If you’re serious about riding, you should know how to push start a motorcycle. You will never know when you will encounter a dead battery or a dying starter motor, and you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere, do you? That’s why clutch-starting, push starting, bump starting, or roll starting a motorcycle is a skill that every enthusiast should learn and master.
Does it sound like tedious work? Luckily for you, clutch-starting a motorcycle is not difficult at all. In fact, in just a couple of simple steps, you can learn how to push start your bike like a pro! But first, you need to check a couple of things before even thinking about bump-starting your precious ride.
Motorcycle Won’t Start? Check these First!
If your bike refuses to start, you will need to look into a couple of things that might prevent your motorcycle from running properly.
1. Check the ignition kill switch
If you turn on the ignition, and the kill switch is set to ‘Run’, then your bike will definitely not start at all. The kill switch is connected in series with the ignition switch. If your bike won’t start, make sure the kill switch is not open or is set to the ‘STOP’ position.
2. Check the fuel level
It can happen to anyone. If your bike refuses to start, you should check the fuel level and make sure that you have enough gas to carry on. Do you have a faulty fuel gauge? Pop open the fuel cap and see for yourself.
3. Check the fuel petcock
This is for non-EFI bikes. Make sure that the fuel tap petcock is set to OFF.
4. Check the kickstand
As an added safety feature, most bikes will not start if the kickstand is down. Make sure that the kickstand is up before attempting to start your bike.
5. Check if gear is set in neutral
Of course, your bike will refuse to start if a gear is engaged. Double check to make sure that your gear is set in neutral before starting the bike.
If your motorcycle still won’t start after checking the above-mentioned tips, then you will need to jump start your ride.
How to Push Start a Motorcycle
The procedure is the same as push starting a car. The basic premise is to engage a gear while holding the clutch pedal, get the bike rolling, and release the clutch.
This will turn the engine over, so you can get back on the road in no time at all.
Step 1: Find the perfect spot
The easiest way to jump start a motorcycle is to get a couple of friends to push your bike. But this isn’t always the case.
If you happen to find yourself in a hill, then you’re in luck. You can use gravity to your advantage and simply let the bike roll down the hill while releasing the clutch.
However, if you find yourselfin a relatively flat road, then don’t despair. You just need to push the bike at a reasonable pace before jumping on the bike and releasing the clutch.
Step 2: Engage 2nd or 3rd gear
If you want to push start your motorcycle like a pro, you should always use 2nd gear or 3rd gear. Do not use 1st gear when push starting your bike, especially if your bike is equipped with a high-compression engine.
If you use 1st gear to clutch-start your bike, you run the risk of locking up the rear tires. You don’t want to crash while push starting your bike, right?
Don’t believe what other people say. It is best to be always on the safe side. Do not use 1st gear! You should always use 2nd gear or 3rd gear when push starting a motorcycle.
Step 3: Press the clutch and get the bike rolling
After engaging either 2nd or 3rd gear, press and hold the clutch and get the bike rolling.
If you found a hill, start from the top of the hill and cruise downwards.
If you have your buddies with you, hold the clutch and tell them to start pushing!
Your motorcycle should be traveling at a reasonable pace before releasing the clutch. However, you don’t need to be cruising at the speed of light. Think jogging pace, and you’ll be alright.
Step 4: Release the clutch
Once you’re up and rolling, release the clutch.
The spinning rear wheel will begin to turn the engine.
If the engine doesn’t start, you might need to roll the bike a bit faster and repeat Steps 2 to 4.
Remember that it may take a couple off attempts to successfully turn the engine and start the motor.
Step 5: Select neutral
Now that the engine is running, engage neutral and apply the brakes. Make sure to rev the bike and pump the throttle a couple of times to prevent the engine from dying again.
You will need to keep the motor running after push starting the bike. This could prove tricky if the engine is cold, so you will need to squeeze the throttle and give it a bit more gas.
Squeezing the throttle will also charge your battery faster than just letting the engine sit at idle.
Step 6: Ride!
Once the engine is all warmed-up, it is time to take a short ride to determine if everything is working normally.
Of course, you should take the time to inspect the bike and determine why it won’t start in the first place.
Did you accidentally leave the lights on? Do you have an old battery that needs to be replaced? Maybe it’s time to change the spark plugs, or maybe you need to replace the fuel filter.
If you encounter major issues with your bike, it is time to visit your neighborhood mechanic.
Helpful Tips in Push Starting your Bike
Here are a couple of helpful tips that you need to consider when push starting your motorcycle.
- If your bike has a large displacement motor, you should hit the starter button at the same time as releasing the clutch when the bike is rolling. This will help to get the motor turning as you clutch start the bike.
- If you have an older motorcycle, try to use some choke as you push start the bike.
- For high compression motors, it is advisable to stand on the foot pegs while the bike is rolling before releasing the clutch. This will serve to put more weight down on the rear wheel, making it easier to turn the motor.
It’s not hard to push start a motorcycle. Just follow the steps we outlined above so you can push start or clutch start your bike like a true professional rider.