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The Proper Procedure for Breaking-in Your Motorcycle

Posted by: Bell Performance

A new motorcycle’s breaking-in period lasts for about the first 500 - 1000 miles on the road. This procedure is typically what manufacturers and enthusiasts call the technique for operating the bike when it is new.

Motorcycle going at high speed on a straight roadDuring this process, the internal friction in the engine is at its highest since the components are new and have not been “bedded in.” Once the motorcycle reaches its first 500 to 1000 miles, the reduction in friction is significant. Manufacturers believe that a properly broken-in motorcycle will have lower emissions and better fuel economy, performance, and engine longevity.

In addition, other key components will also work better and longer.

Upon buying a new motorcycle, riders search the Internet high and low for the proper technique for breaking in their bike.

They are searching for a break-in method that is better than the one the bike’s manufacturer outlines in the owner’s manual. It sounds crazy, but if there were a better way to break in your new bike, the motorcycle’s manufacturer would know about it.

Many self-professed motorcycle break-in experts state that the best way to break in a bike is to ride it as if you stole it. This is a terrible idea. Since tolerances are close, metal parts wear off and make their way into the engine oil. Running flat-out for a long time could clog your oil filter with metal shavings that might migrate into the engine.

The Wrong Way for Breaking-in Your Motorcycle

The “other” method is much more aggressive than the manufacturer’s suggested break-in. In fact, to follow this other method, you will need to find a racetrack.

The best procedure for breaking in your new motorcycle is the one included in your owner’s manual. Before the manufacturer shipped your new bike, the quality control folks put it on a dynamometer and they had the bike heated and running. This is the first step in breaking your bike in and it is a good one.

The Right Way for Breaking-in Your Motorcycle

While each manufacturer might vary slightly in their break-in recommendations, they are generic for all new bikes.

  • For the first 500 to 1,000 miles, avoid using more than ¾ throttle.
  • Always avert high engine speeds.
  • Do not make hard stops, aggressive starts, or rapid acceleration unless there is an emergency.
  • While breaking in your motorcycle, increase your bike’s engine speed to the rev limit for short time periods.
  • Never lug your motor. Be sure to downshift before your bike begins to labor.
  • Never ride with unnecessarily high engine speeds. Shifting up a gear improves mileage, quiets the bike, and helps keep the environment.

Poorly broken-in bikes will see mediocre gas mileage and lower performance. It is possible those bikes who used the other method or didn’t properly break in their motorcycle, will find themselves in the repair shop more often than one that was broken in correctly.

Check out these other posts on motorcycles:

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This post was published on February 3, 2014 and was updated on April 19, 2021.

Topics: Motorcycles