- MV Agusta's compact inline three-cylinder 800cc motor

Running in - Should I bother?

Do you carefully run in a new engine? We have the definitive answer from a expert

1y ago


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.

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

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's up to temperature, then ride it like you stole it!

Brian Gillen

"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

Let us know how you run in the engines on your new bikes down in the comments!

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Comments (9)

  • My brand new R6 was flat out from day 1, always ran perfect!

      1 year ago
  • Can't argue with thermo dynamics. Number of people I see start their cars from cold and use them like a drill or chain saw. No warming up and rev them like there is no tomorrow. Its a heat engine for goodness sake, not a vacuum cleaner. LOL.

      1 year ago
  • Never owned a bike, but ive always ran my cars hard from new (engine warmed up of course!) and never had any issues, even with the cars i kept from new to past 100,000kms. I do keep up with maintenance (fluid changes etc) though.

      1 year ago
    • I think regular oil/filter changes are the best thing you can do to give a car a long life 👍

      Speaking of which, mine needs doing 🙈

        1 year ago
  • Basically followed the manufacturers advice in the owners manual on my superbike. Did lots and lots of heat cycles, though, based on a race engine builders thoughts on the matter. Most other bikes, I just ride and try to vary the RPM a bit, same as most other new vehicles.

      1 year ago
  • I personally feel that people are far to eager to use synthetic oils nowadays. Not exactly a new design but when the Blackbird came out Honda specified bog standard mineral oil for the first 8k miles (or was it 10k??) Yet i've seen sub 10k mile bikes for sale that have had almost a dozen services with the proud seller boasting of always using the best 'Fully Synthetic oil etc blah blah blah' They think it's a good thing but the opposite is true.

      1 year ago