I was looking through the wiring today because after putting on the newer tire on it I tried to start the bike and it was cranking with difficulty and then smoke came out from under the seat and there was a wire there that had melted its insulation.
I put that title on the thread so other people can find it if they have a similar problem, because prior to this melting/smoking accident there were no other symptoms beside the slow cranking... what it did was it started cranking then stopped for a little bit or slowed down a lot, then it would crank a little faster and the bike would start. I neglected this and continued to ride the bike cause nothing else ever happened and it still started every time.
Today while I was tracing the melted wire, which was a ground wire that attached to a bunch of "ground hubs", I made my way to the front of the wiring harness and disconnected all the connectors that are inside the headlight bucket and the front turn signals. I replaced the melted wire with another ground wire from a different wiring harness (this wire was a bit thicker) and I hooked up the battery and cranked it a little bit.
I heard the bike cranking just like it did before the problem showed up, it was a nice, quick, even crank. I touched the new wire and it wasn't hot at all, so I knew the problem had to be on something that I had just disconnected. Turned out to be (at least) one of the front turn signals. The ground wire on the one I managed to take off to inspect before it got too dark outside, looked like the wires were cut inside the insulation. Although the insulation seemed ok, it looked like the wire was cut in two areas.
I hooked everything back up, excluding the turn signals, and it cranks great again and the new ground wire stays cool.
So, for those of you who might experience a similar problem, hope you catch it before you melt something!
Aside from the slow, stuck-like cranking, I noticed that both turn signal lights on the dash turned on when I cranked and it slowed down/got stuck. I guess that should have probably been an indicator of where the problem was.
Anyway, tomorrow I'm refurbishing my turn signal and inspecting the other turn signals just in case. New turn signals are definitely on the list, but I can fix these and fix other stuff first (like my brakes!). I just hope that I'm back on the road by tomorrow
This was a bit long, but I wanted to detail it in case it can help someone sometime.