Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Anaheim, CA, USA
You're not alone.
My very first motorcycle was a used Honda CB400F Super Sport. I had my learners permit, and my best friend helped me buy it. He rode it home for me and left to go elsewhere. I had had some previous riding experience in dirt fields when I was a teenager, and was ready to practice riding my "new" CB400F on our quiet neighborhood streets.
It was a hot summer day. For some reason, the bike wouldn't start. The starter would crank, but the engine just wouldn't turn over. I knew that the bike was in good working order; my friend had checked it out and ridden it home. I tried different choke positions. I tried blipping the throttle as I pushed the starter button.
After the starter motor began to sound "weak", I tried the kick starter. Again, and again, and again until I lost count.
My house was set halfway up a steep hill. It was about 100 yards from the house to the bottom of the hill. Next, I tried "push starting" the motorcycle by putting it in gear, holding in the clutch, allowing the bike to roll down the hill, and then engaging the clutch to start the motor. Nothing. The engine just wouldn't turn over.
I don't know how many times I pushed that 400 pound motorcycle up that steep hill to try again. This was definitely a case where persistence was not a virtue. I was sure that it just wasn't cranking the engine quite hard enough to get it going. Finally, I was exhausted. I pushed it up the hill one last time, parked it, and gave up in frustration.
Around 3:00 AM, I woke up suddenly and thought of the kill switch. Even though it was the middle of the night, I had to know. I ran out to the garage. Sure enough, that was it! The kill switch was set to OFF. I felt so stupid. Excited and eager, I flipped the kill switch to the RUN position and pressed the starter and...
Nothing happened. Not a twitch. Not a sound. (...imagine middle-of-the-night dead silence, broken only by the sound of crickets chirping...) I had completely drained the battery the previous afternoon, trying to start that bike.
I put the battery on a charger the next morning and got the motorcycle going the next day.
I practiced on my neighborhood streets for many weeks until I killed the battery. Why? Because I was running at such low RPMs that the battery wasn't charging. Eventually I got a new battery, learned to keep my RPMs higher than "3", and ventured out into the city streets. I passed my rider's test at the DMV and never looked back. I have been riding the streets ever since.