The following streetbike engine break-in procedure is something
that I have been gradually perfecting for the past 15 or so years.
Every aspect of the process is traceable in some form or another ,with
many subtle changes occurring along the way. I have received help from other engine builders, most recently as a result of the
introduction of aftermarket plain-bearing crankshafts and the special
requirements associated with them.
In this area I utilized the wisdom and guidance of Mr. Ray
Bellucci. The "godfather" is pretty tight-lipped about his secrets, so I
won't reveal exactly which aspect it is. You can be assured that I was
greatly appreciative of his input, as I'm convinced you will be!
This is the exact method that I currently use on all
streetbikes, from my Team Suzuki Sport GSXR 600 SS to my Unlimited
Streetbike Shootout 1500cc Bandit.
- Start with regular Quaker State 10W-40 Motor Oil ( 20w-50 if you
can find it , in the green bottle @ $1.25 per quart - no fancy stuff! )
to full level in the view window.
- Remove the spark plugs and turn the
engine over with the bike's starter until the oil pressure light goes
out (This occasionally takes a while, a battery charger might come in
handy). If the light does not go out, investigate the problem! Replace
the spark plugs and perform a final safety inspection.
- Do not start the engine until you are ready to ride the bike, if
you wait more than an hour perform the first steps again.
- Make sure the bike is 100% ready to ride. Including: fresh gas,
proper air pressure in the tires, double check the rear axle, and triple
check the oil drain plug and oil related fittings (oil cooler, etc.).
- Additionally, ALWAYS use some type of air cleaner and an exhaust
baffle. You can ruin your cylinder bore or not hear potential problems(
not to mention it is the proper way to ride on the street! ).
- Reset your
trip meter and prepare to ride.
- Start the bike, adjusting the idle to at least 1700 to 2200 RPM.
Look for oil leaks, if you find a leak turn off the engine and repair
the problem. If everything looks good, IMMEDIATELY RIDE THE BIKE. You
must gas-load the rings for them to seal properly, do not overload.
Ride the bike calmly at first varying the engine RPM and watching for
signs of trouble. If something feels wrong, it probably is, STOP THE
BIKE AND TRAILER IT HOME. Within the first several minutes it is not
uncommon to have to readjust your idle back down as the rings begin to
Special Note: If you are serious about this procedure, you should
have an oil pressure and a temperature gauge installed. This allows
you to actually KNOW if there is a problem. I use a back-lit
temperature gauge available from Yoshimura, Street and Competition sells
a less expensive version made by Daytona. I made my own oil pressure
gauge from parts purchased at NAPA.
If everything seems to be going well, don't be afraid to get a
little aggressive with the gas. Avoid full load, redline rpms. Keep the
bike moving, you should avoid heavy traffic and excessive idling or
sustained constant RPM on the highway. Try not to allow the bike stay
at any certain RPM for very long.
Ride the bike for approximately 15 miles.
Return and allow the bike to cool completely (over night is best).
You may want to remove the drain plug and allow the oil to drain
during this time. Inspect the oil for any debris. Re-install the drain
plug and replace the oil with fresh Quaker State, its inexpensive, easy
and very important. You may wish to recheck the torque on the head
gasket nuts, but if you use stock or spring steel type gaskets, I have
found it to be a waste of time. This is also a good time to check the
valve adjustment and perform a compression and leak-down test on the
Next ride , adjust the idle to its proper position and travel
approximately 40 to 75 miles. Once again avoid full load , red line ,
and long term high RPM running ,but you can be fairly aggressive if
conditions allow ( this depends on where you live, I am not endorsing
breaking the law!). Then allow the bike to cool again. If there are no
signs of oil leaks or trouble, I consider the bike ready to race and
install a new filter in conjunction with my favorite race oil ( check
with YOUR engine builder for type and quantity). A bit of personal input
for budget conscious riders: I have found that the Quaker State
out-performs, on the dyno and race track, all other non-synthetic motor
oils that I have tested.
This procedure should be considered a general guideline, not the final word. If you feel that these requirements are excessive for
your machine, adjust the mileage accordingly, use your best judgment ,
it is YOUR engine. Remember, Pro-Mods normally don't receive any
break-in( unless you count the burn out)and some engine builders put
engines through their paces immediately on the dyno. On the other hand, factory recommendations are far less aggressive, even though most
machines today are pre-tested before delivery to the dealers.
I also use a procedure known as heat cycling , but I have found
this to be time-consuming and unnecessary for most street applications.
This entire process can be duplicated on any rear wheel dyno.
I hope this clears up some of the mysteries in this
high-performance world of ours!
Tell us what you think of this article by submitting your comments below. If you have questions please use the 'Contact Us' form to ensure a response.