Sport Bikes banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,272 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·



Your new bike is out in the garage gleaming like a freshly minted penny, and you’re in the house leafing through the owner’s manual for a detailed break-in procedure. But all you find is something like, “Take it easy for the first 500 miles or so.” That’s about as useful as telling a rookie pilot, “Keep it in the air.” It’s sound advice, but sadly short on specifics. Your buddies’ suggestions range from an arcane ritual of rpm limits, mystery oils, and incantations at one extreme to “Ride it like you stole it” at the other. Again, not much help. And yet the way you break in your bike can determine whether it’s a runner or a smoker later on.

Don’t panic. Most of the break-in on a new engine is done before it’s finished being assembled at the factory. Thanks to modern manufacturing techniques and metallurgy, gears and bearings are made to such close tolerances, and from such good materials, that it takes practically no time at all for them to break in. Cylinder honing is much more precise than it once was, too, so the pistons and bores get acquainted right from the get-go. The piston rings need some time to form a good seal with the bore, however, and that’s where you make the difference.

First, go to the page in the owner’s manual that lists recommended shift points in terms of vehicle speed. Now tear out that page and throw it away. Many manuals recommend ridiculously low shift points. If you constantly shift into second gear at 15 mph, for example, start saving up for a bottom-end overhaul; low rpm plus the resulting low oil pressure equals high bearing load. Use the tach for shift points, not the speedo, and don’t shy away from the upper two-thirds of the rpm range. It’s okay to run your new engine hard as long as you don’t overheat it. Let it cool down between bursts of throttle. Cycling cylinder heat and combustion-chamber pressure seats the rings and keeps your engine from burning oil later in life.


Investing in high-quality motor oil and changing it on time is one of the very best action
Don’t switch to synthetic oil until the rings have had a chance to create a good seal––a few thousand miles should be enough. (It’s worth asking your dealer if your bike came with synthetic in the first place.) When you make the switch, change both the oil and the filter, and do it while the engine is hot so you get as much of the old oil out as possible. Don’t worry about the small amount of petroleum oil left in the engine. It’ll mix with the synthetic and cycle out eventually with future oil changes.

Brake pads and tires aren’t usually mentioned in break-in instructions, but they should be. Treat brake pads gently at first to keep them from overheating and glazing––a few hundred miles ought to do the trick. The same goes for tires, which use the first few heat cycles of riding to finish the curing process and scuff up the tread surface. Increase your lean angle in corners gradually until your chicken strips are acceptably narrow, and use this time to get used to your new bike’s handling

Do the first service by the book, including checking the valves. Even if 600 miles seems way too early, look at it as cheap insurance, and remember that while the vast majority of bikes come from the factory with the valves adjusted perfectly, there’s still a chance you got the one-in-a-million mistake. If you skip the 600-mile check, it’ll probably be thousands of miles before you look at the valves again, more than enough time for a small problem to grow up to become an expensive one.

Check your new bike over for loose fasteners, poorly adjusted levers and pedals, and anything else the dealer might have overlooked (or done incorrectly). Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the bike before you take it home––you’ll feel a lot more foolish if you have to tow it back to the shop and explain how you blew it up or crashed it. Memorize the recommended tire pressures, and learn how to adjust the chain and check the oil and coolant levels. And finally, read the owner’s manual front to back. Don’t be the guy everyone at the shop laughs at because you left the ignition key in the wrong position overnight and drained your battery.

Quick Facts

Even if you’ve already stretched your budget to buy a new motorcycle, order the factory shop manual, too. In addition to telling you how to work on your bike, it has cutaway diagrams that show you how things go together, and torque specs—not typically found in the owner’s manual—to keep them from falling off. It also sweetens the deal when you sell your bike.



Read more: The Basics on How-To Break-In Your Bike - Motorcyclist magazine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
185 Posts
Awesome post and article indeed. This will be especially useful to me in a couple months when I buy my first brand new bike.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
20,922 Posts
Nice article. Except for the false statement about synthetic oil. Really? Still perpetuating this myth?

Don’t switch to synthetic oil until the rings have had a chance to create a good seal––a few thousand miles should be enough.
 

·
Mexican Hard Shell Taco
Joined
·
5,894 Posts
So this is basically the same as Motoman's break in?
 

·
the joke is in your hand
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
I got pretty pissed the dealer basically held my throttle at redline for about 5 seconds several times. I told the sales guy to foget it get me another bike. they showed me the paperwork that yamaha says to do it before they release the bike to the customer.

I said ok but was going to hold them to a higher standard to any kind of warranty work if something goes wrong.

45k miles later still runs strong and just needed it's first valve adjustment. I did not however run it all that hard during the first 600 miles. I took it to about 12k a few times but that was about it.


when I bought a new engine for my truck the break in instructions said the most important part is the first heat/cool cycle. it must be heated up to operating temp and allowed to cool for a min of around 8-10 hours. then drive the vehicle up to 50mph and let the engine brake the vehicle to about 20mph. repeat this 10 times and the engine is broken in. kind of an odd way but it seemed to work. the oil was very dirty the first oil change. but now even with 5k miles on the oil it's still pretty clean
 

·
the joke is in your hand
Joined
·
8,594 Posts
So this is basically the same as Motoman's break in?
I think motoman said to beat the living shit out of it. like ride it like you were going to ride it at a track. I don't agree with that. but I don't really care. this is also why I never buy a used bike i don't know who owned it and how it was taken care of. I've seen around 6 people on R6 forums complain about blown engines in their R6 and they all admitted to breaking it the motoman way. but yamaha was having issues with spun engine bearings in the 06 and 07 R6. so much so in 08 they said they changed the oil flow characteristics in the engine. they called it a "revised" engine oiling system:lgh2
 

·
Turbo nerd.
Joined
·
13,732 Posts
So this is basically the same as Motoman's break in?
Not really.

Motoman was telling people to basically leave the shop WFO. I've had a number engine builders including the guys at Markbuilt (who build a lot of AMA superbike motors) tell me pretty much the same thing.

First 500 miles: Up and down through the band, vary RPM/gears always try to hit 75% of the tack (aka don't redline it) and never let the engine run at one RPM that isn't idle.
At 1000 if you haven't swapped to sythetic, do it. (mine came with 4T in it I ignored that part.

Pretty much done.

You ride a little differently for a bit, but its not that 5000rpm crap the manufacturers tell you.

I rebuilt my Speed Triple with basically a new motor (had new rings and liners bearings) at like 20,000 miles the pistons, cams and crank came out of a 700 mile 955i Daytona. That was 90,000 miles ago, and I've only taken the valve covers off for maintenance since....and trust me there was no 5,000 RPM break it. I romped it pretty good dodging Honolulu traffic getting back and forth to work.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PCHbreeze

·
Are we not men?
Joined
·
9,013 Posts
the moral of the story is it matters so little how you "break it in" that no one can prove one way is better than another
Except one party covers your warranty and another doesn't.

The motoman method is great for a race engine that will be torn down at the end of the season, one that needs to make maximum power right from the start. When I raced, that's how I would do it. (I built my own engines.)

For my street bike though, I don't expect to pull the engine apart any time soon so I will be a bit more cautious. I don't think you have to stay below 5k for the first 200 miles but as long as you stay under redline, varying the speed and using engine braking, you will be just fine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PCHbreeze

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,613 Posts
Amen to this thread. Too much bad info on other forums with younger people, who probably are allergic to turning wrenches commenting on what they 'think'.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
743 Posts
I never have been able to wrap my head around the "you've only got a short time to set your rings!" bit. Seems like running the piss out of it might get them to lap together sooner, since you're accelerating wear all around, but I don't see how taking it easy or riding normally would cause a problem so long as you don't take it so easy that you encourage glazing (long periods of idling or running at a constant low load rpm)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
7,613 Posts
All modern engines have been broken in before they are ever put on a vehicle, and pushed to their limit after. The reason to take it easy on a motorcycle is so that the user learns the bike and remains a living customer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
Lots of misinformation in this thread, re MotoMan's method. He doesn't say to beat the crap out of the engine, and he doesn't say to leave the shop at WOT. Here is what he actually says:

On the Street:
Warm the engine up completely:
Because of the wind resistance, you don't need to use higher gears like you would on a dyno machine. The main thing is to load the engine by opening the throttle hard in 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear.

Realistically, you won't be able to do full throttle runs even in 2nd gear on most bikes without exceeding 65 mph / 104 kph. The best method is to alternate between short bursts of hard acceleration and deceleration. You don't have to go over 65 mph / 104 kph to properly load the rings. Also, make sure that you're not being followed by another bike or car when you decelerate, most drivers won't expect that you'll suddenly slow down, and we don't want
anyone to get hit from behind !!

The biggest problem with breaking your engine in on the street (besides police) is if you ride the bike on the freeway (too little throttle = not enough pressure on the rings) or if you get stuck in slow city traffic. For the first 200 miles or so, get out into the country where you can vary the speed more
and run it through the gears !

Be Safe On The Street !
Watch your speed ! When you're not used to the handling of a new vehicle, you should accelerate only on the straightaways, then slow down extra early for the turns. Remember that both hard acceleration and hard engine braking (deceleration) are equally important during the break in process.
In other words, not at all what some people are trying to imply.

- John
 

·
Mexican Hard Shell Taco
Joined
·
5,894 Posts
Lots of misinformation in this thread, re MotoMan's method. He doesn't say to beat the crap out of the engine, and he doesn't say to leave the shop at WOT. Here is what he actually says:



In other words, not at all what some people are trying to imply.

- John
In other words, as I said before, this article is nothing more than Motoman's break in method. It's just that Motoman's haters can't deal with the fact that he is right.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,600 Posts
I bought my bike new in the crate, When I picked it up, I hit 120 on the way home and the bike had less than 20 miles on it. I didn't do a "break in" period. I rode the bike the way I do today, and 60K later, It runs as strong as it ever did.

I will say, change the oil, change the oil, change the oil. I have always been a 1500 to 2000 mile change guy. My first oil/filter change was at 500 miles and I have kept a regular schedule since. Oil and filters are cheap. I still use dino oil and I can change oil/filter for less than 25 bucks, when I buy in bulk.

I flush my cooling system every year, and I flush my brake fluid every other oil change. My MityVac is my friend.

I know this seems like overkill, but it gives me a chance to spend quality time in my shop, with my bike...and drink beer
 
  • Like
Reactions: PCHbreeze
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top