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Move a Motorcycle By Starting It and Putting It In Gear

By Walter F. Kern

Step 6: Shift Into Neutral

Finding neutral can be easy or difficult, depending on the bike. Most modern motorcycle transmissions have first gear one-kick-down from neutral and all the other gears one-kick-up from neutral, one at a time. Kicking down is done with the bottom of the boot and kicking up is done by placing the toe of the boot under the gear shift lever and sharply kicking up once. Each upward kick places the transmission in the next higher gear. Thus, to go from first to fifth requires four individual upward kicks each preceded by a clutch action. For our purposes here, we're only concerned with finding neutral and shifting into first gear.

When a bike is parked, it usually is left in first gear although it could be in a higher gear or even neutral, depending on how the rider handled the shifting as he or she stopped the bike.

So, you have no guarantee as to what gear the bike is in. If when you turned on the ignition (Step 3), the green neutral light was lit, the bike is already in neutral. If it wasn't lit, you have to kick down the gear shift lever to get it into first gear. Then you can gently lift up on the bottom of the gear shift lever with your toe and watch the neutral light to see if it turns green. If it doesn't, you are probably in second or a higher gear. Keep kicking downward on the gear shift lever to get it into first. Sometimes rocking the bike forward or back is required.

Step 7 shows the green Neutral light that appears after you get the transmission in neutral.

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Foot on Gear Shift Lever
Foot on Motorcycle Gear Shift Lever
© Walter Kern

  1. Turn On the Fuel Supply
  2. Pull Out the Choke
  3. Turn ON the Ignition
  4. Set the KILL Switch to RUN
  5. Depress the Clutch Lever
  6. Shift Into Neutral
  7. Check the Neutral Indicator Light
  8. Start the Motorcycle
  9. Shift Into First Gear
  10. Move the Motorcycle

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