I've just taken my motorcycle out of storage, I rode her around the block once, parked her, and now she is refusing to turn over. The starter seems to be running fine. I've just filled the tank with new fuel, and replaced the oil. Also, the battery is fully charged.

During my ride around the block, I felt a few small "bumps" coming from the engine, as if it was struggling to continue to operate.

Which potential problems should I look for next?

My guess would be to check the spark plugs, and test for fuel/oil clogs, in that order, but I'm not an expert, so I'm looking for advice (is there something else that's more likely to be the problem), or confirmation.

  • 1
    How long was the vehicle in storage, and under what conditions? Were there any maintenance/repair issues left unresolved when it was stored?
    – Iszi
    Commented May 8, 2011 at 23:02
  • The vehicle was in good condition, maintained and without problems when stored. It spent roughly 6 months in storage. Commented May 9, 2011 at 4:17

3 Answers 3


A good place to start looking is the fuel filter, particularly if you didn't put fuel stabilizer in the tank before putting the bike in storage. You can test to see if it's clogged by blowing on the line-in, but if you don't like gas on your lips fuel filters are cheap, and replacing them regularly is a good idea anyway.


Common storage problems:

  1. Dead battery - it should have been on a charger or tender while the bike was in storage. You're probably going to need a new one. This is especially the case if it was stored in a cold climate.
  2. Fuel is bad. Drain it and replace. Should have been stored with a fuel stabilizer added. Some people will tell you to try and use an additive like Sea Foam if your fuel is bad - but believe me, the best idea is to drain it and use a high-octane tankful.
  3. Carbs are gummed up. They may need to be cleaned out thoroughly, or even rebuilt/re-jetted. Simplest thing to try here is to spray their insides with a strong carb cleaner to remove any residue. If you use cheap ass fuel in your bike, then this will be a likely culprit.
  4. A less-likely scenario is an issue with the electrical system outside of the battery being dead. This can be problems like worn spark plugs (youtube how to check for bad plugs, there are a lot of videos), or even mice eating away at the electrical backbone (true story, I've seen it often in cases where bikes are stored in a shed or a barn).

That's a start at least. Sounds like 1 & 2 are accounted for. Check the carbs. That'd be my guess.

  • While this provides an answer of sorts, which parts apply directly to the OP's question of the bike not starting, especially right after it was running. How can the OP fix these issues? Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 15:40

After cranking the engine with the starter for a bit does your exhaust smell like gas? No? Carbs are gummed up or your vacuum actuated petcock isn't working.

If you smell gas check for spark at your spark plugs. They make testers you can hold over the wire to see if it's sparking or you can pull a spark plug and hold the tip against the engine case with the plug wire attached. Crank the engine and you should see a fat blue spark. If not check the points/ignition coils, CDI or stator.

Also if you pull a spark plug after cranking and see that it's wet with gas that's another indication that it's not firing.

Make sure to hold the only the spark plug boot and don't touch the spark plug. Maintain constant contact with the engine case or you might damage a good working ignition system.

If you don't have spark. Check your points/ignition coils, CDI or stator.

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