Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

I'm having a hell of a time pedaling hard and fast enough to get the engine to turn over fast enough to start, especially when cold. I have had the clutch apart a couple times, cleaned, scuffed pads and contact surfaces, which have a fair amount of pitting, but after rust removal and sanding, it feels pretty good. The clutch arms move freely, and if I pedal with the clutch cover off, I can see the arms swing out. I have a new belt that does not look like it's slipping. I'm also using a working decomp.

Are my starter clutches worn down too far and need replacement? Are my contact surfaces too pitted to let the pads grab?

This issue seems to be getting worse over the last couple weeks.

Once I get it started, it is much easier to get the engine to turn by pedaling if I need or want to restart.

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Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Richard Eberline /

Yes your pad surface is worn. You will need speciality tools to remove those starter shoes. The large nut is 36mm ccw thread. You need a vise and the MLM tool. The hardest work is removing the variator. A large oil filter wrench 16 inch. Then remove the fixed cheek, reg thread. Next the 4 slotted head screws m4 - .70 x 14mm special thread pitch. Hand impact driver to remove. If you break one of these screws, the fun begins.

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Richard Eberline /

edit m4 - .75 x 14

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Thanks, Richard.

I've had the whole thing apart a couple times now, so I'm getting efficient. I appreciate the heads up.

So today, I pulled the clutch drum and hit with just a little brake cleaner, and it seems to be working much better. The ambient temperature is also warmer. Whatever the reason, it's better. I will plan to replace those arms soon either way though as they definitely are down to little material.

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

I got stranded at work today because the starter clutch arms would not catch and spin the engine. After the pedal of shame home, I took the clutch bell off, cleaned and sanded the friction surface and the shoes, reassembled and no difference. I did this routine twice to make sure. The engine will catch very intermittently, but nowhere near enough to start.

I put the drill on, spun it up, and got it started. Took it around the block, came back, and turned it off. I tried to pedal start again, and the engine turned over much easier and fired right up.

I don't know if it's the bell, or the arms, or what, but I ordered a new clutch bell and arms today. My clutch bell has a fair amount of pitting from rust, and the material on the arms is pretty thin. I hope this does it. Carrying a drill around isn't appealing.

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Welp you definitely have an ussue.. I had a similar problem with mine and came up with an emergency pull start...Get yourself a 4 foot strip of soft leather about an inch in width at one end that narrows into around 1/2 inch on the other. Spray some belt dressing on the rough side near the wide end and tie the narrow end to a dowel...Roll it up around the dowel and keep it in the toolbox. Wrap that thing around the flywheel tightly and give it a tank!

I've even used a standard leather belt with good results in a pinch, but the tacky belt dressing really helps...used it with my Magnum too after a broke my starter cable.

It'll stop you from getting stranded again

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

This is a fantastic backup! Thanks!

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Super dumb question on my part but are you using the decomp to start it?

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Yes sir. I think I've got the cable adjusted well, because if I turn the flywheel by hand, there's a noticeable difference. Way easier to turn over with decomp engaged.

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

Cool. Just checking.

Did you try reshaping the pads so it grabs in the middle? Sand the pad so it is symmetrical and file the leading edge and trailing edge at a 45* angle. If that doesn’t help maybe post in buy sell and get a fresh set. I am sure someone has a set taking up space on a shelf.

Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

I didn't have any leather strap or belt dressing, so I tried Velcro and a rope. Seems to work far better not engaging the decomp.

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Re: Motobecane 50V Hard Start - Starter Clutches?

There ya go! Fucking renaissance man! The leather just grips really well but if that works great! Not really a fan of the velcro but whatever, good thinking!

Don't use it as an excuse to not fix your problem. A good Moby can be started with a slow press on the pedal. Should never have to stand on the pedals and keep going

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