Anyone who rides a motorcycle with any kind of regularity ultimately will need to answer this question: Why is my motorcycle not starting? Odds are that is a question that you will ask yourself many times. The answer might vary based on the type of motorcycle that you are riding.
A road bike often has a switch next to the starter button that will prevent the engine from starting. The kill switch kills the electrical current needed to electrically start your motorcycle. So the first thing you must check is your kill switch to ensure it is in the “run” position.
You also might have a road bike with a kill switch that is operated by the side stand. When the side stand is down and maintaining the motorcycle’s balance, a kill switch might prevent your motorcycle from starting. The side stand-actuated kill switch is intended to make it impossible to start riding while the side stand is still down. You need to ensure the side stand is up so that the engine will turn over when your motorcycle has a kill switch mounted to the side stand.
Other reasons why my motorcycle does not start are more mechanical. If your bike is in gear and you do not have the clutch lever pulled, it will not start. It might try to start, but it likely will just bump forward a couple of inches and not fire up. You need to have either the clutch lever pulled in or the transmission in “neutral” for the engine to turn over and start.
When all of the switches are good and the bike should turn over but does not, you need to address the three elements of the internal combustion engine. Those three elements are spark, fuel and air. The engine will not start without all three of those elements.
A dead battery or a bad battery cable or connection could stop your bike from starting. Replacing a dead battery or charging one that has too low of a charge should get your bike running again. You also might have a problem with one or more spark plugs. Fouled, corroded or damaged spark plugs could stop your motorcycle from starting. You can replace spark plugs quickly and ensure they have the correct gap. If one or more spark plug wires are worn out, you might need to replace them.
You also should check the fuel tank to ensure you have gas. If your bike has a carburetor, it also has a petcock that might be in the “off” position. You need to switch it to the position that enables fuel flow so that you can get gas to the combustion chamber. But you need to ensure it has gas. And the air filter might be especially dirty or otherwise blocked. Cleaning or changing the air filter could get your bike to start again.