ilove bonnie

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Before we leave Texas.

The Yamaha xs500 came with an alternate kick start for the very good reason that one day it knew you would find its battery dead. The starter wants to turn the engine over, but just doesn't have the power to do so. Almost all motorcyclists have come across this situation, and the same goes for most car owners as well. Some reminiscent memory of the lights being on when you went inside, or my usually habit of forgetting to turn the key off, drifts to mind as you sit there, cold, on a dead battery. We are lucky to have the alternative kick start on days when the bike isn't fully loaded, but i can just imagine the nightmare of jumping up and down on the motorcycle trying to kick start it with all our gear strapped on.

I digress, we have been having an issue with the bike not wanting to start up right away. Getting on the motorcycle and starting it up is a sort of ritual. I always ask Jen to wait to get on until I have it started. Most days it starts just fine. Perfect in fact. Usually all I need to do is touch the starter button and the bike fires up. On cold days the choke becomes a factor, and getting the idle set just right is always an issue. Since we left Louisiana the bike has been hard to start, very hard to start.

When I push the starter button a weak chug-chug emits as slowly the starter motor picks up a little steam. A slight scratching sound of unburnt fuel in the cylinders can be heard as the chug turns into va-va-va-va (I want to start but I am not going to do it) churning. I start to give it a little bit of throttle and the va-va gets quicker. At this point it seems that the engine is doing about twenty percent of the work and the starter motor is doing the other eighty. After about twenty seconds the ratio of work being done by the starter motor and by the engine turning its self over changes as the engine picks up all the slack and starts running on its own.

Before I go to the parts store and plunk down another 50 dollars for a new battery we are going to try to see if a battery tender will save the one we already have. A battery tender does just what the name says, it tends to the battery. It does this when it is plugged in and charging the battery with a current of house hold electricity. Battery tenders are more specifically used while motorcycles, boats, cars, and lawnmowers are parked, or garaged for the winter. For around 30 dollars battery tenders will keep your battery from dying of misuse, or in most cases just plain old non-use. The battery tender maintains a charge level in an unused battery without overcharging it. What I am suspecting is that our daily rides have not been enough to fully recharge the battery, and so we have been slowly draining it to where it now refuses to hold a charge. I need to do some more investigative work but I believe we should be able to install a battery tender and plug the motorcycle in on a daily basis to make sure it is fully charged everyday. I will let you know just how it goes once i have the answer to my dilemma.


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