Motorcycle Engine is the heart of motorcycle. Without a proper functioning engine, bikes won’t run. For your motorcycle to run smoothly for years, you need the engine to last long and should maintain it properly without letting it overheat.
But what is the motorcycle engine temperature range? The normal operating engine temperatures range from 150F to 230F (65C to 110C). While this is the normal operating temperature range of a motorcycle engine, there can be instances of exceptions one may face depending on various parameters, with the temperature going above 250F.
Now, let us deep dive into the operating temperature of a motorcycle engine and the various factors that impact the engine temperature.
Normal Engine Operating Temperature
The engine temperatures depend on the type, model of the motorcycle, the outside ambient temperature, and the road, traffic and gear at which you are driving.
Generally speaking, the normal operating engine temperatures range from 150F to 230F (65C to 110C). While this is the normal operating temperature range of a motorcycle engine, there can be instances of exceptions one may face depending on various parameters.
If you are riding your motorcycle in winter climate, the engine can be running with as low as 110F temperature. On the other hand, if the engine is overheating and you are driving for a long time, the temperature might even soar to 250F.
However, under normal conditions, the above mentioned temperature range of 150F to 230F should stand and anything above this range should be a cause for concern.
If the engine temperature is more than 230F, then the engine is clearly overheated. The causes of engine overheating ranges coolant problems to low engine oil levels.
So, if the engine temperature is exceeding the limit, you need to check the components to identify the reason for overheating and address the issue.
Temperature Varies Based on Various Parameters
The engine temperature of a motorcycle often varies depending on various parameters. The main factors influencing the engine temperatures are cooling system, engine type and model, outside ambient temperature, road and traffic, riding conditions.
Outside ambient temperature
This is one of the major factors that influences the engine temperature during operating conditions, especially in motorcycles with air cooled engines.
The outside ambient temperature will be the temperature of the engine at rest. Once you start the motorcycle the engine temperature rises from the ambient temperature to its operating temperature.
Furthermore, if the outside ambient temperature is high, the engine temperature will also be relatively higher since the temperature difference is not wide between the fins and the atmosphere.
Similarly, in cold climate, the engine temperature will be relatively low since the temperature differential will be huge between the engine fins and the atmosphere.
This impact of the ambient temperature on the engine is more pronounced in motorcycles with air cooling systems.
In these motorcycles, the only method of engine cooling is through circulation over the fins. And the temperature difference between the engine fins and the atmosphere becomes even more important for the engine to cool down.
Cooling System in the Motorcycle
There are 3 types of cooling systems in motorcycles, namely, i) air cooled system; ii) oil cooled system; iii) liquid cooled system.
While air cooled systems use fins on the engine and atmospheric air circulation to dissipate the heat from the system, oil cooled systems use engine oil along with fins for cooling the engine. Liquid cooling uses a separate coolant for heat dissipation.
Air cooled systems are less efficient when compared to the other two cooling systems. And liquid cooling is considered to be the best system when it comes to cooling efficiency.
As a result, motorcycles with liquid cooling systems will have their engines at lower temperatures when compared to motorcycles with air cooled systems when operating under similar conditions.
And motorcycles with oil cooled systems falling between that of liquid cooling and air cooling systems in their engine temperatures. This comparison comes into play only when they are operated under similar conditions of course.
That’s why, cooling system in a motorcycle affects the engine temperature with liquid cooling being the most efficient and air cooling being the least.
Engine type and Motorcycle model
Another major factor that affects the engine temperature under operating conditions is the engine type itself and also the motorcycle model.
Different capacity and type of engines generate different torque capacities and power. Even the bore and stroke ratio matter since the output varies with different ratios from oversquare engines to undersquare engines.
As a result, the power generated varies from engine to engine owing to their different characteristics. Correspondingly, the engine temperature differs as well when working under normal operating conditions.
Some engines might heat up quickly while the other won’t and operate under lower temperatures.
The same effect can be seen with different motorcycle models as well. The type, load and make of the motorcycle determines how much stress will be applied on the engine. If there is too much load and stress, the engine will heat up to higher temperatures and if there is less stress, engine will operate at lower temperatures.
That’s why, the engine type as well as the motorcycle make and model are important in impacting the motorcycle engine operating temperatures.
Road, Traffic and Riding conditions
The other important parameter affecting the engine temperature include road, traffic and the riding conditions.
If you are traveling in a bumpy road or a crowded traffic, you would be repeatedly stressing the engine and as a result the engine temperatures usually soar and are relatively on the higher side during these conditions.
In addition, the riding conditions, if you are constantly changing gears, using the motorcycle roughly without properly engaging the clutch plates, or have low quality or deteriorated engine oil in the motorcycle, then the engine will be overheating easily and the temperature will automatically be higher.
Furthermore, if you have not serviced your motorcycle, then the engine will br facing extra load and stress since not all the components in the bike will be functioning smoothly. As a result, the operating temperature range for the engine will be much higher than the normal.
That’s why you need to go for motorcycle servicing regularly.
Why do motorcycle engine overheat? The main causes for engine overheating include lean air-fuel mixture, low oil levels, low quality coolant, leaks in radiator, damaged radiator fan, damaged thermostat, or stressed engine.
What is the life expectancy of a motorcycle engine? The life expectancy of a motorcycle engine is highly subjective and depends on a lot of factors. Typically, a motorcycle engine should last somewhere between 50,000 miles to 250,000 miles depending on the make and type of the engine, and the maintenance and usage by the rider.