As with any motorbike not equipped with a kick starter, when the starter motor no longer reliably gets the engine to fire up the rider is denied the pleasure of riding their toy.  The 668 is no exception, and when some of the electrical problems detailed elsewhere are taken into account (the regulator in particular) it can obviously happen to anybody.  Other things worth checking are the side stand cutout switch and relay, and the state of the battery.

Here are some tips on getting the most reliable starts for your bike.

Engine Ground

From Phil Stephens, who races 668's in the USA:-

"After discussion with Mike Rollins, a modification that I've done on my 668s to ensure good starts is to move the engine ground cable attachment point from the lower cam chain adjuster housing bolt to the main cases clamp stud next to the engine to frame mount on the top left side. The eyelet needs just a little opening out and then you'll have a consistent good ground."

Electrical Connectors

Also from Phil Stephens:-

"Is the battery being well charged? Bear in mind the previous discussion here about making sure that the alternator to regulator connections are good. If you have not replaced the simple push together connectors of the two yellow leads (on the end of the cable coming out of the engine on the top right side) with the later snap together sealed plug, then do check that those connectors are clean and well pushed together."

Starter Motor

John Ryti has an interesting point regarding possible causes for failures and difficulties starting.

"The starter problem from everything I heard seems fail due to the owner cranking on them for a duration that exceeds normal and overheating them."

This seems more than likely, and indeed there is mounting evidence that this is indeed the case.  If your battery is getting low, perhaps due to regulator problems, then there is often not quite enough cold cranking amps to start the motor.  This is even more likely if the bike lives in a colder climate and/or the battery is getting old.  Therefore, I'd recommend the following:-

  • pull in the clutch when attempting to start the bike
    • this is good practice anyway - the neutral 'indicator' id far from reliable in my experience
  • hold the starter button in for no more than 4-5 seconds at a time
  • make no more than 2-3 attempts to start initially, with 5-10 seconds between attempts
  • if it hasn't started yet, leave the bike for a good period of time, probably 5 minutes or more, so the windings cool down before trying again
  • have no more than a couple more tries

If it still won't start, check the battery water levels, top up and recharge the battery before trying again. If the battery needs to be replaced, then check out the Hawker Odysssey starved electrolyte battery, as used on the later 750's by Laverda.

If you are unfortunate enough to fry the starter motor, the replacement Laverda branded part is very expensive indeed.  I believe Laverda use a Bosch part, if anyone can tell me the Bosch part number I'd be very grateful!


© Steve Carr, 2001-2007

Site created February, 2000.  Last modified Friday, May 15, 2009

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Last updated
30 May 2005