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Bike Won’t Start No Click (Top 7 reasons)

Hit the start button and…silence, what a pain in the jacksie. Don’t sweat it, you’re in the right place and we’ll get her figured out shortly.

The top 7 reasons a motorcycle won’t start or click, include:

  1. Battery fault
  2. Main fuse blown
  3. Ignition fault
  4. Clutch/neutral switch
  5. Start button fault
  6. Solenoid failure
  7. Starter fault

In this post, you’ll learn all about the most common causes of a no-start without even a click sound. You’ll also learn a mechanics hack for bypassing the start button for speedy diagnosis.

Old School dirt bike

Start Procedure

I know you know how to start your bike, but it’s worth pointing out to those who aren’t aware of the safety systems built into the starter circuit. Most bikes have a start procedure that must be followed or the starter motor won’t engage, not even a click sound, nothing.

Models and makes may differ slightly, so you’ll need to google your model, but here are some of the common ones:

  • Kill switch set to “RUN” position (most bikes will still crank over with the kill switch at “Stop” but some may not).
  • Transmission set to “N” neutral
  • Clutch lever pulled
  • Kickstand in the “UP” position
  • Crankcase oil level – OK
  • Some may require brake lever pulled

Battery Fault

Battery power is the business end of getting your bike running, so our diagnostic journey begins there. A battery that’s just low should as you know offer you at least a click of the solenoid, but since you don’t hear a click, well expect the battery is totally discharged, disconnected or we’re looking at a different cause altogether.

Let’s begin by checking lights or dash lights. If you’ve got power there, the battery is not likely to be the issue, but we’ll check battery voltage anyway.

Battery corrosion

But just before we do that, we’ll check battery cables and terminals. Go ahead and gain access to the battery. Check the cables are in good condition, tight, and free from corrosion.

Bad connections will cause high resistance to the flow of power.

A DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter) is useful here for checking available power at the battery. Borrow or buy a meter, you’ll find a ton of uses for it here in this post.

Battery volt check

Set the meter to 20v dc and check the reading. A healthy battery will show min 12.5 volts, 12.65 is fully charged. (This battery has just been charged and so shows almost 13v)

If you have a value below 12.4 volts go ahead and charge the battery or connect a set of jumper cables with a donor vehicle and try starting.

Main Fuse

The main fuse protects and powers the ignition switch, start button, and solenoid. If the main fuse is loose, corroded, or blown, the start circuit will be without power.

Fuse type and location

The fuse is commonly located under the seat close to the battery (usually 10 amp). Check the size (color-coded) using a smaller amp fuse will cause it to blow and a larger amp fuse could damage components.

Fuse Types

If the fuse checked out OK, try the wiggle test, with the ignition on – Wiggle the fuse, holder, and loom, sometimes the fault presents itself.

Ignition Switch

The ignition switch powers up the start button, so a fault at the ignition circuit will prevent power flow to the solenoid and starter motor.

Ignition switches while electrical, contain mechanical components. Turning the key turns a barrel with copper contact points. Switches just wear out, contact points suffer from corrosion, and contact points become loose.

Ignition looms can also become damaged from steering movement. Try turning the key to the on position. Wiggle the key in the barrel, try moving the wiring connectors behind the ignition and the loom. Broken wiring may reveal itself.

Safety Lock-out Switch

Depending on how old your bike is and how sophisticated it is will determine how the lockout systems are wired. You might say they come in two flavors, a basic CDI type, and a more modern ECU (computer) type. We’ll look at both and I’ll be referring to them as such later in the diagnosis process also.

First, we’ll look at the basic CDI system, and a little later we’ll look at how an ECU system handles the starting sequence. But bear in mind there are variations of how both systems operate, each manufacturer will go about it slightly differently. The diagrams here give you a sort of mind map for what’s going on. To fault find efficiently a model specif wiring diagram is required.

Basic CDI System

The clutch, brake, or more commonly the neutral switch must be engaged before the starter motor will engage, your bike won’t have all of them. But will likely have one. As you know it’s designed to prevent the bike from surging forward accidentally on a crank.

CDI starter solenoid wiring diagram

Typically the clutch or neutral switch (and kickstand) provides the ground for the start button, and so hitting the start button completes the circuit and the starter solenoid applies power to the starter motor.


The wiring for a clutch switch (if fitted) can be seen at the clutch lever, check for any signs of damage, loose or broken wiring. Try the wiggle test.

Neutral switch

Fitted to the transmission, the neutral switch is either part of the start sequence and is wired as part of the solenoid ground circuit or it is routed through the CDI box. We covered the basic CDI system above and so now we’ll look at how the more sophisticated ECU handles the start sequence.

But first, let’s look at the neutral light wiring diagram.

Neutral switch

As you know a dash neutral warning light is standard. The switch itself is a simple on-off switch.

Neutral switches have a mechanical component and they do wear out. If your bike’s neutral dash light is not lighting up when in neutral, you may have found your problem.

ECU starter solenoid wiring diagram

Typically, with neutral selected, the neutral switch grounds out providing a path for the starter solenoid via the start button, but neutral switch routing through the CDI or ECU is common also.

More modern bikes with ECU (computer) may use a signal from the neutral switch to initiate the start.

Dirt bike neutral switch

Try removing the wire and grounding it on the chassis, if the dash neural lights up now, your bike will start and you’ll need to replace your neutral switch.


Motorbike kickstand wiring

As you know the kickstand on some bikes may not allow a start when the stand is in the lowered position. A simple on-off switch is employed to complete a ground circuit. If the kickstand isn’t striking the sensor and activating it fully, the bike won’t start.

Start Button

When the start button is pressed, (for most bikes) it completes the ground circuit which activates the starter solenoid. Start buttons are pretty durable, but wear or corrosion on the contacts is somewhat common.

Accessing them can be a little fiddly, it’s easier to check voltage at the solenoid and so we’ll run a mechanics hack that will help speed up the diagnosis process. See below.


The starter solenoid is one big relay, it uses a low current to control a heavy current. The solenoid’s job is to connect battery power to the starter so long as the start button is held. Solenoids give a ton of trouble, but this doesn’t sound like it’s your problem, as when they fail they offer a definite click sound when the start button is pressed.

Starter solenoid

Solenoids can be tricky to locate, but follow the positive battery cable and you’ll find it. Check that both heavy power cables are tight.

A fused ignition power supply is sometimes coupled with, the battery side of the solenoid.

Two low current solenoid control wires are fitted to the solenoid also. A power supply, usually from the CDI or ECU, and a ground controlled by the start button and often but not always routed through lockout switches such as the clutch, brake, neutral switch, and or kickstand switch.

To test the solenoid

Go ahead and remove the control wires (maybe one block connector) Using two jumper wires we’ll be testing the solenoid side wiring loom.

Important – Hot wiring the solenoid may cause the engine to crank and so it is important the bike is in neutral.

Motorbike solenoid testing
  • Bike in neutral
  • Remove the small solenoid push on terminal connectors (not heavy power cables) and set aside
  • Using a fused jumper wire, connect battery power to one of the solenoid terminals (doesn’t matter which one, either will do)
  • Warning engine may crank – Using a ground jumper, connect to ground and then briefly touch it on the remaining solenoid terminal.

One of two outcomes is likely:

  1. Solenoid just clicks – this most likely means your solenoid has failed.
  2. Engine cranks over – a cranking engine means your solenoid and starter are good and your problem lies upstream. Likely a safety switch such as the kickstand.


The starter motor is the last on the list and it is the least likely component to cause issues. Starters are tough and they have to be, cranking over an engine is tough work. A starter will usually give intermittent trouble before just failing, at the very least you’ll hear some attempt by the starter motor to turn the engine. But of course, it is possible for it to fail.

Check the cable on the starter motor, it needs to be secure and corrosion-free.

Important – Hot wiring the solenoid may cause the engine to crank and so it is important the bike is in neutral.

Cross Starter solenoid test

To test the starter motor, go ahead and cross the solenoid posts. If the starter motor is good, the engine will crank over.

If the engine fails to crank, remove the spark plug and crank over the engine by hand using a socket and ratchet. (Turn the flywheel counter-clockwise – remove the flywheel cap to gain flywheel nut access).

If the cylinder is filled with gas, the carburetor float needle may be leaking, but tilting a carburetor bike over may flood the engine also.

If with the plug removed, the engine still won’t crank, a seized starter motor or worse an engine is to blame. Remove the starter motor for inspection.

You may find these posts helpful:

Start a dirt bike without kickstart

Can you run a motorcycle without a battery?

How do dirt bike kill switches work?

How often should I start a motorcycle?