When a Scott was kickstarted at tge start of the 1909 Senior TT the green ‘un remarked: “It served to show the public how a motor cycle should be started.” By 1912 kickstarters were, if not ubiquitous, well on their way to becoming the industry norm.
“IT IS PERHAPS not going too far to say that the general and rapidly growing use of some form or other of easy starting mechanism is a step forward of such magnitude as to be worthy of classification with the introduction of variable gears, magnetos, and spray carburetters. The addition of a very simple device has already robbed the critics of the motor cycle of one of their most powerful arguments. Until lately they have been right in declaring that the average two-wheeler was a machine fit only for men of vigour and activity; now, however, they must admit that it can be mounted and ridden with practically no serious effort whatever.
This, it need hardly be said, is a fact of the utmost value to the industry, for it means that the ranks of motor cyclists will be swelled in the immediate future by many who have until lately justly regarded the motor cycle as some thing entirely beyond their physical powers. In a few words, the foot-starter has made the motor cycle a practical vehicle for ladies and men of some years; at the same time it has proved an added comfort to those who were motor cyclists already…No one who has ever used a foot-starter would willingly start by any other means. In getting a start up hill it is a paramount necessity, in trafiic it is a perfect blessing, and at all times it is most eminently desirable. When it comes to sidecar work its value is even better demonstrated, for who can deny that even the strongest of us find the pushing of a heavily loaded sidecar combination a very big physical effort against even the smallest gradient…
It must not be supposed that the mere use of a foot starter gets rid ot all starting troubles. It requires some address and knack in its opertation to be entirely successful, otherwise it is likely to cost as much effort as a push start…It is of the greatest importance that it should be placed in such a position that the maximum purchase can be obtained upon it. As to which is the better side for it, that is a matter of taste, but considering that the majority of sidecars are fitted on the left, there is a good case for the right side.”
Here’s s selection of those first-generation kickers.