There’s something profoundly authentic by kick starting a motorcycle. I like to keep things as simple as possible and having no electric starter kind of appeals to me. Haven’t taken the step yet, but the more excess clutter you can remove from the bike the better. But if your bike just goes out now and again, it sucks having to kick start it every time.

Well, while we consider our options here’s some videos of guess what…. yea, kick starting.

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22 Responses to “Kick starting – a long forgotten art”

  1. Motorcycle Fairings  September 4th

    Yeah, definitely the old school way of doing things.

  2. Nixon  September 4th

    Just call me a newbie, because I had a heard time trying to kickstart a bike. I can’t even imagine how life would be without an electric starter.

  3. !  September 5th

    “Just call me a newbie, because I had a heard time trying to kickstart a bike. I can’t even imagine how life would be without an electric starter.”

    Then the bike is out of tune.

  4. David  September 5th

    I absolutly love these videos,

    not only is kick starting cool, but this appears ot be in japan, and to have so many old Amrican and Brittishbikes there is first of all special, then to see the guy helping his friend the small woman with what looks like a beast of a bike to kick, sweet in every way.

    I had 3 bikes with kick only starts, and I remeber turning over the first fouor stroke after 2 strokers, even my SS50 had more compression than all those oilers. Not so nice with kick starting is the viscious kick back you get when the mixture or ingintion timing is not quite right. My Dad’s A10 would either eject me across the garden or do something bad to my foot.

  5. Beth R.  September 5th

    I remember my older cousins always having to kick start their bikes; mine has an electric starter, but every time I mount up, I think about kicking it off… happy memories!

  6. Hieyeglasses  September 9th

    Electric starters make like easier, but I still miss kick starting!

  7. Doug  September 12th

    At a local bike gathering spot I looked at a sea of “polish & pose” V-twin riders and their bikes. I commented to a friend that if the the electric starters suddenly disappeared and were replaced by kickers that 99% of the riders would have to trailer their bikes home.

    There is an art to kick starting a big displacement bike and I learned it long ago but I glad I don’t have to do it anymore.

  8. Pan Chopper Man  September 17th

    Used to be nothing but kickers in the good ole days. Now there’s stuff out there I can’t even work on.
    I’ll keep riding my kick-start panhead, thank you. At least if I break down beside the road, I can get it running good enough to get home!

  9. Paunchiness  September 30th

    My KTM has a kick starter and an easy button. If I’m feeling particularly bad ass (and after its warmed up) I’ll kick it over before I pull away with a group of buddies. I’ve never had to use it to get the bike started in an emergency but I’ve heard that it can bite you back pretty bad.

  10. Daily  October 1st

    Great collection of vids. I haven’t had a kick-start in a while, and miss it…. sometimes!

  11. Spyder  October 1st

    I notice all the Old Iron Heads. Those were the days. A one kicker was something to brag about!

  12. Arrancando a patada, ese olvidado arte  October 5th

    [...] Vía | Helmet Hair [...]

  13. TK409  October 9th

    My Royal Enfield is kick-start only. Very satisfying when it thumps to life on the 3rd kick. Photos at the link.

  14. Jesper  October 10th

    Nice bike TK, and the StarWars costumes are amazing :-)

  15. Justin  October 11th

    old school
    that bike in the last video is really sexy.

  16. Spinner151  June 19th

    i ride a ratty evo. love it. well, this wannabe badass rode up the other day in the parking lot and stopped next to me and glared and tried to look real “hardcore”. he was on a ratty shovelhead. well he came back out and mean mugged the heck outta me while i sat there calmly and watched him try over and over to kick his scoot over. well 10 kicks later he tries to tinker with the carb and goes back and kicks 8 or 9 more times…then glares at me with pure hatred and hits the electric start!!! i laughed my ass off at that poser for a long time….

  17. Help me please  January 2nd

    Argh, can someone please advise me how to kickstart my kawasaki 79 KL250-A2?!! Having big troubles! Only got it a few days before xmas, this is my first time trying to start…n nothing :-( Cheers

  18. xchin  March 22nd

    What does it mean when my bike kicks back when i try to kick start it? My ankle is killing me!

  19. svenny  March 23rd

    What is best technique for kicking over DR 350s, XT 500s (real beasts!) and DR 500s? Great roar when they are lit but what sweating to turn then on!

  20. svenny  March 23rd

    Help with reluctant XT500 and DR500? Any successful kickers out there who don’t have to shed pounds lighting the beasts up? Tips and experiences to enjoy?

  21. Biker Gorilla  April 11th

    Ive been told that continuously kickstarting a bike will hurt it. Is this true or are people just feeding me stuff? I have a Suzuki GS750 that kicks up in one move either cold or warmed up and I like it… Looks badass when you only gotta kick it one time.

  22. Sam  August 30th

    My XT kicks over on the first or second kick…Or not at all!… If that is the case let it sit for a while…5 minutes, take a break, smoke a cig…you know chill, and let all that anger flow before trying again…It is easily flooded, forget about starting it then…

    My technique is nothing different than anyone else but hope this helps:

    1. Turn on engine. ignition and kill Switch on run… ;0)

    2. Put Gas on “on” Position

    3. Pull choke all the way down
    (If cold)

    4. Pull Compression lever

    5. kick it slowly twice all the way down. on the second kick leave the kick stand all the way down for 10 seconds.

    6. Release compression lever and bring the kick 75% of the way up

    7. Take a deep breath.

    8. Kick it! all the way down…
    and it’s a go!

    You don’t need to kick it Super hard, the importance is building momentum, with a consistent application of downward pressure. The way I do it, is by placing the kick under the middle of my foot (somewhere between the heel and the ball of the foot)and I push downward first then forward until it hits the stopper (foot-peg).

    As If I was first trying to smash something on the ground with my heel, and right before my heel hits the ground I would try to kick a ball forward…

    No matter what you do, DO NOT twist the Throttle…this thing gets flooded in a heart beat…

    Hope that helps…

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