Running in - Should I bother?
Do you carefully run in a new engine? We have the definitive answer from a expert
It's the question that's almost as old as the motorcycle itself, and forums and 'experts' worldwide have differing opinions on it.
Manufacturers also differ in their opinion. Some, such as BMW, actively enforce a computer controlled rev ceiling during the first 600 miles.
Buying a brand-new BMW S1000RR? You'll be artifically rev limited for the first 600 miles.
Other opinions are that a 'hard' run in will make more power for the motor, whilst a 'soft' run in (usually for the first 600 miles) will also not only cause a small loss of power, but an engine with poorly sealed piston rings that will mean more engine oil use over time.
Personally, I've only had one brand-new bike, and that got a hard run in. We're talking of varying revs, gears, speeds and so forth. It was an inline-four 1000cc sportsbike and not only does it make great power, it needs no oil top ups between services, even with 5,000 on the clock.
Gratuitous photo whoring opportunity
So what's the right answer?
I was recently very fortunate to be invited by the kind folks at MV Agusta to test their latest Brutale 800 and Veloce 800 models, and got a chance to speak to their head engine designer and all round egghead Brian Gillen.
I'll start by saying that Brian knows more about engines than anyone else in the business. He's also in my opinion a genius, and the latest motor incarnations coming out of the factory are his babies, and they are utterly superb. If anyone has been a factor in turning the company around, it's Brian.
Come on, answer the question - hard or soft?
I'll paraphrase here, as I don't have the recorded interview of Brian to hand. But to put it simply, Brian Gillen told me;
"Wait until the engine is up to temperature, then ride it like you stole it!"
I couldn't believe my ears, but he's the man in the know.
Older design engines are where the rumours come from, but modern engine tolerances are so precise, soft run ins are no longer required, for MV Agusta engines at least