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Discussion Starter #1
This morning I started my bike in the coldest weather since I've had her--about 3C (37F). It took three or four 5-second attempts before I got ignition. On the 2nd to last attempt I had a backfire. I'm wondering if this means that the engine needs an overhaul. It seems to be burning oil. Even though I don't see any smoke coming out of the exhaust, I seem to need to add oil rather a lot.
It's a 1983 Honda Shadow 500c.
 

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I think it's a weak battery. Check your battery to see if it's still good, or maybe it just need water added
 

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I had the same problem the other day (hard start then loud backfire) and ran out of gas (needed to flip to reserve) on the way home. So, my guess was that some condensation in the tank was screwing things up. I've been keeping a near full tank and it hasn't happened again.

I'm no expert, this was just my guess, but thought I'd share.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm afraid it isn't either of these. The engine turns over quite enthusiastically, so it isn't the battery, and I filled up the tank yesterday. Also, the backfire didn't happen after ignition, it happened before ignition.
 

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Tell us what you are / aren't doing with the choke / throttle when you're attempting to start. My 81 Yamaha didn't run worth squat when trying to use the choke but was happy to start with about 1cm of throttle, and a little sweet talk until smooth idle.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Tell us what you are / aren't doing with the choke / throttle when you're attempting to start. My 81 Yamaha didn't run worth squat when trying to use the choke but was happy to start with about 1cm of throttle, and a little sweet talk until smooth idle.
The choke is full on and I don't touch the throttle.
 

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Try starting with no choke and a small amount of throttle. My bike hated the choke, and after determining that there were no air leaks and no other non-carb issues, I just stopped using it. Your bike may be similar.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Try starting with no choke and a small amount of throttle. My bike hated the choke, and after determining that there were no air leaks and no other non-carb issues, I just stopped using it. Your bike may be similar.
Starting with no choke is a strange way of approaching it. My bike doesn't easily start in cooler temperatures without the choke, and when it does, it won't idle for very long. So I don't see it starting with the choke off when the temperature is even lower.
 
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Try using partial choke . Maybe halfway As the bike warms ease it off the choke.
 
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