How to Bump Start a Dirt Bike? – 5 Simple Steps

Written by

James Stevens

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Robert A. Verdin

how to bump start a dirt bike

Riding a dirt bike is fun and exhilarating, but sometimes a dirt bike with electric start or kick start won’t fire up, and your only option is to bump start your motorcycle.

To bump start a dirt bike, hold the clutch, put your bike in second (or third) gear, and let go of the clutch while your motorcycle is running down the hill or after getting a push from somebody.

To learn the specific steps on how to bump start a dirt bike, continue reading below.

Comprehensive Guide to Bump-start Bikes With Clutch

Before bump-starting the bike, go over it to ensure this course of action is necessary. For one thing, see if the fuel tank is empty and check whether the battery is depleted-if either is the case, bump-starting is recommended.

Another instance where you may have to resort to this method is when the carburetor is dirty and worn out.

1. Finding a suitable location


Whether you’re planning to push start dirt bike alone or with other people’s help, you need to find an appropriate place. For instance, a hill or slope without obstacles is ideal, as it allows your motorcycle to gain the necessary momentum to turn the engine over.

If you don’t find a hill, you may ask a friend for a push to start motorcycle. Make sure you’re on even ground to avoid crashing.

2. Turn on your ignition

Twist the key clockwise and turn on your ignition. Then, toggle the kill switch on the right handle to the ON/RUN position. Start pushing the bike downhill.

3. Hold your clutch and shift gear


As you’re moving downhill, fully pull in the clutch on the left handlebar to allow the engine to respond. While holding the clutch, push your foot on the shift pedal so the motorbike will change to second gear (third gear is also fine).

4. Release the clutch

Slowly release the clutch and start the engine, especially if you’re near the hill foot. At this point, you can accelerate the bike if you want to.

5. Pull the clutch once more

To ensure your battery won’t turn off after bump-starting your bike, pop the clutch on a motorcycle again and shift your transmission into your desired gear.

Taking your dirt bike for a short ride will ensure everything is okay with your bike.

If your dirt bike still doesn’t start after bump-starting it, try to repeat the steps.

Tips for Successful Bump Starting

Here are some tips that will guide you when you bump start your dirt bike.

1. Proper Technique

When going down the hill, ensure you know when to hold and release your clutch when riding your dirt bike. You should be going for at least 10 mph to turn over your bike’s engine and not stop when releasing your clutch.

2. Bumping Your Bike

Once you gain enough speed while going downhill, bump your butt down on the dirt bike to compress the rear shock. Doing this will provide the best traction to the rear tire, allowing you to fire up your engine. After, let go of the clutch to release your dirt bike’s transmission.

3. Using the starter button

For dirt bikes with a large displacement motor, it’s ideal to hit the starter button while releasing your clutch to get the motor turning.

Reasons to Bump Start a Dirt Bike

When should I bump-start a dirt bike?


To ensure that your dirt bike indeed needs a bump start, you may check the following:

  • Battery: If you haven’t driven your dirt bike for a long time, its battery could be dead already. As such, it may now be difficult to start your motorcycle, so a push start is needed.
  • No kickstarter: In most cases, the lack of a kickstarter isn’t really an issue. It only becomes a problem when your electric starter becomes defective.
  • Carburetor: If your gas tank has enough gas and your battery is okay, look at the carburetor next. A dirty or worn-out carburetor will make it harder to start the bike normally.
  • Gas Tank: If this is the case, you can easily solve this issue by refueling. However, when re-filling the gas tank right away is not possible, your only option is to jump-start the motorcycle.

When shouldn’t I bump-start a dirt bike?

  • Inexperienced: Travelling downhill at a fast speed without any experience can result in accidents and injuries, so avoid doing so if you’re new to dirt bikes.
  • Rough terrain: If the slope is too steep or full of obstacles, it’s best to avoid bump-starting, as you’re more likely to lose control of the bike in such terrains.

Troubleshooting Common Bump-starting Issues


When you bump start motorcycle, you may encounter these common problems. Here are some ways to solve them:

1. The bike stalls or jerks

If this happens when you release the clutch, it’s an indication that the throttle control isn’t engaged fully. To address the issue, try opening the throttle slowly when releasing the clutch. Otherwise, get a mechanic to examine your carburetor.

2. Completely nonfunctional battery

If you’re in a situation where you already have a completely non-functional battery, bump-starting your dirt bike will not solve the issue and may only worsen it.

In this case, it’s best to consult an expert and replace your battery altogether.

3. Strange noises from the bike

When you pop start motorcycle and it makes unusual noises, the most likely culprit is damaged mechanical parts. Again, you’ll need the help of a professional to determine the root causes.

Safety Considerations

Jump-starting a dirt bike is not an easy task, so to ensure you’re safe, here are some safety considerations.

1. Safety gear


Just like riding a dirt bike, you should also wear safety gear when push-starting it, such as your helmet, gloves, proper clothing, and boots, to avoid injury.

2. Ideal location


As you need higher speed and enough momentum to jump-start your motorcycle, it’s best to find a place that’s free of people and obstacles. This way, you can avoid crashing into something.

3. Enough knowledge

Before jump-starting your dirt bike, make sure you know the step-by-step process to avoid injuring yourself and understand when to do a bump start to avoid damaging your dirt bike.



Is it bad to push-start my dirt bike?

It’s okay to jump start a dirt bike battery as long as your situation warrants a push start and you do it in a proper way. However, bump-starting your dirt bike repeatedly may damage your motorcycle’s parts, such as the valve and engine.

What should I do if my dirt bike won’t start after bump starting it?

In this situation, check your battery again. It must be entirely non-functional already and needs replacing.

If your battery is fine, check your starter circuit to make sure there’s no problem with the wires. If there’s no issue, examine your starter motor to ensure that it’s functional.

Should the issue persist, it’s best to go to your nearest motor shop for an expert diagnosis.

Is it safe to bump-start a dirt bike on a hill?

If you have the necessary skills and the terrain is free of obstacles, it’s safe to bump-start a dirt bike on a hill. It’s also the most effective way to fire up your motorcycle, as the method allows your bike to run at a higher speed and gain enough momentum to come to life.

How often should I perform maintenance on my dirt bike?

It’s best to inspect your dirt bike before and after riding it, such as checking the oil, to prevent any heavy damage. Ideally, to ensure your dirt bike will stay in great condition, it’s advisable to perform maintenance or servicing every 5 hours or 20 hours.

How to cold start a dirt bike?

The most important thing to consider when cold-starting a dirt bike is setting your jetting correctly. For instance, to cold start a 4 stroke dirt bike, you need to use the choke and your accelerator pump if possible.


Bump-starting a dirt bike is necessary when your battery is dead. Make sure you hold your clutch and shift into second or third gear before you release the clutch while having enough speed.

Now that you know how to bump start a dirt bike, don’t forget to wear the appropriate gear to keep yourself safe while trying to fire up your motorcycle.

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James Stevens

James Stevens is an expert bike mechanic who knows everything from basic repairs to custom modifications. What sets him apart is his ability to explain complex concepts in a way that's easy to understand. Check out his content on Speedway if you need help with upgrades or modifications for your bike.