Is it safe to redline your engine, and if it is, why is it marked red? These are some of the most frequently asked questions that I am asked when it comes to taking care of your beloved machine. So here are a few pointers that you need to keep in mind the next time you think about pulling the needle past the redline.
It’s built that way
The engineers that put together your bike did not slap parts together to make it run. Hence, the redline is not a taboo. Each component of your machine has a specific operating characteristic. One such characteristic is how fast the engine can spin. This is often decided by several factors such as valve spring pressure, pushrod deflection under load, piston velocity and much more. All those could theoretically cause a limit.
Hence, Redline simply indicates the maximum speed your manufacturer thinks is safe for you to ride. Anywhere within the range is fair game.
Trust the electronics
Modern production bike these days features a host of electronic safety features that pretty much has your back all the time. A rev-limiter is something of this sort. I cannot possibly think of a modern production street-legal motorcycle that lacks a rev-limiter.
In simple terms, rev limiters cut either fuel or spark in order to prevent an engine from continued operation past a given rpm. These limiters are set well past the redline. A ‘hard’ limiter simply cuts off the fuel or spark completely while a ‘soft’ type cuts partially so the refusal of the engine to keep spinning faster is not felt like an unprecedented abruption.
Hitting the redline and bouncing off the rev limiter
This is probably one of the most crucial distinction when it comes to redlining your engine. The hunt for top-end power will compel you to hit the redlines. However, hitting the rev limiter is a forbidden act.
You can easily reach the red lines at lower gears, making the rev limiter more accessible. You bounce off the rev limiter after not upshifting and stagnating on the highest rpm. In such cases, you are trading your mates’ attention for an impeccable damage.
Trying to reach max out the rpm at the highest gear is like staying for a meal, asking for a wine list, and starting with a salad while bouncing off your rev limiter is a quick trip to the forbidden zone.