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Thread: Push Start

  1. #1
    Registered User jek_ict's Avatar
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    Push Start

    While standing next to my bike gearing up to go home after work yesterday, a co-worker's Harley wouldn't start. The battery had enough juice to turn the starter, but not enough to get the engine to catch. Since I didn't have jumper cables, and my battery is about 20 screws and 20 minutes to access, I suggested a push start. That should work, right? Just get enough speed and pop the clutch.

    I'm really glad there isn't video of me pushing that lead sled of a bike across the parking lot. I typically run close to 20 miles a week, but trying to push that thing really took the energy out of me. After three attempts I was spent and he was getting ready to call his wife. Fortunately, another co-worker came by with jumper cables.

    On the plus side, Harley batteries are under the seat and he only needed to remove three screws to gain access. With the jump his bike started and he was on his way home while I wandered back to my bike hoping my noticeably sluggish battery didn't put me in his boat.
    ~Jason

  2. #2
    Jason, have you ever been to the Falling Leaf Rally in October at Potosi, Missouri? It is sometimes referred to as the frozen leaf rally, and many a morning, with frost on seats and windshields, we push started Airhead BMWs so folks could go home.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
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  3. #3
    Registered User AKsuited's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jek_ict View Post
    On the plus side, Harley batteries are under the seat and he only needed to remove three screws to gain access.
    On my 2015 R1200GS, the right side battery cover is held on by one screw. Remove that, and you have access to the negative terminal and a positive post, for easy jump starting or for charging the battery with a Battery Tender.

    Harry

  4. #4
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Have a battery giving it up on our 11S, had to push...actually roll and bump twice yesterday after realizing my situation.
    Barely fired at fuel up, forgot at one stop and rookily dumped the clutch another...luckily on a hill. Headed home after second rolloff.
    The S has a well tucked away battery, unlike Harry's new bike does.
    I was solo and toolless anyways

    Have only successfully push started our 11R once by myself, I'm too old for that after a few tries
    Have roll started several models if the dash had a glow and the hill steep enough.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  5. #5
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Hope y'all trying this in 2nd or 3rd gear.
    Great, unwanted aerobic exercise.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  6. #6
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Hope y'all trying this in 2nd or 3rd gear.
    Great, unwanted aerobic exercise.
    OM
    Oh yeah, it's just hard to do on a larger bike... reaching needed velocity, getting on and doing the bump thing on a tall BMW is a bugger...and someone left the key off

    I am not 14 and it is not a Honda 90 Scrambler
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  7. #7
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Oh yeah, it's just hard to do on a larger bike... reaching needed velocity, getting on and doing the bump thing on a tall BMW is a bugger...and someone left the key off

    I am not 14 and it is not a Honda 90 Scrambler
    And with these new-fangled commpueter comtrolleded engins, iffin' it doesn't see around 9.2 volts, a push isn't going to matter.

    I remember when I could lift a Honda 90 into the bumper racks of Ma's car.....remember bumpers?
    om
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    Quote Originally Posted by henzilla View Post
    Oh yeah, it's just hard to do on a larger bike... reaching needed velocity, getting on and doing the bump thing on a tall BMW is a bugger...and someone left the key off

    I am not 14 and it is not a Honda 90 Scrambler
    Had to do it once at 16 on a Honda 160.

  9. #9
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    And with these new-fangled commpueter comtrolleded engins, iffin' it doesn't see around 9.2 volts, a push isn't going to matter.

    I remember when I could lift a Honda 90 into the bumper racks of Ma's car.....remember bumpers?
    om
    Those bumper racks look pretty iffy nowadays....we too had a set to get the bikes to the driver license office legally and a few rescues

    And yes , if it's a faint glow of a neutral light, you are in trouble trying to bump/push

    Quote Originally Posted by EUGENE View Post
    Had to do it once at 16 on a Honda 160.
    We started towing each other or pushing with a stiff leg on the rear peg after the bikes got up to 350's...stupidly bulletproof years we can laugh at now
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  10. #10
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Hope y'all trying this in 2nd or 3rd gear.
    Great, unwanted aerobic exercise.
    OM
    In early June in 2009, on a trip home to Canada from from Alabama's Chicken Rally, I had to always park my bike downhill. Unfortunately, half the time, it would only start by bumping it in either 2nd or 3rd gear. I was truly lucky as once home, bump starting no longer did the trick. Had to take it to a BMW dealership where they said they'd work on it during their downtime over the summer.

    On the plus side, my wife told me that there was no downtime for a bike shop in the summer therefore there'd be no riding for me that year. As well she pointed out that since I was so old, I had to find a second bike, because of my age, there weren't many years left for riding. I was told that with a second bike, there should always one ready for trips. I did protest, but finally gave in and picked up a second one.

    Dealership had the K repaired in early September.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  11. #11
    Boxers uber alles sagerat's Avatar
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    Lovely memories of push starting my fully loaded KLR twice in Arizona (Hopi rez, Second Mesa and then gas station at Tuba City). Luckily, it was only about 113F at the time. Loose battery cable was the culprit, which I fixed in the motel parking lot in Page at 6 a.m. the next day.

    I've also push started my old '82 Honda CB750F Supersport about a half-dozen times in the three years I had it as it was parked in my apartment's carport. Dreaded those first attempts to start after winter.

    Now, I will default to my BMWOA offered services as I don't want to even think about push starting my '09 GSA or my Ural.

  12. #12
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    I had a 1959 VW microbus...it could be push started by me on the flat landscape of Houston/Galveston. Run like crazy, hop into cab, slam into third...put-putt-putt- gone most times.

    6 volt system and had a gremlin only when it was raining or I was in a hurry dressed for NOT pushing a bus...but I was 16
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

  13. #13
    Registered User jek_ict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Jason, have you ever been to the Falling Leaf Rally in October at Potosi, Missouri? It is sometimes referred to as the frozen leaf rally, and many a morning, with frost on seats and windshields, we push started Airhead BMWs so folks could go home.
    Haven't been to that one yet, but it sounds fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by Omega Man View Post
    Hope y'all trying this in 2nd or 3rd gear.
    Great, unwanted aerobic exercise.
    OM
    Hmm . . . I think my co-worker kept dropping it into first. Obviously, neither of us had any idea what we were doing.

    The next day my co-worker was still laughing at the thought of him sitting on the bike as if he were cruising down the road while I was pushing the bike around. I, of course, laughed back with comments about the reliability of Harley Davidson motorcycles.

    As a side note, I may end up push starting my bike before the year is out. My battery is getting more and more sluggish when trying to start the bike and I really don't want to replace it right before winter storage. I'm going to remove those 20 screws and check the fluid levels sometime this weekend. Hopefully it is just running a little low on distilled water.
    ~Jason

  14. #14
    MOA #24991 Pauls1150's Avatar
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    Another method of push-starting a Harley is to bring your bike up to the Harley's left side, and place your right foot firmly on the rear of the primary cover to push it.

    Belts and security cables can also double as tow lines; the "puller" should have it loosely anchored as close to center as possible, while the "pullee" (pulled?) can have ONE wrap around the bars near the center, with a hand holding it in place - and let it go as the bike starts.

    Second gear seems to work better than first or third - easier to dump the clutch and the bike is less likely to get away from you.

  15. #15
    not so retired henzilla's Avatar
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    I'm so glad YouTube wasn't around back in my younger days attempting bike push starts and tows as well.
    For every 5 good ones was a massive fail of some sort. nice to be able to laugh about it now.
    I had some logic shy aquaintenances ,relatives and friends who couldn't quite grasp the sequence or the few big details. The older we got, the dumber some of the attempts became. Sitting here chuckling at many memories.

    The pushing the H-D by the primary case rings a bell...and a story.
    Steve Henson
    SABMWRA MOA Club#62's Flat Fixer/ current forum moderator
    It's not the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away-D.Dillon/G. Strait

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