A Dead Battery Does Not Equal a Dead Motorcyle How to Get Started With No Juice

Okay, you’ve gone and done it.

You left the key in the ignition of your bike with the parking lights on. Maybe you tried too many attempts to crank the engine over and now you have a problem – your battery is no more.

If you happen to have one, you can kick-start you bike in this worst-case scenario, but make sure you have it out of gear or you’ll blow out a hip or a knee and still be sitting by the side of the road.

Even is you have an electric-start-only bike, you still have a shot at getting her back on the road and on the way to the dealership for some fresh lead and acid.

This would work...but good help can be hard to find.

The theory:

Your motorcycle cranks over when the starter motor connected to your flywheel rotates at sufficient speed. It’s this rotation which provides the initial power to generate enough current from the alternator to caused a spark.

At the factory, some precise calibrations have been done about what kind of force is needed to cause that spark during the compression stroke, and when the air fuel mixture is compressed and ready to be ignited – provided you have enough spark, the motor starts turning over on its own.

No battery means no starter motor, and that means no go.

Instead, you’re going to try to use the weight and momentum of the bike itself to generate the same rotation of the flywheel. If all goes well, the engine transfers power to the clutch, the clutch to gearbox, and the gearbox to the wheels through the chain, and you can use the same sequence to get your bike started. You’re basically going to reverse the process and use the momentum of the wheels you created yourself to transfer power to the flywheel through that same set of components.

How To Get Your Motorcycle Started When the Battery She Is No More:

  1. Find yourself a hill or slope, somewhere to help you generate some momentum and get it rolling. Failing that, enlist a friend willing to push you and your bike.
  2. Place your ignition switch in the “on” position. Select up up to 2nd gear and grab the clutch.
  3. Get the bike a few yards until you reach to a speed of approx 8-10 mph.
  4. Release the clutch and you’ll hear the sound of the flywheel rolling and with any luck – the engine starting.
  5. Make sure you pull the clutch back in right away and gradually increase the throttle input to avoid an engine stall or bolting out of control.
  6. Repeat the entire procedure if your motorcycle fails to start or until you’re out of hill or help with pushing

If this procedure doesn’t do the trick, you’ve got more problems than simply a dead battery, mon frere. You’ll need to do a little roadside diagnostic work like checking for other causes of the no-start like, say,  a failed ignition, fouled plug or low fuel pressure.

The tip described here should work dandy for most manual transmission motorcycles – with or without a kick-start.

Got a scooter with an automatic transmission or CVT, or maybe you ride a Ridley? Sorry pal, you’re out of luck using this advice, but at least your machine is light enough to push for a few miles.


Or you could try it this way, but it is not, repeat not, a recommended method unless you want to star in one of those YouTube Fail videos some day:

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