Break It In Without Breaking It

The Internet is flush with all kinds of tips on how to break in a new bike. The OEMs even have their own take on this with break-in periods varying from 600 miles or more. So we did some hunting around and found what sounded like some good advice.

The Internet is flush with all kinds of tips on how to break in a new bike. The OEMs even have their own take on this with break-in periods varying from 600 miles or more. So we did some hunting around and found what sounded like some good advice.

Here’s the one key commonality: for the engine to properly break-in, the piston rings must fully seal to the cylinder wall under “load” without warping. And what happens when you don’t break-in a bike properly?

“When the rings are not sealing properly, blow-by gasses contaminate the oil with acids and other harmful combustion derivatives, causing your engine to lose horsepower, fuel economy and to consume oil. How you treat brand new piston rings will determine whether your engine is healthy or handicapped later.” — SuperstreetBike.com

So to avoid that problem here are a couple of easy steps to follow throughout the break-in period:

  1. Always warm-up the engine completely to allow the oil to reach all the moving parts.
  2. Always ride the bike under load to allow the piston rings to fully seal to the cylinder wall.
  3. Ride on roads where you can be on and off the throttle and shifting frequently.
  4. Avoid using synthetic oil until the motorcycle is fully broken-in since synthetic oil can inhibit the piston rings from sealing.
  5. Change your oil after the first 100 miles or so. The earlier you get rid of the initial engine metal shavings and debris in the oil, the less likely your engine and transmission will sustain premature wear.

You can short cut all of this if you have the cash for a 20-30 minute dyno run. But if you go this route, be sure to take it to someone who’s done this before. Unmonitored engine heat during a dyno run, can ruin a new engine for good.

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