The Dennis Kirk Blog
Legendary Service... Ask Your Friends - Since 1969
Five minutes of searching the internet is enough time to see that breaking in engines is a hotly debated topic. Some say you need to, some say you don’t. Some say to do it at high RPMs, and some say at low. The safest advice anyone has given is to take it to a professional. And sure, you could take it in and have it done on a dyno, and sure, this is undoubtedly the safest option. But, if you rebuilt your own motorcycle engine, we have a feeling that you aren’t the kind of person to shirk away from this challenge. Besides, more money in your pocket means more money for goodies on your bike. So, for all of you weekend mechanics, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to offer our own two cents on the topic. Here is a method for breaking in your bike from the comfort of your own garage, without paying anyone a dime. Let’s dig in.
Your rebuilt engine is full of new cylinders, pistons, and piston rings. Getting all of these parts acquainted with one another is the whole purpose of the break in process! Your piston rings need time and heat to get seated against the cylinder walls. Giving the heat it in the right doses is a vital part of the process. Look at the breaking in of your new or rebuilt engine as a warm up for a run. You are making sure that everything is in good working order before you take off at a sprint – or you might pull a muscle.
Of course, you aren’t running and you aren’t at risk of pulling a muscle. But, if you don’t break in your engine, you run the risk of prematurely wearing and improperly scoring the cylinder walls This can lead to bad gas mileage, using too much oil, and an overall shorter engine life.
It seems that everyone has their own ideas on how to break in a motorcycle. The only thing that they all have in common is that they all claim to be best. In the time it took to reach us, it seems likely that your head is reeling in infinite ways on what is the best way to break in a new or rebuilt machine. And you are likely more than a little frustrated. If that’s the case, we have some comforting words. The vast majority of break in methods are quite similar! The differences are in the details, and choosing one over another isn’t likely to cost you your freshly built engine. So, take a deep breath, relax, and we will tell you how we’d do it. Then, you can walk away from this with a plan, and hopefully a little peace of mind.
Let’s set the stage: You just finished rebuilding your engine. It starts, you checked and double checked your work, and you are confident that it is ready. But, ready for what exactly?
This process will help ensure that your piston rings become well seated in your cylinders. Your bike should come out of it with good mileage, efficient oil use, and an all around healthy engine. If you have any questions or tips for your fellow riders, leave them in the comments below.
Mon-Fri: 7am - 8pm Sat & Sun: 7am - 6pm CT