Can I take my Motorcycle on the freeway (break-in question)?

I just got a Vulcan 900 Custom a couple weeks ago and have about 300 miles on it so far. I haven’t done any freeways at all yet.

Anyway, it looks like tomorrow (well, later today I suppose), I may have to take the freeway. Is it okay to take my bike on a freeway at this point, during the break-in? It looks like it’d be for about 15 miles each way, so 30 total.

Also, it looks like I shouldn’t go over 60mph; is that right? I think the freeway I’ll be on is 70mph…should I avoid going that fast?


I admit it’s scary at first. But the freeway may be a bit safer in some ways. People don’t come at right angles, and the turns are more gradual. Just be careful. At least you have more practice than I did.

When I had new motorcycles twenty years ago they told me to not go too fast (70 should be fine), but more imprtantly, not to allow the engine to work at a constant rate until broken in. I don’t understand the reason for this but two differnt shops where I bought bikes told me the same thing.

I’ve been told with breaking in cars that running at a constant RPM’s is to be avoided, the reason given is that it produced wear patterns for that RPM range.

Unless there is zero traffic on the freeway, I don’t think you’ll be at a constant RPM for very long. So, you shouldn’t worry too much about the break-in.

I don’t know if the heat wave is affecting your area, but you might consider the possibility of getting stuck in traffic on a > 100 degree day. Although, isn’t the Vulcan water cooled? If not, I would worry a liitle about idling with no cooling for a long time during the break-in period. Especially if you’re still before the first oil change.

Not a GQ answer, but I was suprised when I got on the freeway the first time. I expected it to be much more frightening than it turned out to be. But, since no one’s driving perpendicular to you, it’s not so bad.

ride it like ya stole it…

There is a rather comprehensive webpage, of which I am too busy right now to find, where the author suggests that “babying” a new (motorcycle) engine is exactly what you want to avoid. I tend to agree - although the suggestion to keep the RPMS below a certain, non-insane level is a good one, within those parameters it’s fair game to really put it through the paces. YMMV.

My wife claims I treat my motorcycles better than I do her. I think she is just being silly and a little mad because I brought the bike in the other night during a hail storm. Of course, she was not happy about sleeping on the drive way, but I think she is just being a bit testy.

So I would be careful about taking it on the freeway before you have gotten it broken in. I can understand wanting to take it out, but the longer you follow the rules and take care of it, the longer it will serve you.

Thanks all for the responses. Oh, and I should clarify a bit. This would be my first time on the freeway with this bike; I’ve been on the freeway a little bit with my previous one, but that was up in WA, so I guess the California freeway system might as well be my first time :wink:

Well, it seems like we have a pretty good range of opinions here. Do you think it might be okay if I took the freeway for a few miles at a time, (I dunno, say 7 or so), then took an exit, putted around for a short while, then got back on the freeway? Would that even be worthwhile?

Common Tater, I’ve seen that site, and the author seems to make a good case for it. I’m just paranoid about “what if he’s wrong?”

You might just vary your speed and gear, no?
Say… go 65 in top gear for a bit, then drop to 55 and gear down one?
Back up to 60 and upshift?
I don’t know what modern bike gearing or powerbands look like, but it’s an idea.

What does your owners manual say about operations during the break in period.

I suggest that you follow those instructions.

If you go looking for opinions, you are going to get people that will tell you many contradictory things. Google ‘motorcycle break in’ and you will see what I mean.

You will find sites that tell you to take it easy and others that tell you to ride it hard and yet others that will tell you to go back and forth.

If you choose a method other than what your owners manual tells you, then you are discounting the manufacturers recommendations. Who do you think is the most qualified to tell you what is best for your brand new bike if not the manufacturer?

To me, the most important part of the break in period was making sure the initial service was performed at the specified mileage.