How to Start a Dirt Bike

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Now that summer has arrived, the children can’t wait to operate their dirt bikes and ATVs. They enjoy riding with friends through trails that meander through the woods or showing off their riding skills over jumps and through woops. What could be more frustrating then not being able to start your dirt bike when your friends are waiting for you to ride with them? If your dirt bike won’t start, go through these resources to see if you forget one of the steps. Don’t forget to check the gas tank before you ride as well. You can’t go far on empty, you know. If you are a beginner, then these steps will help you learn how to start a dirt bike.

A kick start dirt bike
(Photos by Julia Fuller 2008)

Things You'll Need

  • A dirt bike
  • A foot, preferably in a shoe or boot
  • A finger
  • Helmet
  • Chest protector
  • Boots
Step 1

Locate your dirt bikes OFF/ON, RUN/OFF, or START Switch. Use your finger to move the switch to the RUN, ON, or START position.

Move switch to ON position
Step 2

Look on the side of your dirt bike near the engine and locate the "FUEL ON/OFF" switch. Use your finger to move the lever to the "ON" position. Your dirt bike will not start if the fuel is turned off. This off switch helps prevent fuel leaks when your dirt bike is stored.

Turn fuel switch ON
Step 3

If your dirt bike engine isn’t warm, you will need to turn the choke on to start the bike. Locate the choke lever near the engine on the side of your dirt bike, probably not far from the "FUEL ON/OFF" switch. Use your finger to move the choke lever to the on position. Once your dirt bike has started and the engine has warmed up, you will need to move the choke lever to the "off" position.

Turn choke ON
Step 4

Bend your knee and place your foot on the kick start peg while leaning your weight on your other foot. Stand slightly and push the kick starter all the way down with as much force as you can.

Foot on kick start peg
Step 5

If the bike doesn't start after the first attemp to kick start it, try again. Remember to push the peg as far down as it will go with as much of your weight as possible.

Push all the way down

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Tips & Warnings

  • If your dirt bike has a four-stroke compression engine and won't start, release the compression valve and try starting it again.
  • Sometimes, the engine remains in a compressed position and cannot turnover until the pressure is released.
  • If your dirt bike is equipped with an electric-starter, but won't start, you can follow these steps and kick start it.
  • Remember: always wear safety equipment when operating a dirt bike or ATV.
  • You should at least wear a helmet, boots that cover your ankles, and a chest protector to avoid serious injury.
  • Always supervise children when operating motor vehicles.
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