Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What's The Best Way to Warm-Up Your Motorcycle Engine?

With the cool weather upon us already, talk around the coffee house has turned to what's the best way to warm-up the carbureted motorcycle. Larry "The Lizard" says "let er idle 5 to 10 minutes until you can push the choke in without the engine dying." Alex says "pull the choke all the way out, start it up and take off." Josh with a fuel injected Yamaha sport bike just laughed at us. I say I've had enough of this argument and I'm going to get this thing resolved once and for all!

I got busy checking with those who know more than us knuckleheads. Joe Minton in an American Rider magazine article (June 2006 issue) says to warm the bike's engine while riding, keeping the rpm not over halfway to redline. To let it warm-up while idling quickly destroys the engine oil's protective features.

A Motovike.com article says to use your choke "the minimum time possible" and to "never forget the choke on and take off."

The motovike article seems to contradict Joe Minton and advocate for idling the engine until the choke is not needed before taking off. Hmm, what to do?

"When in doubt read the instruction book" my Dad used to say. So I dug my Sportster Owners Manual out from the bottom of a drawer and took a peek at what Harley-Davidson says. After all, they should know best, right?

Here's what they say for a cool engine with outside temperature less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit:
1. Turn the fuel valve to the on position.
3. Pull enricher (choke) knob to full-out position.
4. Turn the ignition/headlamp key switch ON and press starter switch to operate the
electric starter.
5. Raise jiffy stand.
6. After initial 15-30 second warm-up, ride for 3 minutes or 2 miles with enricher
in full-out position.
7. After 3 minutes or 2 miles push the enricher knob in to the 1/2 way position.
Ride 2 minutes or 2 miles.
8. After 2 minutes or 2 miles push the enricher knob fully-in.

For a cool engine with an outside temperature of more than 60 degrees Fahrenheit, the procedure is the same except the time and distances are less.

So there you have it, Joe Minton and Harley-Davidson both contradict the Motovike article and the more extreme advice of The Lizard here at the coffee house. I told the guys what I found out and The Lizard predictably said "That's a bunch of BS coming from pencil necked GEEKS!"
©2007 N.(Kano)Miles, Kano's Coffee House

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