Performance Technic

Performance Technic Tip: Warm coolant doesn’t mean it’s ready to rev


Performance Technic is the new technical facility in Kyalami, run by the same team behind the phenomenally successful Fire It Up and Bike Buyers. Every Tuesday they will be providing some technical know-how that could make your biking life a better and easier one. Today, we explain how getting your coolant warm doesn’t mean your motor is ready to rev.

Performance Technic warming oil motorcycle cold

We’ve spoken about warming up your motorcycle, and the importance thereof, before. While your motor is not turning over, the oil in the head and the cylinder oozes down into a puddle in the sump where it cools, and as it cools it thickens, and if it cools enough, it becomes a gooey sludge.

Some people – especially in front of a crowd – like to start their bike and immediately rev it to show how manly-man they are. When they do this, the oil is still a gooey lump at the bottom of the motor, and even if it is just for a few seconds, the top end and barrel are running dry, causing enormous damage.

And with that, the first step to warming up your motor is not to rev it immediately. Give it a little bit of time to circulate the oil around the engine. Thankfully, modern synthetic oils can be pumped around when cold far better than oils in the earlier days, meaning there is far less damage than before. The easiest and most time-economical thing to do is start your motor and let it idle while you put on your helmet and gloves.

And then we start the ride and, of course, go easy on the revs until the coolant temperature is up and then go full MotoGP. The problem here is that the coolant warms up far quicker than the oil, so while the coolant temperature is showing it is hot enough, the oil is a significant 20º cooler and still not up to full operating temperature.

BMW M-cars do not even show the coolant temperature and have only a warning light for if it gets too hot. The temperature gauge is showing the oil temperature and takes a good deal of time to get enough heat. Some motorcycles, like certain KTMs, do have an oil temperature option on their digital dash, and it will be a good idea to keep an eye on that when you’re warming up the bike.

Experts predict that 75% of wear in a motor happens while it is warming up, and there is no better proof of this than in endurance racing. Those motors are exposed to hours of racing stresses and yet last longer than engines that race in short sprint races. The reason for this is simple – those motors are warmed once and stay warm, therefore do not wear as much. The sprint race motors are continually being heated up and cooled down, and they don’t last.

Warming up your motor, and especially your oil, is extremely important.

Performance Technic Contacts:
Tel: 010 880 2849

Performance Technic

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