How to push start a motorcycle with a weak battery

Written by chris gilliland Google
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How to push start a motorcycle with a weak battery
Learning how to push start your motorcycle can keep you on the road if your battery dies. (motorcycle camping image by Greg Pickens from

A clicking sound is the last thing any motorcyclist wants to hear after pressing his motorcycle's starter button. This sound is a symptom of a weak or dying battery, preventing the motor from starting because it doesn't have the power to spin it to life. Learning how to push start the motorcycle, better known as bump starting, can help you get back on the road. Practice this vital skill in a safe, traffic-free area until you can start your motorcycle easily, just in case you find yourself stranded by a dead battery.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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  1. 1

    Turn on the motorcycle's ignition switch. Set the kill switch on the right handlebar to the "Run" position. Turn the fuel valve on the gas tank to the "On" position.

  2. 2

    Open the motorcycle's choke and pull in the clutch lever. Shift into second gear, maintaining your grip on the clutch lever.

  3. 3

    Roll the motorcycle forward with the clutch lever pulled in. Gain as much speed as you can manage safely. Hop onto the motorcycle's foot pegs and let the motorcycle's momentum carry you forward.

  4. 4

    Release the clutch lever smoothly, allowing the motorcycle's momentum to start the motor. Pull in the clutch lever as soon as the motor starts. Apply a small amount of throttle to keep the motor going.

  5. 5

    Come to a complete stop and shift into neutral. Release the clutch lever. Allow your motorcycle to warm up completely before closing the choke.

Tips and warnings

  • Select a gentle downhill slope to help your motorcycle gain momentum without tiring yourself out.
  • Stand alongside the motorcycle and push it forward if you cannot build up enough speed to start the motor while seated.
  • If the motorcycle refuses to start, check that the ignition switch is "On" and that the kill switch is set to "Run." Also check that your fuel valve is in the "On" position and that there is fuel in the gas tank.
  • Do not attempt to bump start the motorcycle in first gear. The motorcycle will be difficult to manage should the motor start and may cause you to slide or lose control of the motorcycle.

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