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motorcycle
manual transmissions
sweet spot
clutch
automatic transmission
parking lot
bikes
How To Keep A Motorcycle From Stalling
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How to Keep A Motorcycle From Stalling

Unless you have one of those rare motorcycles with an automatic transmission in it you are likely going to have to deal with the issue of stalling. Stalling occurs whenever the engine ceases to turn and operate thus killing the bike (temporarily of course). This can happen if the engine isn't receiving enough fuel or air or in the case of manual transmissions, like those used in motorcycles, when the clutch is released to quickly that it overloads the engine and causes it to stall.

Stalling is almost always an issue at takeoff from a stopped position as the engine doesn't have any real power going into it yet so it is easy to kill it if you aren't careful. Other factors can make taking off in first gear without stalling even harder such as being on an incline or driving a more powerful bike. No matter what the condition there are ways to effectively prevent stalling and get better at takeoffs.

If you took an MSF course then you were likely taught how to do this. However, these courses usually use smaller bikes on a level surface which can not prepare you for faster bikes and uphill takeoffs. To really get a handle on taking off without stalling you simply need to get a feel for your bike and practice, practice, practice.

Take time to learn your motorcycle. Go somewhere open and safe like a large empty parking lot and get a feel for the clutch and the throttle. From a stopped position, hold the clutch in and slowly release it until you start to feel the engine take hold and your bike wants to move forward. Release a little more until you feel the point of where your bike needs some throttle or it will die. Some people even recommend looking at your tachometer (the RPMs) to see where the engine is in relation to the clutch and throttle. At this point pull the clutch back in to prevent the bike from stalling.

This area is one you need to be very familiar with. By learning the clutch's "sweet spot" on your motorcycle you will be better prepared for smoother takeoffs. If you get a get idea of exactly where you bike needs throttle you will no longer need to look at the RPMs but simply know when to release the clutch and give the bike some power.

Once you have become familiar with where the clutch needs to be it's time to understand how to use the throttle to finish the takeoff. You want to give the bike enough gas while releasing the clutch to start moving it forward without lurching or doing a wheelie by mistake. When you release the clutch and start to feel the bike move forward, give it a little throttle until you feel the moving motion is more solid and that it doesn't feel like it will die. At this point slowly release the rest of the clutch and keep the throttle engaged to keep moving forward. On a hill, this same method applies but you may need to give it a little more gas than you would on a flat surface.

Once you have taken off it is much easier to switch gears because the engine now has some momentum to work with. You should still pay attention to the clutch and throttle as not to ruin your engine but you do have a little more headroom to work with.

The only real way to keep from stalling is to keep practicing. You can never practice enough when it comes to riding a motorcycle and with every minute you spend on one trying to get better you will see results. If you are having trouble with stalling just take some time out and get a true feel for your bike. It is yours so it is only right that you take the time to learn it.


Street Talk

Great article. Even the experienced riders stall the bike occasionally. Sometimes the bike may stall if the idle speed is adjusted incorrectly. If the idle is set too low, the bike may stall when braked to a stop quickly even though the clutch lever is pulled in completely. Check the owner's manual for the correct idle speed.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

great advice for the beginner Shannon

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Thank you, I know that this is a big problem for a lot of riders out there.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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