So Your Bike Will Not Start

So Your Bike Will Not Start

Posted by Mike Werner on Oct 13th 2016

It’s happened to most of us, if not all of us. And if it hasn’t, it will. That clicking noise when you try to start your motorcycle. Or even worse, no sounds at all except for your frustration.
It happens, and it happens a lot. PMS (Parked Motorcycle Syndrome)? Bad or old battery? Faulty contact? There are a lot of things that can go wrong when you try to start your motorcycle. Here are a couple of things to check in order to get your bike running again.
Ignition Cut Off

Believe it or not, many bikes did not start because either the biker or someone flipped the emergency kill-off switch. You may not even know you did it, your heavy key ring brushed the switch and put it to “off”, your helmet was put on the handlebars and on to the switch, etc.
Simply put the switch back to the “on” position and you’re in business again.
A dead battery will probably be the fault in 90% of all cases, maybe even more. Batteries tend to run flat and the older they are, the faster they run flat. So when you bought your bike a few years ago, you were able to keep it parked for a few weeks, hop on it, put the key in the ignition and it started right up. Now, after a few days, your battery is dead! That’s because your battery is used up.
Get a new battery, and if at all possible, plug in a trickle charger to keep your battery charged. Your battery will love you longer. Have a look at the video below to understand more:

Startup Sequence or Electronic Lock
Some bikes require a special startup sequence, like pressing the clutch, or holding the brake. Is that the case and you forgot?
Or maybe your bike has an electronic protection and the electronics failed. Your ignition key has special electronic encoding that the ignition must read and accept. Sometimes these electronic will fail.
If this is the case, you’ll need to bring the bike back to the dealer.
Exhaust Blocked?
Sometimes pranksters will have blocked your exhaust by pressing something like a potato into the rear. That prevents the exhaust air from escaping, so your cylinder(s) will not turn. It sounds stupid, but that is what pranks are all about.
If you have a bike with a strong compression, typically for large displacement engines, chances are the object will shoot out. If you’ve got a 125 for example, chances are they’ll block the flow, and might even kill your engine.
Check for any obstructions.

Water and Fuel Don’t Mix
Often the case when the bike has been parked for a long time (this is especially the case with E10 or above fuel.), or just a leaky fuel tank, water mixes in with the fuel inside the tank. Usually this is the result of condensation but it could also be because rain leaks in.
If you plan to park your bike for longer periods of time, put an additive in the fuel to prevent water from mixing in.
To see if there’s water, using a clear canister drain some of the fuel out of the tank, check the fuel in the canister for liquid bubbles or two separate liquids, and then pour it on your hand, put your hand in the wind to dry it out and see if there are white spots left. If there are, you’ve got water. Oh… and don’t smoke when doing this.
Did you just fill her up? It could be that the fuel was contaminated. You may have some diesel in the fuel, or water from the pumps (this often happens with cheap petrol stations).
If this is the case, you’ll need to empty your fuel tank and clean out all the fuel leads.
If you’ve left the bike unattended for a few weeks, you may want to rock the bike left and right a few times to jiggle the fuel, hoping that any deposits will move from the bottom of the tank. But you need to do this BEFORE starting the bike, not after.

Jiggle the spark plug leads and wires (do turn off the ignition before you do). If you can, remove the spark plugs and check for dirt in between the spark plugs poles (if there are, remove them).
If everything else fails, call the bike shop.