✓ TIP TO SAVE: Check out whether you are paying too much for your motorcycle insurance
Compare quotes to save money
Enter your zip to get started.
People have developed an aversion to certain sounds. Some people love the sound of a vehicle revving or humming.
Whether you’ve heard a motorcyclist rev their engine or you’ve been known to rev the engine of your own bike, you may be wondering if it’s bad for a motorcycle to do that.
Is it harmful to rev the motorcycle engine? It is generally okay for a motorcycle engine’s to be revved in neutral or in gear. A single high rev should be limited to a few seconds as it can damage the pistons and cylinder walls.
After owning several motorcycles, revving the engine is a common practice. This article will explain further what happens in the engine during revving and when it is or isn’t appropriate to do it.
What Happens in the Engine During Revs
The majority of people on the planet have either heard or revved an engine at one time or another. Because it can be so loud, many people assume it’s bad for the engine to do it.
The term “rev” Refers to the number of revolutions per minute that an engine makes. When you rev an engine, you are essentially increasing the speed of the revolution of the motorcycle’s engine by using the throttle especially while the clutch is disengaged.
When you pull the throttle and you rev your bike, more vacuum pressure is created so it’s sucking in more air. More air means that more fuel is being absorbed. A throttle is more like an air pedal than a gas pedal.
As more fuel is sucked into the engine, the combustion process becomes faster. That pushes the pistons upward and downward faster, and spins the crankshaft quicker.
Engine revving is so loud due to the combustion sequence happening faster so it’s pushing a lot more air out of the exhaust valve through the exhaust pipe. Some motorcycles have a louder revving sound because their owner has modified the exhaust.
Now you know what revving is. you can see that revving an engine usually doesn’t cause much harm to it because it’s just speeding up what the engine is already doing. Motorcycles were designed to rev, and motorbikes can rev much higher than cars engines. The average motorcycle revs to about 10,000 RPM’s compared to an average car that can go up to about 7,000 RPM’s.
But, long-term engine revving can cause engine damage. When I say rev your engine long, I mean one single rev High For longer than five seconds, RPM.
The pistons and cylinder walls move at an unnaturally high speed. The engine’s oil is not lubricating them, but the heat and friction that constant long revs can cause could eventually lead to their fusion.
I can understand why people enjoy revving their engines. It sounds great! However, there’s no reason to keep your engine revved for longer than a few seconds. It can make your motorcycle’s engine sound odd and could cause serious damage.
Is it a bad idea to rev a motorcycle to warm it up?
It can sometimes be difficult to keep a carbureted motorcycle’s engine running, especially in winter. Some suggest using revs to warm up the engine while others argue that it’s harmful for the engine to do that.
It’s actually just fine to rev a motorcycle when you first start it to get it warmed up. This is a requirement for most motorcycles to continue running. This is most important for carbureted motorcycles, which make up the majority of motorcycles.
You must rev the engine a bit when you first start it. It’s usually not necessary to go full throttle when you first start it. Motorcycles will run much better when they are warmed up and idle faster.
Many times, if you attempt to start a carbureted motorbike and then let it sit (especially during the colder months), the bike will often stall out.
I once had a 1969 TR25W Trophy that required me to kick start it and rev it up to about 1,000 RPM’s and hold it there for 1-2 minutes. The engine would then warm up completely, and it would start to idle perfectly by itself. It was usually necessary to rev the engine to a higher RPM if it was cold.
Is it legal for a city to reveal within its limits?
Now that we’ve covered that revving a motorcycle engine is usually okay, we need to address the other people that might be around you when you do such a thing.
It’s important to be mindful of neighbors and the time of day you’ll be revving your engine. If you are sitting at the wheel of your motorcycle revving at 10:00 on a schoolnight, your neighbors may not be as kind.
Cities have noise ordinances that you’ll need to follow. Each city has a decibel limit. This is for motorcycle riders and cars. Police have the right to stop you and issue a ticket if your revving sounds louder than a specified decibel.
My high school friend had an exhaust-cut mustang. It was louder than the mufflers. He would dump his exhaust. Because his exhaust was so strong, he received over 100 tickets.
If you’re driving down the road and do an occasional rev, you’ll probably be fine and won’t get into trouble. But if you’re being annoying about it and constantly revving your engine, either someone will call the police on you or the police will track you down (which won’t be hard) and give you a ticket.
Revving vs. redlining: What You Might Not Know
People have asked me whether revving or redlining a motorcycle’s engine makes a difference. It all depends on how much revving you do.
Redlining a motorcycle engine means revving the RPM’s up to the red highlighted numbers, usually between 7-10 RPM’s. Some may find it alarming if the needle crosses into the red zone.
While it’s not advised to constantly redline your motorcycle engine, again it doesn’t do much harm in moderation. Engineers who designed that engine were aware of what they were doing and could rev it to such high speeds. So really the main difference between revving and redlining is that redlining just means you are revving to the highest RPM’s the motorcycle is capable of doing.
Perhaps you have heard the old saying, “States are like a river.” “a redline a day keeps the carbon away” Or “a redline a day keeps the mechanic away.” These statements represent an old wives tale which says that if you redline a bike once a day, carbon deposits will be burned. This will eventually prevent future problems.
This is a major issue in the automobile industry. Some say it’s a myth while others swear by it. In actuality, redlining an older motorcycle can have it’s benefits, such as burning off those carbon deposits that may have built up in the engine. Newer motorcycles don’t need to do this mainly because of updated fuel systems that already take care of those carbon deposits.
What can you do if your bike engine is submerged? If your motorcycle engine has flooded, you need to wait for 15 minutes before the fuel in the engine starts to evaporate. If that doesn’t work, you will need to manually take out the excess fuel inside the engine with a cloth. Here’s an article that I wrote on how to fix a flooded motorbike engine.
Is it a bad idea to rev the car’s engine? Sometimes, revving a car engine may prove dangerous. Revving a car engine is a little different from revving a motorcycle engine because cars don’t have as high of an RMP capacity. If a car engine is turned on without being warmed up, it can cause major damage.