what is the opinion of members on the fitting of electric start to a 1972 750 commando, CNW or Alton which is preferred?
I made my own instead of buying one, but that means I have a knowledge of which of the 2 commercial ones is the best and if you are prepared not to have an original air cleaner then the CNW is the better engineered of the two. The Alton starter is less over specified than the CNW and the lower output alternator it is supplied with risks the battery being undercharged if you do a lot of short journeys. The Alton also does not IMHO have a properly functioning anti kickback protection, it has a series of nylon pucks that break leaving you with a non functioning starter until you replace the nylon pucks. Both work but the CNW has a better chance of being fully functional in 10 years.
Thanks for the reply John,
i have an Alton fitted to a Venom that is a little fragile in the little plastic Cush drive thingy’s. I think my mind is probably set upon the CNW as it appears a bit more robust. The Commando runs a Mikuni carb so the air cleaner won’t be an issue.
Thanks for the reply
I agree with John. Bare in mind that the CNW system comes with an obligatory belt primary drive (which I think is good in any case). The CNW system has a 'proper' pre-engagement system for the starter pinion plus a sprag to disengage the drive gear train. The Alton system is easier to remove if you wish to fit it to another bike and/or restore the bike to 'standard'. I have an Alton starter on my 920 Mk.2A and it works well. I also have the Tri Spark Classic Twin electronic ignition fitted which has a very effective 'anti-kickback' feature - since fitment, I have never experienced a kickback with either electric or kick-starting thus the 'protection' is less of an issue. Also bare in mind that if you have an old-ish Boyer ignition system, you may have e-starting issues due to the potential voltage drop when you press the button, Tri Spark and Pazon systems (and apparently, the latest Boyer) are much better in this respect. I have priced-up both systems and there's not much in it. The exchange rates for both the Euro and USD are equally awful - the main difference is that (unless someone knows otherwise), there are no CNW dealers in the UK (or Europe) thus the carriage cost for their kit will be a bob or two!
I wrote a review of e-start systems which may be of help - see Roadholder 360 (Dec 2017) - available on this website in the Roadholder archive.
My own setup is lacking a good anti kickback scheme (must complain to the designer ;) ), so the boyer sits behind a 12V step up buck with a 6A capacity, so whatever the system voltage drops to the boyer only ever sees 12v and so cannot go over advanced. Once the system voltage goes below 8V no voltage goes to the boyer but no starter would work at 8V anyway. It has the added benefit that a failed voltage regulator will not effect the boyer either as higher than 12V is dropped to 12V so the boyer never sees any voltage but 12V.
hollandnortonworks.eu sell the CNW kit for €2350 plus vat. and other CNW stuff.
Hi, I have had some problems with my Alton Starter on my Commando. The nylon pucks break down very often. I will mount new Boyer Mk IV (advice) and replace the nylon pucks. When the system was delivered, three pucks was in place, but there are room for 6 pucks.
Does anybody know how many pucks to mount?
Trond (from Norway)
No more than 5. Use well set up ignition timing and carbs, preferably use a directional ignition system. Change the battery every 2 - 2.5 years. The are now several owners that have had the same battery for over this time frame and suffered serious damage. Just because it takes a charge does not mean the battery is any good. AGM batteries are excellent at saying 'i;m OK' in reality they aren't.
Thanks for the reply Ashley. I Will try with 5 pucks then..after mounting new ignition system from Boyer, and well set up timing and carbs.
i have an Alton start fitted to my Velo Venom, it is fragile in the puck dept. I’ve tried running with three and it lasted only four starts, I’m now running with six and am on about 25 starts with no trouble. Is it possible to use a different material for a puck, something like nylon or is there not enough shock absorbing in a different material? On the Commando I fancy the CNW electric start which does seem more robust and will do it when I’ve finished the fettling of the Dominator.
My friend made me new pucks in nylon (ish) material using a lathe. They seems a bit harder than the original, but I have not tried them yet. I had some spares of the original pucks and mounted 5 of them. Havent tried yet, struggling with the ignition timing.. Hoping I succeed fixing the bike soon. Winter is coming soon here in northern Norway. Will report as soon as I have got it started.
I use a good AGM battery and Pazon Smartfire ignition system. Alton starter works fine with drive mechanism as supplied; can't remember how many pucks there were, it was several years since I fitted it. I now always start with the Alton, it doesn't kick back but I am afraid it might when using the kickstarter especially if it has wet-sumped a bit and I don't get the rotation speed high enough. Anyway, why bother when the electric start works so well.