I read recently from a well-known engine tech - of course now I can't remember his name - who said that break-in is going to occur sooner or later depending on how fast you spin the motor and how frequently. The same process of mating one part against another will occur no matter how you break it in.
So, why the long break-in periods. This guy thinks the reason has more to do with the potential for matching a relatively inexperienced rider with a high performance bike and fresh tires. The break-in period allows the rider to adjust to the new machine. And like one of the posts above, new engines from the factory are spun up to redline. Even old Brit bikes from decades ago were spun up to redlne before they were sold. It starts the break-in process.
The only exception to all this is running in a recently rebuilt old air-cooled motor with aluminum piston in an iron bore. The piston-cylinder clearance may be a bit too close because engine rebuilders may not know how to precisely set up these motors. The result would be a seized piston.
I'm glad you asked because I'm in the identical situation with my Duc ST4S. Some of what I've seen on Ducati discussion boards suggest there are a hard-core group of Ducati fanatics who follow incredibly anal regimen for break in.
The Ducati dealer tech who went over the bike with me when I bought it pretty much supported the concensus here. Rev it up once in a while, don't lug it, don't abuse it, get your 600 mile check mostly for the oil change and belt tightening.. but get it done. (In fact, he suggested getting the check somewhere between 600-800 miles. Not to soon.)
As in most things in life, have fun, indulge with moderation, show a little common sense....
Ya know, my first bike was a Suzuki GN125, so this is really my first bike. I am DAZZLED by the Duc's acceleration, particularly down low. I also feel like there's more around 8500 RPM that I won't yet get to enjoy. It really seems happiest smokin past cars in traffic and begins to wheeze at highway speeds. There's SO much more bike for me to explore after only 350 miles, so in another 1000 miles or so I'm gonna do a proper review.
Revving it up every once in a while is not a problem, but full throttle starts from a standing start are a no-no, since the oil may not yet be flowing well when you start. You probably meant that anyway, but I thought I'd throw that in.
So, no drag racing until you have the sucker seated right.
Under no circumstances are you to do any full-throttle shenanigans on any air-cooled engine until it's fully warmed up, whether new or with 100,000 miles, unless you really enjoy oil blowing past all the seals and gaskets.
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