Can A Motorcycle Run Without A Battery? – (Answered By Mechanic)
A motorcycle has a 4-stroke internal combustion engine (IC Engine) with a spark plug to ignite the fuel and air mixture. The spark plug takes current from the battery and ignites the air-fuel mixture, and your motorcycle runs.
So, can a motorcycle run without a battery? Older motorcycles have a carburetor system that can kickstart if the battery dies. But all modern motorcycles come with a fuel injector system controlled by an electronic circuit unit (ECU) which requires current to start the bike. If your battery is completely drained, you cannot start modern bikes even with a kickstart.
Will Motorcycle Run with a Bad Battery?
All motorcycles have an alternator system that generates current when the engine starts. Partial current is used for recharging the battery, and the remaining passes to the lightning system and spark plug. The current generated from your motorcycle alternator keeps the engine running and recharging your battery.
But, for starting the motorcycle, the battery supplies the initial power, which rotates the starter for compression stroke and ignites the air-fuel mixture. If your motorcycle battery is completely dead, you can still kickstart it.
Kickstarting is not possible in some modern bikes if the battery goes bad. Also, bikes with powerful engines like 650cc or more have a motor for fuel injection, which requires power from the battery. Hence, such bikes can not run with a bad battery.
Can You Kickstart a Motorcycle With a Dead Battery?
I recently faced a battery charging problem with my Royal Enfield Classic 350. I tried to kickstart the bike, but unfortunately, it didn’t start.
When I checked the voltage difference across positive and negative terminals, it was less than 9 volts. The battery should be charged at least 11 to 12 volts to start the engine with a starter switch.
I removed the battery from the cabinet and recharged it. When the battery charged to 11 volts, I tried to kickstart, and the engine started.
So, you can not kickstart a modern motorcycle with a dead battery, but if some power is still left, you can kickstart the engine and run a few miles to recharge the battery.
Can the Motorcycle Battery Be Charged?
Motorcycle batteries are rechargeable and mostly recharged from the current generated by the alternator of your bike. The battery is recharged when your ride the motorcycle at high speed.
If the battery is completely drained and your bike isn’t starting, you can recharge it externally with a standard DC charger. However, ensure that the charger voltage doesn’t exceed the battery’s rating. Generally, motorcycle batteries are rated for 12 volts and charge at 13.6 volts.
So, if your charger output power is 13 to 14 volts, you can charge any motorcycle battery with that. If you have an inverter at home, you can recharge your motorcycle battery with that.
Ensure that you don’t leave it connected for too long. Turn off the inverter and connect the positive terminal with the positive terminal or battery and the negative terminal with the negative. Start the inverter, connect it for 15 to 20 minutes, and then disconnect it.
Install the battery in your motorcycle cabinet, connect the wires, kickstart the engine, and ride a few miles at high speed. Your battery will be fully charged.
How To Start a Motorcycle With a Dead Battery?
The battery slowly drains if you leave your motorcycle for too long without starting it. It’s because some power is always consumed by its accessories like theft control systems, engine control units (ECU), GPS systems, fuel gauges, etc.
So, is your bike not starting because of a dead battery? I know it’s frustrating, but don’t worry! I also faced this situation a few weeks back.
I’ll guide you on how to start a motorcycle with a dead battery. Read the step-by-step process mentioned below.
1. Try Kickstart
Older bikes come with self-start as well as a kickstart combination. If your bike is not starting because of low battery, you can kickstart your bike to start the engine.
To kickstart your motorcycle, put the gear on neutral, press the kickstart paddle to the dead end, and slightly rotate the accelerator.
Your bike will start after a few times. Once the engine starts, fold the kickstart paddle, put your bike in first gear, and start riding.
2. Give Your Bike a Bump Start
Modern sports bikes don’t have a kickstart paddle, but you can still bump start the engine when the battery is dead.
Dirt bikes and sports bikes are generally lighter than cruiser bikes. So, bump starting is a bit easier for dirt and sports bikes.
Here is how to bump start your motorcycle:
- Switch on the ignition key and set the Kill Switch position to Run.
- Stand on the left side of the bike and hold the bike handlebars with both hands.
- Fold the side stand and put your motorcycle in second gear.
- Press and hold the clutch lever so that the wheels rotate freely.
- If someone is around, request him/her to give a little push from the backside.
- Once the wheel goes into motion, release the clutch lever to engage with the engine.
- Your motorcycle engine will start, and you can drive and reach your destination.
3. Clean Battery Terminals
Sometimes, wax build or corrosion on the battery doesn’t supply sufficient power to the starter, and your motorcycle won’t start. If someone is not around for help, bring the required tools from the toolbox and remove the battery cabinet.
Now, clean both positive (+) and negative (-) terminals with sandpaper. Now, connect both terminals and tighten the screw and start the motorcycle.
4. Jumpstart With Another Bike or Car
You can jumpstart your motorcycle from another bike or car battery if your battery is completely dead. If you’re jumpstarting with a car battery, ensure the car engine is not running. If you’re jumpstarting with a bike, start the donor bike to supply sufficient power to start your bike.
Here is how to jumpstart your motorcycle with another bike or car battery-
- Connect the red wire of the jump starter to your battery’s positive (+) terminal.
- Now, connect the other end of the lead to the positive terminal of the jump starter.
- Now, connect the black wire to the negative terminal of the jumpstarter battery first.
- Connect the other end to your battery’s negative (-) terminal.
- Now, set the kill switch position to Run and press the starter switch.
Disconnect the wires and thank the donor who helped in jumpstarting. Enjoy your ride.
5. Charge Your Battery
If you haven’t started your motorcycle for long, you might initially face starting issues. If your battery is drained, you can use any standard 12 volts battery charger to charge your motorcycle battery.
Once your battery is sufficiently charged, start the engine and ride a few miles to charge the battery fully.
Whether your motorcycle will run without a battery depends upon many factors. Suppose you have an old motorcycle with a traditional carburetor system. In that case, you can kickstart the engine without a battery, but all modern motorcycles have a fuel injection system that doesn’t start without a battery. So, it’s best to keep your battery maintained and fully charged. I also advise changing your motorcycle battery every two years for better performance and worry-free rides.