There are a few reasons for this tactic: the first engine cranking of the day usually happens at the lowest engine temperature, because the ambient temperature is low. The battery cools down through the night as well, which is not an ideal situation for starting a motorcycle in the morning.
If you own a motorcycle and use it frequently, you may know that it’s relatively difficult to start in the morning using its ‘self-start’ button; it typically requires a couple kick-starts it before it actually revs to life!
In fact, I’ve had people tell me to actively avoid starting a motorcycle using its self-start feature when it’s being used in the early hours of the day. Many people follow this advice religiously!
But is there a reason behind this? Is this some kind of official ‘rule’ that all bikers need to follow when first using their bikes in the morning?
Before we get into that, let’s first take a quick look at how a bike engine works.
How does kick-starting a motorcycle work?
A kick-start basically brings your engine’s heart—that has been left idle for some time (since it was not being used at night)—back to life. The moment you kick-start your bike, the crankshaft is prompted to rotate, which pushes the piston against the piston head.
A huge amount of pressure is built up as a result of this and the combination of fuel (either petrol or diesel, commonly known as ‘gas’) and air is ignited by a series of sparks in the bore. This ultimately leads to an expansion of this mixture, which keeps the piston moving, so the cycle continues to keep the engine up and running.
Why is it often advised to kick-start a bike in morning?
There may be a few reasons behind this: firstly, the engine usually cools down to a very low temperature over the course of the night, thanks to the already cool weather conditions and the dew, which further lowers the ambient temperature.
This is bad news for the firing up mechanism of the motorcycle, because in the absence of friction (and therefore heat), the starter motor would have to work extra hard to draw current from the battery. This would take more effort from the starter motor, and thus, more physical effort on the user’s part. ‘More effort’, in this context, translates into kick-starting the motorcycle.
Due to cooler conditions at night, the battery of the motorcycle also cools down. To make matters worse, the battery also likely loses some of its juices while parked idle in ‘standby’ mode throughout the night.
Long story short, this is a completely undesirable situation from a “cranking-up-the-engine” standpoint.
Is it necessary to kick-start in the morning?
Many people use the ‘electric start’ or ‘self-start’ option to ignite the engine, regardless of the time of day. Their engine works just fine too. There is really no empirical evidence supporting this age-old habit of kick-starting a motorcycle in the morning.
Furthermore, thanks to the advent of new and improved designs of engines in modern motorcycles, it’s not really necessary to kick-start a bike in the morning before its first use.
As a matter of fact, a number of modern bikes don’t even have the option to kick-start anymore. These bikes have properly-sized and ingeniously designed batteries that prevent the engine from going into ‘hibernation’ mode in the morning. However, these bikes are also on the higher side of the cost spectrum.
All in all, you don’t really have to kick-start a motorcycle before its first use in the morning, but if its ‘electric start’ feature doesn’t work, kick-starting will certainly help!