Chokes are found in carbureted motorcycles that are being used to control the airflow to the engine. So, chokes basically help to start the motorcycle by providing restricted airflow in the carburetor of an engine.
So, choke basically helps to enrich the fuel-air mixture, making it easier for motorcycles to start in any conditions. So, there could arise many problems with the choke that can cause starting or running issues in motorcycles. There are many questions that riders have regarding the choke and problem. First, we will discuss the function and use of choke then we will look into the different issues of choke.
The Basic Function of Choke
With today’s fuel injection systems chokes have been replaced with electronic systems but chokes are found in carbureted motorcycles.
Chokes are valves attached to the carburetor directly or indirectly via cables. The basic function of the choke is to provide the carburetor with extra gasoline helping to start the engine.
As you turn the choke (either by pulling or via a lever), it restricts the air pressure inside the carburetor allowing more fuel to enter the combustion chamber.
So, simply the function of the choke is to provide the engine with more fuel (rich fuel mixture) to start the engine.
The question arises, when and why this motorcycle requires more fuel? Here is the answer:-
Due to environmental factors, the engine temperature goes down or goes up. So, when the engine is cold, fuel hardly vaporizes and is prone to condense on the walls of the intake manifold. Because of this, the cylinder could not able to get enough fuel to start the engine.
Thus more fuel is required, generally, we call it a rich mixture (more fuel less air) to the engine until it warms up.
That’s where the choke comes into function, “Choke is a mechanical device connected to a carburetor that provides rich fuel mixture by restricting the airflow at the entrance of the carburetor.”
So, all the use of the choke in carburetor motorcycles. Now, I will be discussing general questions of the riders that confuse riders too much.
Is it Ok to ride a motorcycle with a choke on?
No, It is not a good idea to ride a motorcycle with a choke on, as you turn the choke on, it will make the fuel mixture rich while restricting the air supply. So, riding with a rich fuel mixture can cause a variety of problems in the engine.
First of all, the fuel consumed by your motorcycle will increase which will cause fuel starvation. Not only you will run out of fuel early but also it could be harmful to your motorcycle in long run. The choke in carburated motorcycles is designed for emergency situations when your motorcycle doesn’t start due to low temperature or you have low fuel.
In these situations chokes come in handy and help to start the motorcycle with a rich mixture of fuel. Therefore, the final conclusion is you should not ride your motorcycle with a choke-on.
You should turn the choke on, only till the engine warms up. And after the engine warms up, the riding should be carried out without it.
What happens if you ride a motorcycle with the choke on?
Riding a motorcycle with a choke-on will not damage your motorcycle engine too much. But it will make the motorcycle run richer, using extra fuel on the way. If you have ridden your motorcycle for a long distance with a choke on; then there will be higher carbon deposits on the spark plug, piston, valves, etc. Let’s discuss it in detail.
Riding with choke-on could cause these effects:-
- Rich Fuel Mixture
- High Fuel Consumption
- Less Mileage
- Unburnt fuel exiting out
- The foul smell of fuel
- Carbon deposits on parts
- Engine heating
You can see the list of effects that could happen to your motorcycle if you ride it with a choke-on.
As you turn the choke on the motorcycle engine receives less air and more fuel. So, you are riding with a Rich fuel Mixture, which is not a good fuel-air ratio. Running Rich will make the high fuel consumption giving you less mileage on your motorcycle.
Apart from this, because of less air and more fuel intake, there will be some unburnt fuel that could not be ignited in the cylinder.
That fuel will exit from the exhaust producing backfire and a foul smell from the motorcycle. Apart from this, if you rode your motorcycle with a choke on without noticing the above symptoms, there will carbon deposits in some parts like a spark plug, piston, valves, etc.
To know more about backfiring you can read this article, where I have backfiring issues and their solution in detail.
These are the things that could happen to your motorcycle when you ride you choke on it. Now, as soon as you find out your mistake, make sure to turn off the choke asap. Take your motorcycle to the service center and get it checked to prevent further damage to it.
Why my motorcycle doesn’t run without a choke on?
You start your motorcycle with a choke on then it runs completely ok but after turning off the choke your motorcycle dies. Here is the simple cause that could be causing start problems.
Your motorcycle doesn’t run without a choke-on because the engine is not getting enough fuel to run. A partially or fully clogged pilot jet could be responsible for it. Apart from this, clogged fuel lines, dirty air filters, and other carburetor issues could also cause this problem.
But generally, most of the time the real culprit behind your motorcycle not running is a clogged pilot jet. As pilot get is responsible for delivering fuel for idle, and it also has the smallest passages in the carburetor.
To resolve the issue, you need to clean the pilot jet by taking the carburetor all apart. You can use Berryman Chemtool.
What happens if you leave the choke on Overnight?
Leaving the choke overnight on will not cause any damage to the motorcycle or engine as the engine was off, and the carburetor wasn’t in the operation, therefore nothing can be moving internally. So, there is no reason to worry even if you leave the choke on overnight.
But, make sure to get into the habit of rechecking the choke before leaving the motorcycle. You should always switch off the choke after warming up your engine. This is the best way to prevent any issue with the carburetor and extra fuel consumption.
When should you use the choke on a motorcycle?
Now, we have discussed all the questions about the motorcycle choke. Coming to the most basic and most important question, “when to use choke?”.
You should use the choke only when your motorcycle engine has been sitting idle for a month or when the weather is cold or chilly outside.
The basic function of the choke is to enrich the fuel/air mixture to facilitate the cold starts by allowing extra fuel and restricting the airflow. This enriched fuel/air mixture also helps the motorcycle to start when its engine has not been turned on for several days.
And, after your engine has started make sure to turn the choke off before going out riding.
I have discussed most of the frequently asked questions on the web regarding chokes. Here is the summary or say important points you should remember:-
- The basic function of the choke is to provide the carburetor with extra gasoline helping to start the engine.
- No, It is not a good idea to ride a motorcycle with a choke on, as you turn the choke on, it will make the fuel mixture rich while restricting the air supply.
- A partially or fully clogged pilot jet could be responsible for preventing your motorcycle from starting without the choke-on.
- Leaving the choke overnight will not cause any damage to the motorcycle or engine.
- You should use the choke only when your motorcycle engine has been idle for a month or when the weather is cold or chilly outside.
That’s all for this blog, make sure to hit me an email if you have any queries. I would love to hear from you.