Push Starting my Motorcycle in the Middle of Beijing Rush Hour

I thought I’d share my recent problems in my  adventure into the world of Chinese motorcycling. After having just bought a second hand but only one year old Chinese brand motorcycle, I’m already having problems. The first day riding it home was great. I was able to take it on of the major Beijing roads, the 4th ring and navigated my way through traffic no problem. Despite, the sub-freezing temperatures, it was great to be back on two wheels. Then after one day of leaving it parked outside my apartment, I press the ignition only to find that I get no response from the engine whatsoever. At first I think it might be the cold, but the sound the engine would usually make in that situation is a little different. Whereas in the cold the engine is trying to catch with a sort of revving type sound, I was hearing a barely audible click, which would indicate a dead battery. This was bad as I needed to commute to work and was almost late as it was. I noticed a slight incline behind me so I pushed the bike up and started to run it down. Luckily this push start worked and I was able to make it to work on time.

Of course this wasn’t the end of my troubles. A couple of times at stop lights, the engine cut out. I figured, with the engine warmed up there shouldn’t be any more problems. I was wrong and so on the side of a very busy Beijing street with bikes, cars, and pedestrians everywhere, I had to again push start my bike (what it must have looked like to the local Chinese to see a foreigner, which is a strange enough sight as it is, go through this ritual I can only imagine). Luckily I started to get good at push starting as I had to repeat this several times.

Other things of note for diagnosis are how sometimes power wasn’t getting to the horn and that after the bike’s been sitting outside of my office building all day and I turn the power back on, the headlight is barely lit. This all leads me to believe it’s a battery issue.

What’s going to be interesting is to get this all sorted out with the language barrier. I have already been in contact via text with the seller, all in Chinese. His first response was to say it was cold. I explained how it wasn’t because it happened even after running for 20 minutes. His next response was to say that he just changed the battery. This just came off as a typical Chinese response that I’m not too likely to believe. And finally he told me that I just didn’t know how to ride it properly. I’m sorry but that’s just the wrong thing to say.

I’m going to continue to text him now that, after several days, the problem is more than confirmed. Most likely this Saturday (China time of course), I’ll be driving it (after the ritualistic method of push starting I’ve been using the past 3 days) back up to the north end of the city to have him see the problem for himself.

The sad thing of it all is that I’ve been really enjoying the bike otherwise. It rides well, it does what I need it to do (when it’s running), and I like the look of it. Let’s just hope I’m able to get it working smoothly and can be back on the road problem free!

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4 Responses to Push Starting my Motorcycle in the Middle of Beijing Rush Hour

  1. brent says:

    thats too bad. sounds like a battery or an alternator problem. if you can fully charge it, try that. if you can’t, try replacing the battery. if you still encounter the problem, the issue is probably with the alternator. if you get the alternator fixed and you still encounter the problem, the issue could be with the regulator/rectifier. the alternator creates energy in ac and the battery stores energy in dc – the regulator/rectifier converts it from ac to dc.

    good luck mate! keep us posted!

    • Bucko says:

      Yeah, that’s what I figured. It seems like the battery can’t hold the charge. I noticed last night that as I was push starting, the headlight got brighter and brighter. So yeah it’s definitely a charging/battery issue. It’s going to be interesting sorting this out Chinese style, that’s for sure!

  2. Pingback: A Very Chinese Motorcycle Repair Experience « Rubber on the Road

  3. Pingback: Named my Chinese Bike: 麻烦 « Rubber on the Road

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