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Warming up your motorcycle before leaving, good or bad idea?

Warm up your motorcycle before riding

Warming up your motorcycle before leaving, a reflex for many bikers. But is this really a guarantee of long life for our precious mechanics? To find out what to expect, we looked into the question. And you will see, the answer will surprise you!

You just have to see the state in which a reprimand puts us in before we have had our premier coffee in the morning to tell ourselves that being cold-shouldered doesn't work for anyone... It's probably the same for our motorcycles, right? This is a good reason to carefully warm up your motorcycle before setting off. Many of us do this, because we tell ourselves that driving with a warm engine is better for limiting wear. There is some truth in this, but not as much as one might imagine!

kawasaki motorcycle engine heating up
Warm up the engine, the base to limit wear

So yes, but no!

Just ask the motorcycle mechanics what they think, what we have done for you. And you might as well go full throttle just after cracking your engine - but what savage dares to do such a thing?! – warming up the motorcycle engine propped up for 10 minutes is not a good idea either!

« Letting your engine warm up for too long while stationary is not ideal for the simple reason that a motorcycle is made to move forward!« 

Letting your engine warm up for too long while stationary is not ideal for the simple reason that a motorcycle is made to move forward! Due to the lack of wind chill on the parts normally exposed to the wind, the temperature rise is not at all homogeneous within the engine. The top engine is too hot, the rest not hot enough. Circulation of fluids – oil or liquid – only compensates for it. All this affects expansion, lubrication, etc.

Warming up your motorcycle before leaving, good practice

Equipped motorcyclist warming up his motorbike before leaving
Only start your motorcycle when you are almost ready to go

How do you properly warm up your motorcycle before leaving? You'll see, it's quite logical. And the cherry on the cake, it combines well in a starting routine, even on mornings when you are in a hurry!

  1. Prepare as normal – put on jackets, pants, boots, etc. Take gloves and helmet with you.
  2. Take the motorcycle out of the garage/box/courtyard/… (delete where applicable) then start it.
  3. Take the time to put on your helmet and then your gloves.
  4. Roll!

Wait, actually, it's not over! These few minutes of heating will have been enough to restore the oil pressure, to raise the temperature slightly and to cover the engine parts with a beneficial lubricating film. But the real key is to drive calmly for the first few kilometers, in other words not to rev too much.

A start-up that also applies to your tires, which will gently reach their optimal grip temperature, preventing you from any risk of unexpected slipping. And that gives you time to get the machine back in hand, depending on the day's driving conditions. In short, very good!

Biker on a Honda Fireblade motorcycle warming up his bike while riding calmly for the first few kilometers
Drive quietly for the first few kilometers so that the engine finishes warming up – Photo Ante Samarzija

Once the engine thermometer is green, it's good, you can exploit your machine to its full potential. In the context of road use, of course, don't make us say what we haven't said!

Small clarification: this advice concerns the majority of the current motorcycle fleet, but as always there are exceptions. Motorcycles over thirty years old or two-strokes, for example, require different treatment. Another era, other customs!

And you, do you have any other habits when starting your motorcycle?

Featured photo: Sourav Mishra

Tags Mechanical

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Editor and tester for Motoblouz , I am an unconditional fan of roads with bends. For me, the motorcycle is a means of escape as well as a means of transport.


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  1. the penguin april 8, 2024 at 4:34 p.m. Answer

    Hello young people (and others!) I love your comments from experienced bikers and see that ultimately everyone agrees on the goal of not harming their bike. Heat gently then increase the passion gradually. (like with your companions!!!) I am a young biker, well I rather mean a new biker because I started riding a motorcycle (only for rides and in good weather) after purchasing my BMW R 1200R from 2007 to 59,000 km in August 2023. Never ridden a motorcycle before. I didn't ask myself if it was reasonable to start motorcycling at an age where experienced riders stop permanently, I'm 74.5 years old! (Licence passed in 1971 and 2 hours of driving taken before leaving with my motorcycle) But it's a new pleasure that I hope to be able to enjoy for a long time. Good luck to you.

  2. Loulouhdbm March 18, 2024 at 6:05 p.m. Answer

    just one clarification: starting cool, without overheating when stopping is good, but you have to drive at a sufficient speed so that the engine does not struggle in a gear that is too long for the speed. That would be as bad as going too high in the towers.

  3. Dom27 February 29, 2024 at 9:34 p.m. Answer

    Hello everyone !

    In fact, it is not necessary to heat up a motorcycle or a car. It's like your body when you do a physical activity, you have to take care of it and start warming up gently. For my part, I leave gently with the motorcycle to raise the temperature of the engine oil, the gearbox, the chain, the tires, in short everything that moves and this for 5 to 10 km following the outside temperature.

  4. Jean Michel February 29, 2024 at 7:35 p.m. Answer

    Error in electrical, it's the opposite you have to heat up... the batteries (at least cars, motorcycles I don't know but suppose)

    Interesting article, until now I tended to heat for 5 to 10 minutes.
    I won't do it again, I swear.

    • Loic March 11, 2024 at 9:02 p.m. Answer

      Hello Jean-Michel,
      Be careful, we're watching you, eh! All joking aside, glad to have taught you something :) Thanks for your feedback and have a good trip!
      V – Loïc

  5. Me77 February 29, 2024 at 10:05 Answer

    Warming up the engine should be avoided!
    A motorcycle like all vehicles is not just an engine, to preserve our mechanics,
    It is recommended to leave after running the engine for a few moments as indicated in the article, and to drive gently until all the moving parts are warm (bearings, shock absorbers, chain etc.), this way you will preserve your mechanics and save money. visits to your favorite mechanic!

  6. Libel February 29, 2024 at 05:43 Answer

    Hello c yanic me g a kawa z750 2007 and gives me all the adrenaline I need I heat it up just before leaving I love my bike 🏍 and can't do without it mm on rainy days have a good trip everyone

  7. Steve February 29, 2024 at 01:12 Answer

    Everyone talks about the engine, of course, but there are many other fragile parts of the motorcycle which are concerned and which do not heat up when stopped, the gearbox pinions, the cardan shaft for certain motorcycles or even the fork valves….

  8. Joe Pepp February 28, 2024 at 6:23 p.m. Answer

    Anything ! me, on my CBZGS-RR(R) with Kakapovtyp track exhaust, as it is cold in the morning around 5:00 a.m., before leaving for work I take the motorcycle out in front of my house, letting it warm up while I have my coffee, once the fan has tripped, the engine is hot, I give the gas three or four strokes at 9000 rpm (sometimes I take the opportunity to check the breaker to be certain that it is working well) and only then do I leave.
    Isn’t that how you should do it?
    Note: I don't know about you, but my neighbors never say hello to me, they must not like bikers.

  9. berlinger February 28, 2024 at 6:09 p.m. Answer

    well... it depends... to only talk about my last 2 bikes, the africa twin, no heating. I was going on an emergency call without worrying about the engine temperature. But there is no question of going quickly, on a 10 minute journey, what do we gain? 30 seconds ? Now, with the Versys 1000, it's no longer possible: the starting idle is too high! you have to wait a little, wait for an engine temp of at least 50°. Fortunately, no more emergency calls, we're retired! So I start the grindstone, then I get dressed.
    So heat or not heat? Well, it depends! It’s up to everyone to decide with their own machine. But in any case, don't start like a fool!

    • Loic March 11, 2024 at 8:56 p.m. Answer

      Hello Berlinger,
      Everyone does as they wish according to their obligations and their philosophy of mechanics. This is just generic advice!
      V – Loïc

  10. LeTof February 28, 2024 at 5:44 p.m. Answer

    Okay, this is going to sound a little stupid, I must be one of the few who read their motorcycle manual. 😅 And in the instructions for my Kawa, it is indicated not to warm up the engine for more than a few minutes, otherwise it could damage it. So I comply academically, I start the engine before putting on my helmet, close my jacket and put on my gloves, then when the engine speed drops slowly I leave, before my little Z I heat up too much …

  11. Stefan February 27, 2024 at 10:57 p.m. Answer

    Yamaha 900 TDM. 20 years already on my adorable little bike…. No gadgets on this beautiful machine. So exit the garage, side stand, start up, close the garage, close the jacket, helmet, gloves, I get on and roll my chicken!!! Very gently to let the beauty warm up to the rhythm of the few curves which take me to the main road. And there, without excess anyway, release the handle….. What joy and it’s been going on for 15 years. ✌️✌️✌️

  12. Christian February 26, 2024 at 7:27 p.m. Answer

    Yes, there is the electric motorcycle, as the other says, but I do not compare this means of transport with a real motorcycle which brings real sensations... including that of letting it snort while heating up for two minutes before leaving on a trickle of gas.

  13. Cap February 26, 2024 at 6:36 p.m. Answer

    Popop! My hdi 90 car from 2007 that I have had since 2011, 255,000 km, starts, I wait less than 10 seconds and I leave quietly (summer and winter)… and it runs nikel (original turbo)… when I If I had my 4-stroke motorcycle, I would do exactly the same...
    For the moment 125 nsr-r 2-stroke engine from 1996, on the other hand I let the engine warm up for several minutes before leaving quietly...

    • Lolo February 28, 2024 at 6:46 p.m. Answer

      Me too HDi 90 from 2000 with the same mileage..and the same for the heating, 10 seconds and roll my chicken (quietly of course), all original too! For the motorcycle, Ditto, and zero problem…(1000 gsxs) 38000 km! Ride safe ✌️

  14. Lionel February 26, 2024 at 10:12 Answer

    Hello, I don't have traffic lights before 30 km, sure it will be at the right temperature! I'm 68 years old and with the 2 strokes, I was heating up the carton, but since I have the 4 strokes, I equip myself and I start gently (given my age!) without pre-heating. Good luck and be careful!

  15. Christian B February 25, 2024 at 6:00 p.m. Answer

    Whether it's my Guz Calif or my Harley Low rider I start with the clutch tight to separate the clutch from the engine. The starter should be banned for the carburetor once the engine has started. For the injection you have to drop the revs but nothing prevents you from driving after starting. It's all in the revs too, you should never rush a cold engine whether it's a 1975 or 2015 motorcycle. Being a biker means loving mechanics which is worth it.

    • Loic March 11, 2024 at 8:59 p.m. Answer

      Hello Christian B.,
      Good advice to disengage the clutch to start, that's always less work for the starter! Thank you for this additional information.
      V – Loïc

  16. JP F February 24, 2024 at 09:39 Answer

    Hello… Concerning my “machines” (BMW nine T & HD forty height) being in an unheated garage, it depends a lot on the season… From spring to autumn, when the temperatures are mild… As indicated I start, the helmet , the gloves and off we go... On the other hand, in winter, when the temperature is around 0... I admit to letting it run a little more, (because I'm thinking about the viscosity of the oil...and the big temperature differences for the parts ). Then “by ear” + a little blast of gas we detect when it’s better…

  17. Binnat February 23, 2024 at 07:03 Answer

    Hello Potos,
    I don't feel pale, the rear wheels take off from the slope of the garage. Full throttle.
    Have a good day.
    Not true…😀
    Be careful, friends 💞

  18. TOUZALIN february 21, 2024 at 11:35 p.m. Answer

    A few minutes of warming up, the time to take the motorcycle out of its shelter and close the doors, are sufficient, then ride quietly without revving or forcing the mechanics at low revs, on torquey engines for example. The ideal is to maintain a low average speed.

  19. I believe february 21, 2024 at 05:57 Answer

    Always warm up your motorcycle at least until the automatic starter cuts off or the idle speed goes down again.

    I don't leave until the temperature of the LDF is at 50°C

    Don't listen to those who say save your gas...

  20. Christian february 20, 2024 at 10:20 p.m. Answer

    It's always stimulating to read ideas about other people's motorcycles.
    We love our machine so much….
    Just talking about it makes me happy.
    Mine is a Virago 1100 Yam.
    Low mileage.
    I pay attention to it, it's a beautiful object, I'm proud to have it.
    I have it in its original form and confess that I admire it a little...a lot.
    She gives me joy. In short, it warms me to talk to you about it. I am settling comfortably into your warm community. Shared friendships.

  21. Thierry Gabriel february 20, 2024 at 9:42 p.m. Answer

    Yes, personally I aim to drive at a maximum of 2000 rpm for a few minutes and then gradually increase the revs... with my Guzzi V7 I am roughly at 80 in 6th gear, which allows me to drive in quiet traffic...
    this allows the motorcycle to heat up (engine, tires, etc.) and also… the rider 🙂

  22. Didier february 20, 2024 at 6:45 p.m. Answer

    Personally, I start and let it run for 5 seconds, stop the engine, take the bike out, etc. During this time, the heat from the first start is dispersed in the cylinder and expands the liner (taking longer to expand than the piston ) this heats the cylinder more evenly and then 2nd start-up, preparation of helmet, gloves etc…and gently underway for the first kms….

  23. Nico february 20, 2024 at 3:58 p.m. Answer

    You must start the engine while holding the motorcycle upright, otherwise the oil is poorly distributed and starting causes unexpected effort.

    Otherwise, there is the electric motorcycle… no more engine heating problems!

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