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You may have noticed that motorcycles have many buttons and switches on their handlebars as well as in the cluster of instruments. Depending on how old the motorcycle is, there may be more.
Motorcyclists often have a hard time understanding the function of one switch, the kill switch. Many motorcyclists wonder why motorcycles have one and might be unsure how it works.
Why does a motorcycle have a kill switch The kill switch is a feature on a motorcycle that allows a motorcyclist to turn the bike off without having to reach for the handlebars. This lets the motorcyclist have total control of the motorcycle up until it’s turned off.
Over a dozen motorcycles have been my experience over the years. I’ve seen all types of kill switches in the industry. This article will discuss the importance of a kill button and how to use it.
Uses of a Kill Switch
You’ve probably noticed that big red button or switch on the right hand side of your handlebars on your motorcycle and it can seem a little intimidating. Any button that’s red will likely have an impact on the machine’s functionality. But there’s a logical reason why a motorcycle has a button/switch like this.
This button is also known as “the kill switch” and it’s a common feature on almost all motorcycles. Its name describes exactly what it does. It kills the motorcycle or turns it off immediately. You need both hands to operate a motorcycle correctly. The kill switch assists in keeping you safe. The kill switch can be reached with the right thumb (almost always), which makes it much easier to turn the motorcycle off than having to lift one hand off the bike.
Though this is a nice button to have during emergencies, it generally wasn’t initially created for them. It’s a way for a motorcyclist to turn off their bike when they’re ready to park it and leave. In other words, it’s for every day use.
Engineers designed motorcycles this way because if you have to take one hand off the handlebars to turn the key off, it’s possible to slip the clutch while doing so and risk jolting forward unexpectedly. A kill switch allows you to keep total control over your motorcycle.
A kill switch is useful in emergency situations. Such situations many include tipping the motorcycle over on to yourself while it’s still on; it’s useful to have a switch that will immediately shut the bike off to prevent further burns and injuries. If you have electrical problems on your motorcycle and you’re seeing sparks, a kill switch comes in handy to immediately turn off the bike, stop the spark, and prevent further damage and/or injury.
What is the Work of a Kill Switch?
Understanding how a motorcycle’s kill switch works is an important part understanding why it exists. It’s there for a reason, but it’s possible for it to be abused and ruin some parts of the motorcycle when it isn’t used right.
A kill switch is connected to the ignition coil. This is the part of the motorcycle that sparks the engine by sending a spark through the spark plug wire. The ground circuit is broken in the ignition coil by the switch. This means that it no longer has a negative and a ground. This will cause the ignition coil to stop firing and not deliver a spark to spark plug. When an engine doesn’t have a spark, it can no longer run which ultimately makes the engine turn off.
There are two types of kill switches: a button and a flip switch. These can look very similar to light switches. The button form (which is more common among newer motorcycles) requires the rider to hold it down for a few seconds because engineers realize it’s possible to accidentally push the button while out for a ride.
This switch type is designed to be easy to flip, so it’s not likely to get damaged. That way a motorcyclist doesn’t accidentally flip it while out for a ride.
To properly turn off your motorcycle, you’ll need to pull in the clutch, hit the kill switch and wait for the motorcycle to turn off, then turn the key to the “off” position.
Is it unsafe for a motorcycle to use the Kill Switch?
From an outsider’s perspective, it may seem like it isn’t good for the motorcycle to use the kill switch very often. It seems like a bad idea to suddenly cut off power to the engine.
In actuality, using the kill switch on the motorcycle isn’t bad for the bike at all. It’s like unplugging an electronic from the wall outlet. There aren’t any repercussions the engine suffers by suddenly withdrawing the spark it needs to continue to run. In addition, there isn’t a point where you can use the kill switch too much on a motorcycle.
However, there are situations where you can cause damage to the motorcycle from the kill switch if you’re not using it properly. This could be as simple as pushing the button repeatedly even though the bike is already off. It might also mean pushing it 10+x within a few seconds. This won’t cause immediate damage, but if done habitually over time it could ruin the ignition coil.
Situations in which you shouldn’t use the Kill Switch
A motorcycle kill switch has a specific purpose which is to let a motorcyclist safely turn the motorcycle off when they’re done riding. There are times where it’s inappropriate to use which could make a situation dangerous for the rider.
It is not advisable to use a kill button while your motorcycle is still moving. Some motorcycles include a safety feature that is accompanied by the switch. This means that the wheels or steering can lock up. It is extremely dangerous to ride a motorcycle with locked wheels or steering.
It still isn’t a good idea to use the kill switch even if your motorcycle doesn’t have these locking-up mechanisms. Some motorcycles simply coast after hitting the switch which means a possible traffic hazard for those around you since you don’t have power to accelerate and get out of people’s way.
It’s possible for the kill switch to stall the starter for a few seconds, so if you use the kill switch while riding it’s not guaranteed you’ll immediately be able to start the motorcycle back up at a time where you need it to.
These are some things to remember
There are some things you can do to avoid frustration if your motorcycle has a kill button. A switch that switches from on to off is a spring switch, button or switch. make sure it’s turned back to “on” Before you start your bike again. Otherwise, you’ll push your starter and nothing will happen. A lot of people forget to check this and wonder why their motorcycle isn’t starting, usually resorting to thinking it’s a battery issue.
Be aware that motorcycle riders and manufacturers use different terms for a kill button. Also known as a kill switch, “stop switch” An “emergency stop.” Don’t let the term “emergency stop” It is not necessary to alarm you, as it serves the same purpose on most motorcycles.
Only place your thumb above the kill switch if it is intended to be used immediately. Though they’re placed and designed to make it hard to accidentally hit, it’s always a good practice to simply wrap your thumb around the handle bar until you’re ready to use the switch. Riders who ride with their thumb out can accidentally hit the button while riding.