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Stupid Person Question - Starting in Gear

 
  #1  
Old 06-13-2019, 06:34 PM
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Default Stupid Person Question - Starting in Gear

I'll ask the stupid question first and then why I'm asking it.

Do all Harleys allow you to start in-gear with the clutch out?

Mine does. '03 Heritage.

There are many debates about parking your bike in first gear vs neutral. I've always been a neutral "parker" and just looked for level ground due to the fear of forgetting my bike is in gear, jumping on it, starting it and having it take off on me.

But recently I had to park on a gnarly slope, I realized that I might want to start parking in first gear, but again, I'm not the sharpest picnic basket in the shed and may forget to hold in the clutch before starting; hence, making me go back to parking in neutral.

This is why I want to know if all Harley's allow this or are some newer bikes smart enough that you can't start the bike unless the clutch is engaged or in neutral?
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mkbix View Post
I'll ask the stupid question first and then why I'm asking it.

Do all Harleys allow you to start in-gear with the clutch out?

Mine does. '03 Heritage.

There are many debates about parking your bike in first gear vs neutral. I've always been a neutral "parker" and just looked for level ground due to the fear of forgetting my bike is in gear, jumping on it, starting it and having it take off on me.

But recently I had to park on a gnarly slope, I realized that I might want to start parking in first gear, but again, I'm not the sharpest picnic basket in the shed and may forget to hold in the clutch before starting; hence, making me go back to parking in neutral.

This is why I want to know if all Harley's allow this or are some newer bikes smart enough that you can't start the bike unless the clutch is engaged or in neutral?
Do you know if your 03 is supposed to have a neutral safety switch on the clutch lever? If you are not the original owner, someone could have bypassed the switch or it could have malfunctioned. May want to check. Also you may want to check to see if the neutral safety interlock is working (usually the bike will not start unless the neutral (N) on the dash/speedo is lighted.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 07:35 PM
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Only on newer bikes and international bikes.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:22 PM
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Harley started with the neutral safety switch starting in 1965 when the electric start first came out. My 1966 FL has one. They are a contact switch screwed in to the transmission and not in the clutch handle. Not sure when the clutch switch came out.

Easiest way to see if you "should" have a neutral safety switch is to look at the wiring diagram for your year and model. Very possible someone may have jumped the tranny based switch. They are a pain in the *** when you stall at a stop and have to find neutral!
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:42 PM
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Even though I park my bike in neutral 99% of the time, I always pull in the clutch, on electric start bikes, before starting them...

They used to say it was easier on the starter, even if in neutral.... not sure if that's true, but I believed it

So I began starting my bikes that way many years ago, and probably always will... If any of my bikes have a neutral safety switch, I have no idea... never tested it...
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 08:58 PM
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Looking at other posts on the forums now that I know what to look for, folks are saying '03's didn't have that. Some say for touring at least, it's 2007+.
 

Last edited by mkbix; 06-13-2019 at 09:04 PM.
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:01 PM
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Your bike most likely does NOT have a neutral safety switch, as in I'm 99.9% positive. I have mistakenly tried to start mine when I forgot I left it in gear. Always an unpleasant surprise.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:04 PM
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My 94 Softail has a neutral switch but it's only for the dash light.
I made the mistake of trying to start when it was in gear (accidently), ONCE and only ONCE.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 09:25 PM
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I have a 16 Heritage. I pretty much always start in neutral, but I'll tell you this: I've been able, sometimes, to start it with the clutch pulled in and the bike in gear. But not always. I canNOT figure out the reasoning between when I can and when I can't.

Wish I knew.
 
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Old 06-13-2019, 11:31 PM
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There is an aftermarket kit "Rekluse Torqdrive" - - you can start a bike in gear -- and without using the clutch, take off and shift gears both up and down with never using the clutch. Come to a stop and not use the clutch.

I have a friend who has this on his Harley
 

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