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Do you really need to warm up your motorcycle engine?

Is this old-fashioned practice still relevant today?

Do you really need to warm up your motorcycle engine?

You’ve probably heard it several times before: it’s a bad idea for you to ride your motorcycle right as soon as you start it up early in the morning. Well, in the early days of motorcycles, where engines were fueled via carburetion, this was indeed a necessary practice in order to get the engines running smoothly. It was common for a cold engine to run very roughly during the warm up phase, and most bikes even required you to pull the choke out while warming up. 

However, a lot has changed in the course of several decades. These days, it’s rare to find a brand new, premium, carbureted motorcycle. Even retro style motorcycles such as those of triumph and royal Enfield now come standard with electronic fuel injection. That being said, with modern day engines foregoing the need of rudimentary carburetors, do we really still need to warm up our motorcycle engines every time we start them up in the morning?

For modern bikes, not really

Do you really need to warm up your motorcycle engine?

As it would turn out, the answer is pretty straightforward: no. Modern day motorcycles are not only equipped with electronic fuel injection, but also with the state of the art oil pumps and cooling systems. You may think that it would take several seconds for the oil pump to adequately circulate oil around the engine, however, several reports published by some of the industry’s most reputable companies revealed that your engine is fully lubricated within a few seconds of start up. That being said, there are a few precautions that you must take in order to ensure your motorcycle is fully ready to ride.

Proceed with caution

Do you really need to warm up your motorcycle engine?

Even with modern day electronic fuel injection, liquid cooling, and robust oil pumps, it is a good idea not to get too greedy with the throttle, especially when you’ve just started up your bike early in the morning. Yes, you do not have to wait several minutes before you swing the leg over your bike and hit the road, but you do want to take it easy. We’d recommend staying well below red line, and going easy on the throttle until your engine is fully up to operating temperatures. 

Performance oriented big bikes, and premium machines, usually come with a built-in Cold start warm up system to bring the engine up to temps. This usually comes in the form of temporarily lowering the rev limit to a safe RPM that will not damage the engine survival internal components upon warm-up. The ECU will then automatically restore the original rev limit once the engine has reached normal operating temperatures.

Exceptions, rather than the norm

Do you really need to warm up your motorcycle engine?

Now, you can disregard everything we talked about above, if you own either an old-school classic bike, or a carbureted motorcycle with a rudimentary ignition and fueling system. The same goes if you ride an entry-level scooter or commuter that is equipped with a carburetor. This being the case, then you may want to spend a couple of minutes allowing your motorcycle to get up to temps before rolling out of the parking lot. This is because, when cold, carbureted engines tend to run very lean, increasing the likelihood of you stalling out. Pulling out the choke lever, and allowing the engine to warm up before you go for a ride prevents any of these issues from posing a threat to your safety and the reliability of your motorcycle.

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