Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Meridian, Idaho
#1. It's not a dumb question...some folks just aren't sure what an engine is capable of.
#2. Engineers figure red line based on piston speed and inertial loading of the crank and rod bearing, valve spring float, connecting rod stretch, etc. By setting a red line on an engine, engineers are telling you it's OK to run up to that speed and stay there for the life of the engine because that's what the internal parts of our engine design will tolerate before something reaches a breaking point.
Now that being said, yes it'll shorten the life of your engine to some degree to run it at red line all the time. The increased forces will simply wear the bearings out faster, cases develop microscopic cracks from increased forces, etc. This is why NASCAR engines may go 500 miles at 9000 RPM then be low on compression and smoking. They wouldn't go 200,000 miles like your family car will, if they stayed at 9000 all the time.
#3. Ride your bike and enjoy it. You'll be tired of your strom long before you wear it out or break it by riding it at highway speeds.