Whether it’s a simple stall in a corner or the result of a crash, there’s one thing for sure¿once you lose the fire in your four-stroke, relighting the bike quickly can be a challenge, especially since you’re in a hurry. Of course, it’s going to vary from bike-to-bike, but here are a few general rules to get you started.
Get your bike into neutral. As Broc Hepler recently told us, “You might get lucky and have it fire up on the first kick, but it’s usually better to take the extra time and put the bike in neutral before you start kicking it.”
Highly-modded 250Fs can be particularly fussy since they tend to be a little higher-strung. The bigger 450s aren’t as tough to get re-fired, and as veteran TWMX test rider Michael Young told us, “They seem to like a smoother, softer kick than the smaller bikes.” But for either bike, he suggests, “You might be in a rush, but don’t forget your hot start lever.”
Also make sure you don’t touch the throttle. Young explains, “When I first started riding four-strokes, I’d put my hand up on the front brake and throttle housing to make sure I wasn’t accidentally turning the grip, but now I’m used to restarting it with my hand on the throttle.”
Maybe the best advice, however, is don’t rush. Sure, you’re losing time, but being more methodical will pay off in the long run versus flailing. As Michael tells it, “On the 250Fs, I’ll give the engine a couple easy kick-throughs to get rid of the hot fuel before I try to find the compression stroke and give it a really good kick.” Add all these tips together, and you should be back on the track in short order.
When all else fails and you’re really having problems getting the bike re-lit, shut off your fuel and try laying it over on its side to drain excess fuel from the carb’s float bowl. This will also gives you a bit of a breather from kicking. But if you’ve been out there that long, do everyone a favor and push your bike off the track, or at least out of the main line. Then give it another shot.