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.
Why Do I Need To Break In My Motorcycle Engine?
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.
How To Break In Your Motorcycle’s Engine
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?
- Are you ready for your first ride? Go ahead and turn the bike on. Let it idle to warm up for a five to ten minutes. Now, turn it off and let it cool down. We apologize if it seemed like you were about to go for a ride, you’re not. Check for leaks, make sure that all bolts are sitting tight.
- Now, you actually will be going for a ride! It’ll be short, but sweet. fire it up, make sure that everything is in order, and pull out of the garage. Ride for maybe 10 minutes at low RPMs, about one third throttle. But, this doesn’t mean that you should sit at a constant 3300 RPM. You should make a point to rev up lightly and back down, avoiding sitting at a constant RPM for long. Once the ten minutes is up, you’ll probably want to be back in your garage, because it’s time to check it over and let it cool down.
- The process from your last ride is essentially the process that you will be using for your next three rides. Each time, ride a little more aggressively, at a little bit higher RPMs, for a little bit longer. Let it cool off between rides. Once this has been done three or four times, you should be safe to go for a casual ride.
- But, just because you are embarking on a casual ride, doesn’t mean that you get to pin the throttle and see what it can do! We would avoid pinning the throttle until the end of the break in process. We’d also avoid spending too much time at high RPMs, or any constant level of RPMs. Being mindful of this will help ensure the success of your motorcycle break in.
- Once we have reach the 1000 mile mark, we tend to treat the bike as well and truly broken in. But, there are a couple of other things that should be done before this point. Change the oil and oil filter at 100 miles, 300 miles, and 800 miles. Little bits of metal tend to appear seemingly out of nowhere in new engines, and you do NOT want those clogging your filter or circulating in your bike. We also regularly check it over to make sure that bolts are tight and there are no leaks to be found.
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.