How to Kickstart a Motorcycle? 5 Tips to Kickstart Easily

Motorcycle kickstart

Kickstarting a motorcycle can be a new experience if you have always used the starter button to start your motorcycle.

We are so used to not using the kickstart nowadays.

Heck, there are motorcycles now with no kickstarts.

However, in the event of your starter not working fine or for any other reasons where you want to kickstart your motorcycle easily, here are the simple steps to follow.

How to Kickstart a Motorcycle

Before venturing into tips and tricks on how to kickstart easily, let’s go through the way you need to kickstart your motorcycle.

Kickstarter on a Royal Enfield motorcycle

First, shift down your bike gear to the neutral position.

Generally, your gear will be in first gear while you stop your motorcycle on the last ride.

Motorcycle odometer and fuel gauge

If you have the habit of shifting to neutral gear while halting, good for you.

If not, now is the time to shift to the neutral gear position.

Second, pull the clutch in.

While shifting to the neutral gear position, you would have already been holding your clutch.

Motorcycle Clutch

Continue holding that clutch.

Third, now is the time to kick-start your motorcycle. Push down the kick using your leg to start up the engine.

A guy kickstarting the motorcycle

If you are sitting on the motorcycle and kicking, make sure your other foot is firmly on the ground.

If you are standing on the ground and kicking, be close to the kick lever as much as possible.

2 images clubbed to illustrate how to kickstart a motorcycle

Once the kick starts the engine, rev the throttle.

You are in neutral gear, so revving is cool.

Motorcycle throttle

Sit on the motorcycle if you haven’t already.

Now that the motorcycle is kickstarted, change your gear position to the first gear.

A rider's foot on motorcycle gear shifter

Then, accelerate slowly while releasing the clutch at the same time so that your motorcycle can start moving forward.

And that’s it.

That’s how you kickstart a motorcycle.

Now that we have gone through the motions of kickstarting the motorcycle, let’s dive into some simple tips to kickstart the motorcycle easily.

Tips to kickstart a motorcycle easily

Here are 5 simple tips for you to kickstart a motorcycle easily:

  • Roll the kick to its bottom-most point possible before kicking
  • Use your body weight – not just the leg weight
  • Rev the throttle as soon as you kick
  • Have the other foot firmly on the ground
  • Turn the choke on if necessary

Let’s discuss each of these tips in detail.

#1. Roll the kick to its bottom-most point possible before kicking

Here is the first tip to kickstart easily:

Do not push down the kick with full energy from its start point.

A guy kickstarting the motorcycle

If you go about this way, chances are most of the energy you put in gets wasted before the kick reaches the resistance.

You might have experienced this as well.

You give your all in the kick and all that push comes to a halt resulting in a weak kick to your motorcycle.

That’s why we need to lower the kick to its bottom-most point before the resistance starts from the kick.

In technical terms, you are rolling the kick until it reaches the TDC (top dead center) of the compression stroke.

Motorcycle kickstart

So, lower your kick to its bottom-most point first and then push down the kick.

Your efforts are trickled down to the kick completely and the engine starts very easily when you kick after taking it to its lowest point.

#2. Use your body weight – not just the leg weight

Usually, we rest our left leg on the ground which carries our weight and the right leg which is placed on the kick has to push down to start the motorcycle.

This is how things are done in almost all cases.

A guy kickstarting the motorcycle

However, lots of times our body weight rests on the left leg which is on the ground. While the right leg which we use to kickstart does not receive our entire body weight for the push.

All we do is kick with our right leg muscle.

This translates into not having enough energy going to the kick.

Hence, not starting the motorcycle sometimes.

Instead, what we need to do is NOT to put our body weight on the left leg which is on the ground. But to carry our body weight on the right leg which kickstarts the motorcycle.

Motorcycle kickstart

A small caveat:

While putting your body weight on your left leg to kick is good.

But make sure the left foot is still firmly on the ground. Not just heels, but the entire foot.

This increased weight will help to push the kick down much easier than before.

It will help in kickstarting your motorcycle easily especially if you are facing problems in starting the engine through kickstart.

#3. Rev the throttle as soon as you kick

Now, this is something I used to have problems with.

I generally used to kickstart and the motorcycle engine starts making the noise, but I wouldn’t accelerate at all.

Motorcycle Kickstart

I used to be so busy shifting my gear to the first gear position and by that time the engine would stop again.

This used to be so frustrating for me.

If you have been in a similar position as well, the tip here is to rev your motorcycle.

A motorcycle rider gripping the twist throttle fo the bike

Since the gear is in the neutral position or you are holding the clutch, the acceleration should not cause the motorcycle to move.

Once you have powered up the motorcycle, you can then shift up the gear and release the clutch to move.

#4. Have the other foot firmly on the ground

This might seem contradictory to our second point: Kick with your body weight and not just leg weight.

Motorcycle kickstarter

Hear me out.

Just because you are putting the entire weight on the right leg to kick start, doesn’t mean the left leg has to lose contact with the ground.

In fact, for safety purposes, you must keep the left foot firmly placed on the ground.

A guy on desert with helmet on his hand kickstarting his motorcycle

If you are short, try kickstarting without sitting on the bike. Rather, standing and kickstarting.

You can also consider changing the motorcycle height.

In either case, make sure your left foot (or right if you are standing and kicking with your left foot) stays firmly on the ground.

By firm I mean the complete foot. Not just the heels.

#5. Turn the choke on if necessary

Now, this is applicable only when your motorcycle is not at all starting despite your repeated attempts to kickstart.

The problem could be the engine not receiving sufficient air-fuel mixture into the system. Hence is not able to start up.

Motorcycle choke on the carburetor

Especially if the motorcycle engine starts as soon as you kickstart but stops after one or two seconds.

If you are facing this starting problem, then one easy fix is to turn on the choke and then kick-start.

The choke, once opened up, will bring in a higher volume of fuel mixture into the engine which helps in starting off the motorcycle easily as and when you kickstart.

Final words

Hope these tips help you kickstart your motorcycle easily the next time.

Nowadays, kickstart is not even required most of the time. The electric starter does a fine job. No wonder many motorcycles don’t even have kickstarts now.

Also, if your motorcycle kickstart is not working, here is a detailed kickstart troubleshooting post.