If you've ever been lucky enough to purchase a bike then you already know the experience can best be compared to the scene in The Christmas Story where Ralphie finally gets his Red Ryder BB gun-you sport a $hit-eating grin for weeks!
So when the boss man tossed me the keys to the '09 R6 and said, "she's all yours, have fun, be careful and look after it," I about soiled my drawers.
Packing 110 hp at the wheel stock, tipping the scales under 400 lbs. dry and sporting great factory suspenders it's a streetbike from the heavens above.
With my head still spinning from shock I began my stay with the R-sizzle by starting at square one. After a quick parooze through the owner's manual I checked the fluids, made sure all the bolts were tight and measured chain slack. After wiping the bike down to ensure I was starting with a clean slate, I double-checked the suspension settings and fired her up.
As the mill quietly fell into the cold-idle circuit I thought about what I might say in this intro, I pondered what might be worthwhile reading. Shoving off for the maiden voyage on that cold evening the intake air temps (a cool feature on the R6) measured a frigid (for SoCal) 41 degrees. As I babied the Six around on it's slippery new tires waiting for the oil to come up to temp I still couldn't decide what to write about-the tires were too new to carve the canyons and the motor was too green to assess it's power.
Then it hit me, as I wrestled through the repetitious and equally monotonous break-in process I decided I'd speak a little on the dark art of a proper break-in.
I'm sure you all know what breaking in a motor means, but for those who don't here's a quick explanation. When a motor is new all of the internal parts don't fit together yet, as the motor gets some use the parts all wear to one another to form the perfect puzzle. If you're too hard on a new engine it forces the engine to wear together too quickly, and if broken-in too easily it doesn't allow the parts to wear together enough. If a motor isn't broken-in properly they tend to use more oil and the compression can even be compromised. In a nutshell, that's what breaking a motor in means-and if done correctly, you'll have a hard running engine for years to come.
While there's more ways than one to skin a cat, traditionally there are three schools of thought to a proper break-in. One, some people believe in letting it rip under WOT, off the limiter and all together in a hard way. Two, some people believe in the process of heat-cycling an engine where by which the engine is run at different degrees of load and at various RPMs during different time intervals. Once the interval has been reached, the engine is then allowed a complete cool-down before the next session. And finally, theirs the old school method I was taught by my ol' man, which is a combination of the manufacturer's suggested method paired with a twist. According to the manual the R6 must be kept under 8,300 RPM for the first 600 miles, the oil and filter are then supposed to be changed and then you must keep it under 9,900 until you've eclipsed 1000 miles-from there, you can let it rip.
Following the various RPM limits, I was taught to remember these key points:
-Never lug/bog a new engine
-Be extra easy on it until the oil reaches normal operating temperatures (this can take up to 25 miles despite what your coolant temps read)
-Don't hit redline until after you've exceeded the factory break-in mileage
-Try not to hold a constant speed, always vary your RPM
In addition to the above, when riding you want to gently "load" the engine to seat the rings. This can be done by accelerating up to the maximum break-in RPM through several gears. For example, I found a nice piece of empty uphill freeway where I could accelerate up to 8,300 RPM in fourth, fifth and then sixth gear. Once you've reached the RPM point, roll the throttle closed and let the bike "engine-brake" for a bit-repeat this process as many times as you can.
By gently accelerating through the gears it loads the rings against the piston and the cylinder walls, which gently scuffs them in. Then, when you roll the throttle closed to engine-brake, the compression sucks the oil up past the rings you've just loaded to cool and lubricate the parts.
It may sound complicated but in all my experience I've ended up with strong-running engines that use very little oil. While I'll agree there are many ways to break-in engines, if anything, maybe my tangent will at least spark some thought.
As for the R6, well I've got big plans. Instead of an all-out track monster or a blinged-up boulevard cruiser I think I'm going to shoot for the ultimate street-sleeper-a budget 750 killer without the premiums. With any luck it'll be something you'll follow and maybe even spark some ideas with your personal ride. I'm going to keep the budget real and the mods right in hopes of showing you just how much can be accomplished for around a $1,000. After all, get one of those credit cards with no interest for a year, mod-up your new bike and with payments of just $80 a month you'll have it paid off in a year!
For round one, look for some spools to make greasing the chain easier and a new screen to better the airflow and add some style-stay tuned, this is an R6 you won't want to miss.
The Official Lubricant of Super Streetbike