TLZone Forums banner

Engine Break-In, Hard or Easy?

  • Run it hard - train it up

    Votes: 13 65.0%
  • Take it easy - its still a baby

    Votes: 7 35.0%
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Reading this forum it looks like there are some very experienced wrench-turners on here. I'd love to get some consensus on this important issue for all riders. Breaking in an engine, do it hard or do it easy?

There is a lot of old school knowledge out there, but the truth changes as engine design and build techniques evolve. When I bought my last bike brand new (a KTM RC8), I did some research.

I learned that engine machining is more precise these days, and the old strategy of breaking it in easy was necessary back when in-precise engine machining led to a lot of uneven surfaces along the paths of moving parts. These uneven surfaces led to friction points in new engines. As these could prove problematic if they hit hard suddenly, it made sense to take it easy until the engine ground them down.

Today's performance engines are much more precisely machined so everything should fit topgether snug/smooth. While a new engine will always have some friction, today's new engines dont have as much as they did years ago. Some of the new 'wisdom' is that new engines today should run in hard from the beginning in order to expand the piston rings all the way to the cylinder walls so that they provide a snug seal.

Apparently we should ride them hard with plenty of warm up time before rides. We should start with mineral oil for the first thousand miles or so, and do lots of oil changes to remove any tiny metal shavings that rub off of moving parts. We should avoiding "lugging" the engine at low RPM, and we should not stress it too much by hitting red-line. That said, we need to open the throttle all the way and let it accelerate as fast as it can (this creates lots of heat and expands those piston rings).

Best article I've seen on the subject:

http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm

So that's my 2-cents. It worked for me and my new RC8, but one example is not a reliable study. What do you guys think? Any info is appreciated. Please try to avoid guessing or 3rd party stories. Please just provide facts and direct experiences.

Thanks all
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,653 Posts
I would still go with the old-school break in easy method. New bikes today, even though they are much more finely made, still come with these types of break-in procedures in the manual.

They wouldn't include that info for nothing... and I'll take the manufacturer's word on that over any other "expert". Have you seen all the R&D at the major bike manufacturers? It's pretty amazing actually... watch andy episode of "Twist the Throttle" and you'll get some behind the scenes info that will make you trust their recommendations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would still go with the old-school break in easy method. New bikes today, even though they are much more finely made, still come with these types of break-in procedures in the manual.

They wouldn't include that info for nothing... and I'll take the manufacturer's word on that over any other "expert". Have you seen all the R&D at the major bike manufacturers? It's pretty amazing actually... watch andy episode of "Twist the Throttle" and you'll get some behind the scenes info that will make you trust their recommendations.
That makes sense Ghost. A actually had that exact same thought when I was researching. I asked a friend who is an ex-racer and ex-race instructor. I asked him, 'If they made the engine, they must know what's best for it, right?'. His reply back was, "what makes you think their objective is the same as yours?.. i.e. their definition of "what's best"?

His point was that my objective was to get the most power and speed out of the engine. The manufacturer's objective was minimize any potential for warentee claims (subject the engine to the least risk of damage). So for me "best" = fastest, while for them "best" = safest. So their recommendation is to achieve a different goal to mine.

In his opinion, if you want the most power/speed, you have to train the new engine to perform that way. Expanding the piston rings will allow for the most compression, and therefore the most power. However, if you want the engine to last forever, then take the least risks possible and ride it easy.

So fastest in the sprint, or in the marathon?
 

·
Chief Moderator for my kids Julia & Kristen,
Joined
·
5,503 Posts
All the good engine builders I have heard from on this topic recommend a spirited break in. Avoid lugging and constant rpm. After reaching operating temp, I ran my new FZ1 up to 9,000 rpm under 1/2 to 3/4 throttle with long coast downs. It runs like a top now at 11,000 miles.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,892 Posts
I've never bought a brand new bike so haven't had the dilemma. I tend to think that a few easy miles at the very start might be good to knock off any major slag or rough bits, then an oil change then a good flogging to get it all seated in nicely. Team Green used to recommend running a new MX motor in really easily, then re-doing the top end and flogging it. Seems they felt the bottom end and gearbox did better with a easy break-in while the rings/cylinder/piston liked it rough.
 

·
Upside Down Super Mod,
Joined
·
29,857 Posts
I've always run new engines how I'd run them normally.

No obeying some magic rev limits for x miles. Although I avoid redline or the limiter until the run in period is over.

I did a track day on the GSXR I'm on at the moment when it had 600 miles on the clock, more than enough miles for a good thrashing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
182 Posts
In the past Ive observed the manufacturers recommendations for the first 150miles then gone for a medium to hard run in with no constant revs or motorway cruising

Never had any probs and always had good relative power for that machine

Friend of mine does the same and hes just put 90,000 miles on a 99 R1 with no issues...Just regular oil/filter changes and general servicing
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,918 Posts
I'm with BP ... and probably will be forever :laugh I have heart attacks at ever little scratch I discover on my 1998, 65,000km TL - imagine the wreck I'd be on a brand new bike :D

... nice avatar pic Arecibojoe - I had one of those before the TL, wish I'd never sold it :(
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,387 Posts
In the past Ive observed the manufacturers recommendations for the first 150miles then gone for a medium to hard run in with no constant revs or motorway cruising

Never had any probs and always had good relative power for that machine

Friend of mine does the same and hes just put 90,000 miles on a 99 R1 with no issues...Just regular oil/filter changes and general servicing
:stupid

I've had a few new bikes and I always ran them during the "break-in" like I would run them if they had 10,000 miles, with the exception of more frequent oil changes. I've never had an internal engine related problem. I have had a tranny issue with the Yamaha XS 750 as it lost second gear, but it turned out that was a common tranny problem with that model. In my experience, as long as you don't frequent the redline area, don't maintain a constant rpm for prolonged periods, and change the oil every 500 miles or so, you don't need to follow the manufacturers "break-in" schedule. I only have used synthetic, non-energy conserving oils in my bikes as well.
 

·
The Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow Moderator,
Joined
·
15,415 Posts
Warm it up, few times up and down the gearbox on the dyno, then start mapping it :laugh

I still get nervous everytime but it works :dowhat
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,698 Posts
Warm it up, few times up and down the gearbox on the dyno, then start mapping it :laugh

I still get nervous everytime but it works :dowhat
:stupid

i broke mine in at the drag strip after a few thermal cycles.

it worked great
 

·
The Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow Moderator,
Joined
·
15,415 Posts
My first 30 minute old 1040cc engine, lasted 4 seasons before finally spinning a crank bearing, no doubt not helped by a few post race celebration wheelies :laugh

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,052 Posts
When i bought my TLS brand new.. i went by the book. After reading this.... then next bike i'm goona flog for break in. :devious

Steve TLS your my hero :hail

Sam keep up the great work! :hail
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
131 Posts
Im currently breaking in my engine right now, its at 600km 400km to go and suzuki says you shouldnt sync the throttle bodies or set the tps until the engine is broken in? Why is this? Will making it run better spoil the break in process somehow or what? Do I really have to ride this thing that runs like sh!t for another 400km???? It jerks back and forth pretty bad when holding the throttle steady as if the TB are fighting with each other! So i have to constantly be speeding it up or slowing it down to keep a load on the engine or it start hopping and i look like a moron on the road .It needs a Carb sync and the tps set pretty bad.
 

·
The Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow Moderator,
Joined
·
15,415 Posts
Stu's new 1080 engine I built was warmed up to about 80 deg when we finished it, then that weekend to the track where it did 2 steady laps then that was it, 100% after that, 2 further events later it was on the dyno for a bit of tweeking to the original 1040 map and was putting out more than my own 1080 engine that has bigger cams and flowed heads :thumbup

Don't pussy foot around and polish the rings/bores so they never break in, get the oil and water up to temperature and start getting some load and pressure behind the rings to give them a good seal for the rest of their designed life span.

How many TL barrels do you see that still have the original honing marks on them after 80k miles :banghead
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,052 Posts
So... if i read this right sam... the honing marks should be gone... meaning the "seating" of the rings took place and has worn the hash markings off the cylinder bore.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,287 Posts
i always rode it as normal but with out loading it up in a high gear or baby too much as not to glaze the bores.

the owners manual for the KTM 950 Super Enduro - run in speed 160KMH/100MPH top gear 6th :laugh

1st 50 KM/H (30 MPH)
2nd 70 KM/H (40 MPH)
3rd 95 KM/H (60 MPH)
4th 115 KM/H (70 MPH)
5th 135 KM/H (85 MPH)
6th 160 KM/H (100 MPH)
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top