Everyone's help here has been great. I followed Vech's starting procedure, put the proper spark plug caps on, ended up cleaning out the idle jets (they are SMALL!!) and ended up putting in some in line filters, and it seems to start pretty reliably on the first 2-3 kicks. I upped the idle, just to be on the safe side.

I also think that the timing is all set - I may have actually succeeded on this bike.

However, I have noticed that there is still that metallic knock. It also doesn't seem to stumble the engine, but it's definitely there as the motor gets hot.

Just a thought, but how does the vibration damper work on these things? Again, this is not a noise that I ever had with my r50/2. Trying to see what it could be.

Second thing is the gear choice v. speed on the bike. Wondering what range you all tend to shift from 2-3-4. Today I was mostly secondary roads, with a posted limit of 50mph, so I didn't take it out of 3rd, and when I did, at about 50, I felt like I was kind of lugging the engine. Seem about right to you all?

Thanks, and have a great weekend!