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Very hard to kick over

Morning All,

I'm having difficulty , kicking my Atlas over, after it has sat over night. It has only just started to do this. I can not kick it past compression, it just stops. With perseverance, it will start, & not be a problem for the rest of the day etc. It is not wet sumping, I've drained the crankcase & it makes no difference, Kicked it over a dozen times, then removed spark plugs, before it had started, no evidence of oil to be seen on plugs, so would assume valve stem seals not leaking. The compression is higher when engine is cold & I've no idea what is causing it. Engine runs strong, with no unusual noises - rides as it always has. This is a very low milage, original bike. Any Idea's ?

Peter Mc   

Hi, peter what oil are you using?I had had several instances of big twins[ 750-up] being very hard to kick over in the colder months, and all were oil related. you are not using penrite HPR 50 by any chance?

Yes I am using Penrite  HPR 50 & have done so for years. I know heavy oil can be a problem with " wet sump"  engines - early Flat Heads Fords & Model A's, but not with "dry sump"  What's the alternative ?

Thks for the reply. 



Hello Peter, yes in theory unless the bike has wet-sumped heavy oil [ Penrite hpr50] should not matter, however in practice  I have had several customers having cold start difficulties using that exact oil. i changed them over to a 20-50 or a 30 monograde ,problem fixed. the other  thing  you could consider is fitting a mk 3 commando kickstarter[ longer/ stronger] but i have not done this on an Atlas. so don,t know how it would it look? As a quick and dirty diagnosis, try sticking the bike out in the sun, for a few hours and try to start then, if it starts better/ more easily oil is   definately your problem, yours Watson rider.

Drained the HPR50 , flushed the engine, refilled with 20W50, as that's all I had. Started the engine, still not easy, let it warm up etc. Waited till the next night to try again - took a couple of kicks, to get it to travel all the way through, after that no more resistance, didn't start it again. Drained the crappy 20W50 out today & refilled with HPR30, same deal - couple of kicks to get it through, but after that no problem, started easily. Will ride it on the weekend, but seems problem solved - Thks. The new +10 rating, may have something to do with it, as problem only started after last oil change, I had a good stockpile of HPR50 (40W70) so it wasn't till this oil change, that I had bought any new oil. Never stop learning, your advice was much appreciated .

Peter Mc 


Hello Peter what is "+10 rating?Is this something new that penrite has introduced?Regardless sounds like your problem has been resolved{also don,t discount the fact that winter  makes a big difference] a few winters ago i could not start my own 850 interstate,even after fitting a mk3 kickstarter. My right knee was giving me hell, so  back to the gym i went[ used to do a bit of powerlifting /gym stuff years ago] after a few months problem gone. i can now wheel the old girl out and  give  it a couple of good stomps and away we go!Glad to be of help.