Running in a bike is basically making sure your bike engines wears uniformly. Dont get scared! What I mean by engine wear is the piston properly bedding into the cylinder. So I shall now give a detailed guide as to how an engine should be run in.

Basically, during run in, your bike gets adjusted to your riding habits. Its sets up itself according to your throttle, braking, gear change speed, use of clutch, etc. So do not hesitate to whack in a little more fuel into your cylinder head if you are running as it is a required input for the bike to get used to you.

If you’re looking for fuel economy, dont raise it beyond 5 and a half 1000. Use the clutch smoothly, never let your engine rev by the force of the gear box. If possible, do a long run in. Go long distances during run in. Try maintaining the bike at about 3000 clicks for more than 20 to 25 kms at least! This will ensure that later your bike will give you a real solid mileage figure. Probably close to the company specifications. But keep one thing in mind, if you do such a run in, you will not be able to rip on your bike.

If you do so, you might face the following consequences:

  • Horrible mileage
  • Depressingly awful pick up and overall performance.
  • Reduced engine longevity and life.
  • Painful and irritating noises and rattles from your motor.

Things to keep in mind about economy run in:

  • Gear changes should be minimum.
  • Clutch release should be extremely smooth.
  • Engine should be at about 3000 rpm.
  • Higher gear should be used as often as possible.
  • Gear shift should be early.

The plus points of this run in are as follows :

  • Amazing mileage
  • Butter smooth engine and gear box.
  • Long engine life.
  • Less overheating of engine.
  • Tons of praises from your service guy!
  • Good resale value of your bike.

Petrol heads like me (which I seem to find in plenty!) will not enjoy riding their two Wheeler in the above mentioned fashion for obvious reasons! There is a way to ensure that your bike doesn’t seem sluggish at any throttle point. Running in your bike for performance is a very tedious and delicate task. If not done correctly, it could result in your bike engine showing signs of premature ageing, and uneven wear and improper bedding of piston into the cylinder.

A performance run in needs to be done accordingly:

  • Keep idling about 200 clicks more than normal.
  • Raise engine to higher rpm.
  • Care needs to be taken to ensure that acceleration is slow, steady and linear.
  • Try maintaining engine speed at about 5000 to 6000 rpm at all times.
  • Stick onto a gear for as long as possible.
  • When bike is in neutral, never idle it. But try to keep raising the engine speed to about
  • 2500 clicks every 3 seconds by constantly flicking your wrist.

Keep in mind that the run in steps should be followed very precisely and utmost accuracy. I do not suggest this to beginners. If this type of run in is not done correctly, the consequences might be:

  • Poor mileage (depressingly low mileage, I mean)
  • All kinds of alien noises coming from your engine
  • The engine life may be reduced by about 50%
  • Smoothness is almost completely absent
  • Engine refinement is tossed
  • Power delivery is abrupt, unexpected and less harness able.
  • Oil leaks every now and then.

But here’s a list of the pro’s that will sure make a biker smile

No more seeing people overtake you 😀

  • Linear, smooth and harnessable power delivery
  • Mileage is extremely satisfactory for the power out.
  • Easy starting with zero issues (whether self start or kick start).
  • Pleasurable ride quality and engine response.

So there you go. Sometimes the service manual or owners manual guides the owner to do a very soft run in. After some thinking(and research), I realized that they do this to protect their image and avoiding vehicle faults. Yes, if you do a run in according to the owners manual, the bike will be error free, but hey, todays bikes are error free however you use them, and the initial run in determines only the later functioning of the bike.

According to owners manual or manufacturers manual, it is advised that:

  • That the owner doesn’t raise the engine speed beyond 5000 rpm.
  • But the owner can frequently vary the engine speed anywhere below 5000 clicks a minute.
  • The owner is also advised not to go to fast on the bike as slowing down may result in very quick drops in gear and may harm he fresh gear box and clutch plates.

But it is safe and adviseable by according to me(and many auto experts and owners) to observe the following points:

  • You can raise the bike engine speed to about 6000 clicks
  • The throttle input, though, should be slow, steady and very linear
  • Try to prevent engine or gearbox knocking by riding in the correct gear.
  • Try not to stay in one gear for more than 30 seconds.
  • Frequently change gears
  • Ensure that the engine speed is not constant for long periods.
  • Sudden non-sustained bursts are OK as long as the rpm does not shoot beyond control – many even say that such bursts in the second 1000 km (with increasing frequency after about 1500 km) actually help to “open out” the engine and the usable rev-range better.
  • Gears are very tricky things to bed in properly so preferably (at least during the run in) do not let someone else ride your Bike – even if he’s very gentle, his shifting technique will be different from yours and you’ll be able to “feel” something amiss in the gears once you ride the Bike again.

That’s about it

Siddharth Vishwanath

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42 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article!
    Please explain me one thing:
    I tool a bike 1 year ago. When i purchased the bike at the showroom it had 1 kiometer on the odo.The bike started after a few kicks and the showroom mechanic raised its throttle to almost 9000 rpm. It was in that position for about 1.5 minutes. After that the bike was delivered. My question is would that have affected the engine any way?

  2. It was at 9000 rpm for 1.5 mins? Thats way too much! Keep your fingers crossed! Coz on most indian bikes, maintaining that speed for more than 30 40 seconds on neutral may lead do some disastrous consequences..

    • oh my God… even when my bike was delivered… the boy raised it for 6000 or 7000 rpm but for few seconds….

  3. yes it was 8000+.I am not an avid biker and it is my first bike though.I did not know any such limitations at that time.I have not found any issues till date with my bike. I get a mileage of 45-50.But i often find my bike is not smooth, things start buzzing from speeds as low as 45 etc.. How can i find if there was any damage?It is HH cbz extreme.

  4. Dear siddharth,
    The thing about gear was not clear to me. you said:-

    1.for economy rum in:gear shifting should be minimum
    2.for performance run in:stick on to a gear for as long as possible
    3.advisable:Try not to stay in one gear for more than 30 seconds.

    1 and 2 seem to contradict 3. Can you please clarify.Thanks

  5. @Anjan

    1-> Keep at low rpm’s and stick on to one constant speed
    2-> Use the entire rev range, raise engine to 80% and then change the gear
    3-> If you want a mix of both performance and economy

  6. “Stick onto a gear for as long as possible.”
    Why is that? Experts recomend not to hang in the same gear for long for both a soft run-in as well as for a hard one. The reason being that the engine is to be put to varying loads not constant loads.

    I personally dont believe that there is seperate ways to break in the engine suited for mileage or for speed. If the engine is broken in properly,(it means that the cylinder rings are seated properly, no glazing, no blow by occurs(throughout the RPM range), the movement of the piston is smooth in the cylinder(throughout the RPM range))it will perform well as in, it will give you a good mileage if you ride within speed limits, and give you good speed if you push the throttle.

    The most important thing(you missed out) during run-in is that the engine should not be subject to overheating. New engines tend to build up heat very soon due to internal friction. So long rides(more than 30Kms) should be throughly avoided during the run-in. Overheating will quickly lead to glazing and you will end up with a bad engine iimmediately.

  7. @Slyvester. : You’ve corrected the bits.! Thanks for that. 🙂 And yes, i forgot to mention about the engine heating part.

  8. I have bajaj XCD 125 (2008). After 10000Km run, I hear horrible noise like some parts loosened in the engine. This is a common prob I found in most of the Bajaj’s small engines. This already happened in 5000 – 8000 Km run whenever I drive harshly for 30 mins or more, then calms down after a 30mins halt. I hear same noise in pulsar 150 also if drove harshly. I couldn’t find solution for this prob. Pls help me.

  9. I bought a new fz s a week ago i want ur help how to run in my bike so it can give both power and good mileage…..can u help??

  10. I’m getting a new Avenger tomorrow & I was thinking of taking a trip to Pondy (from Chennai) with some friends in the new ride. Phew! Thanks a lot Sylvester, you probably saved my engine.. 😛

  11. Hey, i have apache rtr 160(2 months old) and am in BURKINA FASO, WEST AFRICA.Why is the service reminder blinking red ten times when i ignite on?how often should i replace engine oil?

  12. Hey John. Im guessing its a wiring or sensor fault which is quite common on such bikes. Get em check. And change oil once in about 4 months.

  13. each four months ok but i ride a lot.e.g. 3300kms in 2 months and use Quartz 7000 engine oil.what do you think?help me set the time on the dashboard.thanks a lot

  14. Hi
    Hi got Bajaj p-220F a month ago & clocked about 800 km.One service is done. i ride very smoothly & 3500-4500 rpm, normally below 65km/hr. But even on short trips like 20 km, the engine becomes hot. the service guys say that it is normal in p-220 & I should worry only if the overheating sign on display blinks.

    kindly advise as I am worried.

    Aman
    New Delhi

  15. Now Siddharth, first of all what do you mean by clicks? R u using the word clicks for RPM? Now on one hand you say “try maintaining the bike at about 3000 clicks for more than 20 to 25 kms at least”, but then U counter your own self by saying, you shouldn’t do that..How can u have a mileage run-in & another performance run-in.. pz explain.. genuinely i wanted run-in instructions but am now confused even more.
    “Keep idling about 200 clicks more than normal.requently vary the engine speed anywhere below 5000 clicks a minute.”
    what do u mean by these statements?.. I want to know plz.
    will be thankful if you clarify how can der be different types of run-in(only heard soft and hard, not mileage & performance), you mean dat if we break-in gently or the mileage way we can’t get performance later on? is that what you mean
    PS : I m going to buy yamaha R15, but having heard about pathetic service issues and consumer complaints even in yamaha factory shops, should I really go for R15.. please email me if you don’t wish to write it here..
    will be thankful if you clarify how can der be different types of run-in(only heard soft and hard, not mileage & performance), you mean dat if we break-in gently or the mileage way we can’t get performance later on? is that what you mean

  16. hello all you experts ,.
    Yesterday. I bought a New Honda Stunner .
    I want to know what precautions I should Take so that my bike give its best even after 10 years..
    At what speed i should ride my bike .?
    please advice me about the way I should handle my bike .?

  17. Hey i am buying the new Honda Cbf Stunner in a week and its going to be my 1st bike. I am good rider as I have a good experience of riding my friends bikes.
    Can you please suggest me how I should go for a run-in if I want my bike to deliver best mileage?
    What speed and rpm should i maintain?
    And is it a good idea to just ride the bike in the 5th gear for a long ride?

    Please reply soon 🙁

  18. i wanted ur view on the Engine Break-in procedure for the Fazer…i booked a Black Fazer dis saturday and will b getting my hands on d machine dis saturday…so frm the very beginning i want 2 take vry good care of my machine…i hav researched a lot on the internet regarding engine-break in methods…got various opinions…bt dre was dis one website which got me interested…i wud lyk 2 share it with u n wud like ur take on dis…im posting d link below…i hope dat ul go thru it and get back 2 me…all i want 2 kno is how true is dis article n ur thoughts on it…thank you…

    here’s d link

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

  19. Hi , @ alvien

    Don’t read that site .. waste of time and only if u wanna screw ur engine 🙂 dont hard break in ur engine .. results in bad milage and sucky engine 🙂

  20. most of us know speeds are kept under 40km/hr for first 500km but we forget the RPM.so if i run at 40km/hr in say second gear then you will rev your engine much more than required which is not good for engine during your run-in.

  21. but the main problem is why does motoman usa say the exact opposite things and he has proved it so many times. he says to do the exact opposite things.. like the most common reason for bad engine is easy break-in… and if you don’t go hard pistons will not seal properly and so there can be leakages from the chambers so that’s bad..

  22. sir,
    i have old pulsar 200cc and please tell me if i changed its clutch plats or piston then i also treat it like run in or just ride as i am rush rider.

  23. 22.02.2011, 1.20 pm (Bangladesh)
    Good Afternoon

    I have bought a new Honda Unicorn 150cc bike sine August-2009. It is my 1st bike. I have learned bike drive with it. As a result I could not take proper maintenance for my bike. As a result I have damaged its Class Plate within 3 (three) months. In that time I have mate with dealer (Atlas, Bangladesh) and they told me that cost for Class Plate of Honda Unicorn 150cc for Tk. 2,300/- (USD 32.00) per set. For that reason I did not buy an original set from them and I bought a Class Plate set from local market which has cost me for Tk. 8,00/- (USD 11.00). But this set also no longer more than 6 (six) months. Since then I have changed Class Plate (not original) twice more till now. At present I have recognized that my bike’s Class Plate is gone weaker which I have replaced just 4 (four) months ago.

    During last 10 (ten) months I have turn the Chawk in full before start my bike and have to keep on start at least 2-3 minutes before ride. After ride for few minutes my bike doesn’t run smoothly., speed up-down for some times. When I gave Pick-up It doesn’t get speed as other Unicorn bikes and some times little black smokes out form its Silencer with sounding like “duph – duph” with very little jerk. I have checked Piston and changed Plugs although older one was not bad at all.

    It is mentionable here that , my bike has been serviced regularly by an authorized dealer in every 3 (three) months.

    Now I need your advice about my bike, what I will do.

    Email: anower22061974@gmai.com

  24. Hello!

    I would like to have your openion about the run-in I gave to my new Honda CB Unicorn which is a month old now. The situation is as under:

    I went for a two days trip of about 500 kms. I gave rest to my bike at about each 25-30 kms and the average speed I traveled was 40-45 kmph through out the journey? When I started the trip it 75 kms on odometer and this figure was achieved by running the bike in city. So, my question is that, is this trip ok for the bike’s engin in run-in period? Please give your views on this.

    Thanks.

    Jejo

  25. Deepak,

    Nice Article.
    I still maintain my speed below 60 and RPM 5k. This helped me to get a fuel efficiency of 51 to 55 with my GS150R. Its age is 1 yr 2 months. I have followed it strictly. During Touring i wont follow the above…but i will get an avg of 45 to 48 when i travel in a speed in between 70 and 80. In touring too,I maintain a speed not to go beyond 80. This helps me to enjoy the ride .
    Racing your bike when you are touring, simply kills the enjoyment especially if you are at very good scenic spots.

    Krishna

  26. I brought my passion pro on Jan-11. I rode it under 40-45 for the first 500kms only after that i increased speed to 50-75kmph. Its going fine now. FE i last checked at rash driving it recorded 63*- but i guess its giving 55-60*- now. Its okay considering most passion pro owners told me getting 55*- only. I dono about power bikes but for small cc bikes i think 500kms run-in might be enough.

    P.S – About the fuel efficiency of passion pro is correct. Here in Tamilnadu, chennai I asked many passion pro owners they all told me a consistent mileage of 55 only.

  27. Hi Siddharth,
    I bought Karizma ZMR one week back. Have completed around 300 kms. I m riding my bike upto 55 kmph(mostly around 45kmph ) ,rpm around 3500-4000.
    Considering soft run-in ,what should be the speed -gear range (as i dont feel smooth riding in 5th gear below 40 kmph). any Suggestions..most welcome 🙂

    Thanks,
    -Raghvendra

  28. hi
    I bought Bajaj Discover 125CC 2006
    which is the better engine oil for my bike in summer or winter 20w40 or 15w40 and other one
    how to check clicks, i cant understand
    plz explain
    Sanjeev
    Jalandhar (Punjab)

  29. hey siddharth,
    i saw your break in procedures and i would like to know if i can do a performance run in on a 2013 model royal enfield thunderbird 350 twinspark. i have booked the bike in 20 th july 2013.
    help would be really appreciated
    thanks

  30. hi siddharth
    i read your blog and i would like to know if i can do a performance run in on a 2013 model Royal Enfield Thunderbird 350 twinspark. I have booked the bike in july 20th and i hope i will get it by this september. the actual waiting period is 8 months. i hope i get the bike early :).
    help would be really appreciated if you would contact me through mail and tell me run in procedure of if you can reply in post as soon as possible 😉

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