Your bike won’t start and you have checked all of the obvious things that could be at fault. 

The key is in the start position, you have fuel and it is turned on, the kill switch is in the ON position, the transmission is in neutral and the kickstand is down. (Some bikes may have a different start sequence but you know how to start your bike.)  So with the things easiest to fix out of the way, you decide to check the battery. Before you try to boost or recharge you should check the connections to see if they need tightening or cleaning.

If you determine the battery needs charging, check your owners manual for the proper procedure for your type of battery.  (see the section on identifying your battery in the article Battery Maintenance).

The decision to jump start your bike is a judgement call.  It is usually not recommended because of the possibility of damaging one or both vehicles.  This can be a costly mistake because microprocessors are sensitive and a power spike such as you would receive during a boost could fry it as well as other things in your electrical system.  Know what you are doing and be cautious so you don’t injure yourself as well. With that in mind, if you still want to do it, this is HOW you do it.  Make sure you do it in order.

  1. Position both vehicles close enough for the cables to reach but not touching each other.
  2. Both vehicles should be turned off. Take the key out of the boost vehicle to be sure.
  3. Get out your jumper cables and connect the positive (+) which is usually red to the good battery’s positive terminal.
  4. Connect the positive cable to the positive terminal on the dead battery. Don’t let the clamps touch each other or any metal surface to avoid electric shock.
  5. Connect the negative cable (-) usually black to the good battery’s negative terminal.
  6. Connect the last cable (negative -) to a metal part of the bike frame (not chrome). This may spark.  The reason you clamp to the frame and not the negative terminal on the battery is to avoid spark near the battery.
  7. Start your motorcycle.
  8. Disconnect the cables in reverse order, again be careful not to touch them to each other or any metal.

If you can’t remember this sequence, write it on a card and maybe slip it in with your bike’s paperwork to have it handy in case you are stranded and need a boost.


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