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  1. #1 New to motorcycles or need to break-in a new motorcycle/engine? 
    foreign China moto dude bikerdoc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Zhejiang PRC, OZ, NZ
    You have just got a new motorcycle (MC) or a new engine, and wonder where to start.

    Some basic pointers.

    Look around the MC, front and back, left and right. Take your time, notice where items are. Get a sense of the MC.

    Check all the bolts, nuts, play in cables, spokes on the wheels as these can possibly come loose/break - a good idea is to 'zip-tie' the spokes where one crosses over another (don't pull the zip-tie tight at the cross over point, just leave the zip-tie a little loose, then slide it down a little from the cross over point). What this does is protect the spoke from thrashing round in the event that a spoke comes loose or breaks. Obviously if the wheels are mag wheels then no need to looki for spokes - it won't have any. Check condition of tyres (look for nicks, cuts, bulges etc.), & check tyre air pressures. Work through all the operating components, switches, check all bulbs work (headlight, tail, brake and indicator/turn signal lights etc.). Do a walk around of your motorcycle (MC) before you start off, and once satisfied, start the engine and while waiting for the engine to come up to temp, do another walk around your MC to ascertain if anything looks obviously loose, or any fluids are leaking, and listen to the sounds that your MC makes so you can easily ascertain if there is an uncharacteristic rattle/squeal etc.

    Engine run-in or break-in.

    Back in time, motorcycle (MC) manufacturing processes meant that there were often variables in components and how they were put together. With today’s high-tech, often automated, highly computerised and mechanised processes you’ll find there is now uniformity between parts and a high degree of precision in assembly. This doesn’t guarantee things can’t go wrong, but modern production methods mean new engine failure is now a rarity. The caveat being TIC (LFZ) and the quality of the raw materials and components used! It is a Ch!nese made MC after all, made to a specific (low) price point, directed to a specific market segment.

    Notwithstanding, that doesn’t mean you should just get on your new MC irrespective of where it was manufactured, or by whom, and ride it as hard and as fast as you can. Even more so for the majority of MC's manufactured in PRC. While some people recommend riding a new/reconditioned engine hard from the get go and so forth, most engine/vehicle manufacturers disagree. Take a look at your vehicles owners manual and it will often outline something along the lines of the following...

    All of the engine’s components need a period of running in before you start riding them hard.

    The valves, cylinder bore and piston rings in a new engine all need time to wear in so they mate properly with the surfaces they interact in and with. If the valves don’t seat correctly against the cylinder head combustion chamber, the engine can lose compression and proper combustion. This, in turn, can lead to a 'blow-by' of exhaust gases, which causes power loss, and compromises the reliability and longevity of the engine.

    Furthermore, a new engine’s cylinder bore may look smooth, but it can still be somewhat rough from the machining at the factory and the piston rings need time to seat-in (bed-in) to create a good seal. This is needed to keep the combustion gases separate from the engine oil. If the cylinder bore is not run-in properly the walls can become glazed which in turn will cause lubrication problems, leading to overheating, loss of performance and premature cylinder wear.

    Two Options for 'breaking-in' your new Motorcycle

    1: The first method is to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations often found in the owner’s manual. In general most manufacturers suggest that for the first 1000km/500 miles you do not use full throttle and avoid high engine speeds at all times.

    You should also avoid aggressive starts/stops except in an emergency. Don’t over rev the engine when cold and also don’t lug the engine. Always down-shift a gear before the engine begins to struggle.

    It's not recommended to ride a new MC at a constant speed for long periods of time. It's better to use the rev range, including short intervals of high revs (half to to thirds of the engines rev range). One of the worst things you can do to a new engine is be overly cautious with it, but you also shouldn't be running it so hard it's bouncing off the rev limiter. There's a happy medium between the two, which will work best for breaking in a new engine.

    2: This method is a little less rigid than what many manufacturers recommend. If you live near a mountain or a race track, they are both good places to work in a new motorcycle engine. First, never lug the engine around at low RPM and don’t ride at the same revs for long periods of time. You should be fluctuating the revs and engine speeds consistently. It’s probably best to ignore riding on the motorway/highway or expressway for the first 500km's as more often than not you’ll be riding at a constant speed and RPM for long periods of time, which is not good for a new engine.

    For the first 500km's you should stick with conventional mineral oil in the engine SAE 10W-40 is the best option (if you’re not sure what oil is in your new MC then drain it and replace both the oil and oil filter too). You can change out for synthetic oil at 3000km's.

    Before riding your new MC make sure you have read the owner’s manual if possible to see what specifically the manufacturer recommends. However being that TIC and a LFZ, there's a good chance the owner's manual (if you got one) will be inaccurate, full of Chinglish (if you're lucky), copied from some other manual, or just complete bullocks. After flushing the existing engine oil and replacing with a conventional SAE 10W-40 mineral oil. Check the oil level is correct and start the engine, allow it to reach proper operating temperature before actually getting on and riding off.

    Try and find a road with light traffic and a place where you can actually open the MC up a bit, at least in the lower gears. Make sure you vary the engine speed as often as you can from the low mid-range to the upper mid-range for around 50km's. Essentially you’ll want to be in first 1/3 to your mid rev range. For example, with a MC which red lines at 10,000 RPM you need to be fluctuating between 1,500 - 3,500 RPM. Remember though don't lug the engine so select the correct gear relative to speed and RPM.

    After those first 50km's, stop the MC and turn off the engine. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes and then start the engine again. Then continue with how you have been riding previously varying the engine speed in the low to mid range, but this time raise the RPM to 6,500rpm and try to use engine braking as much as possible, by down-shifting into a lower gear.

    Some people recommend changing the oil on a new MC after that first 50km ride, again at 100km's and then at 500km's. You could choose to do that. There’s no harm in doing it but it’s both time-consuming and costly. The most significant point is to change a new MC’s oil and oil filter at 1000km.

    With the running in process you should try and follow what you did on the first ride but increase the amount of mileage you do, still stopping for a short while in between and each time adding 1000RPM to the rev range and more importantly consistently varying the engine speed and revs throughout.

    At 1000km's you should change the oil and filter when the engine is still warm (but not baking hot). Inspect the oil for any metal debris which will usually collect on most MC oil drain plugs which have a magnet to attract metal flakes/shavings etc. Don’t be alarmed if there are some metal flakes as this is perfectly normal. Once you’ve passed the 1000km mark you can start heading out on the motorway/highway/expressway etc but still mix your ride with plenty of street riding too.

    At 2500km, change the oil and oil filter again. You could choose to use a good quality synthetic oil that’s appropriate for your engine and weather conditions where you live or if you prefer stick with a mineral oil. It’s at this point that your new engine is considered to be broken-in.

    Now just get out there and ride that bike.

    Shiny side up.

    I may add more to this in relation to the variances and legalities of riding/owning MC's in PRC. Got to pull my summary on the subject posted on another thread...
    Last edited by bikerdoc; 04-12-2015 at 05:37 AM.
    Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist
    - Pablo Picasso
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  2. #2 Re: New to motorcycles or need to break-in a new motorcycle/engine? 
    C-Moto Regular cryptographicide's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Yantai, Shandong
    Uh Huh, I've definitely been making some mistakes. Hope it's not too late to right them.
    1995 Suzuki Intruder (2005-Present){Canada}
    2003 Daelim Daystar (2011-2012){S. Korea}
    2014 Jialing 200 GY5A (2015-Present) {China}
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  3. #3 Re: New to motorcycles or need to break-in a new motorcycle/engine? 
    Senior C-Moto Guru
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Taizhou, Zhejiang
    Somebody should make this a sticky!
    I was looking for a post like this before. Thanks Doc
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