How to No. 1 - "Quick test for spark on your motorcycle"

The snows have melted and your motorcycle sits in your garage like an old relic from seasons passed.  Or maybe you are one of those people who rides through the winter and powers through the snows, which at this point you're probably saying, "What kind of pussy article is this? Who stores their bike away for the winter?!" No matter whether the former or latter, this article is intended to explain a simple way to check for spark on your motorcycle if it doesn't seem to want to start. 

Now, to begin the process, you will need to know whether your bike's ignition and battery are in working order (turn the key and the headlight goes on, or the starter engages.)  If that is the case, than the following steps should help you come to a conclusion:

1.  Put your bike in neutral and pop off one spark plug-wire, then grab a socket and driver and remove that spark plug from the motor.  

 

2.  Connect that same spark plug back into the spark plug-wire that you initially disconnected from it.

3.  With a pair of insulated pliers or channel-locks, hold the exposed end of the spark plug very close (the width of a dime) to some bare metal on the block of the motor.

4.  While doing step 3,  have someone turn your ignition on and push your starter button or push your kicker pedal to simulate starting.  

5.  If you look closely, you should be able to see an arc of electricity going from the end of the spark plug to the motor.  If you are unsure, then repeat step 4 until you confirm.  If you are sure that you see nothing, chances are that one particular cylinder has no spark.

6.  Repeat steps 1-5 for each individual spark plug, making sure not to confuse which wires go to which plugs.