I have a pretty old Kawasaki ZZR 250 and it has a strange "starting" problem that manifested over the last two years:

If it's hot outside, in summer season for example, the bike has no problem; but during winter season: when I put the keys in and I turn on the bike the engine starts well, no problem there, so I hop on the bike, lift the lateral motorcycle stand and put the first gear, still no problem. But then, when I release the clutch and I give gas the bike won't move! The tachometer behaves fine when I don't release the clutch but when I do the tachometer drops, and if I don't pull the clutch in time the bike turns off. So every time I turn the bike on I have to perform several tries before the bike finally starts moving, but sometimes the bike needs like 15 minutes to finally move! Seems like I need to "warm it" or something.

But there is another strange detail: When the bike finally starts it does not have any problem, it goes on just fine, let's say I drive the bike for one hour, everything fine, but then let's say than I have to stop to pick up something from a shop, so I don't turn off the bike, I simply put it in neutral, with the engine going, and I put it on the lateral stand and hop off; when I hop back on and lift the stand the bike won't move again!! It has the same problem that it has when I turn it off from cold! So this problem surely has something to do with the lateral stand! But I don't have a clue on what the problem actually is!

Could it be the safe mechanism to prevent me from staring with the stand down to blame?

What is going on? How can I fix this problem?

  • As you say, it's possibly a faulty safety switch that detects whether the side stand is retracted. See ebay Kawasaki ZZR 250 Kickstand Kick Stand Side Switch Commented Jan 2, 2021 at 16:41
  • Does the bike have a wet clutch (and is that clutch located opposite to the side stand)? could be that there is not enough oil to fully lubricate the clutch when it is on the side stand and therefore not able to engage until fully re-lubricated by leaving the bike upright.
    – Mauro
    Commented Jun 3, 2021 at 7:31

1 Answer 1


Sounds like a fuel-air ratio issue due perhaps to a dirty or poorly adjusted carburetor or sticky float, carbon buildup on the heads & fouled plugs, or minor vacuum leak. The old Kawasaki's have sensitive carburetors, especially if the bike is used infrequently. See this discussion forum post for more details. (If it were a safety mechanism related to the kickstand, the problem would happen all the time.)

  • But it has to be related with the kickstand! As I was saying: if I drive the bike for an hour and then put the kick stand down and then up again the bike won't move again! The problem presents itself evrytime I move the kickstand!
    – Noumeno
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 18:12
  • I have a hard time believing it is the kickstand. Perhaps you could try propping the bike without the kickstand and see if you have the same problem.
    – Carguy
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 10:46
  • If I don't touch the kickstand than everything is fine! I have confirmed this multiple times empirically.
    – Noumeno
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 11:27
  • @Nourmeno - Well, then, sounds like you have answered your own question. Replace the kickstand.
    – Carguy
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 11:43

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