Tips for Warming Up Your Motorcycle

Make sure your motorcycle is properly warmed up for your next ride

Proper Motorcycle Warm-Up
There's a right way and a wrong way to warm-up your motorcycle. Follow these tips to help get your motorcycle ready for the ride.Photography by Fran Kuhn

One aspect of engine operation we frequently see mismanaged is warm-up. The proper way to warm up a motorcycle is to ride it as soon as it will respond to throttle without dying. This allows everything to warm evenly with air flowing across it as the designers intended.

If you leave your motorcycle sitting on its sidestand with the choke on, you invite several kinds of problems. First, certain components get hot faster than others because air isn’t flowing over them. Even liquid-cooled machines rely on air flow for some part of their cooling.

A bike sitting on the sidestand causes the oil to pool on one side of the engine instead of sitting level in the sump and the other pockets established to catch it, so you may have less-than-optimum lubrication.

The choke should be turned off as soon as the engine will run without it because the over-rich mixture promotes deposits on the plugs and in the combustion chamber and may also contaminate the oil. If your bike is accelerator-pump–equipped, blipping the throttle will also cause excess fuel to be squirted into the mixture.

Getting out and riding with the choke off circulates oil through all the components as the engineers intended, provides cooling air to the entire engine, and lets the cooling system work as it was designed to. It also saves waiting time.

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