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Push starting 101

Discussion in 'New Riders and Riding Tips' started by Asura, Jan 5, 2009.

  1. I've seen push-starting mentioned a few times recently as an option for flat batteries and other minor mechanical faults.

    Now... I've done this in a car plenty of times, but could some experienced netrider give us a few clues on the best way to go about it on a bike?
  2. I have had to do some push starting recently.

    Luckily I have had others around / been on an incline.

    Usual starting stuff first, key to on and kill switch to run. Get up a incline or have someone push you.

    I put my bike in 2nd and get some speed (you don't need to be at sprinting pace) then release the clutch press my starter button and when the bike kicks over, I will clutch in and I open the throttle.

    It's not a great deal different to a car except the starter button.
  3. You shouldn't need to press the starter button.

    Just put it in 2nd, clutch in, ignition on, roll down hill, drop clutch and off you go.
  4. On my bike it wont kick over until I press the starter.
    That the issue I was having when I first tried to push it, not pressing the starter.
  5. Hmmm

    that's the first i've heard of needing the button to clutch start it.

    My old dirt bike was the easiest (and most fun) to start, the spada wasn't any dramas but wasn't much fun and the storm... oh god.... 200 kilos of metal is not fun to push down the road :LOL:
  6. you also need to make sure you put pressure on the rear tire as you are doing it, as the tire needs to grip the road hard. so without a lot of weight on top to do that it will slide (the rear tire)

    i.e- below is what we do for dirt bikes
    (not THAT different to road bikes)

    you always get someone to push you along (when possible, otherwise you will need a hill or slope)
    * put it in second gear (first can grab too hard if you use it)
    * ignition on
    * kill switch on
    * fuel tap on
    * kick stand up
    * clutch in

    then, START PUSHING!

    make sure you are going at least 15 km/h or as fast as you can get it, before releasing the clutch.

    when you release the clutch, try and keep your wieght over the back wheel, you can (depending on what type of bike you have) drop down on the seat as you release the clutch and the person pushing you (if you have someone pushing to help) can also push down to help the tires grip so the bike will start more easily. may sound a bit wierd but i have spent ages trying to push start bikes that will not get enough grip on the rear tire to turn the engine over.

    obviously, the rear tire is attached to the chain and sprocket which is attached to the crankshaft, which is what the pistons turn when the engine is running. the engine (depending on how good the compression is) has to turn over the crankshaft and start the firing sequence in order to 'start'. if your bike has very good compression then the rear tire may slide along the road when your trying to push start the bike (rather than grip the road and therefore, force the engine to 'turn over') so if you try and keep as much weight as possible on the rear of the bike you will have a lot more success when push starting.

    * as soon as the bike starts to fire you can PULL THE CLUTCH IN and then give the throttle a few twists. DO NOT do this before the clutch is pulled in, or the bike will take of very quickly and if your not ready, you will fall off
  7. as someone who has needed to push start mine a few times due to a flakey battery terminal, generally i've been lucky in having someone with me to push me.

    Now i'm only on a short bike, zzr250, but myself is 5'4 and even though the bike is light, I have trouble jumping on it while its moving, as i'm worried i'll drop it. I've seen people ride a moment of side saddle to get there weight on the rear wheel, and they seem to do it with ease.

    Can some more vertically challanged people please advise which way they push start? Push and jump on (all of the above assuming no decent hill to do it with) or ride side saddle to get your arse on the seat??

  8. +1

    however it is a bit hard to push start a big bore. damn bloody hard!
  9. Would using 3rd instead of 2nd help, if the tyre is sliding as described?

    By more mechanical advantage, it would "help" the tyre - sprocket - chain - crank to spin the engine, yes? But more speed needed, so...
  10. Nerve wracking on a 750 sports bike - the idea of dropping the clutch and giving it a handful in second once the motor fires conjures images of sitting on my arse on the road watching the bike wheelie away from me on it's own.
  11. #11 Envy-t, Oct 8, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
  12. On the Saturday all day ride, as I was coming to stop, I stalled the bike. We were all stopped having a break. So I was walking away from the bike forgetting it still had ignition on. After lunch break came back to flat battery.

    I had one person push me on a flat road. I ride a Ninja 250, with this bike you cannot go to 2nd gear with flat battery. Several people had a go. So they pushed me whilst bike was in neutral, about 50m then I put it into first gear when the bike was travelling around 8km/h (I have a bike sigma computer, due to speedo being out) bike started. Thanx Nick.
  13. Hi all,

    I tried to push start my GS500 yesterday, I think the battery's gone a bit flat. So I followed the advice on here and elsewhere. I put the bike in 2nd gear, and held the clutch in, and started walking it, then released the clutch when it got going. It didn't quite work because I couldn't get it up to speed. So, it looks like I will need to go get myself a trickle charger. However, during my attempts, I noticed something interesting.

    When the bike is in neutral, it is much easier to push. When it is in gear, even with the clutch fully disengaged, there is still more resistance, and harder to push. Is this normal behavior or does the clutch need to be adjusted?

    Also, sometimes I find it hard to get into first gear, especially if the bike has rolled back a little bit. I need to roll the bike forward first before it'll click down to first? I just bought the bike two weeks ago, so ... still very new to the whole thing!
  14. Push started my RS125 for a few months due to waiting on a clutch cable. Very easy on a stroker, just waddle along in neutral and then click into first. Baby it up to the powerband then let loose!

    Haha, good times...

    - boingk
  15. i`ve had to push start a few times...first time ran alongside bike ( big mistake) and she started n tried to head towards parked cars lol...now i get on an incline as mentioned, hop on and paddle like crazy, ign on in 2nd and engage clutch gently, no worries. :newb:
  16. do new bikes need push starting often? (lower powered LAMS ones)
  17. Cold oil is more viscous and causes drag in the clutch plates.
  18. Oh dear, oh dear. You see children, there was a time when the art of push starting a motorcycle was just about the coolest (Cool - something invented by Miles Davis) thing on the planet. Agostini was a particularly elegant practitioner.
    Here's a quote from Mr. B. Sheene (Castrol Motorcycle Racing Manual - 1973).
    "I just take one step. Then when my arms are stretched out to the handlebars, I just lean my right side and upper arm on the tank, and that pressure is sufficient to make the rear wheel and engine turn over."
    He continues " As soon as the motor fires I jump straight into the saddle. This is important because it gives you full control over the bike if you have to do any swerving."
    Furthermore "I whack the throttle right back onto the stop as soon as the engine fires and control the revs with the clutch lever."
    And "I just wind the engine up to 11,000 rpm and ease the clutch out to stop them rising any higher."
    And surprisingly "I must say that I'm not in favour of clutch starts for short circuit racing...". His enthusiasm for push starts diminished after he buggered his legs in a couple of big crashes.
    So there you go kids. Now go out and practice.
  19. Sounds a bit like my GS, cygnus
  20. And that's why we're not all running around winning world championships.