Opinions on ways to get the best dead engine start...

I am probably the worst starter in my entire series (I have good reaction time) but I am always one of the last off the line in my class.

I always make it back up to the top of my class at the end but after fighting up through my entire class. Which obviously slows my first lap up a lot and lets some of the other guys in my class get a good lead I have to pull back.

I have tried neutral, 1st, 2nd, using a stand not using a stand, holding the clutch after moving the bike forward and back to keep the clutch plates lubed up and free moving, not holding in the clutch, etc, etc.

It seems when I am just fooling around on the line doing practice kicks it fires the first time every time but when it's time for my line it takes 2-3 kicks.

Any idea's, opinions and what do you do to get those good starts....hellz I am not even looking for a hole shot just get me up in the top 1/4.


If you find an answer let me know, I have the exact same problem. I think what is happening to me is I am getting too excited and not kicking through enough - I think I'm doing sort of a quick half kick.

By the way, I'll start in either 1st or 2nd gear depending on how long the start is.

I used to have real good luck (went over a year without being out of the top three) this way . Motor warm ,shut off . Apply pressure to kickstart till it gets hard (stop) the piston is where you want it Top dead center (TDC). Your next kick is to start . Your bike needs to be kicked one time (assuming condition is well,lol) The kick is straight thru..not half-2/3 down to fire..down thru the stroke.. I was so paranoid I think I would start it a few times when I was waiting out of nervousness back then .I even start my thumpers the same way now . When cold..do the choke thing ,but same procedure ,kick thru the complete stroke .I watch guys at nationals even..stall...hop back on and "rabbit kick" 20 times till tired . Once you get that down to second nature..then try leaving it in gear while holding clutch ,until then ,..stay in nuetral..no clutch/transmission drag on the motor...hope helps...Charlie

I'm pretty good at DES. I leave the tranny in 2nd. Hold in the clutch. Find TDC. Keep my head up and the bike as vertical as possible (no stand). When the flag drops, I simultaneously twist the throttle and kick the engine over, fully completing the stroke. As my kick starter nears the end of the stroke, I'm already starting to release the clutch. I hold the throttle WFO and feather the clutch so that my front tire is barely floating off of the ground. I never take my eyes off of the prize (the first turn) and I don't let off of the gas until I'm in front, then I brake like crazy.... Bad clutch plates or basket will make this impossible, so they have to be in tip top condition.....Starting in neutral or first is not good. I hope you get the holeshot in your next race! :thumbsup:

PS: My avatar was a dead engine start in which I got the holeshot in the Vet B class.

Hey 40oz...I race WNYOA too...good to see you doing well in your new class this season. I'm 5'10, riding a 200, and use a 6" block....I think it helps tremendously. In the case of an off camber start line, I always have enough standover height to get a full kick through....of course, always finding TDC before the wave in front of me goes. I'm also careful not to rest my foot on the kicker while I'm waiting for the flagman to signal us if we're ready to go. This way, I don't have to worry about the weight of my leg accidentally pushing through a bit of the stroke, taking the piston from TDC. I have my throttle position at half-throttle....also...second gear. So far, two for two on holeshots in the Vet B class this season. See you at Arcadia Bark Busters/Lyons next weekend?? You're J. Foster's buddy, right?

For whatever reason I'm a very good starter too. Sometimes too good. I ended up having to run A class once (I'm not an A rider) then got run over in the woods! I'm with Fletch on procedure and the only other things I can think of which may seem dumb but work for me are: Do you practice your starts? Make sure your bike is good and warm (two-stroke) plenty of throttle and what's your mental attitude? I always think I'm the fastest starter on the course (I'm not) but I always think I going to lead the pack into the woods. Finally, I don't know how they start your races but most of them here are with a flag drop and it you're watching closely you can usually see the tell tale of when he's about to drop the flag. As soon as he flinches I'm gone.

For me I get it warmed up about 5 mins before the start and when they do the last call to warm up I just let it sit and prepare myself why everyone else is panicing to get it hotter. Also when I kill my bike I kill it in 2nd with the kill switch not letting out the clutch with no throttle. I have a block that gets me pretty high over the kicker which seems to help. Before I start it is Clutch in and 1/4 throttle. And when I do kick I pretty much jump with all of my whopping 130 lbs onto the kicker. And as soon as I get about 1/2 way through my kick I start to let out the clutch and go WFO. Always feathering the clutch. Seems to work for me

Good Luck


Like a few others have said, 2nd gear, full strong kick, zero to full throttle as the kicker is going down, and blasting off the line before the kicker is back up to the top. Of course this is assuming its a dead engine on the bike start, a lot of our races are dead engine off the bike (straddling front wheel, etc) which is a whole different ballgame.

push the button is the best way

It seems like at the races the pushbutton guy's seem to take a little longer to get off the line. but if you crash or stall halfway trough the race it could be a big help.

Another thing to remember: When you hit the kill button, give it a couple good squirts of gas while the motor is ramping down. This put enough gas in the cylinder so it's not waiting for gas from the carb to fire.

Also: When you pull in the clutch, don't let it out again. Your wanting all the flowing oil between the plates for less sticktion. (don't sit there and get anxious for the start and play with your clutch lever. It's a really bad habit to break but makes a huge difference).

The only race I ever attempted I was using my WR. We had to sit on the front fender. I figured I would have a good start with the button. I started the bike before I was sitting on it but I had accidently left it in nutral. Full throttle clutch out and I was not moving. I instictivly slammed down on the shifter (throttle pinned) and rode a 10 o'clock wheelie for about 30 feet. Well I didn't get the holeshot, but it was probably pretty funny for the spectators.

i think its weird, i have buddies bikes who takes 2-3 to start, where as mine takes 1 kick in cold or hot or any condition, possibly from good compression? or something?

i also have a 52cc goped s3 ported intake and exhaust, piped, etc all loaded..

i choke it pull once, let go of choke pull it and its started, no matter the condition, the same goes for my bike, on colder days, choke start, kill unchoke start and its idiling normal, then once its warm 1 kick anywhere

practice, practice, practice. and make sure the tranny fluid is good and warm before the start. just letting the bike rev, not moving doesn't do that.

I didn't read anybody elses reply, but here's what I do.

Let the bike warm up plenty on the line.

Put it in 1st gear, and shut it down. Don't let the clutch out until you start the bike and go.

Its hard to explain the rest. Kickstarting, letting the clutch out, rolling on the gas in one fluid motion.

I'm slow but I usually get pretty good starts, several holeshots in a season.

We dont have the option of keeping our clutch pulled in!

When I raced full time I would holeshot 95% of the races and had a similar problem of the bike not firing first kick. I spent alot of time find what works with the bike, playing with throttle, clutch in, neutral, 1st, 2nd, hot, cold. It took me a couple days but I managed to get my best starts:

1. Warm the bike 100%(go for a good ride in the morning)

2. Lining up I would push my bike at the start, and mabey a few times start the bike just to keep just it warm but not hot.

3. I always kept the bike in neutral.

4. I would find the highest point on the stroke and kick from there (a full kick, not a three quarter).

5. Shift into first and go.

I attribute alot of my success to holding the throttle a little bit longer too. I was crappy at motorcross because I never learned how to jump properly but I always holeshoted because I never shut off till the last possible moment. I never had one first-turn pile up either. Hope this will help..

It seems like at the races the pushbutton guy's seem to take a little longer to get off the line. but if you crash or stall halfway trough the race it could be a big help.

No doubt, all of the fast guys use the kicker it seems. You can use the button and kicker simultaneously and that gets her going pretty quick.

No button on the start.

With a Rekluse leave it in gear. 1st if uphill 2nd if down.

Clutch out.

Throttle open.

Kick and hang on....

Easy to answer. Want to get off the line faster on dead engine starts? 2-stroke is the answer. I can't tell you how many starts I've fricked-up on 4-strokes.....but that's just me:)

Edited by cubera

Not that its an option for most -- but I have the E-start and the Rekluse.

I moved my E-start button to the left side. I make sure my bike is nice and warm [i.e. fully warm]. When the flag goes up I kill the bike in 1st. When the banner drops I twist the throttle to about 1/2 and hit the button simultaneously. As the bike fires it spools up quickly and the Rekluse engages and I am on my way. I almost always have clear air.

At the National H&H in Idaho I was 2nd through the bomb. Didn't stay that way though...

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