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Author Topic: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.  (Read 3740 times)


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My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« on: December 31, 2009, 07:02:17 am »
Was up the whole night going thru all the posts on break in.
The one about the dealer wanting to break in the engine was the most interesting.

Its also funny to see Moto Mans hard break in crop up on this forum too.

My info pertains only to the UCE engine as I have no exp. with earlier bullets.
In fact I would stronglly advise anybody thinking of buying a Bullet to just buy the UCE. It truly is a Bullet Proof Engine. lol

Firstly whats with the tight tolerances.
Its a very Indian phenomenon.  Ive spent years studying it.
When the first professional re-boring shop opened in the country it almost went out of business. Because it was giving people clearances as recommended by the manufacturer.
People didnt like that.
Indians want silent engines.
Now you and me both know an engine cant be silent when you start it.
It has to be loose and rattle a bit when you start it.
Then as it warms up and the piston and parts expand it will go silent.
But try explaining that to your average Indian and he has a blank look on his face.
Standard response is I dont want engine noise. So you give them an engine setup really tight and tell them to run it in for 1500 Kms and they are happy.
Doesn't matter if they nick up the piston or stick the piston a few times. Its silent you see.
There are only two measure of a bike to your avrage Indian.
1. Whats the Mileage
2. The engine should be silent.

With a run in off 1500 Kms your actually wearing the piston and liner to its right tolerance. And the worst thing to do here is try doing this with a fully Synth oil.

The next problem was that until the late 90s early 2000 most re-boring shops did not have the equipment to measure tolerances. They where all too busy competing to see who could do a rebore for 1$ or less. The thought of investing 100s of $$ in a micrometer or bore gauge is not an option for 99.9% of the re-boring shops.

So how did they hone the cylinders ?
With their thumb.

Complete business where built on whose thumb worked best.
They would push the piston thru the cylinder while on the re-boring jig and decide when to stop based on their thumb pressure. My Analysis of the best thumb in the business told me he was using 8-10 microns.
The not so good thumbs where using 2-5 Microns.
This on engines where the company was recommending 30 microns.
And people wonder about the heat and oil failure  ::)

So now that we have covered the history and mystery of tight or zero tolerance reboring we can move on to my run in for the UCE.
(Note: Large factories like Yamaha / TVS / Bajaj / I know have very good setups. And the engines that roll off their factory floors have a taper of less than 1 microns an a variation in bore of under 2 microns. Im sure RE has equally good setup.
Just that Ive never checked a RE barrel.

Ways to run it in.
1. Know what clearances you have. There seem to be a large variation between min max on the piston and liner sizes. Knowing what clearance you have on your engine would to me seem a good starting point. If its tight. A light hone would make the run in much easier.


2. If you do not wish to open up the engine. Then too you can do a smooth run in.
Remember its all about heat.

My theory on engines is that if the clearance is setup right you dont need to spend more than 100 Kms to seat the rings.

But as we are not sure about the clearances here. We have a few issues.
a. We must run it in really really slowly.
b. We must figure out a way to deal with all that heat which is going to be generated by trying to run in a piston and liner.
c. We must know the flash point of our oil.

Typically what happens is if you have a tight setup. Your runing your bike along the road. And the heat keeps climbing. Soon you reach a temp which is above the point where your oil now breaks down and can no longer lubricate so you have metal to metal contact which means a seizure.

So the first thing we need to know is that temp when our oil is going to fail.
This is very low for the oil that comes from the factory as it is for most minirel oils or semi synths.. And much more for fully synth oils. On my motor the point where I dont trust the oil any more is around 220F Cylinder temp.

Ive picked up a cake / Baking gauge and just poked it between the cylinder fins. The rubbers keep it in place.
This measures upto 240 F.

I ride the bike like I own it. And I do load the rings. i.e. I try to ride two up. And I try to keep the accelerator less than 80% open.

Ive ridden the bike quite hard from day one. No babying it. At the same time I do not believe in the Moto Man method of run in. A lot of guys have tried to disagree with me on this and they have all come back for rebuilds.

Other Tips
Pull in the clutch and check to see if it idles well. If the engine dies if the engine dies it means the piston is to hot / tight. Stop and let it cool down.

If you feel the engine is getting hot pull in the choke. Nothing like some extra gas entering the engine to cool it down.

If you dont want to deal with a temp. Just use a few drops of watter or spit on the cylinder. Based on how fast it turns to steam you can tell you engine cylinder temp.
Experiment on that iron at home. If it fizzels and boils off right away your too hot.
If it boils off slowly your ok.
All my customers run arround with a small water bottle during their run in checking their CHT and Cylinder temps.

My Take on the Moto Man stuff.
Most of his stuff is pretty basic. And applies to the bikes he rides the 600cc SBKs.
These can be run in hard.
And on a tight and twisty track they are faster if he reduces the port size. All he is doing is improving the low and midrange which is whats needed for a tight track.

I guess he will never show a pic of a Dyno pull with his valve mod simply because there would be a huge drop in peak power.

We use the same idea on two strokes i.e. lower Ex. port durations give you more low and mid range. but less peak power.
And we use higher Ex. port durations for big tracks with long straigts where low and mid is not so critical.

Its also to do with rider skill i.e. your average rider is faster around the track on a 45 BHP LC350 than he is on a 65 BHP TZ350.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2009, 04:24:38 pm by chinoy »


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Re: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 09:09:22 am »
Interesting comments on cultural differences.  I have an AVL engine and I suspect most of what you say would also apply.  I did not go to all the trouble of carrying around a water bottle, etc but rode it, kept out of the throttle and now at 2800 miles she does seem to be significantly "better".

Curious how folks felt historically about "the engine should be silent" during the iron and AVL period??  I can't imagine how one could adjust those to be silent both cold and at operating temps.


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Re: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2009, 10:52:53 am »
Silent? with solid lifters? You have to love the "Thumbchrometer" it answers a lot of seizing piston questions ;)


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Re: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2009, 04:14:47 pm »
most owners know each and every sound their engine makes.
valve noise is ok on a bullet. Piston slap is not. Its not uncommon to have an airfilter customer come back and say you spoil t the sound of my bike.  Because the free flow filter has increased his  intake roar.

If indeed they are using platue honing on the new blocks.
And if we assume they are using the Sunnen Cylinder kind which is the best and most popular machine here.
Then they technically have micron level control over the clearances.
Have no idea why they would scare us with such huge acceptable variations in bore and liner size in the service digest.

From what I could gather from Compression check from day one to now.
Taken at 100 Km intervals. The engine is sealing up, compression is building.
And based on how hard Ive pushed it and it still fine it would mean they have matched  the piston size to liner well.on this new model.

If you own a nice  bike here like say an import you will always have some guy ride up to you at a petrol bump on his little 100cc Hero Honda and ask.
In a very sympathetic tone. Whats your mileage.
And when you till him 10.
He will give you a very sympathetic look and ride away or laugh out in your face. becuase his bike gives him over 75km to the ltr. At least in the adds.
India is the only country in the world you an brag about running a lean burn setup.

Cabo Cruz

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Re: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2009, 06:58:59 pm »
Br. Chinoy, I enjoy reading your very educational posts... keep them coming out toward the West... and I wish you and yours...

A Very Joyous and Prosperous New Year!
Long live the Bullets and those who ride them!

Keep the shiny side up, the boots on the pegs and best REgards,

Papa Juan

REA:    Member No. 119
BIKE:   2004 Royal Enfield Sixty-5
NAME: Perla


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My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2010, 11:24:40 am »
Thanks Chinoy - cultural differences aside, a four stroke motor is a four stroke motor. It seems the tolerance (both stack up and direct mechanical) issues seem to have been addressed by the new owners.

My only question for you is if the new RE bikes come with a 'break in oil'? Years ago, both Honda and KZ used to bring bikes in with an oil which looked like soap. It seems this was done to put a waxy, soapy finish on the inside of the engine to keep it from rusting when it sat in storage prior to sale. This would be drained prior to purchase, then given a good multi grade oil prior to sale. Buyers would be warned about over revving for the first X miles, then service would change the oil at about 600 miles (1000 km).

The only difference we developed for our personal bikes was to keep changing the RPM's for the first 100 or so miles, downshifting to build up back pressure in the combustion chamber, parking the bike after thirty or so miles to let the engine and the oil cool off. Ride for another thirty miles do it again. This got the metal to meet and wear in properly. At about a hundred miles, the oil and filter would be changed, and the process would be done again until about six hundred miles.

While it took time and the oil was an expense, it worked really well. The metal parts and garbage which came out in the first oil change was amazing!

Both Honda GB 500 I bought in the late 1980's which now has 47,000 miles on it, my KLR 650 has about 26,000 trouble free miles after breaking in that way. A 1948 Moto Guzzi Astore 500 is approaching six thousand miles - not all trouble free but the motor and transmission are spot on and spritely. These are all fun bikes to ride, Singles are basically simple, reliable and once you understand the limitations of the inherent design, will deliver a lot of fun for a long time. I look forward to getting a C5 as time and space warrant. (I have 12 bikes right now and am in the process of building a new barn / shop to store most of them in.) Keep up the great posts Chinnoy - most informative.


Kevin Mahoney

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Re: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2010, 12:50:32 pm »
I find Chinoys musings to be quite true and can relate totally. I tell people that when we get together and brag we talk about how fast our bikes are and usually lie a bit. In India they brag about petrol economy and probably lie a bit.

What he saws is very true about Indians insisting on a quiet engine. Royal Enifeld is very mindful of this and spent a lot of time and money on it with the new UCE engines. They had a lot of trouble with the Lean-Burns because of their all alloy construction. This caused whatever noise there was in the engine to telegraph all over. He is also right about going to any length to make them quiet.

To set the record straight, the engines come with semi-synthetic oil in them. Bikes bound for export markets however are drained of oil before they are shipped.
Best Regards,
Kevin Mahoney
Classic Motorworks


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Re: My break in thoughts with an Indian Perspective.
« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2012, 01:01:40 pm »
So, does our friendly dealer install the oil that is in the engine when we pick it up ?
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