How to Start a 4 Stroke Dirt Bike? – 2 Easy Methods

Written by

James Stevens

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Robert A. Verdin

How to Start a 4 Stroke Dirt Bike

Whether you have a dirt bike with electric start or a kickstart, getting your 4 stroke dirt bike up and running is not exactly hard. Just ensure you learn the proper procedure to get the job done without stress.

In addition, it’s important to know that 4 stroke dirt bikes that are carburated or fuel injected may have certain steps that are unique to them. So if you want to know more details or have trouble getting started on your 4 stroke motorcycle, continue reading below. Check out the steps on how to start a 4 stroke dirt bike!

Steps to Start a 4 Stroke Dirt Bike

Before we go into details of how to start your dirt bike, let’s try to examine first the common causes why your 4 stroke dirt bike has trouble starting.

  • Your gas is not turned on
  • Choke is dysfunctional
  • Spark plug not working
  • Low compression
  • Uncharged capacitor for fuel-injected dirt bikes

Now that you know what to usually check before you start your dirt bike, you’ll be able to fix the problem immediately to ensure your engine fires up. Let’s now dive into the specific steps.

Although the process to turn on a dirt bike is essentially the same, there are specific steps depending on when you’re cold starting or hot starting it, as well as if your 4 stroke dirt bike is carbureted or fuel injected.

1. Starting a 4 Stroke Dirt Bike (With a Carburetor)

Step 1: Turn on the gas


To ensure your dirt bike will run, make sure you turn the gas on by ensuring your fuel petcock or valve is in the “on” position.

Step 2: Pull up the choke


If you aim to cold start your dirt bike, don’t forget to pull the choke knob on to allow your engine to warm up faster. This step enriches your fuel/air ratio, making the cold engine start more effectively.

However, if you’re hot starting your dirt bike, you can skip this step. You may use your “hot start lever” instead.

Step 3: Twist your throttle


After you turn on your gas and pull your choke knob on when cold starting your 4 stroke dirt bike, it’s recommended to twist your throttle wide open.

When your throttle is wide open, the accelerator pump in the carburetor is forced to release more fuel into the cylinder, helping your cold engine to get started.

Step 4: Kickstart your dirt bike


To fire up your engine, you need to kick start your dirt bike once your throttle is closed.

The trick in kickstaring your 4 stroke dirt bike is to find the “top dead center” or TDC. TDC is when the piston is at the “optimal” position or point in the cylinder that enables your engine to start faster.

To find the top dead center, try to kick your kickstart lever slowly and smoothly until you hear a “click”. Although the click is not audible in certain conditions, you’ll know that you have found TDC when you feel that there’s less static compression on the lever.

It’s also important that you use full strokes and kick your lever over in a rapid and continuous manner.

If unsuccessful during the first try, start to kickstart your dirt bike again but make sure you give your throttle two short twists to power up your accelerator pump.

In addition, if you’re using your “hot start lever”, you can immediately proceed to kickstarting your dirt bike after pulling it.

Step 5: Start riding


After your engine has warmed up, you may now close your choke knob. It’s crucial that you don’t let your 4 stroke dirt bike idle for too long because it may overheat.

In contrast, if you were using the hot start, release the lever after a few seconds once the engine has already warmed up.

2. Starting a 4 Stroke Dirt Bike (Fuel-injected)

Step 1: Pull the starting valve


Unlike the carbureted 4 stroke dirt bike, you just need to pull your starting valve out as the first step to starting your motorcycle. The reason is that fuel-injected dirt bikes don’t have “fuel taps”.

Step 2: Kickstart your dirt bike


Once your start valve is on, you can proceed to kickstarting your dirt bike.

With your throttle closed and while holding your “cold start lever” open, kick your lever using full strokes.

Like dirt bikes with carburetors, it’s critical that you don’t half-asess your kicks because it will hinder your engine from having the complete cycle to fire up.

Step 3: Start riding


Make sure your engine is fully warmed up by keeping your “cold start lever” open for a minute before you start riding. Once your radiators are already warmed up, release the lever and you can now start your adventure.


For emergency purposes, if your engine still hasn’t started after doing the steps above, you can try to push start your 4 stroke dirt bike with your clutch.

The most common way is to run your dirt bike on a slope or a hill. Once your dirt bike is going down, pull your clutch in and slowly put your bike into second or third gear and then release your clutch once your dirt bike catches enough speed.

If you want to learn some tricks on starting a 4 stroke dirt bike, you may check this tutorial video!


In summary, how to start a 4 stroke dirt bike will depend whether you have a carbureted or fuel-injected 4 stroke dirt bike.

Nevertheless, it’s not very difficult to do, even for beginners, if you just know the proper technique. Just make sure you follow the correct steps when hot starting or cold starting your dirt bike. It’s also crucial that you’re using full strokes when kickstarting your dirt bike to fire up its engine faster.

I hope you found this blog helpful. Have a fun and safe ride!

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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.