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How to Get a Dirt Bike to Start First Kick

Older dirt bikes are notorious for being slow to get kick-started right away, often taking 5 to 10 attempts before firing up.

To get a dirt bike started on the first kick, try this:

  1. Turn the petcock on
  2. Turn your choke on
  3. Lay your dirt bike on its side for a minute (where the float will prime with fuel)
  4. Pick your dirt bike back up again
  5. Put your foot on the lever while holding the front brake lever
  6. Gently push the kick lever down a few times as a warm-up
  7. Finally – throw all your energy into kick-starting your dirt bike

In 90% of cases, this will jolt your dirt bike into life even on a cold morning.

Kick Starting Dirt Bikes

It’s certainly frustrating to get a dirt bike kick-started, especially if you’re a light person who’s more concerned in saving up energy for the tracks which lay ahead. Standing there kick-starting your dirt bike for what seems like a lifetime while others look and giggle is a surefire way to spoil the moment.

Others seem to have this craft mastered yet you stand there like a lone soul. It’s worse when someone comes over and offers to kickstart your dirt bike for you. On one hand, you appreciate the gesture and on the other hand, you’re frustrated because you wish you could do this yourself.

Hopefully with the steps we’ve outlined above, you’ll have this craft mastered even if you’ve got an older MX bike. Whether it’s a 2-stroke or 4-stroke, the nature is the same.

A Great Alternative

Did you know that instead of kick-starting, you can actuall roll-start? This is helpful if you’re parked on the top of a hill (even a short one) and you can roll down.

To do this, you’ll need to be in second gear with the clutch out. As you start gaining momentum, let the clutch out with some throttle and your dirt bike may spark into life…even with a dead battery.

You’ll need to practice this one a few times and it’s best to do it when your dirt bike is working properly. This way you can keep riding back to the top of the hill and rolling down again until you’ve got this process mastered.


We’ve done this ourselves many times and can recommend some tips to make your life so much easier.

Firstly, practice makes perfect. Instead of waiting until you’re at the track with a whole bunch of riders around you, simply practice kick-starting at home. Do it every single morning for a week even if you don’t have any riding planned.

By practicing the famous kick-start, you’ll be more confident and have the steps downpat. It will become second nature and you’ll learn how your dirt bike reacts.

Secondly, your choice in boots actually impacts how well you can kick start your motorcycle. If you’re using running shoes, then this is a bad idea as the spring-back (the force that comes up and rebounded when you kickstart) will be very noticable.

We recommend that you wear your MX boots or at least some steel-capped boots which will give you some extra weight and confidence. These boots will mean that any force in the kick-starter rebounding will be absorbed across the surface of the boot sole.

Finally, consider ensuring that your next dirt bike has an electric start. If it has an electric start already, then don’t rely on it entirely. Every once in a while we suggest that you do a kick-start so you remember how easy it is to do, even on a cold winters morning.

While electric start is fantastic as you’re merely pressing a button, there may come a day when the button simply doesn’t work. What happens if your battery is flat? You’re going to need to kick-start, and if you’ve practiced this before, then you’ll have no troubles at all.

In Summary

Kick-starting successfully really comes down to practice. The more times you do it, the easier it becomes. This is especially true if you keep riding the same dirt bike month after month.

Those who struggle are generally those who don’t go riding often enough, or it’s those with the ‘luxury’ electric start switch. Don’t rely on these all the time, as one day you’ll need to kick start.

Even the nature of kick-starting your dirt bike instead of reaching for an electric start commands respect among dirt bikers globally. Get out there and start practising, as it gets easier and easier!

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