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How to start a D14?
First Gear User
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March 26, 2021
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March 26, 2021 - 5:00 pm
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Early winter I purchased a 1968 D14 for the first time. Now preparing to use it but can't get it to start. I did run it briefly in the garage before laying it up for winter. I would be extremely grateful if someone would provide me with a simple 'idiots guide' to starting the bike (never had a Bantam before), even down to the correct positions for the two switches on the headlamp. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Many thanks.

Newport Pagnell
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March 30, 2021 - 11:49 pm
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Hi. A few important points.

Before turning on the fuel, give the bike a good shake to make sure the oil is mixed with the fuel. Otherwise you can end up with a carb stodged up with oil. Also they don't like old stale fuel so it it's been sitting with a nearly empty tank for a few months you'd best drain it and fill with fresh.

These bikes are coil ignition so need a good fully charged battery to get a decent spark. Otherwise you are wasting your time.

The choke lever is a bit counter intuitive. If it's fitted to the top of the right handlebar push it forward for full choke and pull it back towards you (assuming you're sitting on the bike) for choke off. The cable has to pull the choke slide for off. If you look at the lever mechanism you will see which way to move the lever to pull the cable and therefore choke to the off position.

Tickle the carb. Little button on the right side of the carb. Press it down until fuel floods out all over your finger! Mine needs a really good tickle if it's not been run for a few weeks.

If it hasn't started after 10 or 15 kicks, I'd take out the plug to see if it's wet with fuel. Lay it on top of the head and kick the engine over to see if there's a spark. If there is a spark and the plug is dry, you need to tickle it more! No spark and wet plug. Come back to us.

Good luck, Alan.

D1, D14/4, Guzzi LeMans, Triumph Trident 900, Maserati 160 t4. Mk1 Mini Traveller, Berkeley T60.

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April 2, 2021 - 4:09 pm
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When the petrol evaporates out of the carb bowl, it leaves the oil behind. The main jet is sitting in it so I usually found that the first thing I needed to do, if it's been left for a while, is drain the float chamber so it gets the correct mixture when the tap is turned on. This is why some people advocate turning the tap off and letting it run to use up the fuel in the carb, before putting it away.

Mike H --

Murphy's 4th law of motion states that any small object that is accidentally dropped will immediately hide itself under a larger object.

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