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Thread: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

  1. #1
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    Default Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Here's a fascinating video, describing a test of 'break in' procedures.... which seems to indicate that perhaps a limited break-in schedule is unnecessary. This guy built a pair of Honda CB300F engines from parts, used one to do a 1,000 mile break-in according to the manufacturer's advice.... and another, with no limitations during the first 1,000 mi. Afterwards, both engines were torn down, and measured.

    The apparent result: NO difference between the two engines.

    So, maybe the break-in schedule is a myth?

    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Some car delivery drivers seem to work on that principle.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    No way it's a myth. The untold number of metal to metal contact points between cylinder walls, bearings, valve train, gears etc are microscopic and proper break in makes a significant difference in the longevity of the machine.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    I would do exactly what’s in the owners manual—but that’s just me. . .
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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by CK 17 View Post
    I would do exactly what’s in the owners manual—but that’s just me. . .
    It is what I've done, so far... although it's pretty frustrating.

    I thought the video was pretty convincing, though... and I suspect (as does the host of that video) that the break-in recommendation exists because 'that's the way we've always done it', as opposed to research into whether it is either effective, or necessary.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    I did not watch the video, how many miles did he do, only a 1000? I can give experience from 2 brand new Kawasaki GT550, one run in as per book, and one run in over 2500 miles. The one run in by the book expired with less than 5000 miles on the clock, the latter is still going with only regular service 90,000+ later. The later also had far better accelaration and mpg. Manufacturers would be out of buisness if their products lasted forever.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Consider the value of the peace of mind, when you've got a couple or five thousand miles on the clock. If you have any suspicion that there might be an issue needing attention, say a new noise or vibration, or smell, and you hadn't followed the manual, you might then wonder if you shortened the engine's longevity. Even if the video is right and the real reason for the recommendation is that the manufacturers will do anything to avoid having their reputation for quality trashed, even if today's engines really don't need it, you'd be able to tell a prospective buyer honestly that you followed all the factory procedures. Paying the peace of mind forward.
    I don't care to know what the tough do when the going gets tough.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    According to a co-worker with a new Ducati Daivel, the answer is yes. He probably had a bad engine, though or one that had assembly issues. He followed the "break-in" procedures and fluids changes religiously. After a few thousand miles, the engine had issues with metal shavings on the magnetic plug - relatively large ones - and power loss. The local dealer was no help because he did the work himself. Ducati finally stood behind the warranty because he could show receipts for the maintenance items.
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    I found the breakin period no bother. Even my slow motorbike was able to do 85mph with the rev limits imposed during breakin, which made freeway riding (Blech) possible.

    During the breakin period, I changed the oil twice as often as recommended (I like changing oil. I think it helps a ton. 117,000+ miles on a single port 1600 vw motor without cracking the case is my one amazing anecdote) and found dirty, dirty oil with some slurry. Maybe just nothing, but maybe little metal bits from wearing and jiving.

    Why not break it in? What’s your hurry?

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    Change Your Oil!

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    I'm not specifically trying to make an argument against the notion of a 'break-in' period or procedure.... it certainly makes sense, I think, to take it somewhat 'easy' in the first few hundred miles.

    I'm not sure, however, that it needs to be continued for 1,000 miles. Clearly, there are MANY mixed opinions on this topic.

    I don't think that the manufacturing standards for motorcycles are really any different, than for cars... and the manufacturer's break-in recommendations for new cars are nowhere near as stringent. My wife just got a new Mazda CX-5, and the manual simply advises avoiding very hard acceleration or braking for the first hundred miles or so... and certainly doesn't insist on 1,000 miles worth of restriction. Considering that they're talking about a $35,000 car, versus a $7,000 motorcycle, I should think that the recommendation for the car would be MORE stringent, since an engine replacement in the car would be overwhelmingly more expensive, than an engine replacement in a motorcycle.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    I found the breakin period no bother. Even my slow motorbike was able to do 85mph with the rev limits imposed during breakin, which made freeway riding (Blech) possible.
    The 4,000 RPM restriction, in 6th gear, would limit the bike to 55 mph... it redlines at 9700, and was obviously designed to handle sustained riding at above 6,000 RPM.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    The 4,000 RPM restriction, in 6th gear, would limit the bike to 55 mph... it redlines at 9700, and was obviously designed to handle sustained riding at above 6,000 RPM.
    4k in sixth is only 55? Oof. That thing needs regeared. Six grand is gonna tingle. Unless they got good bar end weights.

    Did I mention I had a 500 ninja back in the day. Great, buzzy motor.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Didn't watch the video, but I wonder if he measured cylinder leakdown to test ring seal, I think that may be the only thing that needs to be broken in on a modern engine, they cool by contact with the cylinder wall, so until they're worn into the cylinder, they may be more susceptible to overheating if run at higher speeds and cylinder pressures possibly. Modern camshaft design requires no break in, I suspect that and the rings and cylinder walls were what the old time break ins were about.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    I'd say their testing is inadequate to judge the question.
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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by hightop View Post
    Didn't watch the video, but I wonder if he measured cylinder leakdown to test ring seal, I think that may be the only thing that needs to be broken in on a modern engine.....
    He did. There's a text version of the video located here:

    https://www.motorcyclistonline.com/b...-break-in-myth

    The result: NO difference in compression or leak-down, between the engine 'babied', and the one drive hard from the get-go.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by amish rob View Post
    4k in sixth is only 55? Oof. That thing needs regeared. Six grand is gonna tingle. Unless they got good bar end weights.
    The gearing isn't much different than my Honda Magna.... if 4K in sixth gear is 55 mph, then 5K in sixth will be 68.75 mph... which is just about what the Magna did.... it works out to 5500 RPM for 75 mph. Definitely not very high, for a short stroke engine like the Ninja.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    When I bought my then fifteen year old sixty-nine BMW 2002, I got a kick out of the owner's manual advising the new owner to accelerate at WOT occasionally to clear out any carbon in the combustion chambers. I had no problem with that. When it was time for a new head gasket, I was able to ascertain that indeed, there was no carbon build up. The cop writing a ticket for blowing the doors off the chevy in the turns won't care about your carbon hygiene, though.

    Have I mentioned in a thread that very recently I had a sort of owner epiphany. I bought my current car, a then fifteen year old BMW Z3 about six year ago. It is the second car I've owned with automatic traction control and anti-skid. It also has positraction rear-end, and seriously way more power than the 2002. I had been a little frustrated occasionally when it was time to get on it to get up the onramp and merge on the freeway, and the right at the fat part of the power, the engine stalled as if with a governor, a light on the dash flickered briefly. The light upstairs came on and I figured out that if I turn the traction and anti-slip off, I can smoke these tires and blow the doors off the chevy getting in line for the onramp.

    Even as a teenage, with the exception the boxter I had couple of cars ago, I've not owned a car that would smoke both rear tires. So my smoke the rear tires urge I've had since I was about fourteen finally got a bit of satisfaction. No cop. No harm, no foul. I got sideways. Don't take my keys, dad, I promise I won't do it again, honest. There, I've been wanting to say that for fifty some years.

    My old man and I had a special relationship involving roadsters, since, just before I left home to enlist, I totalled his sixty-five TR-4 on a Friday night date in San Francisco. It wasn'ty my fault. I got t-boned by a camaro running the redlight. The TR-4 got bent a bit but mostly just got bounced to the curb. No one was hurt. A lawyer in a Cadillac, dressed in tuxedo on his way to the opera with his begowned wife, and was sitting at the cross street and watched the accident, took the time to circle the block and get out to tell me that he would be happy to talk to my old man on the phone to assure him that it wasn't my fault, because he had a teenage son and knew what the dad's reaction would be. He missed the curtain at the opera to do that. My old man never let me forget that I killed his baby.

    Then I set fire to his motorcycle. He didn't find out until I was in boot camp.
    I don't care to know what the tough do when the going gets tough.

    I am interested in what the enlightened do.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    The BMW dealer owner when I bought mine told me... ride it everywhere you get a chance. Ride it at speed limits and even faster. Urban riding is best with fast starts and long warm ups. Ride it like you stole it. Don’t shut it off until you get to operating temperatures above 245 for more than 15 mins. I also have a 3 year 36,000 mile warranty.
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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Well, every Kawasaki parallel twin and single Iíve owned, (Iím on number five) have been buzzy at high rpm.

    Peace,
    Robert

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    It depends on the motorcycle too. My '97 Ural definitely needed breaking as did my '03 Ural. Other Ural owners rode them for long distances (relatively) at a constant speed, not what was recommended, and had issues later. I rode mine on surface streets with stoplights and in stop and go freeway traffic. Lots of accelerating and decelerating and not much time at a given RPM. My engines never gave me any problems.
    Elect a clown expect a circus

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    I'd say their testing is inadequate to judge the question.
    Absolutely, positively, 100% correct.

    With the sophisticated measurement instruments required, time and painstaking procedure involved to do it right, there is no way a man on the street could perform an adequate analysis of this nature. But, you can be sure Japanese and German engineers have. When they specify a particular break in procedure, just believe it and follow their directive.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Hoppe View Post
    The BMW dealer owner when I bought mine told me... ride it everywhere you get a chance. Ride it at speed limits and even faster. Urban riding is best with fast starts and long warm ups. Ride it like you stole it. Donít shut it off until you get to operating temperatures above 245 for more than 15 mins. I also have a 3 year 36,000 mile warranty.
    Oil heads were notorious for requiring rigorous (aggressive) break in and even if done with care could result in machines that didn't settle down as respects oil consumption for thousands of miles. Certain Ducati twins prefer faster break in as well. And let us not forget that brakes need to be bedded and tires scrubbed in.

    Proper running in is an art. No lugging, vary speeds, try to not build heat but still get those revs up. Most modern cars don't need as much consideration but it's my anecdotal belief that air cooled engines are considerably more sensitive to this than others.
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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick-Mi View Post
    Absolutely, positively, 100% correct.

    With the sophisticated measurement instruments required, time and painstaking procedure involved to do it right, there is no way a man on the street could perform an adequate analysis of this nature. But, you can be sure Japanese and German engineers have. When they specify a particular break in procedure, just believe it and follow their directive.
    As an experienced engineer with a 45 career behind me, I'd say you have a rather irrational view of engineering. Yes, the man on the street can't make the analysis... but the engineer with $1M of the most sophisticated test equipment, and millions more to do endless testing, can STILL make mistakes, and STILL be wrong.

    I'd hate to have to consider the mistakes I made, during my career, even when I was something of an expert, in my own specific technologies.

    If engineering acumen were that accurate and reliable, there would never be a product recall.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    To me, it is a simple choice: You do the recommended break-in procedure, and deal with slow driving for a little while (A thousand miles? That's two-three weeks of riding, right?); or, you ignore the manufacturer's recommendations and deal with an expensive engine rebuild if it all goes to hell.

    Ya makes yer choices and ya takes yer chances...
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    The only thing that has to "break-in" on a modern engine after the first 15 minutes or so is the piston to cylinder wall fit. Because of improved manufacturing technique and materials even that is far less critical than it was in the past. The ring to cylinder wall seal requires combustion pressure to work and "fit". Generally any break in procedure will avoid idle time, and include fairly hard work with variable loading up to about 80% of full load. I.e. normal driving (except the avoiding idle bit)

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Bernstein View Post
    As an experienced engineer with a 45 career behind me, I'd say you have a rather irrational view of engineering. Yes, the man on the street can't make the analysis... but the engineer with $1M of the most sophisticated test equipment, and millions more to do endless testing, can STILL make mistakes, and STILL be wrong.

    I'd hate to have to consider the mistakes I made, during my career, even when I was something of an expert, in my own specific technologies.

    If engineering acumen were that accurate and reliable, there would never be a product recall.
    I made that comment directly with you and other engineers around here in mind and although your specialty is electronics, I'm surprised you even gave this crude experiment a second thought.

    If you want to blow your mind, try to think deeply imagine how many metal to metal contact points there are in the engine and drive-train of your new bike. Try contemplating the many minuscule contact points there are along various positions of the ear of every single gear, none of which is identical. How about the valves and untold number of metal to metal interactions there?

    While nobody has any idea of the huge number, every moderately informed thinking person knows how important it is that these parts gradually wear on a microscopic basis in a manner which helps them interact with each other on the most favorable basis possible.

    Proper break in procedure isn't even debatable unless a person simply doesn't care or has more money than brains.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    And these "metal to metal" contact points disappear after break-in why?

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    And these "metal to metal" contact points disappear after break-in why?
    That is by definition, a glaring example of a logical fallacy.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Except for the oil...

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Canoeyawl View Post
    Except for the oil...
    Stick with sailing.....

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    " The only measurable difference was the ring end distance."

    He kinda glosses over that. Wonder what he'll say when / if the engine starts making oil?


    Several outboard makers are insisting that break in be done hard, at sustained high RPM in order to seat the rings. Newer, high-tech alloy blocks are not just lighter, but harder ( so they say), then "standard" aluminum blocks. Guys who break in by tying the boat up and letting it idle for the 10 hour break-in period ( yep, that' s a common thing) or going easy and only spurts at high rpm, are seeing fuel get past the rings and into the crankcase. Not a great scenario for a 6000 rpm engine with only one gear.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick-Mi View Post
    Proper break in procedure isn't even debatable unless a person simply doesn't care or has more money than brains.
    EVERYTHING is debatable.....

    ....except to the person who thinks that their opinion is so invariably correct, that it shouldn't deserve to be debatable.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Heard years ago, that the main reason for break in is heat transfer from the piston top to the cylinder via the piston ring. A new piston ring will have less surface contact with the cylinder and thus the piston top gets hotter when you really push the engine before the ring has run in properly. It might actually be true.

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Interesting topic, Norman, so much that I recalled an article I read, many years ago, about a guy who did rebuilds on lycoming engines for Cessna's - and broke them in by running them hard, full throttle, on the first start. If they didn't blow up, they were golden, and had more power than those treated more gently. No idea if he's correct.
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: Breaking in a new motorcycle engine.... is it a myth?

    Quote Originally Posted by George Jung View Post
    Interesting topic, Norman, so much that I recalled an article I read, many years ago, about a guy who did rebuilds on lycoming engines for Cessna's - and broke them in by running them hard, full throttle, on the first start. If they didn't blow up, they were golden, and had more power than those treated more gently. No idea if he's correct.
    There appears to be absolutely NO consensus on this issue... I hate to say it, but this is very much like the 'tubes vs. transistors' debate among audiophiles... or the 'MAC vs. PC' battles even here in the bilge

    I do suspect one thing, though: if a failure to comply with a break-in schedule reliably damaged an engine, there would be a substantially greater effort on the part of the manufcturer and dealers towards warning the buyer. When I picked up the bike, the dealer simply suggested that I keep the revs down to 6-7K RPM for a few hundred miles.... the far stricter factory suggestion was buried deep in the owners manual. Considering the more likely perspective of most motorcycle buyers, who probably routinely ignore the break-in restrictions, I'd think that there would be a LOT of owners suffering perceptible engine damage (excessive oil consumption, poor compression, etc). As far as I can tell, I haven't seen anything like that.

    I expect I'll probably more or less follow the schedule... but with occasional acceleration beyond the 4K or 6K RPM limit. In other words, I won't be all that strict about it, but neither will I go crazy with it.
    "Reason and facts are sacrificed to opinion and myth. Demonstrable falsehoods are circulated and recycled as fact. Narrow minded opinion refuses to be subjected to thought and analysis. Too many now subject events to a prefabricated set of interpretations, usually provided by a biased media source. The myth is more comfortable than the often difficult search for truth."







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