Kick Start A Shovelhead Harley Davidson

How Do I Kick Start a Shovelhead Harley Davidson?

Before motorcycles were equipped with electric starters, kick starting a bike was the only way to get it to run. While uncommon on modern motorcycles, kick starting a motorcycle is a ritual rooted deeply in the biker heritage. This is especially true for Harley-Davidson riders who prefer the older shovelhead motor. While the thought of kick starting these monstrous 82 cubic inch motors can be incredibly intimidating, it can be done with the right technique.


1. Turn on the ignition switch and fuel valve. Open the carburetor’s enrichening circuit to provide extra fuel. Prime the motor by twisting the throttle grip two to four times.

2. Position yourself along the right side of the motorcycle and unfold the kick start lever. Place your right foot on top of the lever and press down slightly until you can feel resistance at the lever .

3. Open the throttle and kick downwards forcefully, keeping your knee bent. Repeat as necessary until the motor starts.

4. Open the throttle slightly to feed fuel to the motor until it is running smoothly. Allow the motor to warm up and close the enrichening circuit on the carburetor.