F650 Break-in FAQ
by Sean #807, Trevor George.
compiled &edited by Kristian #562
Please read the Disclaimer before attempting any work in this FAQ.
Last Updated: 16 July 2006, by Winter #1935
You may also like to read the Riding Tips
What the manual attempts to get you to
do, but doesn't tell you why, is to limit the amount of heat applied to the
various reciprocating/rotating components for any long period of time.
You have two opposite functions to perform at break-in:
- Apply enough pressure to the piston rings (via high-load) to have them
expand and match the cylinder bore (in fact, they both wear a bit and fit each
other). This also applies to valve to valve-seat interfaces and all plain
- Avoid excessive heat that would cause distortion that will prevent these
parts from mating.
So how do we do this?
- Progressively take short bursts of acceleration higher and higher
in the RPM range, followed by fully closed throttle deceleration.
- This accomplishes both requirements.
- The brief burst of acceleration loads the parts as required.
- The "closed throttle" deceleration
relieves this pressure, and coats the moving parts with engine oil (not so
much for lubrication, but to wash away the microscopic metal particles that
your engine just "machined" during the acceleration phase.
- Oil is "drawn up" because, with the
throttle closed, the combustion chamber is a very low pressure environment
during the intake cycle as compared with the crankcase).
Understand, this is a two part process:
- The "closed throttle" part is every
bit as important as the "open throttle" part. Full open throttle (2-3 seconds)
followed by a completely shut throttle (3-5 second).
- Allow a few minutes between cycles for
a thorough heat soak. Vary speed and gears (I usually start with second, and
work my way up to fifth).
- Avoid any constant RPM.
- BMW advise not to exceed 5,000rpm for the first 600 miles.
- BMW advise not to exceed 5,000rpm for
the first 600 miles, for good reason, to prevent heat-seizures or cylinder
scoring. This allows you to travel at around 75mph in top gear, throttle on -
throttle off, which is fine for breaking in and doesn't require too much
throttle restraint. My neighbour who is a mechanic for BMW, said if someone
admitted they'd been red-lining it before 600 miles had been covered, they
wouldn't be covered for any warranty claims for engine problems. Surely it's
best to follow what BMW advise, after all it's only for 1,200 miles total before
you can really wring its neck, if that's the way you wish to ride.
Trevor George (UK)
- One of the reasons for the extended break in period is the especially hard
Nikasil liners in our engines. And I have to offer a differing opinion - I think
that most of us agree on a MINIMUM of 6000 miles before using synthetic. Some of
us think (and some don't) it takes longer than that and recommend waiting until
10-12000 mile oil change to go to synthetic. My engine really loosened up around
7-8000, and I went to
Synthetic Oil at 12k miles. I have to admit that I was
surprised that the idle rpm increased by 150-200 rpm. Tthe
intention is to AVOID all oils with the EC (Energy Conserving) rating - the EC
additives tend to cause clutch slippage. I have to
agree with the comments on the viscosity extending polymers used to make multi-grade
oils - most diesel rated oils do not use such polymers because of breakdown. In
cases where repeated failures of turbochargers occur,
switching to a single viscosity oil rated for diesel engines will usually end
such failures. It's a problem using such oils in a car in cold climates, but
many large industrial and marine engines (I'm talking about +8000hp) provide for
this by having oil heaters and/or separate oil pressure pumps. Todd #389
- The main idea is to
exercise the engine like you would a muscle. Build up slowly and don't do the
same thing for too long. Yes, you want to keep engine revs down and increase
gradually, but also you want to run a variety of engine and gearbox routines.
Run City traffic for half an hour then country lanes for a couple of hours, then
finish with maybe 15 minutes of mixed steady and fast motorway. Repeat until
you've done the miles. Running motorways at 100 kph to do the distance will
shorten engine life almost as much as not running in at all. Andy Leeds UK #982
- Here is an
interesting statement from Jeremy Hall, a principal engineer in Honda's engine
design department. He is quoted (page 61 of the July issue of Popular Science)
as stating that the stress on an engine at 9,000 rpm is double that at 8,000
rpm. Something to think about as you wind your engine to redline. Richard #230
- Oil analysis thread
is one of many oft cussed and discussed motorcycle topics. Another is break in.
Here's a site that offers answers, based on comparative analysis of the break in
of two motorcycles run under differing conditions. A lot of old wives' tales are
put to rest. The short version? Ride it like you stole it... Anyway, the link:
http://www.mototuneusa.com/break_in_secrets.htm. Harl #380
Alternative Break-In Method
I spent hours going over a wealth of information on this site last
night - maybe it's been posted before but I missed it. The site contains a
procedure for breaking in an engine:
It's contrary to what the manufacturers recommend, but apparently the
author has been doing it his way for a long time with great success. I am
interested what others think of it. BMWconfused
A friend of mine sent me this link on how to break-in the new bike.
Would this void the warranty?
- I believe there is something in the FAQ about break in. But in
general, folks with F650s seem to believe that you should wait until at
least 6000 miles before switching to synthetic. By all means, feel free to
change yours to synthetic whenever whoever you believe says the time is
right. Be sure to let us know how it goes. Flash #412
- Man, you might as well ask what house of worship to attend this
- I say consult your M.O.M. (Motorcycle Owners Manual)
Considering the corporation is just looking for a reason to void your
waranty, why give them the excuse. RevJVegas #1906