Quck flip from "on" to "reserve", practice it, live it, love it
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  1. #1
    Senior Member Loppy's Avatar
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    Hopefully this will just be a "reminder" thread and a heads up. Had a pretty gnarly scare yesterday on the bike that I DO NOT want to happen again. Scared the bejeebus out of me.



    Around here, like most places I immagine, we have these "streets" that are 4 to 6 lanes, huge, with huge intersections and 45-50 MPH limits. People FLY down em like a freeway. I was heading back to work from the bike shop yesterday coming down from 50 MPH slowly downshifting for a red light about 1/4 mile away or less. As I was downshifting, the light turned green again and I hit the throttle and DEAD. Nothing. I had no motor. FARK! Quick glance in mirror showed several death cages bearing down. I tried a quick bump start, nothing, it only slowed me down. LUCKILY, I was in the far right hand lane, had enough momentum to just turn right and bump over the curb and stop on the sidewalk just as 5 cars blasted by about blowing me over with wind. It was damn scary. What the hell? If I was in the left or center lane, this could have ended very badly.



    Turns out, I simply ran out of fuel in the "on" position. Problem is, on EVERY other bike I've owned, in the same condition I'd feel a flutter/sputter and usually have time to reach down, hit the reserve and continue on. Not this time. There was NO indication. The motor just DIED instantly.



    My summary:

    A. TW's have small carbs, it doesn't take much to drain that bowl.

    B. I had been downshifting slowly over awhile, not hitting throttle, it must have ran out JUST before I started downshifting, and the downshifting drained the final drips out of the bowl without me knowing it.

    C. I did not reset my trip meter upon last fillup, that wont happen again.

    D. DONT LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!



    To do:

    1. Set the damn trip meter after every fillup, know where your limit is and gas up BEFORE this happens.

    2. Practice, while riding, reaching down and flipping to reserve.

    3. When riding, always be looking for your "out". Could be chain, fuel, electrical, your bike CAN die on you anytime.



    Keep on keep'n on boys. Cheers.
    Those who forge their swords into plows, will plow for those who do not.

  2. #2
    Senior Member FortPayne's Avatar
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    I'll just chime in to confirm. Going, going, dead. Nothing in between. Sometimes I flip it on the fly and it starts right back up, sometimes not. (yeah, I've done it a time or two)
    Tenaciously Deviant Unwittingly Brilliant

  3. #3
    Senior Member flingwing1969's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fort Payne View Post
    I'll just chime in to confirm. Going, going, dead. Nothing in between. Sometimes I flip it on the fly and it starts right back up, sometimes not. (yeah, I've done it a time or two)


    Well, it's NEVER happened to me before but I've heard tell that it is exactly as described. I've heard that it has never failed to immediately restart on the highway, relatively level, but that on a steep slope - when it's a pain - those who've had the experience tell me that it's a PITA to hold everything and get the bowl to fill before the battery - which matches the limited capacity of the tank - goes dry. Can anyone say Clarke, we need you?

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  5. #4
    Senior Member evan's Avatar
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    I've always felt a light surge/leaning out for miles before mine runs out. If I'm trail riding I don't worry about it and wait til it dies (like to see how many miles I get on the tankful) but if gonna ride up a steep hill or hitting the pavement then switch to reserve or pull over in a nice shady spot and pull my koplin fuel jr off and refill tank. If it does just die then switching to reserve and waiting about 10 seconds should easily be enough time to refill bowl. No need to run battery down trying to start with dry bowl. Of course always have kicker as back up........
    Mike Carter. Woodland, California (NorCal). '89 Tw200 (Black Widow Edition). Blood red Jimbo shield, Cycleracks, Nuvi 500 GPS, Kolpin fuel pack jr., D shield bark busters, 55t rear sprocket, Golden boy front tire, Ricochet shield.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Loppy's Avatar
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    When I switched it to reserve, she fired right up no problem. If your floats are working properly, it should only take a few seconds to refill, if that.



    I'm just say'n, when that sucker goes dry, it goes dry, and BAM, you got no motor. My last stret ride was an old R100GS Bimmer and that thing always sputtered for a bit, even at full throttle, giving me ample time to reach down and hit the reserves and hardly miss a beat. This little sucker really caught me off guard. Just spreading the word, preparing others like me and reminding others that know, that's all.
    Those who forge their swords into plows, will plow for those who do not.

  7. #6
    Senior Member elime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by importmech View Post
    I've always felt a light surge/leaning out for miles before mine runs out.


    Ditto! Even on the street I get a slight hesitation when going from closed throttle to open.



    Going 60 +mph it is usually sudden death, but not always. Sometimes it does give a warning. Maybe it is the gas sloshing around in the tank giving a small reprieve.



    Good advice to practice switching. Turn the gas off, run until it dies and flip it to reserve and see if you can do it without stopping. This way you will get the full experience.

    Long live the internal combustion engine!

  8. #7
    Senior Member evan's Avatar
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    Loppy, Could certainly see this happening while downshifting and slowing down on a long stretch. Good advice on learning to use fuel petcock (by feel and not having to look down to switch to reserve).
    Mike Carter. Woodland, California (NorCal). '89 Tw200 (Black Widow Edition). Blood red Jimbo shield, Cycleracks, Nuvi 500 GPS, Kolpin fuel pack jr., D shield bark busters, 55t rear sprocket, Golden boy front tire, Ricochet shield.

  9. #8
    Senior Member flingwing1969's Avatar
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    Something else to practice is knowing when you are likely to run out of fuel. This is most important when you're pressing it through tight corners on a crowded 2-lane - you don't want to be just short of the apex and have that puppy die on you - if you're nearing reserve time in such conditions, switch to reserve and REMEMBER to stop for fuel SOONEST.



    For example, on level pavement at secondary road speeds of 55 to 60, I usually get between 80 and 90 miles before fuel starvation on primary and needing to hit my reserve. It's a bit less on trails because of lower gears and idle speeds but, unless I'm on a steep section, it's not as important. I usually fuel up at about or 70 miles at a level safe spot when in the woods, just so I don't have to worry later.



    Use care in switching to reserve early - I've been known to forget I'm riding reserve with only 35 to 40 miles to empty, and then I'm really in trouble!

  10. #9
    Senior Member Loppy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony View Post
    Ditto! Even on the street I get a slight hesitation when going from closed throttle to open.



    Going 60 +mph it is usually sudden death, but not always. Sometimes it does give a warning. Maybe it is the gas sloshing around in the tank giving a small reprieve.



    Good advice to practice switching. Turn the gas off, run until it dies and flip it to reserve and see if you can do it without stopping. This way you will get the full experience.



    I wish I had that warning. Hopefully next time I will, or avoid it altogether. Good idea on training.



    Quote Originally Posted by importmech View Post
    Loppy, Could certainly see this happening while downshifting and slowing down on a long stretch.


    I think this is what got me. Just really bad timing. I just drained the bowl not being under load, so there was no way to know it until I went to throttle, no one was home...



    Quote Originally Posted by Flingwing View Post
    Something else to practice is knowing when you are likely to run out of fuel. This is most important when you're pressing it through tight corners on a crowded 2-lane - you don't want to be just short of the apex and have that puppy die on you - if you're nearing reserve time in such conditions, switch to reserve and REMEMBER to stop for fuel SOONEST.



    For example, on level pavement at secondary road speeds of 55 to 60, I usually get between 80 and 90 miles before fuel starvation on primary and needing to hit my reserve. It's a bit less on trails because of lower gears and idle speeds but, unless I'm on a steep section, it's not as important. I usually fuel up at about or 70 miles at a level safe spot when in the woods, just so I don't have to worry later.



    Use care in switching to reserve early - I've been known to forget I'm riding reserve with only 35 to 40 miles to empty, and then I'm really in trouble!


    Good stuff. I think I'm gunna pick 70 and start there, while I order my Clarke tank.
    Those who forge their swords into plows, will plow for those who do not.

  11. #10
    Senior Member ceramite's Avatar
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    That happened to me in the city, Baltimore, downtown. Like you said, got to a red and it just died.



    Thankfully after several quick cranks it started up and didn't die until I was feet away from the pump. I must have turned the trip meter over late because I was only at 80 miles.

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