Wrench Tip Wednesday: Breaking the Dirt Bike in
The feeling of a new dirt bike never gets old! It is so shiny, clean, no scratches or dents; the definition of perfection. The urge to go out and ride it is strong. For me, I hate bearing the thought of running a brand stinking new bike through mud or boulders and will do whatever it takes to prevent from laying the bike over. There is a proper way to break in a brand spanking new dirt bike.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion on this but we (Bonecutter Off Road) recommend doing some type of a break in on the engine. A person should want the engine to last a long time and this helps ensure that. Think about how fresh all the small parts moving at high speeds are. Doing a proper break in helps seal the piston rings into the cylinder surface. If you fail to do so, it might not be an immediate but it will most likely premature wear.
One way to do it is three heat cycles. Start by turning the engine on and let it idle for 10 minutes. Then give it a couple of revs and shut it off. Let it cool completely and repeat two more times. This is just the basic way but there are many different variations to this method.
The other method is to let the bike sit and idle and properly warm up. Then go out and ride it some without “getting on it”. Be gentle and do not rev the crap out of it. After 10 minutes or so, let it cool down. Then do this two more times.
The most crucial thing to remember is to properly warm up the bike prior to riding a new or freshly rebuilt engine, no matter the size of the dirt bike. All new parts in the engine are mating together and the aluminum parts need a chance to expand. Riding before the engine is warm, this goes for heat cycling and the people who insist riding it hard off the showroom floor, can cause the ring to sit prematurely causing wear and possibly damage.
After the break in is finished, go ahead and change the oil. Remember, although Motul and BelRay are pricey compared to other options, the quality of the oil is worth it and helps all engine parts last as long as they should.
Bottom line – do what you want but this is our recommendations! Let’s just say this, I ride and race my bike constantly but how many hours does it look like it has? You tell me.