How to Kickstart a Panhead Harley

by Steve Smith

A Pan Head Harley is a classic motorcycle revered by many as the original and best of the Harley Davidson line. No matter what your view on that subject is, there is one way to kick start the Pan Head. It's the classic way to get your bike running.

Make sure you are wearing high quality leather boots with good stiff soles, to start your Pan Head.

Turn the ignition key to on.

Open the fuel lever or petcock valve (if your bike uses one).

Set the bike into neutral by pressing the gear shift lever down several times until it stops, then lifting it up once until you feel the bike go out of gear. Roll the bike back softly to make sure it really is out of gear. Neutral on a motorcycle is between first and second gears.

Raise the kick starter to the start position, which is cocked up at nearly a 90 degree angle from the ground.

Grasp the throttle handle (on the right).

Place your foot on the kick start lever, and thrust it down in a counterclockwise arc. The lever kicks down and away from the front of the bike.

Adjust the Pan Head carburetor lever as needed, and repeat until the bike starts.


  • check Roll the throttle only slightly to start a pan head. Older models are not fuel injected and you will flood the carburetor.

Items you will need


About the Author

Steve Smith has published articles on a wide range of topics including cars, travel, lifestyle, business, golf, weddings and careers. His articles, features and news stories have appeared in newspapers, consumer magazines and on various websites. Smith holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from University of New Hampshire Durham.

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