12 motorcycle questions with 3 sentence answers!

What more can I say, these are common motorcycle questions that can for simplicity be answered in 3 sentences or less.

The goal here is to answer these questions as short and complete as possible so they can be referenced when needed.

This article, therefore, is not intended to be read as an entire piece top to bottom, rather each question should be considered separate from the others.

Can a motorcycle start in gear?

Yes, a motorcycle can start in gear, in fact, that’s the whole idea around a bump start.

Although not recommended, there may be situations where starting in gear may be necessary.

For example, if you stall going uphill in traffic it can be extremely difficult and even dangerous to try and place the motorcycle in neutral to start again.

Do motorcycles only start in neutral?

It is recommended to start a motorcycle in neutral, however, a motorcycle can start in gear given the correct conditions are satisfied.

These conditions are specific to each motorcycle but usually involve making sure the clutch lever is pulled in and the side stand is raised.

In less than ideal situations starting a motorcycle in neutral may not be an option or even safe to do.

Is it ok to start a motorcycle in gear?

Starting a motorcycle in gear is ok and as long as you recognize and respect the dangers and damages that can occur.

If for some reason the clutch engages while trying to start in gear could make for disastrous consequences.

However, the most likely scenario would be clutch component wear especially if it is cable operated.

Can a motorcycle be bump started?

A motorcycle can usually be bump or roll started if the battery voltage is too low to turn the starter over.

Bump starting provides the momentum that the electronic starter would otherwise provide, to turn the engine over to start the motorcycle.

Bump starting can be hard on components and jumping on a rolling motorcycle is even more difficult, although if done correctly, will start the motorcycle.

Will a motorcycle roll or move in gear?

A motorcycle will not roll or move in gear provided the clutch is in good condition and is the preferred position when parking, especially on a hill or slant.

A motorcycle will move or roll in gear if the clutch lever is pulled in but then it really isn’t technically in gear because of this.

Plus there is always some clutch drag when doing this that makes putting it in neutral the best option when starting a motorcycle.

Is it bad to leave a motorcycle in gear?

It is not bad to leave a motorcycle in gear and is the best way to leave a motorcycle when not in use as it prevents the rear wheel from turning.

This is also extremely beneficial when transporting in a truck or trailer, especially if a strap loosens a bit.

Placing your motorcycle in gear when not in use is the recommended choice.

Why are motorcycle kickstands on the left side?

A motorcycle kickstand is located on the left side in reference to the rider position.

This is something that stemmed from horseback riding, any experienced horseback rider knows always to mount a horse on the left side.

Motorcycles simply followed what was common at the time so they placed the kickstand on the left side and mounting a motorcycle on the left side is one of the first things a new motorcycle rider will learn.

Why are motorcycle kick-starters on the right side?

A motorcycle kick-starter is usually located on the right side in reference to the rider position.

It is placed here mainly due to the fact that most kickstands are usually on the left side enabling the rider to leave the motorcycle on the kickstand while kick-starting with the right leg.

There are motorcycles with kick-starters on the left side however, these are in the minority and typically have the gear shifter, brake pedal, and drive chain on the opposite side as well.

Do motorcycles use the OBD2 standard?

OBD2 (on-board diagnostic version 2) is a standardized way of communicating with the ECU (electronic control unit) or ECM (electronic control module) for the purpose of testing and diagnostics in the automotive industry.

Motorcycles do not use OBD standards and instead employ diagnostic and testing systems unique to each manufacturer.

As a result, motorcycles have a different diagnostic port or plug-in for every manufacturer and can even vary by type of motorcycle, for example, dirt bikes have a different port than a cruiser style motorcycle.

Why are motorcycle headlights always on?

It has been mandatory that all motorcycles sold in the United States have a headlight constantly on when it is in use since 1981.

It is believed to stem from a case where a motorcycle owner paid a motorcycle shop to put their headlight on a switch that could turn it off, for which there was no law against it.

The result was the death of the rider, the oncoming motorist claiming they could not see the motorcycle without the headlight, the suing of the mechanic and shop, and a bill to make headlights stay on for newly manufactured motorcycles.

What is motorcycle fork stiction?

Motorcycle fork stiction is when 1 or both of the front forks of a motorcycle become stuck in a position and do not move freely.

This is usually caused by dirt or debris entering the fork and physically lodging itself inside the internal components, 1 or more of the components become bent or warped, or even hydraulically lock up.

The precision and tight clearances used in motorcycle forks and the fact that some areas are being submerged and unsubmerged in oil, making them especially susceptible to this condition.

What is a motorcycle engine number?

A motorcycle engine number is an identification system used to keep track of an engine for the entirety of its lifecycle.

Motorcycle engine numbers are also used to determine manufacturing details such as year and production number which can be used for a variety of reasons such as recall, theft, and safety reasons.

An engine number is an important number and should be recorded alongside the VIN (vehicle identification number) in case it is needed.

Final thoughts

Instead of an in-depth look at each of these motorcycle questions, I chose to keep the explanation simple with 3 sentence answers.

In doing so you should be able to get a reasonable understanding without getting too technical and allow you to refer to this page anytime for a quick refresher.

If you found this helpful and have other questions feel free to contact me here.