Bike Runs Badly

Bike idles, but dies when I give it throttle

If your bike has been sitting for a while (typically at least a few weeks) and was running just fine when it was parked, then there is an excellent chance that your carburetor jets are clogged. It takes only a very thin film of evaporated gasoline to clog the pilot jets.

To clean the jets, remove the carburetors from the bike. Drain them via the drain screws at the bottom of each carburetor. Now, take the bowl off of one carburetor at at time and do the following:

- Inspect the bowl. If it shows signs of rust or other debris, consider getting an inline fuel filter that is NOT designed for pressurized systems. A cellulose (paper filtering medium) lawnmower fuel filter would be great. Filters that look like a fine screen don't filter as well, but will work in a pinch.

- Get two flat head screwdrivers, one small and one medium. The small screwdriver must fit in the hole where the pilot jet is located.

- You will see a larger round jet. This is your main jet. This rarely gets clogged. However, to check it, remove it with the medium screwdriver and look through it at a source of light (such as the sun). If its clear, you'll know it. If its clogged, the light will be diffuse because of a film of dried gasoline, or nonexistent if its blocked due to particulate matter.

- You will also see another jet recessed in a hole (two jets if you have a 2001+ bike). Remove this (these) jet(s) and inspect for obstructions as well.

- If any jet is obstructed, you will need to clean it out. This can be done a variety of ways. The first way is a thin piece of brass wire (such as from a brass wire brush). This will loosen particles well, but is not very good for removing dried gasoline. The second way is with carburetor cleaner. This will dissolve gasoline varnish. However, it needs to soak for a while to do a thorough job. The third way is to use compressed air to blow out the jets. This works well, especially when combined with carburetor cleaner, but be careful not to let go of the jet. A damaged jet will need to be replaced.