Dirt bikes tend to have a bad reputation of dying in the worst possible spot, especially when you’re ready to race or miles from anywhere.
Whether it’s the battery of the starter motor, it’s both frustrating and concerning at the same time. It’s unlikely that you’ll have the tools, parts and technical know-how on the spot to actually get your dirt bike going again.
Thus, you gotta do a pop-start or as some others from Australia call it, a jump start. Either way, our guide will help you do this by yourself.
Pop-Starting Your Dirt Bike: Frontaer’s How-To Guide
It’s not that difficult to jump-start a dirt bike and it’s much the same as getting a car going. You simply need to be mindful that you probably won’t get it started the first time. What you will need is momentum, patience and good timing.
To get your dirt bike started with rolling, also known as a pop-start, you’ll need to:
1. Sit on your dirt bike with key on
Sit on your bike as though you’re riding. Some people try to run along the side of their dirt bike but this just makes things more complicated.
2. Put your dirt bike in 2nd gear
1st gear is too rough and will cause you to lurch forward while and gear will put be too much of a lull. 2nd gear is widely regarded is the optimum gear in which to pop-start any vehicle, such as a motorcycle or car.
3. Pull the clutch in all the way
Yep, hold the clutch all the way in. You won’t burn anything out. Just hold the clutch for now and then immediately go on to the next step.
4. Gain some momentum (A push from others or rolling down a hill)
Yep, it’s time to rope some buddies into the mix, but pros do this all by themself. If it’s your first time, then get someone strong to push you along the flat ground. The best tip is to find a slight decline to roll yourself down with zero effort. You can’t pop-start while going uphill and most beginners struggle to push their dirt bike individually and get it started on flat ground. Even 30ft of driveway which has a slight decline is enough.
5. Once you reach running speed, let the clutch out
Yep – literally let the clutch out and don’t balance it just yet. Be ready for a lurch. It’s aggressive as you reach the contact point. You’ll near the engine try and fire itself up while you’re trying to hang on and deal with the sudden stopping and lurching.
6. Balance the clutch as your engine roars into life.
This is when your engine will fire up and start running normally. You’ll need to balance the clutch initially to stop it dying. If it’s running, then the motorcycle will idle just fine as if it had started normally with an eStart or kick starter. From here, simply switch to neutral and idle along.
7. Repeat the process if it fails
Either push your dead motorcycle to the top of the hill or get your buddy to push you on the flat once again. Aim for 3 to 4 attempts before ultimately giving up. Most people do get their dirt bike started the first time around with the simple 2nd gear roll start method.
If you aren’t hearing your dirt bike starting up (coughing and splattering), then there could be bigger problems at play. This is when you’ll want to call in the mechanic for diagnostic work.
The reason you’ve needed to pop-start was a problem due to a dead battery. This is a good opportunity to check if it’s charging correctly as the alternator may need replacement.
So to make it easy: 2nd gear, let the clutch out while rolling along at running speed. It’s not hard and it’s something we recommend you practice while your bike is running well. When the day comes that you’ll need to do a roll-start, then you’ll get your dirt bike going in less than 20 seconds.