Finding a motorcycle low on charge and unable to turn over is incredibly infuriating. You ask yourself; did you leave the lights on? Did you leave the key in? Lots of thoughts run through your head, but none of them will bring your motorcycle back to life.
Plenty of riders are aware that they can push start their motorcycles, but what if the motorcycle you ride is fuel injected? Can we just push start it the same way that we push start a carbureted motorcycle?
How do you push start a fuel injected motorcycle? To push start a fuel injected motorcycle, you’ll need to first ensure you have enough space ahead of you to push it. Then place it in second gear and hold in the clutch with key in the ignition and the engine start switch in the on position. Proceed to push it forward, release the clutch, then push the start button.
Remember that before you go to jump start your motorcycle, make sure that your battery is the reason that your motorcycle won’t start. Make sure it has gas, and the fuel pump works, etc. If it is something other than your battery that is causing a false start, then you may cause serious damage to the fuel pump or starter motor, so be careful!
How To Push Start A Fuel Injected Motorcycle
There are two different scenarios to work through when push starting a fuel injected motorcycle. The first scenario is that your motorcycle turns on, i.e. the computer comes on and the and fuel pump makes a whirring sound, but it doesn’t turn over or start up.
In this situation you are able to push start your motorcycle just as you’d expect. The second scenario is that both the computers and the fuel pump do not turn on. Both of which we will look at and outline.
Regarding the first scenario, first, find yourself an area that has enough space, as this will help you pick up speed later on. Second, place the transmission into second gear with your hand on the clutch and make sure you have the key in the ignition and the engine start switch in the on position.
With your bike on, second gear engaged, clutch lever engaged, and some space in front of you, go ahead and start moving. It helps to have another person behind you pushing you along. Once you start rolling around 10 mph, have your friend stop pushing you, and then release the clutch and push the start button. Hold it for several seconds to make sure your bike has several chances to turn over.
As soon as the motorcycle starts up, you should use the throttle to raise the rpms to around 2,000 with the clutch lever engaged. After its been running for a minute or two, you can go ahead and take your hand off the throttle and let the bike sit and idle.
Testing the condition of the battery is a lesson for another time, but just because you push started your bike doesn’t mean your battery is in good condition, and the bike not starting could be a sign of other battery related issues. So now that the motorcycle is running, take it somewhere that you can test the condition of the battery to ensure you won’t have starting problems next time.
What about the second scenario that I outlined above where the computer doesn’t have enough juice to turn on? Fuel injected motorcycles rely on electronics to start up and run correctly. If the computer on a fuel injected bike isn’t able to turn on, and in sequence the fuel pump doesn’t receive sufficient power, you will be unable to push start the motorcycle and will have to look at other methods to start the bike.
Some other methods might include jump starting the battery, putting the battery on a trickle charger, or replacing the battery. Either way, you can’t push start a fuel injected bike that doesn’t have enough battery power to turn on the computer.
Push Starting A Fuel Injected Motorcycle vs. A Carbureted Motorcycle
As I just outlined, when a fuel injected bike has enough battery power, the procedure to push start it is near identical to a carbureted motorcycle. The difference in these two systems is apparent when you start to look at problem solving diagnostics relating to the starter system.
When I had my first motorcycle, I had a carbureted 1997 Yamaha Virago. When I got to it one day it wouldn’t start, and instead of looking at possible problems with the fueling system, I thought it was a bad battery so I looked at push starting it. After about 5 attempts to push start it I reluctantly concluded that it wasn’t going to start.
After some problem solving, I concluded that the problem was in the carburetor. The first step before you push start a motorcycle is to make sure that you have a battery issue, not a fueling issue. The same thing can happen with fuel injected systems, but for different reasons.
With my first bike, I had left it sitting for a while which had allowed contaminants into the carburetor and caused a no start condition. Fuel injected systems don’t have to worry about a build up of contaminants in the same way a carbureted system does, but fuel pump failure or shorting isn’t an uncommon problem in motorcycles.
To figure out the source of your no start condition, you should start with more obvious systems to test before looking at the harder to reach spots. To give an example, if you turn the key or flip the start switch and nothing happens and no lights come on, that’s a good sign that there is no power from the battery being distributed to the bike.
On a fuel injected bike, if you flip the engine start switch and don’t hear the fuel pump under the tank whiz or whine, then you might have a problem, especially if other parts of the motorcycle turn on and light up.
Overall, with any motorcycle you encounter with a no start condition, it is crucial that you narrow down the source of the failure, and then if you find that the battery is the problem, you should then try to narrow down to what had caused the battery to drain in the first place.
Sometimes outside temperature fluctuations can cause excessive drain on a battery that’s already old, or maybe a headlight was left on. Every situation is different, but the procedures to test and fix problems is going to be the same.
Is It Bad For A Fuel Injected Motorcycle To Push Start It?
If your motorcycle has the battery power to turn on the computer, you shouldn’t worry about any damage being done to it through push starting in consideration that you do it correctly. Problems can come up if you try to start your bike with no success for too long.
For example, if you are push starting it and it’s not turning over, then you should be careful to not overheat the fuel pump or the starter motor. If there is no gas in the tank or maybe a faulty fuel pump, by trying to start it for a long time you will send too much current through the two systems and possibly burn them out, which could end up being very costly.
No one wants to find themselves in a situation when their motorcycle won’t start, and if we are careful in our riding procedures and meticulous in our maintenance and storing techniques, we shouldn’t ever have a problem, but we all know that it rarely works like that.
We wear helmets and other gear to protect ourselves against the ‘what-if’, and we should learn how to push start our motorcycles for the same reason. Generally, push starting is a simple process, but it should be one that’s fully understood. As always, stay safe and ride carefully.