An interesting comparison of Commando electric starters

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I'm wondering just how unreliable the Alton is ?
I've spoken to a few people that have them and I have yet to hear of a problem
I've read about some problems on here but have no Idea how many have been sold that are working perfectly or how often they are actually used
etc etc it could be as bad as the trispark ignition or as good as the trispark for example , depending who you ask
That’s a very good point Baz. The Alton has been made for many years, the CNW is a relative newcomer. I would have thought there are many more Altons about.
The main issue with it seems to be the sheer plugs. Designed on purpose to prevent mechanical damage.
This is a quick and easy fix.
I am trying 4 plugs instead of 3.
CNW looks a great bit of kit too. cannot comment further on it.
 

maylar

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The primary side polishes up beautifully. It fits the character of the rest of my bike.

48339288261_89d82a46a7_c.jpg
 

cyclegeezer

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I have installed both. The differences are that one drives through a clamped Morse taper and key, and the other through a clamped sliding fit and key. One has a Bendix drive starter and the other doesn't.
 

Fast Eddie

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I’ve only fitted one, the cNw version.

I am a huge fan of belt drives and dry primary cases, so the cNw belt drive was a big plus for me.

The installation is fairly involved, but the instructions are so good, so clear, so methodical. Pictures would improve the instructions a tad I feel though.

Everything about the installation just worked, everything fitted, everything was supplied, everything was perfect for its job. I just couldn’t fault the process at all.

My overall impression was that this is a kit that the seller has clearly fitted lots of, and has built all his experience into the parts, the kit and the instructions.

My bike is a 920cc Maney stage 3 motor with 11:1 compression ratio. This is clearly going to test any starter motor / starter mechanism / belt drive with loads way above a stock motor. It’s performance has been faultless, the belt has not needed adjusting, the speed at which it turns the motor over is simply amazing.

So, in terms of functionality, quality, performance, I defy ANYONE to knock the cNw kit. Period.

As mentioned already, if swapping stock kit for the cNw and Barnet plates, the net weight gain is around 10lbs.

I do however agree that the Alton is more discreet, it suits those who wish to retain the primary chain, and it suits those who wish to retain the stock air filter. So it definitely has a place in the market.

I went for the black cNw version, IMHO that helps to hide the ‘mass’ and make it a tad more discreet.

With the weaknesses described with the Alton there is no way I’d consider one on my motor. But as it’s so unreasonably difficult to kick over, the cNw is my only real option. Thankfully it’s performance is so good, I cannot think of a better option and the weight penalty seems to evaporate every time I press that button and smile as I’m greeted with a ROAR !!
 
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I like kicking my Norton over to get the ROAR greeting. Makes me feel like I actually accomplished something. I haven't busted my right leg though, nor am I that far out of shape for an old man. A 9:1 compression 750 Norton is only a minor challenge to start when cold. A high compression 900cc+ Norton motor might be a different story when cold. I'll never know.

Adding weight to a motorcycle is against my religion. :) At $300US per pound of weight when all is said and done, I'd resist a retrofit electric starter for a Norton as long as possible. :):)
 

Fast Eddie

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I like kicking my Norton over to get the ROAR greeting. Makes me feel like I actually accomplished something. I haven't busted my right leg though, nor am I that far out of shape for an old man. A 9:1 compression 750 Norton is only a minor challenge to start when cold. A high compression 900cc+ Norton motor might be a different story when cold. I'll never know.

Adding weight to a motorcycle is against my religion. :) At $300US per pound of weight when all is said and done, I'd resist a retrofit electric starter for a Norton as long as possible. :):)

Yeah, a 9.1 750cc is no problem for me to start. Even my 850 at 10.5:1 was Ok. But the 920 at 11:1 was just a step too far. I blame the idiot who built the engine personally.
 
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Yeah, a 9.1 750cc is no problem for me to start. Even my 850 at 10.5:1 was Ok. But the 920 at 11:1 was just a step too far. I blame the idiot who built the engine personally.
Maybe a savant engine builder. You done good. An 11:1 920 would launch me over the handle bars if it kicked back.
 
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A good thread. The only reason I bought a Norton was to install electric start. I chose the cNw because of the belt drive, and the quality I witnessed when I visited cNw. It's been an adjustment switching to the Norton after years of riding Triumphs. You know, this spring I installed an E start kit on my favortie Triumph rider, a T140E, it works fine, but I find myself riding the Norton more. Go figure.
 

lazyeye6

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A good thread. The only reason I bought a Norton was to install electric start. I chose the cNw because of the belt drive, and the quality I witnessed when I visited cNw. It's been an adjustment switching to the Norton after years of riding Triumphs. You know, this spring I installed an E start kit on my favortie Triumph rider, a T140E, it works fine, but I find myself riding the Norton more. Go figure.
This thread is about Nortons ;) and the "only" reason you bought a Norton was to install an electric start???? Feeling confused here.
 
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Late to the party. I just want to add that the CNW starter is the same as used on Harley Sportsters for decades without problems
 
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"It's used on a Harley" are not words that would ever inspire me to buy a product. :eek:

"Designed by Colorado Norton Works" sounds much better! ;)
That starter looks suspiciously like the Nippon Denso starters I replace on Hondas and Toyotas. If Harley actually made it themselves...... it would leak oil!!! :D

Aha! I knew it! HD starter are made by Nippon Denso. See link below

Rare Electrical
 
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dougmatson

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I have installed the CNW starter on my 71' and helped install one on my friends 70'. The first thing you notice is the bike starts so fast you never even here the starter spinning like on my 75' 850. I love the belt drive and we have not had any problems with anything. The belt is a Gates belt that is available all over the place if there is a problem. All the parts are top quality and beautifully made. With the way people drive now days I think of this as a safety device also because if you stall your bike in traffic cars are going to be on your tail, with the e-start it will be restarted before they can honk, or run you over! The other thing I really appreciate is Matt's attitude when you need to ask a question or have a suggestion.
 
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might as well add in my 2-cents. i went the e-start route because of age (74) - bad knees and not having the balance to kick start the bike off the center stand that i had when i was in my 20's. i chose the alton for a couple of reasons. cost, and the fact i preferred the stock look of the air cleaner. belt drive was not a driving factor. as most know, i've had my fair share of sheared (altenator mount) woodruff keys, and presently going thru the "yves" fix. as a matter of fact, should get the final machining back today, and hopefully i'll be back on the road tomorrow. as to the original question, i can say, the form, fit, and finish was without issues. overall, a first class kit. one disappointment, the inner primary case was not polished like my original, factory case, however i did spend several hours to address that aspect of the kit. installation was fairly easy - no real issues. never kept track of actual time to install, but i'd guess, one man/one day w/ no special tooling (aside from the time spent case polishing). would i do it again - on the fence on that one. i'm somewhat disappointed because of the sheared keys i've experienced. i can say for sure, that the second installation, it was done by the book, so i'm thinking there's something that's hit or miss within alton's design. it could be something as simple as a critical dimension, spacing, or some torque value, because it doesn't seem to affect everyone who's installed the kit. seems there's something right on the ragged edge that makes it hit or miss. if i would have known up front, i would have incorporated the yves fix right out of the chute. that would have been an additional cost factor to consider. i would say, anyone installing or considering tha alton kit, add a belleville washer to the sprag-clutch retaining nut, and bumping the torque about 20% on that nut. i have no experience with the cNw kit, so comments there.

hopefully the yves fix will put an end to any future issues. if i have one more woodruff key related failure, the kit comes off and i'll go back to OE stock configuration. i'll write the whole thing off as a bad experience with a so-so kit. most likely, i'll put the kit up for sale, and hopefully, recoup some of my $$$. right now, altons on stirke two, and you know what they say, three strikes and you're out!
 

maylar

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I think we're all hoping that Alton takes this under consideration and makes their own version of the fix. Until then, I will not recommend their kit to anyone who doesn't have a machine shop handy. My own main reason for choosing cNw was having customer service in Colorado vs. France.
 

grandpaul

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hopefully the yves fix will put an end to any future issues. if i have one more woodruff key related failure, the kit comes off and i'll go back to OE stock configuration. i'll write the whole thing off as a bad experience with a so-so kit. most likely, i'll put the kit up for sale, and hopefully, recoup some of my $$$. right now, altons on stirke two, and you know what they say, three strikes and you're out!
If the Yves fix doesn't fix it, then I'm really sorry for your issues.

As to the hit-and-miss, I wonder how much has to do with the ignition timing and fine tune of the engine itself?
 
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