How To Jumpstart A Motorcycle Easily When You Are Stranded?

How many times have you been left high and dry because your motorcycle's battery has died on you? I'm sure all of us have been left in this kind of a situation at least once. Even if you haven't, it is always good to be prepared to handle this emergency. Therefore it is good to know how to jump-start a motorcycle everytime you are stranded.

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Motorcycle batteries usually go dead in cold weather conditions, or if a motorcycle has not been running for a long time.

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What is jump-starting?


Jump-starting is the process by which you can use a charged battery from another vehicle to recharge the dead battery on your motorcycle. Jump-starting a motorcycle (or even a car) is considered a controversial topic because electrical systems of one vehicle may be different from those of another. But sometimes there is really no other option. There are two ways in which a motorcycle can be jump-started:

  • Using another motorcycle
  • Using a car

The best way is to use a motorcycle to charge another motorcycle, and not a car (preferably). This is because the size of car batteries is larger and because they have more power (technically called amperage), they can damage the battery of a motorcycle. But we will tell you how to do it with precautions, because, face it, life doesn't give you a problem with an ideal solution.

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What You Will Need To Jump-start Your Motorcycle

The best thing is that you don't need a whole lot of paraphernalia to jump-start your motorcycle. You need exactly three things to kick some life into a dead motorcycle battery. (Okay four if you include these instructions!). These are:

  • Motorcycle jumper cables - Any avid rider must own a pair of these riding essentials - especially if you do long distances. Jumper cables work by transferring electricity from a working battery powered by an alternator and the dead battery of a vehicle.

This is a basic wire with alligator clips at both ends. Of the four clips found on these jumpers, mostly, two are red and two are black. The red clips should be clamped to the positive terminals on the batteries. On the other hand, one black clip connects to the negative terminal on the charged battery, while the other should be clamped onto a solid piece of grounded metal on the vehicle that has a discharged battery.

Most jumper cables come with their own set of instructions to make sure you connect them correctly. It is extremely dangerous if you connect the cables incorrectly. This is what jumper cables look like

  • Motorcycle with dead battery
  • Car or motorcycle with good battery

How To Jump-start Your Motorcycle

Before you decide to jump-start, you should ensure that the problem is a dead battery. If the ignition lights up or the self winds up when you push the start button on the bike, then the problem is not the battery, but something else. You may need to call a service station in this case.

Another crucial thing you must remember is to read the manual or manufacturer's specifications about the make and model of your motorcycle and specific jump-starting instructions.


After satisfying yourself with the necessary information, this is how you need to accomplish a jump-start successfully.

Step 1: Before you attempt to jump-start your motorcycle, ensure that both batteries have similar voltage or you could damage electrical parts of the motorcycle. This also means that the lights and any other electrical equipment is also turned off.

Step 2: Park the two motorcycles -- the dead one and the 'donor' bike -- close to each other - but in such a way that they do not touch. Then remove the seats or side-covers so you have better access to the batteries of both bikes.

Step 3: You must ensure that the engines of both bikes are turned off. At this stage, examine the jumping cables carefully. Positive cables are usually red in colour and negative jumping cables are black.

Step 4: You must also make sure that protective terminal covers are removed from the batteries of both motorcycles - the one that is 'dead' and the one that is a 'donor'. Now comes the part where you need to concentrate. Clamp the red jumper cable (which is the positive cable) firmly to the dead motorcycle's positive battery terminal (marked with a + sign). You must make sure that the clamp does not scratch the paint on any other metallic part.

Step 5: Clamp, firmly, the other end of the red jumper cable to the donor motorcycle's positive battery terminal, also marked with a "+" sign.

Step 6: Now, you have to firmly clamp the black jumper cable (which is the negative cable) to the donor motorcycle's negative battery terminal, which is marked with a " - " sign.

Step 7: Clamp the second end of the black jumper cable to a solid metal surface on the engine of the dead motorcycle - or a large metal object - like a bolt or screw. This is how you make a provision for the 'earthing' of the jump start.

For your convenience, here is a 'circuit-map' of the correct way to connect jumping cables:

Step 8: Do the second safety check to make sure that the jumper cables are not touching any other parts of the engine.

Step 9: Start the donor motorcycle's and let the engine idle for a few minutes.Step 9: Start the dead motorcycle and let the engine idle for a few minutes.

Step 10: Disconnect the black jumper cable from the motorcycle that was dead. Then disconnect the black jumper cable from the donor motorcycle.

Step 11: Remove the red jumper cable from the donor motorcycle. Then remove the red jumper cable from the once-dead motorcycle. You must take extra care to make sure that the clamps do not touch anything metallic till such time that you fully disconnect the cables.

For a step-by-step visual demonstration of the jump-starting process, you can see this video that explains how you can jump-start the dead battery of your motorcycle:


• If this process doesn't work, the dead motorcycle's problem may not be with the battery. That's when you need to call a tow truck or a professional mechanic.

• You must never connect the black-coloured clamp to the negative (-) terminal of the "dead" battery. This could cause sparking to occur and the sparking could ignite the gases in the battery.

• You also need to be very careful while connecting the positive cable clamp to the dead battery. Do not get the clamp in contact with any area of the motorcycle except the terminal of the positive battery. If this happens, an electrical charge will run through the entire motorcycle and cause severe damage to computerised components or electrical parts of your motorcycle.

• After completing the jump-start process, it will be good to drive your motorcycle around for a little while to recharge the battery. Basically, the motorcycle should be running till you reach your destination or to a repair centre where you can get a new battery or a proper recharge.


Let’s hope this solves at least one problem that long-distance motorcycle riders are likely to face.

Do share your experiences or other pro-tips if you have been in a situation where your motorcycle battery died on you.

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Lucas Knight

Over the past 10 years, Lucas Knight has been a motorcycle rider. He has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to motorcyclist community. This is the reason why he created where his passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcycle lover. Follow his facebook and twitter or subcribe to his website to receive more useful information in motorcycle world.

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