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  1. #1
    Handlebar Consultant
    Location
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Posts
    643

    How to bump-start your motorcycle

    I actually had to do this on my Ninja not my M, but the info is the same.

    Every once in a while we all do something stupid, like pull the bike into the garage, kill the engine, then walk inside forgetting to turn off the key. You come down to the garage a few hours later and notice that your tail light is on, but *really* dim. Pressing the starter has absolutely no effect. What do you do?

    You bump-start your bike and ride it for a while to charge the battery, that's what!

    Bump-starting is the process of using the bike's momentum to crank the engine and forcing it to start when your starter can't do the job because of a dead battery. To do an ideal bump-start, you're going to need a hill. Preferably a big one, it makes it much easier. If you've got a sloped driveway and can start from the back of the garage that will probably work. If you're on flat ground, well, get ready for some exercise.

    Bump-starting is pretty easy, just do the following:

    1. Make sure the key is in the ignition, the killswitch is in the "on" position, the kickstand is up, and the bike is in first gear, just like you're actually riding.

    2. Pull in the clutch and get the bike moving. You want to get to jogging speed or faster if at all possible. If you're on a hill run most of the way down the hill, if you're on flat ground you'll have to run next to the bike and leap on or have somebody push you.

    3. When you're up to speed, dump the clutch (let go completely, don't feather it out) and at the same time press the starter button. I don't know if the starter is required, but I did it on my Ninja and it worked. I only had a little hill so I wanted to get it right the first time.

    If you aren't going that fast, you might chirp the rear tire as the engine braking suddenly locks the back tire up. If you're on a big long hill, you can feather the clutch out to get the engine up to speed more gradually and the bike should pretty much start itself as you're rolling.

    Once you get the bike started, it's time to go for about a half-hour ride to make sure the battery gets plenty charged. Ideally, you should ride around for a half-hour or so, then go find yourself a great big hill to stop at the top of and test to see if your battery will start the bike. If not, you've got that big hill right in front of you to bump-start it again.

    Also note, it's possible to totally kill the battery if you deep-drain it, so you might need to bump-start and go right to the dealer or parts shop for a new battery, so plan ahead.
    Current Mods/Accessories: OEM short sissy bar, MC Enterprises crash bar, Mustang Vintage Wide Touring seat, Kuryakyn Dually Iso highway pegs + Longhorn mounts, Highway Hawk floorboards, Tsukayu Corner hard bags, Memphis Shades Pop-Top with modified mounts, Kuryakyn GranTour bag for the long trips

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  3. #2
    Puddle Runner
    My Bike(s)
    '08 Candy Apple Red Burgman 400
    Location
    near Intercourse, closer to Bird-in-Hand, SE PA
    Posts
    395
    2 things -

    1) does this work with FI? I'd think you need juice for the FI system -

    2) in the olden days, bump starting in second was surefire (less resistance), atleast with dirtbike/thumpers...
    Yes. It redlines @ 8500. Yes, it's a Scooter!

    The older I get, the better I was.

  4. #3
    Seat Tester
    Location
    Southern Cal
    Posts
    59
    Quote Originally Posted by aeagles View Post
    2 things -

    1) does this work with FI? I'd think you need juice for the FI system -

    2) in the olden days, bump starting in second was surefire (less resistance), atleast with dirtbike/thumpers...

    It should work with FI. I had to do this in my car once and its FI.....should be the same theory

  5. #4
    Ditch Magnet
    My Bike(s)
    2006 Blue M50, 2002 Black Warrior
    Location
    Manchester, NH
    Posts
    151
    I did this at my work last year. Didn't realize this until 8 hours later.

    Came outside to see my headlights being really really dim. The driveway to my office is slightly slopped, so I tried that with no success. Then I spent about 20 min pushing my bike up a hill next to my work (my work is located at the bottom of the hill). let me tell you this bike is f*%$ing heavy when pushing it up a steep hill, I was sweating pretty badly by the top of it.

    Finally went down the hill and the very bottom of it, it finally started. Let it run for about 20 min, then drove it home.

    The battery is fine, been driving on it since last year.

    Don't ever want to do that again. My legs were sore for the rest of the week.
    Blue 06 M50

    Mods: Kuryakyn Ellipse mirrors, Iso Grips and Hi-five air intake, John Kits 2" bones + forward controls, Cobra StreetRods Slashdowns + Cobra Fi2000, Lexan 16" Windshield and sissy bar for my girl!!

  6. #5
    M-J Lifetime Achievement Award
    My Bike(s)
    '10 Kaw Vulcan 900 Custom
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    8,787
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveAlvarado View Post
    You bump-start your bike and ride it for a while to charge the battery, that's what!

    1. Make sure the key is in the ignition, the killswitch is in the "on" position, the kickstand is up, and the bike is in first gear, just like you're actually riding.

    3. When you're up to speed, dump the clutch (let go completely, don't feather it out) and at the same time press the starter button.
    With all due respect, Dave, a couple of points need a little clarification:

    Unless you can go for a LONG ride, you should use an external battery charger to get it back up to snuff. Most bikes won't come close to a full charge in only 1/2 hour.

    It is best to have it in 2nd (or even 3rd) gear. Bigger bikes with lots of compression will surely skid the rear.....and maybe dump you in the process.

    Not necessary to mess with the starter but it IS necessary to have your butt on the seat before you dump the clutch.

    And finally, for this to work, especially on FI bikes, you need a little juice left in the battery. If everything is completely dead it probably won't work unless you have a REALLY long hill.

    Anybody with a bike has a battery charger in the garage, don't they?
    May only take 10 minutes for enough charge for one start.
    Don't believe everything that you think.

  7. #6
    Where Am I ?
    My Bike(s)
    Suzuki Boulevard M50 Limited '07
    Location
    Lakewood WA
    Posts
    44
    I've drained my battery pretty low. I had to get a jump; I rode for about an 40 minutes, thinking that would enough. Well, it wasn't. Had to jump it again. Then rode for about an hour, that seemed to do the trick.

  8. #7
    Clunked into first gear
    My Bike(s)
    06 Suzuki M50 (Black-The Faster Kind)
    Location
    Hallandale Beach, FL
    Posts
    224
    Quote Originally Posted by Easy Rider View Post
    With all due respect, Dave, a couple of points need a little clarification:

    Unless you can go for a LONG ride, you should use an external battery charger to get it back up to snuff. Most bikes won't come close to a full charge in only 1/2 hour.

    It is best to have it in 2nd (or even 3rd) gear. Bigger bikes with lots of compression will surely skid the rear.....and maybe dump you in the process.

    Not necessary to mess with the starter but it IS necessary to have your butt on the seat before you dump the clutch.

    And finally, for this to work, especially on FI bikes, you need a little juice left in the battery. If everything is completely dead it probably won't work unless you have a REALLY long hill.

    Anybody with a bike has a battery charger in the garage, don't they?
    May only take 10 minutes for enough charge for one start.
    i agree with these corrections to the original post.

    I also think that EVERYONE should have a battery charger, the small cheap ones cost like $30 and they are a life saver when you are in a bind.

    Spend a few dollars more and get a battery tender, not only helps keep the battery in full charge, it also cycles the charge so the battery lasts 2-3 times longer than if you just treat it good.

    If anyone ever used a small rechargeable batteries (1.5V) and have a good charger with it, it's the "Refresh Charge" cycle that keeps the battery in top condition all the time.
    WHEN I SAID "LET'S GET SOME SUN", THIS IS WHAT I MEANT

  9. #8
    M-J Lifetime Achievement Award
    My Bike(s)
    '10 Kaw Vulcan 900 Custom
    Location
    Ocala, FL
    Posts
    8,787
    Quote Originally Posted by shaun82af View Post
    I've drained my battery pretty low. I had to get a jump; I rode for about an 40 minutes, thinking that would enough. Well, it wasn't. Had to jump it again. Then rode for about an hour, that seemed to do the trick.
    Yes, true but I should have been more specific.

    Batteries fail more quickly if allowed to remain partly discharged for long periods of time. You would likely not even notice if the most the battery ever charged was to half capacity because it might work just fine there......but the total life span might be cut in half.

    So, any time you get the battery low enough to cause you trouble, you should be SURE it gets back up to a full charge fairly soon. The fact that you rode it for a while and then it SEEMED to be OK may not be a good indication.
    Don't believe everything that you think.

  10. #9
    Puddle Runner
    My Bike(s)
    2009 DL1000 V-Strom Blk | traded 2007 M50 LE Gray
    Location
    Maple, ON
    Posts
    381
    "bump start" hmm thought that was a disco move from the '70's ?

    (Going to age myself again) 20 Years ago we just used to call it a simple "jump start" and I've never had to try it recently but in the past we used to run with the bike in 2nd gear to avoid that jerk reaction from 1st gear.
    If you run with the bike with clutch in with 1st gear and it pops on you, you'll know the feeling especially if it jerks away from you and you drop the bike.


    2009 DL1000 V-Strom Suzuki
    2007 M50 LE Boulevard Suzuki
    1986 GR650 Tempter Suzuki
    1984 V45 Magna Honda
    1982 CX500 Turbo Honda


  11. #10
    Handlebar Consultant
    Location
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Posts
    643
    Thanks for the tips, obviously this was my first go at it.

    I guess a battery tender needs to be on my short list of stuff to buy. I was just so annoyed--my M has a hole in the rear tire, then I managed to drain the battery on my Ninja just a couple days later. I thought for sure I'd managed to kill 2 bikes in a week.
    Current Mods/Accessories: OEM short sissy bar, MC Enterprises crash bar, Mustang Vintage Wide Touring seat, Kuryakyn Dually Iso highway pegs + Longhorn mounts, Highway Hawk floorboards, Tsukayu Corner hard bags, Memphis Shades Pop-Top with modified mounts, Kuryakyn GranTour bag for the long trips


 

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