How to Start Your Dirt Bike Properly

How to Start Your Dirt Bike Properly

So, you’ve got yourself a brand new dirt bike, and you can’t wait to rev that engine and hit the trails. But before you can embark on your off-roading adventure, you need to know how to start your dirt bike properly. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned rider, understanding the correct steps for starting your bike is essential for a smooth and safe ride. In this article, we’ll guide you through the simple yet crucial process of starting your dirt bike, ensuring that you’re ready to kickstart your adrenaline-fueled journey. Get ready to master the art of starting your dirt bike like a pro!


Pre-Ride Inspection

Before you hop on your dirt bike and hit the trails, it’s crucial to perform a thorough pre-ride inspection. This will ensure that your bike is in optimal condition and reduce the risk of any unfortunate mishaps during your ride. Let’s go over each step of the inspection process to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Check fuel level

Start by checking the fuel level in your bike’s tank. Running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere can be quite a predicament. Make sure you have enough fuel to cover your planned ride, and if necessary, top up the tank before you head out.

Inspect tires and wheels

Next, take a close look at your bike’s tires and wheels. Check for any signs of excessive wear, damage, or punctures. Ensure that the tires are properly inflated to the recommended PSI for optimum handling and traction. Don’t forget to inspect the spokes and rims for any loose or damaged parts.

Check brakes

Brakes are a vital safety feature, so it’s crucial to inspect them before every ride. Test both the front and rear brakes to ensure they are functioning correctly and provide sufficient stopping power. If you notice any unusual squealing or grinding noises, consult a professional for further inspection and possible adjustments.

Inspect chain and sprockets

Inspecting the chain and sprockets is essential for maintaining proper bike performance and longevity. Look for any signs of excessive wear, loose links, or tight spots. Ensure that the chain is properly lubricated and adjust its tension if necessary. Additionally, check the sprockets for signs of wear or damage and replace them if needed.

Check air filter

A clean and well-maintained air filter is crucial for optimal engine performance. Remove the air filter and inspect it for any dirt, debris, or damage. If the filter appears dirty or clogged, clean or replace it accordingly. Make sure to properly reinstall the air filter before starting your bike.

Inspect fluids

Lastly, it’s essential to inspect the various fluids in your dirt bike. Check the oil level and quality, ensuring that it falls within the manufacturer’s recommended range. Inspect the coolant level and ensure it is at the appropriate level for your ride. Additionally, check the brake fluid and clutch fluid levels and top up if necessary. Having the correct fluid levels will help maintain the reliability and longevity of your bike’s systems.

Safety Gear

Before embarking on any dirt bike adventure, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety. Wearing the right safety gear not only protects you from potential injuries but also enhances your riding experience. Here are the essential safety gear items every dirt bike rider should have:


A helmet is the most critical piece of safety gear for any motorcycle or dirt bike rider. Choose a helmet that fits snugly and meets the required safety standards. It should provide proper protection for your head, including the face and chin. Remember to fasten the chinstrap securely before each ride.


Goggles protect your eyes from dust, debris, and any flying objects while riding. Ensure they fit comfortably and provide a clear field of vision. Look for goggles with anti-fogging features to maintain visibility during challenging riding conditions.


Investing in a pair of sturdy and durable off-road boots is essential for protecting your feet and ankles. Look for boots with ample ankle support, reinforced soles, and good traction. These will provide stability and protect against potential injuries from impacts or debris.


Protect your hands and improve your grip by wearing proper riding gloves. Look for gloves that offer ample protection, such as reinforced knuckles and palms. Choose gloves that are comfortable, breathable, and provide a proper fit to maximize control and comfort.

Chest protector

A chest protector is an underappreciated but crucial piece of safety gear. It protects your chest, back, and vital organs from impacts and roost. Look for a chest protector that offers adequate protection without compromising comfort or mobility.

Knee and elbow guards

These protective gear items are essential for safeguarding your joints from potential injuries. They provide impact resistance and prevent excessive strain on your knees and elbows during falls or crashes. Invest in guards that fit securely and allow for freedom of movement.

Remember, safety gear is not optional when it comes to dirt biking. Always wear your safety gear properly and replace any damaged equipment before riding.

Starting Position

Now that you’ve completed the pre-ride inspection and put on your safety gear, it’s time to mount your dirt bike and assume the proper starting position. Proper positioning on the bike will ensure better control and stability throughout your ride. Follow these steps to get into the correct starting position:

Mount the bike

Approach your dirt bike from the left side and stand with your dominant leg closest to the bike. Swing your leg over the seat and gently lower yourself onto the bike, landing softly on the seat.

Sit balanced

Once on the seat, ensure that you are sitting as centrally as possible. Distribute your weight evenly to maintain balance and stability. Place both hands on the handlebars, keeping your elbows slightly bent and relaxed.

Place feet on footpegs

Position your feet on the bike’s footpegs, making sure they are securely placed and can easily reach the ground if needed. By keeping your feet on the footpegs, you’ll have better control of the bike and be able to maneuver more effectively.

Read more : How to Choose the Right Dirt Bike Trailer

Ignition Key and Kill Switch

Before starting your dirt bike’s engine, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the ignition key and kill switch. These components control the power supply to the engine, allowing you to start and stop the bike smoothly. Here’s what you need to know:

Insert key into ignition

Locate the ignition switch, usually located on the right side of the handlebars near the throttle. Insert the key fully into the ignition switch.

Turn the key to ON position

Once the key is inserted, turn it clockwise or as indicated by your bike’s specific instructions to the ON position. This provides power to the electrical systems of the bike.

Locate the kill switch

The kill switch is typically located on the handlebars, either on the left or right side. Its purpose is to quickly shut off the engine in case of an emergency or when the bike needs to be parked. Familiarize yourself with the location and functionality of the kill switch on your particular dirt bike.

How to Start Your Dirt Bike Properly

Clutch and Throttle

To start your dirt bike properly, you’ll need to understand how to use the clutch and throttle effectively. These controls allow you to engage the engine and set the bike in motion smoothly. Here’s what you need to do:

Pull clutch lever

On the left side of the handlebars, you’ll find the clutch lever. Pull the clutch lever towards the handlebar grip fully and hold it in this position. The clutch disengages the engine from the transmission, allowing you to start the bike without it moving forward.

Ensure throttle is in the closed position

While holding the clutch lever, use your right hand to locate the throttle. Twist the throttle towards you, ensuring it is in the closed or zero throttle position. This will prevent the bike from unexpectedly revving as you start it.


If your dirt bike has a choke system, it’s crucial to understand how to use it effectively, especially when starting a cold engine. The choke is designed to restrict airflow to the carburetor, enriching the air-to-fuel ratio for easier starting. Follow these steps to activate the choke:

Locate the choke lever

The choke lever is usually located near the carburetor, engine, or handlebars, depending on the specific dirt bike model. Familiarize yourself with its location before attempting to activate the choke.

Activate the choke

With the engine in the OFF position, engage the choke by either flipping the lever or pulling it towards you, as indicated by your dirt bike’s instructions. Engaging the choke will ensure a richer fuel mixture, making it easier to start a cold engine.

Kick-Start or Electric Start

The starting method for your dirt bike will depend on whether it has a kick-start or an electric start system. Let’s explore both options:

Kick-Start Method

If your bike is equipped with a kick-start mechanism, follow these steps to start the engine:

  1. Position your dominant leg

    Stand on the side of the bike opposite your dominant leg. For example, if your dominant leg is your right leg, stand on the left side of the bike.

  2. Kick down on kickstarter

    Locate the kickstarter lever, usually on the right side of the bike. Position your foot on the kickstarter lever and push it firmly downward with a smooth and swift motion. This will initiate the engine’s compression stroke.

  3. Return kickstarter to its original position

    After kicking down on the kickstarter, allow it to come back up to its original position. This action will reset the kickstarter for the next kickstart attempt.

  4. Repeat the process if necessary

    If the engine does not start on the first kickstart attempt, repeat the previous steps until the engine fires and starts running smoothly.

Electric Start Method

If your dirt bike is equipped with an electric start button, follow these steps to start the engine:

  1. Locate the electric start button

    The electric start button is usually located on the right side of the handlebars. Familiarize yourself with its location before starting the bike.

  2. Press the electric start button

    With the key in the ON position, press and hold the electric start button until the engine starts. Be sure to release the button once the engine is running to prevent potential damage to the starter motor.

Remember, starting methods may vary based on the dirt bike model, so consult your bike’s owner’s manual for specific instructions.


After successfully starting your dirt bike’s engine, it’s vital to let it warm up before diving into full-throttle action. Properly warming up the engine allows the various components to reach their optimal operating temperatures, ensuring better performance and longevity. Follow these steps to warm up your dirt bike:

Let the engine idle for a few minutes

Allow the engine to idle for a few minutes after starting. During this period, the engine’s internal parts will warm up gradually and reach their ideal working temperatures.

Blip the throttle gently

After the initial idle period, gently blip the throttle a few times to get some fuel flowing through the carburetor. This helps clear out any potential fuel blockages and prepares the engine for smoother acceleration.

Observe engine response

While the engine is idling and after blipping the throttle, pay attention to its response. Listen for any unusual sounds or vibrations and look for consistent idling and smooth responses to throttle inputs. If you notice any issues, consult a professional for further inspection and possible adjustments.

Check Controls

Before taking off on your dirt bike adventure, it’s crucial to verify that all the controls are in proper working order. This final check ensures that you have full control of your bike while riding. Here’s what you need to do:

Test brakes

With the bike stationary, lightly engage the front and rear brakes separately to ensure they are responsive and provide sufficient stopping power. If you notice any unusual grinding or squealing noises or a lack of braking power, have the brakes checked and adjusted by a professional.

Operate clutch

Fully disengage and engage the clutch several times to ensure it operates smoothly and without any sticking or excessive play. The clutch lever should have a consistent feel and engage the engine smoothly when released.

Check throttle response

Twist the throttle to various positions, ensuring it responds smoothly and returns to the closed position without any hesitation or sticking. Observe how the engine revs and note any abnormalities in throttle response.

If you encounter any issues during these control checks, it is advisable to address them before embarking on your ride. Consult a professional if you’re unsure how to resolve any potential issues.

Riding Preparation

Before you kick up dust and hit the trails, there are a few final steps to ensure that you are fully prepared for your dirt bike adventure. Follow these last-minute preparations to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride:

Put on safety gear

Double-check that you are wearing all the necessary safety gear mentioned earlier in this article. Ensure that everything is properly fastened, adjusted, and functioning correctly.

Position yourself on the bike

Assume the proper riding position on your dirt bike. Keep your body relaxed and balanced. Maintain a slight bend in your arms and knees, allowing for shock absorption. Position yourself slightly forward on the bike to maintain control and better maneuverability.

Check mirrors

If your dirt bike has mirrors, check them for proper adjustment before you start riding. Ensure they provide a clear rearview and improve your situational awareness during your ride.

Adjust controls if needed

Take a moment to check and adjust the positioning of your handlebars, levers, and footpegs to ensure a comfortable riding experience. Properly adjusted controls contribute to better bike control and prevent unnecessary strain on your body.

Ensure proper body position

Before taking off, remember to maintain a proper body position while riding. Keep your weight centered on the bike, position your body as needed for turning, and use your legs to grip the bike’s frame for stability. Proper body positioning contributes to better bike control and minimizes the risk of accidents.

Now that you’re fully prepared and have gone through all the necessary steps, you’re ready to hop on your dirt bike and embark on your off-road adventure. Enjoy the thrill, but always prioritize safety and ride responsibly. Remember to follow all local laws, trail regulations, and respect the environment while exploring the great outdoors with your dirt bike. Safe riding!

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