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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I'm new to SBN as this is my first post. I've spent lots of time reading about what I should buy for my first new bike and decided on Ninja 500R. The loan paperwork has gone through and I'm supposed to pick it up on tuesday.
I'm planning on taking the MSF course when they offer it next, but i've ridden dirtbikes since I was 6 so I do have a little bit of experience. This will be my first NEW bike, as well as my first STREET bike.

I've searched for articles and posts about breaking in a new cycle and I've seen several different approaches. Everything from, "drive it like you are going to drive it", to "don't go above 55mph for the first 700mi".

I found an article that seems to make sense, but I figured I'd ask around before I make a mistake, and mess up my engine.

Here is the article I found. http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/NewBike.html


This is an area of no small controversy. Here's my opinion, after breaking in 21 new motorcycles. You can get other opinions from Moto Man or in your owner's manual. You'll find what I have to say is in reasonable agreement with Moto Man, and we both contradict your owner's manual rather strongly.

I believe when breaking in a new engine you have several things to accomplish, and several things to avoid. Your new engine is not perfectly machined, and in the course of running for the first few hours a fair amount of metal will be worn off various engine parts and wind up in your oil. These metal chips will quickly overwhelm your oil filter, which is really not made to handle the volume of junk that happens in the first couple hours. You don't want to drive around a for a long time with a lot of metal chips in your oil.

In the first 15 to 30 minutes you run your motor, there can be very small hot spots that get to temperatures that are really not at all healthy for your motor. The motor overall is a large system and will almost certainly not overheat, but this doesn't mean every little spot on your pistons, rings, bearings, and cylinder walls is within temperature spec. Of course, you don't want to overheat your motor.

Your engine rings are probably designed to spin around the piston as your motor runs. If you run your motor for a long time at the same rpm, your rings can cut small spiral grooves in your cylinders that effect your rings sealing and lifetime.

My opinion: The bike should be started and allowed to warm up at an idle for about two minutes. This is to get the oil at something close to operating temperature. Then, ride the bike normally for about 5 miles. Stay off freeways or anywhere else that would make you maintain a constant speed. Don't lug the engine - run the engine in the mid-range rpm band, roughly 1/3 to 2/3 of the red line rpm. You want to be accelerating and decelerating, and using the engine as a brake to slow you down at times. Stop, turn off the engine, and let the engine cool for about 5 minutes. This is to even out the temperature in case there are any hot spots. Start the bike and ride for about 10 minutes, again in stop and go traffic. Stop and allow about 5 minutes for the engine temperature to even out.

Now, ride the bike fairly hard for about 25 to 50 miles. A mountain or curvy road is a good thing at this point. You can use the entire rpm band, up to and perhaps even a bit over the red line. Make sure to accelerate and decelerate a lot, using full throttle and using the engine as a brake. Notice that your owner's manual says at this point you should still be keeping the RPM under something like 4,000. I disagree with this quite strongly. Moto Man gives a good argument on why the factories give such a recommendation, which goes against all my experience and understanding and what every racing team in the universe does.

At about 50 miles, go home and change the oil and the filter. I strongly recommend you use a top quality oil filter, a Purolator Pure One, Mobil-1, Bosch, or SuperTech. I recommend you use a synthetic oil such as Shell Rotella, Mobil-1 yellow cap, or Delvac-1. If you simply can't bring yourself to use a synthetic in a new engine, use Chevron Delo-400. Don't use a 10w-30 oil. If your manufacturer recommends a 20w-50 oil, use Mobil-1 red cap or Chevron Delo-400 15w-40, which meets the high speed shear standards of a 20w-50 oil. Information on oils and oil filters is available on this web page, see the Lubricants section. When you take out your factory oil, if you hold it up in the sunlight you'll see the color is very good, it looks almost completely unused, but you'll see lots of reflections from metal flakes in the oil. These flakes are very bad for your engine, and can clog up your oil filter so that your filter bypass is activated, meaning you effectively don't have an oil filter. Notice that the factory says you should still be using the factory oil and oil filter. I think this is insane.

Corvettes and Porsches come from the factory with Mobil-1 in their engines. Remember, these engineers have designed world- champion engines for F1, Indy, Le Mans 24 hours, etc.

At this point, the bulk of your break-in is done. Your rings are substantially seated, your cylinder walls are scrubbed in, and your transmission gears have shed the bulk of their machining flaws. You can ride your bike now like it's broken in, except I recommend you try to avoid lugging the engine or running at a constant speed on the freeway for long times until after your next oil change.

When you have 500 to 800 miles on the bike, change the oil and filter again. Again, I recommend a synthetic oil, or Chevron Delo-400, or if the manufacturer recommends 20w-50 use Mobil-1 red cap or Chevron Delo-400 15w-40. If you have a drive shaft, now's the time to change your rear end gear lube. Use a good synthetic in there, like Mobil-1 or Valvoline synthetic gear lube. Continue to ride the bike normally. At this point, you can get on the freeway and drone if you simply must.

At 2000 to 2500 miles, change the oil and filter again. Your bike is now pretty much completely broken in. There will still be a small amount of break in stuff happening until up to 10,000 miles, but it's nothing you have to think about. You can now get onto a sensible oil change schedule. I recommend changing your oil every 2500 miles if you use a normal automotive oil. If you use one of the recommended synthetic oils and recommend oil filters, you can confidently go 5,000 miles between changes. I go 8,000 to 9,000 miles on an oil change, and I measure the oil viscosity and detergent after every change. A good synthetic will hold up this long in a modern water-cooled engine. Except for the Ural, every motorcycle made after about 1985 has what I consider a modern engine. Even Harleys.




Please let me know what you think and maybe point me towards a better article?
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Bump!

heh... is this in the wrong thread?
 

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Mmmm. Kind of maybe, a little. But most peoples attention span doesn't allow them to read.....the..whole............whoa, thats shiny!! whooooo shinnnnyy!!!!



Seriously though.
Thats interesting. But theres been quite a few oil threads and such on here and nobody probably wants to get involved in another.
Personally, I followed what the Yamaha dealers service guy said "um, don't take it on the freeway, and don't hold it at redline"
"Thats it??" I said.
"Yeah, don't idle it around. And take it up past 7000 every once and a while, just don't holder steady, and avoid the freeway for the first thousand miles."
 

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Just ride the bike , the version you posted is pretty good , but there are many theories out there , mine is just ride it like your normally going to .
 

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Your Version Isnt Too Bad But Read The Owners Manual Because Alot Of Them Will Have Reccomendations As To How To Break In A New Bike.
 

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Stick with the manufacturers recommendation. It's not so important anymore. However, no one has really offered a logically compelling reason to deviate from the manufacturer's recommendations. All of these alternative theories rely on application of long-term wear indicators to a short term period. They don't have any rational basis.
 

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I said fuck the manufacturer after my first 100 miles. I bought a sportbike to ride it like a sportbike not like fuckin Grandma puttering around in her Crown Vic.
 

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It is usually wise to follow the OEM recomendations, But after a short period of piston ring break in.... many run a racebike like a race bike (if you were to be track riding). There is arguement as for breaking in an engine the way you will be riding it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well... I think I'm gonna follow motoman's advice and run it hard. His theory about the cross hatching makes sense to me. I just picked my '06 500R today and it's sitting in the driveway with 6 miles on the odometer. When traffic dies down a little I'm gonna hit some backroads and do the quick break in procedures. Then try to vary my rpms and speed for about 500miles. Thanks for all of the input.
 

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Fallion500R said:
Well... I think I'm gonna follow motoman's advice and run it hard. His theory about the cross hatching makes sense to me. I just picked my '06 500R today and it's sitting in the driveway with 6 miles on the odometer. When traffic dies down a little I'm gonna hit some backroads and do the quick break in procedures. Then try to vary my rpms and speed for about 500miles. Thanks for all of the input.
good decision. When I get my first bike i'm also gonna use motoman's advice. I printed out his page and took it to a few shops and dealers and talked to the mechanics and almost all of them agreed on motoman's method. :dblthumb
 

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Break In

Proper break in is important! I follow the manufactures recommendations, and just a little under it too. New FZ6 was broke in as follows, first 300 miles never approached the factory 6000 rpm limit. 5000 rpm max except for a few brief moments, with lot of easy throttle and breaking. Then 300 miles to 600 up to 6000 rpm, a little more aggressive riding still keeping it under 6000 rpm. Change oil (just started to change color, lite brown), check it all over, adjust the chain. Now for the next 400 miles (to 1000) not to exceed 7000 rpm. May change oil again, but not required. Manufactures make break in schedules and procedures for a reason. I RECOMMEND FOLLOWING THEM (BLACK BOXES ARE EVERY WHERE). Race engines are different, most have been raced before and are PROOFED, meaning the builder has used the same methods before and the engines (block) has no known defects, and changes are within known tolerances. One off the assembly line may have a flaw. If your new pride and joy is spinning 12000 rpm's and goes South, your warranty may not apply. So goes your ride, a few grand on your new pride and joy becomes sorrow and grief.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Did 26miles

Ok... I followed motoman's advice and put the hammer down. (I don't have my license yet because they don't have a "written test" in arkansas. You pass a skills test and you get a license.) So... I had to wait 'till around 12:30 for traffic to die down so I could hit the backroads.

I kind of exagerate when I said I put the hammer down... but I'm kind of worried about getting the tach above 7500rpms.... especially in the break in period.

What I did do was to tool around various backroads at or below the speed limit (35- 55) and constantly speeding up and slowing down while using the engine as a brake. Every chance I got, I'd rev just past 7k rpms and let it brake itself down to 4k and then downshift doing the same till I got to 1st gear.

Then I tried to hit the speed limit... (Ok... maybe 20mph over*shrug*) ..as fast as I could without going much over 7k.

Question: How close should I take it to redline during a motoman type break in?

Any answers would be greatly appreciated. (btw thanks for all previous answers to this post, they have been a great help)
 

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I'll have to reread the motoman site but I do know you should check you're oil and replace it since its probably full of metal shavings by now.
 

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I wonder how many who posted in this thread even have any mechanical knowledge , let alone know how an engine operates . Yes i know there are thousands of ways to break a bike in but the people who only know what the manufacture says probably dont really know much about bike . Ill bet they still bring there bikes tot he dealer for every little problem , ones that could be fixed if they possesed a little mechanical knowledge .
 

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I wouldn't redline it till after your 600 mile breakin. 600 miles isn't all that far anyway once you really get into riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I changed the oil at about 115mi. First I changed the oil and left the filter in place and changed the oil. I ran another 15miles after warming it up pretty good, changed the oil again and put on a new filter.

There were lots of sparkly metal shavings in the oil when I changed it, that's why I flushed it before changing the filter. After doing this I've started redlining it every chance I get, and I noticed something.... I could be wrong, but I think It's gaining power?

It sounds strange but I'm noticing that the more I ride my bike, the more power it seems to have. I'm not talking about at redline, of course it's gonna have more power at higher rpm's but...., It seems to be gaining power at the lower rpm's. More peppy and just overall acceleration is faster.

Think I'm imagining things? I don't know because I don't have any real way to test it as I didn't form a baseline for comparison. It's only got 260miles on it and it just seems to keep gaining in power. The first time I redlined it I was very impressed but the next day, I did the same thing on the same stretch of road, and the front wheel rose up on me. It kinda freaked me out a little as i'm not used to a streetbike, or anything with this kind of speed. The only motorcycles I've ever ridden have been dirtbikes, and when I was much younger. I guess what i'm asking is...

Should I expect to gain power during the break-in process?

Thanks in advance.
 

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terrasmak said:
I wonder how many who posted in this thread even have any mechanical knowledge , let alone know how an engine operates . Yes i know there are thousands of ways to break a bike in but the people who only know what the manufacture says probably dont really know much about bike . Ill bet they still bring there bikes tot he dealer for every little problem , ones that could be fixed if they possesed a little mechanical knowledge .
What would make you guess this? I don't know about others, but I'm a school-trained bike mechanic with a good number of years of experience. Motoman's theories are silly. In fact, its a testament to the quality of manufacturing that you can try all this goofy shit and not roach your bike.

What are your qualifications?
 

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I've built a few engines in my time, and I'm almost done with my Mechanical Engineering degree.

What is "silly" about his theories?

Cylinder pressure is what makes power. If you don't seal the face of ring against the cylinder wall you will incur excessive blow-by. The ring itself doesn't posses enough "stiffness" to seal the cylinder on it's own. This is where the cylinder pressure comes in and "pushes" the ring against the cylinder wall to effectively seal itself. If the ring face isn't ground flush before the texture ("cross-hatch") is worn of the cylinder face, it never will be flush and the cylinder will never seal completely.

The key here is that you don't have to dog the crap out of the engine, but you need to load it in the peak torque range ("mid-range") as that is also the range of peak cylinder pressure.

quality manufacturing just means less warranty claims on engines, and if they are broken in per "factory" specs, the engines will produce less power and not put as much stress on the internals and not break anything before the warranty period is up.

Torque = pressure = stress.

Drive it like you stole it, man! :cheers
 

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WISPER said:
Mmmm. Kind of maybe, a little. But most peoples attention span doesn't allow them to read.....the..whole............whoa, thats shiny!! whooooo shinnnnyy!!!!



Seriously though.
Thats interesting. But theres been quite a few oil threads and such on here and nobody probably wants to get involved in another.
Personally, I followed what the Yamaha dealers service guy said "um, don't take it on the freeway, and don't hold it at redline"
"Thats it??" I said.
"Yeah, don't idle it around. And take it up past 7000 every once and a while, just don't holder steady, and avoid the freeway for the first thousand miles."
Should I wait to ride my bike to and from work until a certain mileage. I have 500 on it now and a 53 mile commute one way to work?
 
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