The Perfect Start – How to get the best out of your bike in a drag race?

How to get the perfect start, and maintain the lead in a drag race?

The key to an optimal performance during a drag race is a good start and perfect shifts. This can be achieved with a little practice and feel for your machine. Here is some expert advice.


Do not leave your machine idling at the start line, this might cause a slightly rich mixture and cause your bike to stall/choke when you really want to get going. Crank up the engine as late as possible before the start, pump the throttle constantly to attain optimum heat and maintain a healthy mixture in the cylinder.

Next step – Few seconds before the start, click the machine in gear, open the throttle flat out, hold onto the front break, gradually let go of the clutch till it bites, this is an unmistakable feeling, the front wheel shudders and the bike wants to lurch forward. BAMMM! Once the light goes green or your buddy flags you off, let go of the clutch and brake simultaneously, you will feel nirvana and get off to a blazing start if done right.


Once your start is perfect the key to keep the lead is shifts. One has to be mindful that different machines behave differently at altitudes, temperatures and state of tuning. Some misfire at the end of their RPM band, some tend to rev up and stay at the same RPM. Our suggestion is test which kind behavior your bike exhibits by doing a flat out run in 1st and 2nd gears and note the RPM at which either of the above occurs.

A few 100 RPMs below the same is your shift point. There are two ways to shift at this point – either keep the throttle open, close the clutch half way and shift or do a rapid pump of the throttle and shift. Remember that more you use the clutch the slower you are, hence, practice shifting with the clutch half closed (most modern bikes can handle this).

A word of CAUTION

Be careful of a wheelie or a wheel spin when you start, like we said practice makes perfect. Try different throttle variations and rates at which you release the clutch to perfect your technique. After some practice, you will understand which is the best combination for your machine.

Please ensure that you do the above in a controlled environment which is free from traffic and absolutely safe, ideal place is the race track.

Happy drag racing and all the best.

Further reading – Corners and How to tackle them like a Pro – 5 Simple Tips