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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm not asking anyone about what brand or weight of oil they use. I'm asking do you use motorcycle specific oil and are you noticing any actual benefits using it.
All the different bikes I've owned, through the 60's, 70's and into the 80's, all I ever used was what I thought was a good oil, for cars, off the shelf at Wal-Mart. Don't recall ever having a problem. I remember the warning about using that "extra slippery" synthetic oil, making your wet clutch start slipping. I've never had a problem with synthetic.
I don't remember when I first heard of motorcycle specific oil. I'm not asking motorcycle racers about their oil either, their oil requirements I would suspect are a bit different. I've been using motorcycle specific oil now for years and a couple days ago I started wondering why?
I still change my oil every 3,000 to 3,500 miles, all those bikes I used auto oil in, I didn't have any problems with, I don't run the rpm's up into the stratosphere, so what benefit am I getting for paying twice as much for a quart of oil? Is there something I'm over looking? With motorcycle oil should I just keep using it up to 5,000 miles, or more?

Like I said at the start, I'm not asking if Mobil One is better than Castrol or Valvoline or if 20W50 is better than 10W30, just what benefit are you getting using motorcycle specific oil? Right now I'm thinking I'm using it just because I'm supposed to. ?
 

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Qiwi Steve is our oil expert. But basically there have been a lot of changes in oil in the past few years. Some oils have modifiers in them that makes them slicker. These oils will cause wet clutches to slip. As long as your oil has these specs you will be fine.

API SH, JASO MA/MA2 API SJ, SH, CF

More than you ever wanted to know about oil:

API Engine Oil Classification
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That link does have quite a bit of information. It also made me think of something else. You're out on your motorcycle vacation, the weather is great, the bikes running fine, then one morning you check the oil, and it's low. You're hundreds of miles from home and all you can get is a bottle of 30W Pennzoil, or something like that. Do you use it, or ride and hope you can get to the next town with motorcycle oil?
As soon as you get home you can fix the leak and change the oil again, but you just need to get home. I would use it. My reasoning is any oil is better than no oil.
 

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Your best bet if you can't get motorcycle oil and you have a wet clutch is to find some Shell Rotella T (conventiona 15W40l) or rotella T6 (synthetic 5W40 ) , JASO MA wet clutch certified, intended for diesel trucks and available in almost all auto stores, truck stops, Walmart, etc. You can find it anywhere and by the gallon or 2.5 gallon it's even cheap.

A lot of people swear by it, that's all they use in their bikes.

That link does have quite a bit of information. It also made me think of something else. You're out on your motorcycle vacation, the weather is great, the bikes running fine, then one morning you check the oil, and it's low. You're hundreds of miles from home and all you can get is a bottle of 30W Pennzoil, or something like that. Do you use it, or ride and hope you can get to the next town with motorcycle oil?
As soon as you get home you can fix the leak and change the oil again, but you just need to get home. I would use it. My reasoning is any oil is better than no oil.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I forgot all about Rotella and Rotella is what I used in a '94 or '95 Goldwing I had a few years back.

Rotella is a diesel engine oil but still has the properties required to protect a motorcycle engine and, as far as I know, it isn't labeled motorcycle specific. So my original question is still what benefits are you getting from using a motorcycle specific oil?

If I buy automotive oil with all the correct APE and JASO numbers and letters, am I getting the same thing at 1/2 the cost? Not trying to be a bonehead or anything, just wanting to know what extra I'm getting for $10 a quart oil vs. $5 a quart oil? ?
 

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People obsess over oil and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because it's one thing they can do to "take care" of their bike even if they don't have much mechanical skill. Then they sell or crash the bike long before any oil quality makes any difference.

Personally, I think the only things to look for in an oil are the proper viscosity, not-friction modifier, and price. Turns out a diesel oil like Chevron Delo 400 LE from Walmart checks all those boxes. I've put 115,000 miles on a Ninja 650 using that oil and it did not need any added between 5,000 mile changes when I sold it.
 

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I use what the manufacturer recommends for their motors, sometimes not the exact same brand, but definitely the exact same specs. I think they know what their engines require. Many modern motorcycle engines specifically state synthetic only (especially European manufacturers), use anything else and it voids the manufacturers warranty.
 

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I use T6 in the Yammie and Redline in the Harley. The Harley has never know any other oil in it's life, so I will continue to use it.


To try and answer your question RG I would guesstimate you are correct.


Retired guy opening a big can of worms :) said:
If I buy automotive oil with all the correct APE and JASO numbers and letters, am I getting the same thing at 1/2 the cost?
 

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If it meets the right specs then it's the right oil, it doesn't have to say Motorcycle on it.

I forgot all about Rotella and Rotella is what I used in a '94 or '95 Goldwing I had a few years back.

Rotella is a diesel engine oil but still has the properties required to protect a motorcycle engine and, as far as I know, it isn't labeled motorcycle specific. So my original question is still what benefits are you getting from using a motorcycle specific oil?

If I buy automotive oil with all the correct APE and JASO numbers and letters, am I getting the same thing at 1/2 the cost? Not trying to be a bonehead or anything, just wanting to know what extra I'm getting for $10 a quart oil vs. $5 a quart oil? ?
 

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I'm in the middle of an oil experiment! Just drained my Honda specific 10w-40 after 3,500 miles and am waiting on the oil analysis. My refill was with the Rotella T6. I'll be sending that in for analysis after the same amount of mileage and will compare/contrast the results...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'd like to hear what kind of results you get, Doc. My plans were to stay with 20W50 Motorcycle Specific oil, but now I'm not so sure. Something to think about. ?
 

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I'd like to hear what kind of results you get, Doc. My plans were to stay with 20W50 Motorcycle Specific oil, but now I'm not so sure. Something to think about. ?
Will do! And I'd say that if it's working well for you, no reason to change it! Getting an analysis done isn't expensive and can give you great info on how your oil AND your engine are wearing.

Most folks seem to list the price differential as a big reason for changing from one oil to another, but if you calculate the price difference per 100 or 1000 miles, it usually turns out to be minimal...
 

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My older Yamahas do not seem to care what oil is in them.
I usually use the 10 40 diesel oil by Rotella. I tried the synthetic in the XS400. No difference that I can tell.

BUT, I used non synthetic in Bluzu the 006 SV1000, and the gearbox and clutch were not happy. Back to synthetic and Bluzu was happy again. I misread the French version of the owners manual.

Castrol R was the racing oil from yesteryear. Lovely smell.

UK
 

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Castrol R was the racing oil from yesteryear. Lovely smell.

UK
Serious or sarcastic? What did it smell like (fingers crossed you don't reply with "sweaty, used gear, man scent!!!)? :smile_big:
 

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Serious or sarcastic? What did it smell like (fingers crossed you don't reply with "sweaty, used gear, man scent!!!)? :smile_big:
Three stories.
Once upon a time, many engines used packing material for the valve guide seals. This allowed some oil to go down the valve guide, and into the combustion chamber. The RR Merlin was one such engine. When they did loopidy loops, that is what kept them up there, said an RR mechanic.

In Auckland NZ they have Western Springs Speedway. Full size midgets ran 200 cubic inches, the 3/4 midgets ran 650 cc bike engines, speedway bikes ran JAP type 500 singles. Most used Castrol R, and similar old style packing seals. Western Springs has high banks around it for viewing. The burning oil and blue smoke would waft up. It would be mixed with the alcohol being burned instead of petrol.

At the track, back when we ran a herd of 250 cc 2 strokes, we nearly all used Castrol R. We would run just a bit rich on the oil, and it emitted a similar smell to the speedway machines. Maybe kiwi Steve can better describe the smell. Maybe if you go to a vintage bike race, and some of the guys are still using it. Tradition is important.

UK
 

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I'm not asking anyone about what brand or weight of oil they use. I'm asking do you use motorcycle specific oil and are you noticing any actual benefits using it.
I have used 'motorcycle' oil and ordinary motor oil. Over the years, I have also used
mineral, semi-synthetic and synthetic oil. All have performed very well.

All the different bikes I've owned, through the 60's, 70's and into the 80's, all I ever used was what I thought was a good oil, for cars, off the shelf at Wal-Mart. Don't recall ever having a problem.
My experience was exactly the same.

I remember the warning about using that "extra slippery" synthetic oil, making your wet clutch start slipping. I've never had a problem with synthetic.
Likewise.

It is probably best to avoid "ENERGY CONSERVING" synthetics as these may have
friction modifiers which could increase the risk of clutch problems. The energy or
resource conserving label is usually found on lower viscosity synthetics like
5W-30 or 0W-20 - I haven't seen it on any 5W-40 synthetics.

I don't remember when I first heard of motorcycle specific oil.
There was certainly none here in the 1970s. 20W-50 Castrol or Duckhams Q
was the order of the day.


I still change my oil every 3,000 to 3,500 miles...
In that case, you probably won't see any benefit from using a fully synthetic oil.

what benefit am I getting for paying twice as much for a quart of oil?
I would say there is little or no benefit.

...is there something I'm over looking?
I don't think so.

With motorcycle oil should I just keep using it up to 5,000 miles, or more?
No. Modern cars and vans generally have longer service intervals than bikes.

Right now I'm thinking I'm using it just because I'm supposed to. ?
Your bike, your choice. I'm using Valvoline 10W-40 semi-synth in my Suzuki.
I did the valve clearances last month and the camshafts look as good as new
at 70,000km (43,000 miles). I use the same Valvoline oil in our Honda Civic.
Runs like new at 270,000km (168,000 miles).

I use 5W-40 synthetic in my Kawasaki because it reduces the rattle from the
clutch when the engine is cold. I think the improvement is due to the lower
cold viscosity and not because the oil is synthetic. Currently using
Mannol Extreme 5W-40. I have also used Comma 5W-40. Both oils
are specified for use in petrol and diesel engines with long service
intervals. The Kawasaki is at 122,000km (76,000 miles).

All of the motor oils mentioned above have been through my
standard wet clutch compatibility test:
https://goo.gl/maps/LeGroo66bSotH7cs7
 

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just what benefit are you getting using motorcycle specific oil?
70's/80's...was there oil just for motorcycles? We used the same stuff that went into the cars.

2010's...there are a lot of "motorcycle oils"....big money in those little quarts.

Rules I live by:

1. If the oil is going to lube the clutch, then it has to be JASO.

2. NEVER run "energy conserving" oil in a wet clutch...accidentally did that a few years back...clutch would slip at every take off...total pain to undo that mistake.

3. Use the viscosity/rating of oil recommended by the people that built the engine.

The benefit I see, and know for sure, is a motorcycle oil with a JASO rating gives my clutch a vise-grip.

If the engine and the clutch don't share the same oil, then run any oil you'd like in the engine and stick with a JASO for the clutch. In my Harley, I run Mobile1 15w50 ($2.50/quart after rebate) in the engine and Racing 4t (JASO) in the clutch.
 

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We used Castor oil in our alcohol fueled go cart back in the 70's it was a bad ass 2 stroke.
 

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No Klotz Critter? I ran Nitro, Naptha, Klotz and some other magic elixir my fuel supplier whipped up for me when I ran FKE back in the 70's. Fun times.

As for UK and Castrol. You just can't beat the smell while watching the Midgets and Sprints on a Saturday night. That's part of racing.
 

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There was certainly none here in the 1970s. 20W-50 Castrol or Duckhams Q
was the order of the day.

Ha yes, remember it well. My Guzzi Breva 750 takes just about anything decent.

As regards touring in the USA, where Guzzi dealers are few & far between.
I have used Honda dealers for service, using the same oils they use in the gold wing.
Then all of a sudden that 10 - 60 became the bees knees.
It might do wonderous things in sports bikes, but in that 750 cc tractor, I am not aware of any difference, and Ive got near on 80 000 miles on that 750, since 2007.

Take Care Out There
 
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