Another love/frustration relationship many of us have is with our Royal Enfield. One hand is the killer looks of this motorcycle and on the opposite end are the problems which allow me to hate the very existence of it. Today we are going to talk about one of those problems, the nasty “Kickbacks” which everyone who has owned a Royal Enfield has had a delightful chance of experiencing. So let’s jump in. Before I go into the topic of how kickbacks occur on Royal Enfield, I would like to take a moment and resonate with all of you brothers and sisters who ride a Royal Enfield. Be it ES, Classic, Thunderbird or the Bullet just make sure it’s that disgustingly awesome 350 CC version because every single bike of Royal Enfield looks the part, nothing can beat the Road presence of a Royal Enfield and nothing can make you feel like a seasoned rider even though you are just a nerd who spends 8 hours a day playing video games and doing homework without any social life, please let me know in the comments and make me feel less lonely XD.
And as I was saying, nothing can beat people’s love for Royal Enfield except its own set of problems which range from nasty vibrations to lack of feel from the front end and all the way to kickbacks while using our legs to start the bike.
Usually in every motorcycle kickbacks occur due to the combination of 3 things, Fuel Vapor in the cylinder, Ignition Spark and Piston to be ignited a few degrees even before the BTDC. At the time of the kick start, the lever used by your leg serves the function of rotating the Crankshaft and at the same time, timing mark signals are used to ignite the spark.
When we kick the lever down the Crankshaft rotates and reaches the Top Dead Center of the cylinder and with the presence of small quantity of air-fuel mixture a spark is introduced at the right time to ignite the explosion pushing the piston down with enough force such that it reverts back due to inertia and thus starts the bike. During a kickback, the thing which goes wrong is the position of the Piston from the Top Dead Center point. If the piston is 30 degrees with plus and minus 2 and a half degree from BTDC you will experience kickbacks.
Not setting the kick lever at proper position and not supplying enough power are the main reasons for a kickback because when less power is supplied to the lever which doesn’t match timing with the ignition spark, as a result, the explosion takes place well before BDTC resulting in further continuation of the stroke backwards which is transmitted through the kick lever and ultimately to your legs.
Coming to the kickbacks in Royal Enfield, the main cause for the kickback is just the same as mentioned above and as to the question why is the kickback so deadly on this bike? The answer is “due to the large bore of the Engine and gas build up due to a manual Decompressor”. Here we can see the gas vapors in play, though they also play the same role in other bikes but in this case they posed quite a big problem for Royal Enfield owners. These gases occupy the cylinder during the fail attempt of kick starting a bike, this build up eventually becomes big enough to cause a huge explosion which causes the kickback to be so intense.
RE bikes having a large bore tend to easily gather these gases inside them with every failed kick and eventually with a big explosion it gets translated into an even greater kickback. In earlier cast iron (CI) engine model of Royal Enfield there used to be a manual Decompressor which was used to clear out the gas build up in order to make the kick start easy but in the modern day Royal Enfield this component is placed inside the engine thus reducing the occurrence of deadly kickbacks quite a bit.
Now I won’t start a monologue saying how great Royal Enfield is and how it can improve by correcting some of the faults in its model. I simply won’t because the evolution of a product doesn’t depend on the innovations but instead depends upon the hopes and dreams of its audience. People buy Royal Enfield for an experience and they will keep continuing to do so in the future because they love the loud thumping, high vibrating and kickback giving the piece of an engine which they will keep the same for many years to come as it is always very hard to leave your home.
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By: Yetnesh Dubey