New Bike: The Break In

Nov 10, 2014 View Comments by

New Bike: The Break InFor most riders, myself included, a brand new bike is something special. I made a rare and nearly spur-of-the-moment decision a few weeks ago when I purchased a 2014 Suzuki V-Strom 1000 after a brief test ride. One of my favorite dealerships had a V-Strom and a Yamaha Super Ténéré available for test rides, and since these rides aren’t always the simple and easily obtained procedure that they once were, my wife, Sharon, and I took advantage of the opportunity.

The V-Strom won for a number of reasons, not the least of which had something to do with my thirty-inch inseam length. After a couple of price-related phone calls made to me by the dealership’s general manager, I took the bait and bought the bike.

Even though I’ve purchased and sold several bikes over the past few years, it has been almost a decade since I bought a new one. As I looked over the owner’s manual, the manufacturer’s break-in procedure caught my eye. It stated that the motor rpm was to be kept under four thousand for the first five hundred miles, followed by another five hundred miles below seven thousand rpm.

Although the new V-Strom’s motor develops its peak power at fairly low rpm, it is a very free-revving engine, and the first five hundred miles were an exercise in self control as I watched the tach climb quickly to the self-imposed limit and short-shifted up to the next gear. The following seven thousand rpm limit wasn’t an issue, since I spend most of my time under six thousand anyway.

How many other riders pay attention to a new bike’s break-in procedure? Most of my friends pretty much ignore the limits, feeling that the engine will fare better if it becomes accustomed to frequent flailing from the onset, although most do change the oil at the recommended six hundred mile mark. I personally feel that there’s a good reason why manufacturers insist on the break-in period, and since I tend to keep my favorite bikes for a long time, I make an effort to follow the requested regimen. What’s your verdict on the importance of proper new bike break-in?


Want to receive free Touring Tips, reviews, deals and contests, and additional content? Sign up for your free newsletter now!

Tags: , , , , Categories: Outside the Lines