Can I Start a Motorcycle Without a Starter?

Most modern motorcycles are gasoline powered with fuel-injected engines and have electric starters. Sometimes, you encounter a situation where a starter does not work due to any fault and does not start when you turn the ignition switch.

Can I Start a Motorcycle Without a Starter? You can start a motorcycle without a starter with 2 techniques: pop-start and thump-start. You can pop-start it by pushing, towing, or moving it on a slope in 2nd gear. However, you can thump-start it by spinning its rear wheel with another motorcycle or your hand and putting it in the 4th gear. Another method is to use a kickstart, but this is only available in a few models.

This article will guide motorcycle owners regarding the possible ways to start it with a malfunctioning or missing starter. We will provide a brief description and steps involved in each method. 

Methods to start a motorcycle without a starter

These methods apply to standard motorbikes with electric starters that take power from the battery source to crank the engine to start its ignition cycle.

All these methods come under 2 main techniques: pop-start and thump-start. You can apply any of these according to the engine power and available circumstances under which you must jump start.

Pushing the motorcycle

The purpose of a starter motor is to crank the engine for at least the first 2 strokes in its combustion cycle.

It takes power from the battery and disengages after the engine starts running. If the motor is faulty or the battery is dead, you can pop-start the motorcycle by manually moving it.

The first step is to put it into 2nd gear on a clear road where you can easily move it without obstructions.

Press the clutch and ensure that the kill switch is in the off position. Push it by yourself or with the help of a friend to gain a speed of 5-10 mph.

Next, suddenly release the clutch, the gear will engage, and the engine will start with a sudden jerk.

You should try this method if you comfortably control it while manually moving it. Moreover, lightweight motorcycles are easier to move and handle than heavier ones.

Towing the motorcycle with another vehicle

You don’t manually need to push it and tow it with another motorcycle or some vehicle instead to gain momentum.

Turn the ignition on to ensure starting of the combustion cycle, and the kill switch should be in a position to ensure the proper functioning of electrical and fuel systems.

Put it into 2nd gear and press the clutch lever. Start the towing vehicle and move it to achieve a 5-10 mph speed.

Then suddenly, release the clutch, and the engine will start with a roaring sound. However, you will feel a tremble due to the sudden release of the clutch lever.

You can also use this technique for motorbikes with large displacement engines as the towing vehicle will move it.

Moving the motorcycle on a slope

Park it on a sloped surface so that it can quickly move without applying any force. Put it in the 2nd gear to get sufficient compression to start ignition.

Activate the clutch so that it can go in 2nd gear. When it gains adequate speed, release the clutch lever, and the engine will start.

This method is suitable for 250cc to 1000cc motorbikes. Moreover, it is easier to apply due to no manual work involved. However, finding a slope or downhill can be a challenge.

Move the rear wheel with another motorcycle

Park it on a flat surface without any obstruction. Put it on the center stand so the rear wheel is free, and you can easily move it.

Turn ON the ignition and shift it to 4th gear so that sufficient compression should be available to start the ignition.

Next, find a 2nd motorcycle and park it on the center stand with its rear wheel engaged with that of yours.

Ask a friend to turn it ON and apply the throttle so its rear wheel starts moving. It will also spin the rear wheel of your motorbike.

When it gains sufficient speed, the engine will start. When you observe that it is running smoothly, shift it into a neutral position so you can remove the center stand. 

Move the rear wheel by hand

You can thump-start your motorcycle by spinning its rear wheel by hand. It includes 4 steps to start it without a starter.

Position it on the center stand with the front wheel lowered so that you can freely rotate the rear one.

Turn ON the ignition switch and check the kill switch to run position.

Press the clutch lever and shift it to the 4th gear to get compression for ignition.

Manually spin the rear wheel with great force to gain sufficient rpm to start the engine.

After starting, shifting it from 4th gear to neutral is imperative, and you are good to go on your ride. 

Use kick starter if available

This method applies to motorcycles with both kick and electric starters available. Therefore, you don’t need to worry if an electric starter is not working.

You will find it on dirt bikes where both methods are available. You can use the kick to manually move the crankshaft so the piston can compress the fuel to start ignition.

Once the combustion cycle starts, the engine will start moving without the extra force required from the rider.

Things to consider when starting a motorcycle without a starter

It is Ok to start it without a starter is fine if you do it properly.

A few important things to consider are that it is in the correct gear, has gained sufficient speed, and the road is clear of any debris or hindrance.

If you don’t follow these instructions, it can damage the transmission or clutch lever or cause an accident if you try it at an intersection with limited space.

Also, before assuming that a faulty starter is stopping the motorcycle from starting, check other factors like gasoline, loose wiring, or faulty spark plugs.

Another essential thing to prevent personal injury is to be ready for the jerk you face during pop-starting.

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