficulties starting your MT500, please do not hesitate to contact us


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