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Discussion Starter #1
I can't remember the site, but I read a long article which basically said motorcycle oil is no different than high grade auto oil (like Mobil 1), and that the oil companies have advertised for so long and so well that the entire motorcycle community has come to believe this falsehood. Sorry long sentence.

Anyway, they even teach at the motorcycle tech schools that motorcycle oil is better--but the recent research points out that it's not.

What do you all think?

I haven't used any auto oil BTW.
 

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Hi ESanders2-

The information from that site is completely WRONG on several counts. Motorcycle oil is in a unique environment where it must bathe and lubricate the motor, transmission, and even perform cooling duties on some bikes.

With this in mind, the companies that make motorcycle-specific oils add a sophisticated blend of agents that assist shearing properties, prevent foaming, and generally increase the protection aspects of the oil. Anyone who tells you "oil is oil" isn't being completely truthful. Using proper motorcycle-specific oil is good, cheap insurance for your powerplant. Don't try to cut corners on the lifeblood of your motor.

~ Blue Jays ~
 

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Blue Jays said:
Hi ga_skyline_rydr-

You're much too kind! :hello:

~ Blue Jays ~
I try to notice minute details, that is what the feds pay me to do. I hope I didn't embarass you.
 

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Hi ga_skyline_rydr-

Not at all embarrassed. Some women absolutely cringe at their birthdays, but I don't mind.

Speaking of birthdays, someone give ESanders2 a couple of quarts of Golden Spectro or Torco motorcycle oil so his brand spankin' new Kawasaki stays in pristine condition!

~ Blue Jays ~
 

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Actually there are studies that show good Auto oils out perform Motorcycle oils in about every aspect, especially in the ones pertaining to the motorcycle environment (wet clutch) such as shear.

Basically do what ever you are comfortable with, but I believe that you are wasting extra money for an inferior product when buying a motorcycle specific oil.

With that said, if you do decide using Auto oil, do your research because you cant just use any oil in a bike.

Personally I use Rotella synthetic, its great stuff.
 

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Angrypenguin said:
Actually there are studies that show good Auto oils out perform Motorcycle oils in about every aspect, especially in the ones pertaining to the motorcycle environment (wet clutch) such as shear.
What if you use a good specific motorcycle oil? wouldn’t that be better then a good car oil.

From what I have read the major difference is that regular car oil has friction modifiers, Friction modifiers are no good for wet type clutch. Personally I use redline. It states right on the back that it is designed for wet clutches. I don’t go cheap on the motorcycle oil.

Think about it you just bought one of the big 4 race replica bikes, Do you understand that this bike is ready to race. These bikes’ having redlines, that are now reaching 17,500RPM’s on some bikes. You better believe I want a good oil to protect my engine when its spinning that fast. This is not a cheap hobby. JMO
 

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Hi Angrypenguin-

It is very hard to believe that manufacturers that specialize solely in producing motorcycle-specificant lubricants would still be in business if their products didn't bring demonstrable advantages to the marketplace. If they were the same products inside the bottle, that would have been frontpage news by now.

Here is an excerpt from the Golden Spectro site about the differences between automotive and motorcycle oils:

"....Yes, there is a difference between automobile engines and motorcycle engine requirements. Motorcycles, particularly Japanese designed models, use their engine oils in the transmissions and clutch systems. These applications place unique stress on motorcycle lubricants. The maximum engine output per liter for motorcycles is 1.5 to 1.8 times that of automobile engines. Similarly, the revolutions at maximum output are 1.3 to 2 times that of automobiles. Further, motorcycle engines are small and light weight. This results in a small thermal capacity in motorcycle engines which causes engine oils to reach temperatures as high as 320° F. The above differences logically lead to the point that a motorcycle-specific engine lubricant can be formulated to address the unique requirements of the motorcycle engine. The major modifications would be in using a more shear stable viscosity index improver (VI) which provides viscosity retention when run through the motorcycle transmission gears. Automobile oils using less shear stable VI components which will fall out of grade or suffer viscosity loss rapidly in motorcycle applications. Next, a higher volatility is needed for the higher temperatures to control consumption. Base oils with a higher NOACK volatility are specified for use in motorcycle oil formulations.

Further, due to the high heat and the RPMs motorcycles encounter, ZDDP and phosphorous are needed to prevent cam wear and oil oxidation. Lastly, care must be taken in the choice of friction modifiers in motorcycle oils to prevent clutch, back torque limiter and starter drive slippage. Current auto oils of energy conserving API SJ, SH GF-4 quality contain a large amount of friction modifiers for increased fuel economy as well as limits on zinc and phosphorous content thus limiting their use as motorcycle lubricants. They are fine for auto engine use but can be inappropriate for use in motorcycle engines.

The major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have developed a series of tests called "JASO T-903" which includes a shear stability, volatility, low and high temp. viscosity and friction clutch lock-up time tests, all of which address the motorcycle specific issues mentioned above. A lubricant manufacturer must complete the required ASTM tests for all of these categories and submit the results to the JASO in order to receive the 'license' for marketing a JASO MA tested oil. This process is designed to make the choice of motorcycle oils easy for consumers and give him or her assurance that the oils are what they need to be for motorcycle use...."


The difference between a "cheap" oil change and an "expensive" one is $20.00 or so. There are people around here lots more technical than me that could explain the JASO intricacies much better. I would call going with the better motorcycle-specific oil a very wise insurance policy.

~ Blue Jays ~
 

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Discussion Starter #10
what kind of motorcycle oil do you reccomend then? Is YamaLube a good oil? Also, do I need to change my oil at the 600 mi. AND the 2000 Mi point?? Or can i wait a normal interval after the initial 600 mi oil change?

thanks for all the replies.
 

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ESanders2 said:
what kind of motorcycle oil do you reccomend then? Is YamaLube a good oil? Also, do I need to change my oil at the 600 mi. AND the 2000 Mi point?? Or can i wait a normal interval after the initial 600 mi oil change?

thanks for all the replies.
Follow the manaul. IF it says change at 600 do it. I did, I think I also changed again 1500. and then at 4K. next will be at 7K. I did one more then they say in the book. Buts its always good to have fresh oil.
 

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Whether the difference has any implications for the life of the vehicle is what should be debated, not whether there actually is any difference, IMO. After all, just because an Eldorado has a moon roof doesn't make it any more reliable a car than one without. The chemical bells and whistles could be totally meaningless for the actual mechanical life of the vehicle, is my point.

Not sure what I'll do when I have a newer bike, but I know I won't use synthetic. I'm not sure on the "type" yet.

As an aside, partly on topic, found this interesting info on oil analysis: http://www.blackstone-labs.com/motorcycle.html
Yes, they have a service to sell, so the biased opinion must be taken with a pound of salt.
 

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Yes you have to get oil without friction modifiers, thats part of the whole research thing I was talking about. You just cant put regular car oil in a motorcycle.

I hate to break it to you but Kawasaki, Yamaha and whoever else doesn't make oil. There are only a few companies out there that actually make motor oil and they repackaged for various brands.

Like I said, do whatever you are comfortable with, but there is a lot of misinformation out there and hype by marketing people. If someone were to take the time and gather the research that is already out there you can come to your own conclusions.

My only point is that it is not as cut and ry as it appears.
 

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EdgeRanger said:
This is not a cheap hobby. JMO
I certainly agree with that, however don't let the price fool you. A substantial part of the higher cost of motorcycle specific oils is due to the cost of doing business. The motorcycle specific companies don't make nearly as much product, so it costs them more per quart of oil to manufacture. Bigger companies don't need as high a margin per quart because they do so much more volume.

Edit: Oh, and about the article Blue Jays posted. I'm sure there is some good info there, but I have a hard time trusting an article singing the praises of motorcycle specific oil when it's written by a motorcycle specific oil manufacturer. Of course they are going to say it's better.
 

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Just my two-penneth from across the pond in the UK.

I used to work for Castrol so have a bit of background knowledge on what they used to do in terms of R&D for their oil production. Some of these points will cross over into other oil producers too as most of the bigger companies have similar programmes for R&D.

The points about shear stability are pretty valid in bike oil. When you think about the rev ranges bikes regulalry operate in compared to cars, there is a marked difference in the stresses put on the oil and its additives. Unlike most cars the bike oil has to lubricate the gearbox/transmisssion too.

Castrol put alot of their knowledge gleaned from thrashing Superbikes and GP bikes around the tracks into their street based products. The likes of Shell will no doubt do the same. At Castrol's R&D plant in the UK they have a bank of motors that they simply thrash constantly on Dyno type setups to help develop their oils. The motors are stripped and data is collected on wear of both the metallic components of the engine and the oil itself. I could go on for ages about the R&D that the bigger companies do but all I'm trying to emphasise is that bike oil is designed, tested and developed to work in a bike engine whereas car oil isn't.

From my experience with dealing with Castrol, I am convinced that you get what you pay for. Yes, it can be argued that a proportion of the retail price of a can of brand leading oil is a direct result of their overheads in keeping their name at the top, but it's also cos they spend huge amounts of money on making sure their products go through the right development processes before they hit the street. Not all manufacturers of oil can vouch for that level of investment budget being available and as such maybe don't have the documented test/R&D data to support their oil spec claims.

When you spend thousands on your bike in its purchase price and the glitzy spares you add onto it as soon as it leaves the showroom, why put crap oil in it?

As mentioned above, OEM's (the bike manufacturers) don;t make their own oil so you can buy your oil from whom you want just so long as it meets the spec in the owners manual that came with your bike. Go outside of those specs and you could void your warranty. Spec is the important thing to consider, followed by trusted name of the oil producer.

Also, you don't have to buy Shell oil just cos Ducati tell you too or Castrol just cos Honda do, cos the next year when their race team renegotiates its sponsorship package you could finds it's not Shell or Castrol, but A. N Other producer they're telling you to buy instead cos that's who's funding their race team budget for the next season. Spec is the main thing to consider in all cases.

Regards, Guy
 
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