Here’s what I do when the engine’s “cold”:
1. After checking tires and oil level, I go through my FINEC* routine.
* – FINEC is Motorcycle Safety Foundation jargon and means:
F – Fuel – Switch fuel tap on (if your bike has one).
I – Ignition – Switch on (turn the key).
N – Neutral – Check the gearbox is in neutral. If the bike’s in neutral, you’ll be able to roll it forward; don’t trust the green light.
E – Engine – Check that the Engine Kill Switch is in the “on” position.
C – Choke (pulled all the way out if bike is cold) & Clutch (pulled all the way up to the hand-grip).
2. With the clutch still held in, press the starter button (don’t twist the throttle if the bike’s cold).
3. When the engine starts (hopefully immediately), let go the starter button and gently let out the clutch (you’re in neutral remember).
4. Next, gently push the choke in about half-way (until you hear the engine revs just start to drop).
5. Check all my lights and brakes work.
6. Ride-off (short-shifting to keep the revs down).
7. Push the choke all the way in when I get about a mile away from my start point (while in motion).
Note that when you can do step #7, will vary with different bikes and different weather (cold weather needs choke on longer and very hot weather may not need any choke at all (or very little). You’ll have to experiment to find out what works for you. If you push the choke in too soon, the bike will “stutter” and be jerky. If it does that, just pull the choke gently out a little until it runs smoothly again.
IMPORTANT: When you’re in the “experimental phase”, you should push the choke in very gingerly while in motion and at any sign of engine stuttering, gently pull it back out a little until the stuttering stops; just remember to push it back in (all the way) further down the road. If you just shove the choke all the way in before the bike’s ready (while in motion), the stuttering engine could upset the bike enough to cause an accident, so be very gentle with the choke until you get a feel for it.