Starting a Dead Motorcycle

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If you’re out on a ride or away from your garage with a dead battery, you’ve got a few options before you need to call a tow.

A battery that won’t hold a charge probably needs to be replaced, or there may be an issue with your motorcycle charging system.

How to Jump Start a Motorcycle Battery with another Motorcycle

Jumping a motorcycle with another motorcycle follows the same sequence as jump starting a car.

  1. Attach the jumper cables:
    • Red clip to positive terminal on each battery.
    • Black to negative terminal on the good battery.
    • Black to bare metal surface on the dead bike.
  2. Start the bike with the good battery.
  3. Try to start the dead bike.
  4. Keep the dead bike running to charge the battery.
  5. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order.

How to Jump Start a Motorcycle Battery with a Car

Jump starting a motorcycle with a car is possible, but should be used as a last resort. Car batteries are much stronger than motorcycle batteries and can easily damage your bike if done improperly. Attempt this at your own risk.

To jump a motorcycle battery with a car:

  1. Attach the jumper cables:
    • Red clip to positive terminal on each battery.
    • Black to negative terminal on the good battery.
    • Black to bare metal surface on the dead bike.
  2. IMPORTANT: Keep the car totally off.
  3. Try to start the dead bike.
  4. Keep the bike running.
  5. Disconnect the cables in the reverse order.

Jump Start a Motorcycle a Portable Starter Pack

A portable jumper pack can jump start your motorcycle battery with no other vehicles.

These are smart to carry on long rides.

Most jump-start packs work like this:

  • Hook up the cables from the pack to the battery.
  • Set the pack to the proper voltage setting and turn it on.
  • Start the motorcycle.
  • Keep the bike running.
  • Disconnect the jump starter (it will need to be recharged before you use it again).

How to Push Start a Motorcycle

A push-start, pop-start, or rolling start can also be used to get a bike going on a drained or dead battery.

To push start a motorcycle:

  • Find a hill or have someone push you to get the bike rolling fast enough. Aim for about 5-10 mph.
  • Put the bike into second gear.
  • Turn the key to the on position.
  • Make sure the fuel petcock is open.
  • Pull in the clutch level.
  • Get up to speed.
  • Let go of (pop) the clutch.
  • The engine should fire up.
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