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Apprentice wheelieist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Were bikes just not meant to be ridden on the freeway?

For the second time ever I've ridden a bike for more than 100 miles on the freeway and for the second time it screwed up the engine.

The first time was on a 27,000 mile Suzuki GSX750 that seemed otherwise fine. By the time I'd made it back from a 200 mile freeway ride, the camshaft had eaten its way through the head bearings, thus rendering both toast. No oil pressure light before it happened.

This weekend I rode 540 miles on the freeway, running the engine between 5,800-6,300rpm on my Honda Hawk GT with only 16,500 miles on it. It now has a light ticking on the front cylinder that it didn't have before.

So, wtf?
 

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NO LAG !!!
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Highway miles are actually easier on a bike. Being that to keep a vehicle in motion doesn't require as much strain as getting it into motion. I'm sorry to hear that you are having issues. Hopefully it turns out well.
 

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.. thought this was a joke but I guess it's just a rant after some bad luck. I feel ya though pal. Highway miles are a joke on just about any motor vehicle engine. A friend's brother works at ford testing focus engines. After they make a 'significant' adjustment they run the motor 200,000 "highway" miles to test it. He said similar strain is seen after about 25k loaded/stop and go testing which is to similate monthly racing and city driving. In other words 100k's of doing racing once a month and otherwise driving back and forth to work is the equivalent of 800k "all" highway miles.
 

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the joke is in your hand
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I'm always very curious what brand and viscosity oil people are using at the time of engine failure but they never tell.
 

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bikes love the freeway.../THread
 

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That's a question that I see come up a lot, mainly for smaller engine/lower hp bikes. Not so much here but on other forums. I'd like to know the answer myself.

Of course sportbikes can be ridden on the highway and highway alone is not bad for them, but are there other factors that may make highway bad for them?

example..

Say for example you had a stock ninja250. At 70-80 MPH the RPMs would be pretty high from what I hear. Many saw keeping that up too high for too long is no good. Heard that's why a lot of 250r owners that ride highway a lot change the sprockets.

Once again I have no idea whether this is true or not. Just posting what I heard and am curious about myself.
 

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isaac said:
Were bikes just not meant to be ridden on the freeway?

For the second time ever I've ridden a bike for more than 100 miles on the freeway and for the second time it screwed up the engine.

The first time was on a 27,000 mile Suzuki GSX750 that seemed otherwise fine. By the time I'd made it back from a 200 mile freeway ride, the camshaft had eaten its way through the head bearings, thus rendering both toast. No oil pressure light before it happened.

This weekend I rode 540 miles on the freeway, running the engine between 5,800-6,300rpm on my Honda Hawk GT with only 16,500 miles on it. It now has a light ticking on the front cylinder that it didn't have before.

So, wtf?
The ticking might just mean you need a valve adjustment. Also, what brand and grade of oil are you using and how long has it been in? It could also be that the oil sheered a little a needs to be changed.
 

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Apprentice wheelieist
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I'm hoping it's just a valve adjustment, but this sounds worse. This engine made zero noises up top before this trip. Now when I hold the revs up in neutral the valves tick, and it sounds louder on overrun when I let off the throttle.

As far as my theory on the highway ruining bike engines, it's not like I don't realize that long steady revs are as untaxing as it gets, but this aint a car. It doesn't cruise along at a lazy 2,500-3,000rpm at freeway speed. My bike turned 5,500-6,500rpm between 70 and 90mph while I was riding, and that was over the course of 4-5 hours each way. I don't know of many people here who'd be comfortable running their car engine at redline for four hours straight.

I was using Valvoline 10w40 with about 2,000 miles on it now. It's not a motorcycle oil, that's for sure, but this bike is watercooled so I don't consider that nearly as important as an air cooled bike.
 

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For the Ninja 250 highway RPM...i put it into 6th gear and just crusies at 7-8k RPM which is very low for the bike which can do 15k RPM +
 

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Unless you're at the redline, the engine is designed to be able to handle whatever RPM you want, for as long as you want. Considering that airplane engines run their entire lives at 90%+ throttle, I wouldn't be worried about running any motor near it's redline for extended periods. When was the last time you heard about an airplane engine seizing or exploding in midflight?

About the oil light, are you positive that it's actually an oil PRESSURE light? On my FZ6 it's only a low oil level indicator, not pressure. AFAIK, it's the same with other bikes.
 

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isaac said:
I was using Valvoline 10w40 with about 2,000 miles on it now. It's not a motorcycle oil, that's for sure, but this bike is watercooled so I don't consider that nearly as important as an air cooled bike.
Unless you're a motorcycle design engineer I really don't think you should second-guess the people that designed these motors and specified a type of oil designed especially for motorcycle engines.

There are good reasons for this, and the fact you've ignored using what is supposed to be used because you "don't consider it nearly as important" is likely at least part of the problem. What's more expensive? Spending $3 more per quart of oil, or rebuilding an engine? Don't be penny wise and pound foolish anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quicklimegirl said:
Unless you're a motorcycle design engineer I really don't think you should second-guess the people that designed these motors and specified a type of oil designed especially for motorcycle engines.

There are good reasons for this, and the fact you've ignored using what is supposed to be used because you "don't consider it nearly as important" is likely at least part of the problem. What's more expensive? Spending $3 more per quart of oil, or rebuilding an engine? Don't be penny wise and pound foolish anymore.
I hate to take a hammer to your soapbox, but Honda recommended specifically a 10w40SE or SF or better motor oil, and that's exactly what I used. They said nothing of using "motorcycle oil".
 

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isaac said:
Were bikes just not meant to be ridden on the freeway?

For the second time ever I've ridden a bike for more than 100 miles on the freeway and for the second time it screwed up the engine.

The first time was on a 27,000 mile Suzuki GSX750 that seemed otherwise fine. By the time I'd made it back from a 200 mile freeway ride, the camshaft had eaten its way through the head bearings, thus rendering both toast. No oil pressure light before it happened.

This weekend I rode 540 miles on the freeway, running the engine between 5,800-6,300rpm on my Honda Hawk GT with only 16,500 miles on it. It now has a light ticking on the front cylinder that it didn't have before.

So, wtf?

Well at 16,000 miles on the HawkGT it is time for a valve clearance check/adjustment... I have ridden over 150,000 highway miles with motorcycles and never had a problem... what size is the sprockets on your Hawk. If you want to turn less rpm on the highway go with a smaller rear sprocket.
 

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at the track
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It's only really an issue until the rings form a nice seal, a constant engine speed slows it down, but even then it's not really that big of a deal.
 
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