How to “Run In” Your Bike

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