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Mikey
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How long do you let your engine run to warm up before driving? I've heard "a few minutes to let the oil spread throughout the engine" and also "as soon as it idles smoothly w/o the choke, it's ready."

Thoughts?
 

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On none FI bikes, usually a few minutes with the choke on,gradually reducing the choke until it's at operating temperature. Maybe 3-4 minutes.

With a FI bike, the system will adjust so warm up's are shorter than with a bike with carbs, maybe 2 minutes or less.

All of this may vary due to oil thickness,outside air temperatue and grade of gas used.
 

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On none FI bikes, usually a few minutes with the choke on,gradually reducing the choke until it's at operating temperature. Maybe 3-4 minutes.

With a FI bike, the system will adjust so warm up's are shorter than with a bike with carbs, maybe 2 minutes or less.

All of this may vary due to oil thickness,outside air temperatue and grade of gas used.
And the number of cylinders you have ;)
 

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I'm in the "As soon as it's running smooth" school. Won't usually hit an area where I can open it up for few minutes so the oil is pretty well warmed by time I put any load on the engine.
 

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Mikey
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cold?

Bubba688CS - I'm having a hard time understanding why idling a cold engine is a bad idea...? I always understood they were engineered to run best at a given operating temp above ambient air temp.
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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They are designed to be run at a given operating temp...and by letting it idle, you keep it operating well below that for much MUCH longer. You leave it in the cold where it has to DUMP fuel in to keep it running...washing the cylinder walls with gasoline, and increasing wear.

Doesn't matter whether it is a car or a bike, the proper way to warm it up is to allow it to idle only long enough to ensure it will not die while in gear...then drive/ride gingerly until the engine reaches its operating temperature. By putting a light load on it, you raise the temp faster without increasing wear (as you would by racing the engine...which is the other extreme). With an automobile, this method also allows your transmission and differential fluids to come up to temp.
 

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Needs More Cowbell
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I let mine warm up while I put my gear on then take it easy for the first several miles. Idling is never good and should be kept to a minimum, nor is revving the engine without it being under load.
 

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How long do you let your engine run to warm up before driving? I've heard "a few minutes to let the oil spread throughout the engine" and also "as soon as it idles smoothly w/o the choke, it's ready."

Thoughts?
I think of the bike the same as a car. When running smooth enough so that it does not cut off. I go. On my cars I have noticed how long it takes (distance) for the temp. to get above the cold mark. I figure the bike is about the same. So by the time I am ready to get on to the roads where speeds are 55 and above I feel that the bike is up to a good operating temp. Long Idles are a waste of gas. On alot of equipment that does not travel alot they have hour meters not mileage meters. So time running equals wear and tear.
 

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Mikey
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bubba68CS - OK, gotcha now. Thanks for the clarification! Sounds like the key is to initially put a light load on the motor in order to speed up the warming.
 

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Mine is FI, and I'm fully dressed and ready to ride before starting it. I start up, make sure it's idling smooth, and I'm off. I don't hotrod it in any event but I usually take it easy for the first mile, then it's normal riding for me.
 

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Thanks for this great info - I've been doing it all wrong of course, letting it idle for more than a few minutes.
On a sort-of-related-topic: is there an air temp. below which the bike should NOT be used - a cut-off point? Yeah, I'm having trouble with the thought of not riding for a couple of months. I can dress appropriately, and am loving riding in the low 50's - 40's for an hour or two, and the bike seems to love this cooler weather and is just about purring, but is there a temp. that will harm the bike? Thanks!
 

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I'm your Huckleberry
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For a motorcycle? Not really. When you spend extended periods of time below about 0F, you should probably have an engine block heater and leave that plugged in. The people up north would have more experience with how to handle extended periods of very cold temps.
 

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For a motorcycle? Not really. When you spend extended periods of time below about 0F, you should probably have an engine block heater and leave that plugged in. The people up north would have more experience with how to handle extended periods of very cold temps.
Just make sure you're running the proper grade oil. I used to regularly commute in -12C (10F) as long as the roads were clear. If you're running a 20W50 oil you should drop down to a 10W40. We run our quads all winter here, one's my plow, and I run 0W40 oil for the winter, then switch back to a 10W40 for the summer. Just check your manual and it will tell you what oil to run for your expected temperature range. I think 10W40 is good down to -10C. I'd also run a quality full synthetic, the full synthetics have a much lower pour point which just means they flow better at low temps, so they get circulating faster than a regular dino oil.

Just take it easy because at those temps your tires will never really warm up, so I basically treat riding in that cold like riding in the rain, everything slow and easy and no sudden maneuvers. Otherwise bundle up and ride! :)

PS Back then I rode a BMW RT with heated grips and seat. My heated vest plugged in and at those temps I usually used my heated gloves as well cause the heated grips wouldn't warm up enough. I was toasty warm but people in cars looked at me like I was nuts. ;-)

Oh and keep wind chill in mind...



My commute was 25-30 minutes and I figure you can survive just about anything for 30 minutes. I sure wouldn't want to be heading out on a several hour ride at those temps, the wind chill at 60mph just saps the heat from your body no matter how well dressed or how much electric heat you have going.
 

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They are designed to be run at a given operating temp...and by letting it idle, you keep it operating well below that for much MUCH longer. You leave it in the cold where it has to DUMP fuel in to keep it running...washing the cylinder walls with gasoline, and increasing wear.

Doesn't matter whether it is a car or a bike, the proper way to warm it up is to allow it to idle only long enough to ensure it will not die while in gear...then drive/ride gingerly until the engine reaches its operating temperature. By putting a light load on it, you raise the temp faster without increasing wear (as you would by racing the engine...which is the other extreme). With an automobile, this method also allows your transmission and differential fluids to come up to temp.
I let mine warm up while I put my gear on then take it easy for the first several miles. Idling is never good and should be kept to a minimum, nor is revving the engine without it being under load.
Bingo.

I never let my bike idle for more than the time it takes to get my helmet and gloves on and to unlock the security cable from the bike. That's no more than a minute or two. I usually still have a bit of choke going on cold days when I start out, but I take it easier for a mile or so, keeping the RPMs less than 5K as I accelerate. By the time I've gotten through that first mile, I'm off choke completely because I can more easily control the fuel with the throttle.

Idling is actually pretty rough on a bike. The engine usually runs smoother at cruising speed and those RPMs allow the electrical system to run at peak performance. Plus, as noted above, you're not dumping as much fuel that will go unburnt into cylinders like you are when you idle, which can eventually leak past the rings and cause problems later.

One thing most people don't consider when idling is local ordinances: some towns have restrictions on how long you can let a vehicle idle. In some towns, you can actually be fined if caught exceeding the time limit, though it's probably not enforced much.
 
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