Introduction: How to Kick Start a Motorcycle.

Picture of How to Kick Start a Motorcycle.

Kickstarting a motorcycle isnt as easy as it looks.So ive created an instructable to show you how to start two different bikes.

Step 1: Put the Bike in Neutral.

Picture of Put the Bike in Neutral.

Depress the clutch and shift into first gear.Then gently raise the shifter until you feel a slight "click" if you can move the bike around its in neutral

Step 2: Turn the Petcock.

Picture of Turn the Petcock.

Set the petcock to on.

Step 3: Choke.

Picture of Choke.

turn on the choke if your bike has one.It will be located on the carb.

Step 4: Start It!

Picture of Start It!

pull out the the kick starter and quickly push down until the bike starts.Rev the bike a few times then turn the choke off rev it a few more times or until it will idle.

Step 5: The Beast.

Picture of The Beast.

If you have a larger bike like a 200 or 450 (the honda 150r also applies) The bike ma have a hot start.Basically it reduces compression so its not as hard to start.On the 450 you couldnt start it without the hot start.So follow the same steps as the othe bike but while kicking the bike hold thee hot start until it fires up.It should be located over the clutch.Ride safely and have fun!


indian741 (author)2013-02-25

Never used this lever ,
I always kickstart without this,
I got a suzuki drz400 and a Armstrong mt500
Just get the piston to TDC ( the part where u hear it click )
Then 1 hard kick and i should run without this lever .

SteveD122 (author)indian7412017-02-10

I had an MT500 (rebored to 560) that i never used the decompression on too...just little light taps on the kickstart until you felt the "back an forth" resistance rock of TDC, then, whammy, a full kick and it sparked into life. It didn't help that the thing weighed a Tonne and had a lefty hand kickstart though..even after i rebuilt it as 555.
Although I always used it on my road-legal '79 XT500 though because it had a nasty habit of kicking back...and when you got a kickback from that thing it would dislocated your kneecap ( it actually did once...lesson learned and never again did i try starting it without decompression! )

muddog15 (author)2012-12-28

will this work on a hard to start go kart?

Haazi (author)2012-09-10

I Had a Honda XR 500 wich have an decompresstoin lever and tha big mestake most people make is holding in the decompresstoin lever in while winding up the motor an the atemting to kick start it, this has broken legs.
The best way of doing it would be as most of you have mentioned push down on the kick start untill you find top dead center or when it gets to hard to push down, release the kick start lever so that it return to the top then use the decompresstion just to get over the compresstoin stroke.Then just kick it.
I have an kniee injury on my right leg so I had to learn to kick start my XR 500 with my left leg while standing next to my bike.

Aron313 (author)2012-03-21

What year is it? I have the same thing!

its an amazing only if i can have the feel the amazing of being on a bike

takboilaw (author)2011-09-25

I have a kawasaki 125 it has both electric starter and kickstart. I has a choke level on the handle bar and a kill swith aside from the ignition switch. I usually kickstart it when the battery become low due to my motorcycle audio(it drains the batteries charge)

takboilaw (author)2011-09-25

For this Step 4 If you are just the right height for your motorcycle you can seat in you bike straddle on it put you 1 leg firm on the ground your left leg on the ground while the bike seat is between you legs and the bike is on side stand. Lift you right leg put your foot on the foot peg for the kickstarter then kick it.(Make sure it is in nuetral not in gear.)

This way you are sure you can control the bike by holding on the handle bars while depressing the brake.

This picture being shown if the side stand become unstable and your bike is bigger than you can handle there is a great possibility it will fall on you.

Kicking it this way for me is not safe your left leg and your body is not properly align/positioned. When you kick it it will tilt to the right and bounce back to the left the Bike.

So For me I rather seat on the bike straddle depress front brake kickstart it with your right foot.

daveand5 (author)2011-07-21

just had to share this!
My cousin and I came out of a bar, got on our bikes, Jack had to kick his Norton over. par for the course it kicked back and he hurt his ankle so he couldn't kick it again. This guy called Tiny, for obvious reasons was standing there, so Jack said, "Tiny, kick it over for me, would ya"
Tiny stepped up, gave it one kick and knocked it over to the ground and said "like that Jack"
Guess it pays to use correct language sometimes, lol

yorniloc (author)2011-06-06

People really dont know how to do this?

tjsdaname (author)2011-05-29

it's funny... everyone acts like the 450's are hard to start, there is no special "technique" just kick the thing over like a man... not a 12 year old girl...

Scott_Tx (author)2011-05-28

This instructable needs a video to go with it! :)

whipit85 (author)2008-11-24

a hot start doesn't lower compression, it lets cool air into the carb, rather than the warm air from the heat of the bike, the cool air cool the cylinder enough to that it starts easier, when the motor is cool they serve no point.

wobbler (author)whipit852011-05-17

A hot start doesn't let cool air into the carb rather than hot from the heat of a bike air. The air to the carb is always coming from the same place. What a hot start does is vary the richness of the fuel entering the cylinders a appropriate for starting a hot engine and actually adds more air to the mixture, making it more lean. A cold engine requires a richer fuel mixture to start (hence the choke lever). The hot start lever is like a choke in reverse.

However, big bikes, especially big single cylinder bikes, are hard to turn over as at the top of the stroke there is a lot of back force from the compression in the cylinder. So, big bikes have compression release levers, which lift the exhaust valves slightly and make it easier to get the piston to the top of its stroke. The lever is then released and the bike then kick started from the optimum position..

2hot2hack (author)2011-04-25

nice tips. my sister got me a yz125 (2010) to ride at her house but she moved and it rusted.

jonnysmith (author)2011-02-14

Nice tips will be of great help for the people who are just putting their hand on motorcycles and i will prefer kick start rather then button start as when you battery gets discharged it becomes difficult start your motorcycle again .
Semi trucks

oakironworker (author)2011-01-23

Every bike is a bit different. I suggest buying a modern two stroke as the are not as finicky as the more technical two strokes. But if your like my son and loves his four stroke then find the routine that works. When I came home the first week of ownership I tired different methods I had read about klx300s and took notes on what I did the day before. Took about a week spending ten minutes a day. On his bike it is gas on choke on, prime the carb( lay bike over for a few seconds till gas runs out)one slow kick through. find top dead center and starts on first full kick. Saves you a lot of frustration the morning of a ride. The main thing is to ride often it helps keep you sane. I have heard of people that don't ride and they end up on forums commenting on other pepoles spelling and gramer. Go ride some trails.

Acepilot42 (author)2011-01-11

cr 500's have that lever too

dalestyne (author)2010-12-23

nice tips for the new learners about how to kick start bikes as now a days most of the bike have button start option but let me tell you that when your battery is down you will need to kick start your bike and this tips will be helpful for you it many a times happen with Used cars as well when your batter is low starter doesn't works.

jeffysmith006 (author)2010-12-01

Hey nice post and thanks for the helpful information .many a times we tend to do basic wrong .Class c rvs

Acepilot42 (author)2010-08-22


joey99 (author)2010-07-30

my bike is a 125cc and does any one now/have a instructable on how to make a home made dirt ramp that is for beginers because im only 11

nitrox027 (author)2010-04-09

the choke adjustment is not always by the carb, it could have a cable running up to the handle bars

miniminitrck (author)2009-10-02

Thats not a hot start anyways, its a compression release, and it is a very handy thing to have when you have a large bike

lasersage (author)2008-10-03

and for goodness sake where boots! kicking in trainers can trash the arch of your foot and if you slip of you can gouge up your calfs really badly. Andsetinn speaks the truth. My 650 twin needed this push till its hard then give it a good kick treatment. Not all chokes are on carbs, road bikes usually have a cable to the bars (I know its operating on the carbs, but the control is on the bars), and chops often have an open inlet that you just cover with your hand to restrict air flow for starting.

Andsetinn (author)2008-07-24

Step 4 is too simplified. You need to have the engine in the correct position for it to consistently start on first "push". This is vital for larger engines. I have friends (more than one) who have broken their legs or been thrown off their bike, starting newish, large, highly tuned single cylinder motorcycle engines. We're talking racing bikes here. Basically you need to push slowly on the petal until you have maximum resistance. Then you release the petal all the way to the top. Now push it down with all your weight on it, keeping you knee slightly bent (to prevent braking your leg if the engine backfires). Repeat as necessary. Using this method I can start almost any engine on first push over 90% of the time, without injury. Same method works on your lawnmower engine. Step 5. Some motorcycles have the compression reducer built in the clutch lever. Step 2 should be check position. Step 3 is unnecessary, and even bad, if the engine is hot.

pulsed (author)Andsetinn2008-07-24

The 100 is a royal pain in the ass to start cold without the choke on and if its hot it will start first kick without it.And i have started the 450 without injury but i suppose i cant really just "kick down" with it i mean the thing is a be ast its to much bike for me and i have never had a starting related injury.I have not however started it first kick.

Rishnai (author)pulsed2008-09-18

Funny, I can hardly start my 100 cold, either... Actually, it starts up okay cold with the choke, but if you shut it off before it's fully warm, good luck starting it again between now and next summer.

legobrick55 (author)2008-09-05

sweet lucky you won! : )

Gjdj3 (author)2008-07-23

Pretty good instructions and nice job. The one thing I would say is to make sure to always capitalize and have periods. People take you more seriously when you do.

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