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Do electric start only (no backup kicker) dirt bikes really leave owners stranded?

Do electric start only (no backup kicker) dirt bikes really leave owners stranded?  

443 members have voted

  1. 1. What's been your experience with electric start only dirt bikes (no backup kicker):

    • None of my electric start only dirt bikes have left me stranded because of a starting system issue.
      304
    • None of my riding buddies electric start only dirt bikes have left them stranded because of a starting system issue.
      134
    • My electric start only dirt bikes have left me stranded because of a starting system issue.
      74
    • My buddies electric start only dirt bikes have left them stranded because of a starting system issue.
      67


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More and more dirt bikes are coming with electric start but no back up kicker. Purists rage that this is stupid and that owners will find themselves in the middle of nowhere without a means to start their bikes. 100% plausible, but how often does this really occur? 

Please take our poll; we're curious if the speculation aligns with rider experiences. Note: your vote should be based upon YOUR personal experiences, not what you've read or seen on the Internet. 

 

nokicker.jpg

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I've seen YouTuber "ZachAtk1" left to his kicker after an electrical failure during a race on his ol' KTM battleax. He would have been stranded. but hes not really my buddy...

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3 minutes ago, Wayne Main said:

I've seen YouTuber "ZachAtk1" left to his kicker after an electrical failure during a race on his ol' KTM battleax. He would have been stranded. but hes not really my buddy...

Trying to keep the poll as close to YOUR personal experiences as possible.  I think we'll get a more representative result. 

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1 minute ago, Bryan II said:

Trying to keep the poll as close to YOUR personal experiences as possible.  I think we'll get a more representative result. 

Certainly, for this reason, I did not answer the poll question 👍

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How couldn't they? I've crashed hard enough for my WR to sit on its side and flood, and eventually run the battery down while trying to start. If not for the  kick Id been screwed. 

When looking at YZ250X's I asked my buddy who rides a KTM 300 if he thought I would miss electric start, he said he wouldn't know because his hasn't worked correctly from day one. :doh:

Edited by Kalamazoo
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5 minutes ago, Kalamazoo said:

How couldn't they? I've crashed hard enough for my WR to sit on its side and flood, and eventually run the battery down while trying to start. If not for the  kick Id been screwed. 

When looking at YZ250X's I asked my buddy who rides a KTM 300 if he thought I would miss electric start, he said he wouldn't know because his hasn't worked correctly from day one. :doh:

I voted no for me and yes for a buddy. I'm on my 3rd ebutton only bike in the last 6 years and they've all been flawless. But, my buddy was stranded and I had ride home an hour to get my truck to go pick him up. The topic isn't that they can't, but how common is it really?

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Technically, It's never left me stranded. However I did have a battery fail (AGM) and had to resort to bump starting for two days on a trip far enough away from a replacement battery supplier so we just dealt with it. Didn't leave me stranded, just had to be resourceful and problem solve. Kickstart kit available for my brand, to the tune of $400. Not interested even with 3 bikes that are e-start only. 200 hours on two of those bikes, 100 hours on bike number 3. 

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5 minutes ago, redhurricane said:

Technically, It's never left me stranded. However I did have a battery fail (AGM) and had to resort to bump starting for two days on a trip far enough away from a replacement battery supplier so we just dealt with it. Didn't leave me stranded, just had to be resourceful and problem solve. Kickstart kit available for my brand, to the tune of $400. Not interested even with 3 bikes that are e-start only. 200 hours on two of those bikes, 100 hours on bike number 3. 

I'd call that stranded for the purposes of this poll. For me, bump starting can be a problem. Few hills, but plenty of deep sugar sand.

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 Having multiple starting systems is certainly nice, but how come nobody worried about breaking their kickstarter when it was their only starting method?

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I didn't answer the pole as I've never had a lekky only bike, but my old Husky had to be kicked once or twice when the starter ran outta go. Would have been stuffed without it. Flat muddy track, so bumping wasn't really an option.

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1 minute ago, Bryan II said:

I'd call that stranded for the purposes of this poll. For me, bump starting can be a problem. Few hills, but plenty of deep sugar sand.

you guys have those steep hills that run for about 2.5 feet, you can do it. This was a battery failure, and if this was say a TPI bike or 4 stroke that is reliant on 12v power to run, a kicker would have made no difference in "strandedness". That dynamic may come into play with those owners, and in that case I am not sure can be compared apples to apples. Lots of variables. 

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The people I have known to have start issues have poorly maintained bikes. Even one with no fuel at the trail (after trailering two hours). Same guys fail to bring their gear. Show up with a flat and expect others to fix it.

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I am not sure why this is trying to be made into such a big issue that electric start must have kickstart as a backup.  And how many times is a failure due to lack of maintenance?  Yes a few lithium batteries fail and short out, but this is not the only reason electric starters can stop working.

Plenty of bikes have had kickstarter assemblies fail or snap off the case (Honda CRF250, etc), and they were kickstart only.

What happened to bump starting?  Of course it won't work if you are stuck in a ditch but just because an electric starter system fails the bike is not suddenly a brick.  Find a hill, get a tow, push it and jump on.  It's not the end of the world.

Edited by mbrick
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I voted no issues for me in 10 years on a CRF450X and WR250F.

but I have experience and enough money to buy quality replacement batteries at the first sign of degradation and my bikes are tuned to start in a second and I know how to start a flooded bike.

It will affect the less experienced and younger crowd with sketchy batteries, worn valves and poor jetting that will have the most issues getting stuck...but, meh, good lessons learned for them. 👍

Edited by SlowDinoDog
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I had a bad experience on my 1980 Suzuki gs250t that I restored. We got some gas then once it was hot it would not start so we had too pop start it out of the station. I have since fixed it. But it was also sitting for 20 years so I wouldn’t think that the new e start would have a problem 

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My kicker has saved my day a couple of times.  I have a rekluse which makes push starting more of a PITA.  The latest time life happened and I didn't get to ride for a few months, during which time the battery failed.  Of course I discovered the problem too close to ride day to replace the battery.  No problem, I just attached my capacitor and kick started for the day.  

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My last 5 bikes were e start only with 4 of them FI. One dual sport was 10 years old with original battery and other one is 10 years old and replaced battery after 8 years. E starts never let me down, however years ago I had a kickstart fail and had to resort to push start to get me home so I guess you could say statistically e start have been more reliable for me.

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I have experience - my wife actually - and a friend has had an issue.  Both electric start only bikes.  In each issue the person wrecked and damaged the start button.  Without a kickstart backup, you are somewhat stranded.  In each case, I was able to teach the person how to strip and contact the wires to get bike to fire.    Now all my button start only bikes have 2 start buttons.  One on handlebars and one tucked in the frame.

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