Can a motorcycle run without a battery? Tips to start the bike with dead battery

Can a motorcycle run without a battery?
Can a motorcycle run without a battery?

While it’s obvious that modern motorcycles that are not equipped with kick starter will not run without a battery. A battery is the main power source that is required to start your motorcycle and all the electrical components essential for safe riding such as lights, horns, etc. But there are several situations where your battery gets dead, or discharge due to some fault, etc. So, How do cope out in these situations? We will discuss everything in this article. Let’s start with the first question.

So, Can a motorcycle run without a battery? Most modern motorcycles that are equipped with an ECU ignition system can’t run without a battery or with a dead battery. These systems required some current (at least 9V) to actuate the fuel injectors.

Even without a battery, ignition is possible in older motorcycles equipped with TCI (Transistor Controlled Igniter), CDI (Capacitor Discharge Igniter), and magneto ignition systems. These motorcycles were made with built-in capacitors for a kick-start. That’s why older motorcycles can run even with a dead battery or without a battery. 

Why does a motorcycle need a battery to start?

Nowadays modern motorcycles are equipped with fuel-injected systems that make it hard to start the bike without a battery. So, why is a fuel injection motorcycle hard to start? To know the reason behind it we have to understand the function of the fuel-injection system a bit.

The fuel injection system uses electronic components such as oxygen sensors, injectors, pressure regulators, and fuel pumps to deliver the accurate mixing of the fuel and air to the combustion chamber. 

Because the whole process is based on electronic systems like computers, sensors, etc. Therefore modern motorcycles can’t start without a battery or even with a dead battery. 

Whereas old motorcycles can run without a battery because carburetors were used to mix the fuel and air in place of today’s fuel injection systems. Apart from this, an old motorcycle came with a magneto ignition system along with a kick-starter that makes them start without the need for a battery.

How do you start a motorcycle with a dead battery?

Battery being dead while you urgently need to go is a very critical situation. So, how do you proceed to start your motorcycle? If you have a motorcycle that has a kick starter then you can use that. A kick start can start your motorcycle with a dead or no battery because as you kick it activates the magneto for a brief moment enough to start your motorcycle.

Apart from this, there is a true and tried method to start a motorcycle known as push start. It is known by several other names also such as bump-start or pop start.

By this method, you can get the engine running on your motorcycle. You can push-start the motorcycle by yourself alone but if you have friends then it would be more helpful and easy for you to push start. To help you with push-start your motorcycle you need to find a plane road without any traffic and if you can found a hilly surface then it will be more helpful.

Here are the steps to push start the motorcycle:-

Step 1:- The most critical step is to select the gear in push start. Make sure to put the motorcycle in second or third gear. This way it won’t lurch as the first gear. You can proceed to roll in neutral to avoid the additional drag of the gearbox.

Step 2:- Pull the clutch and start pushing your motorcycle till it reaches the speed of 8-10 mph. You can take the help of your friends to push as it’s easier to require the speed. But, even if you are alone you can push start by running alongside the motorcycle and jump on it. Apart from this, if you are on a hilly slope then it’s a good thing to let gravity do its thing.

Step 3:- Now, release the clutch quickly and give some acceleration/ gas as the motorcycle reaches its speed. If you were started in neutral then switch to the second gear as you reach the speed and then release the clutch and some acceleration.

Step 4:- Your motorcycle should start by now, if not repeat the above steps again. So, if the engine catches, warm it up and then make sure to charge the battery as soon as possible to avoid getting through this process again.

That’s all you have to do to push-start your motorcycles. But with modern motorcycles equipped with electronic ignition systems, it’s hard to apply the same technique. But, there are other techniques to start these modern motorcycles; which I have discussed in the below section.

Can fuel injection motorcycle start with push-start?

Since fuel injection motorcycles use electronic components, and several sensors to deliver the accurate mixing of the fuel and air. Thus, these motorcycle requires a fair amount of power source to operate. Therefore fuel injection motorcycles can’t start with a push start.

The whole process of the fuel injection depends on electricity, and if the battery is dead then there are only two options remain. Either you charge your motorcycle battery or jump-start it.

If you have enough time then I would recommend you charging your motorcycle battery before riding. But, if you are in hurry then jump-starting the motorcycle is the only option we have.

So, the only option that remains is to jump-start your motorcycle by using the battery power from another vehicle or you can use a portable jump starter.

Jumper boxes are convenient as it comes with a lithium-ion battery that you can use to jump-start your motorcycle.

So, How do jump-start a motorcycle using another vehicle?

You can use the battery power of another vehicle to crack your motorcycle. Plenty of vehicles roll around, you can ask them to help you. You must have a jumper cable required to crank your motorcycle using other vehicle battery power.

Here are the steps to jump-start your motorcycle:-

Step 1:– Connect the red clamps to the positive terminals on both the vehicles

Step 2:- Connect the black clamp to the negative terminal on the good battery 

Step 3:- Connect the black clamp to your motorcycle unpainted chassis part away from the battery

If you are jump-starting a car then there is no need for the car to be turned on because the car’s battery has more capacity than the battery of your motorcycle.

Step 4:- Now, turn on the key and start your motorcycle. The motorcycle should start by now but if it’s not started then wait few seconds and try again. 

If your motorcycle is not starting even after many attempts then it’s most likely that your battery is completely drained or there is another issue that you are not aware of.

Step 5:- Now, disconnect the jumper cable in reverse order as you put them. Start with the negative clip on your motorcycle. If your motorcycle is started then keep it running in high revs as it helps to charge the battery. I have written a much helpful article regarding battery charging while riding you can read it here.

If you have a portable jump starter then you can use that to start your motorcycle. You will not need to look for any vehicle or anyone’s help.

Starting with the portable jump starter is also the same as the above one. It also comes with a cable to attach to the battery directly.

  • First connect the red handle to the positive terminal and the black to the negative.
  • Now, turn on the jump starter and make sure to set the jump starter to the correct voltage.
  • Try starting your motorcycle, once the motorcycle starts remove the cable in reverse order (i.e negative terminal first and then positive).
  • If your motorcycle doesn’t start then wait a few minutes before trying again. In case your motorcycle doesn’t start even after several attempts then it’s an indication that your battery doesn’t hold the charge.

I think if you are a solo traveler then make sure to get a portable jump starter as it will be very valuable for your interrupted journey.


So, can a motorcycle run without a battery or a dead battery? Motorcycles equipped with the magneto ignition system and have kick-start can run without battery or dead battery.

But with today’s FI system, the battery plays a very crucial role to start the motorcycle. The fuel injection consists of electronic components and several sensors to work simultaneously for the job of fuel mixture, thus you need to have a charged battery to start your motorcycle.

To avoid a dead battery situation make sure to turn off everything as your leave your motorcycle and don’t add any equipment that eats too much battery.


Can you kick-start a motorcycle without a battery?

If you have lower cc motorcycles along with the kick starter then you can start a motorcycle even without a battery. But, it’s possible only in CDI, TCI, and magneto ignition systems. These ignition system motorcycles are possible to start with a kick start without a battery.

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