It could happen to anyone. You’re out on a ride somewhere, or stuck in traffic, and your motorcycle’s battery dies. You’re stuck and you can’t get it started.
Take Proper Gear With You
For many people, riding a motorcycle is done in fair weather, and often time’s it’s hot, so being stuck out in the sun and heat can be dangerous. There are a few things you can take with you to help keep you safe. (Note that these items are only for a dead battery. There are several other items you should always take with you on a motorcycle ride)
- Cell Phone
- Drinking Water
- Jumper Cables
You’ll want a cell phone to summon help and possibly to let people know you will be late arriving at your destination so they won’t worry about you. You’ll also want drinking water with you in case you are going to be stuck in the heat for any period of time. Finally, you’ll want a set of Jumper Cables.
Restarting the Motorcycle
There are several ways to start a motorcycle with a dead battery. If you’re not familiar with them, you may want to print these tips out and keep them in a safe, dry place on the motorcycle along with your jumper cables.
Jump Start The Battery From Another Motorcycle
- Position the two motorcycles so the batteries are close enough together to facilitate the length of the jumper cable. Ensure the motorcycle with the good battery is NOT running.
- Connect the RED clamp of the jumper cable to the positive (+) terminal on the dead battery.
- Connect the BLACK clamp of the jumper cable to the negative (-) terminal on the dead battery, or to a grounded item on the motorcycle, such as the frame.
- Connect the BLACK clamp of the jumper cable to the negative (-) terminal on the good battery, or to a grounded item on the motorcycle, such as the frame.
- Connect the RED clamp of the jumper cable to the positive (+) terminal on the good battery.
- Start the motorcycle with the good battery and wait a few minutes.
- Start the motorcycle with the dead battery
- Remove the RED cables first from the good battery, then from the bad battery.
- Remove the BLACK cables from both batteries.
- Leave the motorcycle with the bad battery running until you reach your destination and/or find a suitable place to re-charge the battery with a battery charger.
Jump Start The Battery From A Car
The procedure to jump start a motorcycle from a car is the same as it is for jump starting it from another motorcycle except for item (6). A car battery has more amperage, and the charging system for a car is much more powerful than that of a motorcycle. When jump starting a motorcycle from a car, DO NOT START THE CAR’S MOTOR because the extra power from the charging system will possibly destroy the motorcycle’s charging system and could cause a fire. The car battery should have enough power to start the motorcycle without the car’s motor running.
Compression Start The Motorcycle
Some times it may be easier to compression start the motorcycle, also known as a bump start or push start. It’s possible to compression start a motorcycle by yourself, but it’s easier if you have a couple of friends to help you if you’re on flat ground.
- Turn on the ignition, turn on the gas, and make sure the Kill Switch is turned to the RUN position.
- Pull in the clutch and put the bike in second or third gear. (First gear may be too hard to turn the motor and may jerk the drive train too hard a may cause motor-mount failure.)
- Coast the bike down a hill or have your friends push you.
- Once you reach about 5 to 10 MPH, quickly release the clutch.
- Apply a little throttle to maintain control and pull in the clutch.
The bike may not start on the first try, so repeat if needed. Also, a motorcycle with a completely dead battery may not start using the compression method.
Call For Help
Finally, if jumping or compression starting the motor isn’t an option or does not work, your last resort is to call for help. AAA offers motorcycle road-side assistance, and if you ride a lot this may be a good option for you.
You may be near friends with a truck or motorcycle trailer who you can call for help. Calling for help will usually be the longest wait time, and this is why you should carry a bottle of water with you.