My riding experience: 1 day. Already I'm an idiot. This will probably be a good laugh for most of you.

I purchased a used bike, Yamaha VStar 250, <2,000 miles, <4 years old. Battery has not been replaced, but owner kept his bike garaged with the battery on a tender. I don't know how old the gas is, but it's safe to assume it's probably less than 6 months old.

I was taking a cruise to remind myself how to ride. Halfway through, stalling out on a turn, I had a mental blip. I switched shifting up with shifting down. After a few times trying to start it in 5th instead of first with the choke fully engaged, clutch in, (thinking I was stalling out), the engine doesn't turn. It wasn't until afterward that I found neutral and realized I was in the wrong gear all that time.

At first, I could hear a turning noise and the turning would stop and I'd hear a faint buzzing noise. Now I only get the buzzing noise. During the turns, you could see power to the headlamp diminish. I can hear gas sloshing around and I tried starting on the reserve, but that did nothing (can you even start a bike on reserve??). The owner warned me that I ought to fire it up soon and burn through the bas, as the tank had sat around for a relatively long period. However, it has started fine initially, when it actually was in first, and before my mental lapse as to where the gears actually are.

I suspect I may have flooded the carb by attempting to have actually accelerated the bike from a stop in fifth gear a few times. I also think there could be battery or bad gas issues.

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    It should be fairly easy to eliminate the battery as the culprit, shouldn't it? Try to start her from another battery with jump leads. (If using a car as the source, don't run the car when you do this, as it generates too much current.) – Stewart Mar 14 '14 at 21:32
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    Sounds like the battery to me. Also, you should be able to push start it ... do this in 2nd gear to get the engine spinning faster. If the engine is warm, leave the choke alone ... should never have to use it warm. If you are using 4-year old gas, there could be issues there. Untreated gas is only good for about a month or two. You should have drained it and ran new. Your carb may not be flooded, but may be clogged at this point. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 14 '14 at 21:45
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    @Stewart my buddy suggested I pull the battery out and put it on a tender (bike's not parked near any outlet; haven't picked one up yet). Then, after putting on an overnight charge, give it another start. Would that be another alternative? – AdamO Mar 14 '14 at 22:26
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    This depends on whether the battery is still holding charge or not. Jumping her will help zero in on that possibility. – Stewart Mar 14 '14 at 22:59
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    Three separate issues. 1) Bad gas if it hasn't been run in four years. Gas has ethanol in it which absorbs water over time and then cause corrosion, which can cause sentiment and crap. Run this through your carb and clogging abounds. 2) Choke run when it's already warm, possibly folding the thing. 3) Battery probably on its last leg. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Mar 15 '14 at 14:22

The battery was dead. I removed it, put it on the tender, and she was able to turn after a charge. Just goes to show its a very large amount of juice needed to get the engine started. Don't undermine the importance of tending.

  • I suggest you get your bike completely serviced. Which includes oil change, carb and filter cleaning, new fuel, chain lubing, new battery. Lubrication may not happen as intended if your oil is old and cloggy. – You_Shall_Not_Pass Oct 6 '14 at 8:26

The battery is dead. You are hearing the starter solenoid clicking over.

Does your bike not have a kick-starter? It's only a 250, it should, right? I don't know much about new bikes at all.

If you do happen to flood the engine again, just go full choke, and spin the engine over a few times. That should help unflood them, if that doesn't work, go inside and make some coffee, let it sit for a while.

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