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This kind of brings us back to the principle that it's how often you change is more important than the brand.

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I would also add that the way how you ride the bike is more important than the oil brand. Based on everything I've read synthetic oil is more stable in extreme conditions: heavy load, dirty roads, too cold, too hot, very high RPM, etc. Thus, if you only ride alone on the powerful bike slowly along the side roads without revving too much, you should not worry about the oil you use. Given you change it as recommended. Many people think that they can afford slightly more expensive synthetic oil, they use it and then sleep better, so be it.
 

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Synthetic oils have three main characteristics that are considered better than conventional cracked oils; if you don't need these, than you needn't be concerned if you don't use them. First, they will pour at much lower temperatures, because they don't partially turn to wax; we're talking 10F or lower here. Second, they don't boil off as easily at high temperatures, having few of the lighter compounds cracked oils have; these oil temps are usually only reached in racing, or extended idling after a hard run. Third, they leave a better film on the engine parts, for a longer period of time, which makes for less wear during cold starts after a longer-than-average period of not running; how this may affect your engine depends entirely on its design, and how often it sits.
 

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I compromise and buy semi-synth oil -- a blend of dino and synthetic oil. But I don't ride my bikes hard -- I'm very easy on them and I haven't sat in traffic to where my bike might run real hot in maybe over 10 years, now that I'm retired.
 

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Synthetic oils have three main characteristics that are considered better than conventional cracked oils; if you don't need these, than you needn't be concerned if you don't use them. First, they will pour at much lower temperatures, because they don't partially turn to wax; we're talking 10F or lower here. Second, they don't boil off as easily at high temperatures, having few of the lighter compounds cracked oils have; these oil temps are usually only reached in racing, or extended idling after a hard run. Third, they leave a better film on the engine parts, for a longer period of time, which makes for less wear during cold starts after a longer-than-average period of not running; how this may affect your engine depends entirely on its design, and how often it sits.
^^^ There it is. :)
 

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I compromise and buy semi-synth oil -- a blend of dino and synthetic oil. But I don't ride my bikes hard -- I'm very easy on them and I haven't sat in traffic to where my bike might run real hot in maybe over 10 years, now that I'm retired.
There is no real definition of 'semi' synth or synthetic blends; some have been shown to have as little as 4% synthetic base, which may as well be 0% for all it does. The MSDS should say, but won't always due to proprietary reasons, but will sometimes give a range.
 

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My 2 cents on synthetic vs conventional and semi-synthetic and a $20 test result

One actual on-topic quality comment - I'd be sure to use a motorcycle oil just to be certain that there was absolutely no risk of any additives that could affect the clutch performance. I personally just don't go along with "hear-say" on that area. I figure quality oil companies KNOW what will/won't work and will provide the proper blend for a motorcycle oil in their motorcycle oil. And I would research the company before going with their product.
On my 2017 Yamaha WR250R I found that synthetic oils made my clutch slip even when it was an oil made for motorcycles. Seeing as I only go a 1,000 miles between oil changes, (max laziness took me to 1,750 once, but it ran better when Honda Semi-Synthetic than with conventional or fully synthetic) I can't really justify synthetic oils can I?

Sure, I've only tired Castol's full synthetic 10w-40 and the Honda oil in semi, but seeing as how it didn't work and the bike beat on oil so bad that I have short oil change intervals or OCI, why try anything else?

I'd love your thoughts as I'm really not impressed with the Castrol conventional experience. Blackstone labs says I have 5w-200 oil in just 1,300 miles. You heard it right 10w-40 becomes 5w-20 that quickly in my motorcycle. The very low additives allowed with wet clutches, I think means oil degrades to thinner very quickly...unless you all think I need to send in a fresh bottle for testing?
 

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Are Semi-Synthetics a Rip OFF??

There is no real definition of 'semi' synth or synthetic blends; some have been shown to have as little as 4% synthetic base, which may as well be 0% for all it does. The MSDS should say, but won't always due to proprietary reasons, but will sometimes give a range.
While you are right and it is a poorly regulated term. They can do whatever they want . . . nearly, Ericthecarguy on YouTube interviewed Valvoline and they discussed this. The engineer confirmed this is true, however they mix it typically in a 40% solution kind of way (this was years ago, don't quote me on the numbers just the concept). So 40% full-synthetic, 50% crude oil base and the rest is additives which may or may not be comparable to a synthetic's additive package, which tend to be more robust.

She further stated that other companies can also "do whatever they want" within semi-synthetics, she asked the other man present if she could say this, and she got the nod. It's no secret that we test the competition's formulas. They have very similar standards. They've seen a bit less, others with more synthetic base oil, but the additives were less robust. She hadn't seen in any of her following up on competitors abuse of the term "semi-synthetic".
 

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I have never tested my oils but in my 1982 CX500i, 1997 Blackbird, 2012 CBR250, 1977 GL1000...I use(d) Royal Purple Diesel 15W40 the rest of my bikes not listed I used Dino oil. It have always just been easier to have my bikes share with my truck and never had any clutch issues, and as far as thinning goes, no idea but it seems ok, except when my carbs dumps Gas into the oil and thinned it then... that was a problem.
 

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While you are right and it is a poorly regulated term. They can do whatever they want . . . nearly, Ericthecarguy on YouTube interviewed Valvoline and they discussed this. The engineer confirmed this is true, however they mix it typically in a 40% solution kind of way (this was years ago, don't quote me on the numbers just the concept). So 40% full-synthetic, 50% crude oil base and the rest is additives which may or may not be comparable to a synthetic's additive package, which tend to be more robust.

She further stated that other companies can also "do whatever they want" within semi-synthetics, she asked the other man present if she could say this, and she got the nod. It's no secret that we test the competition's formulas. They have very similar standards. They've seen a bit less, others with more synthetic base oil, but the additives were less robust. She hadn't seen in any of her following up on competitors abuse of the term "semi-synthetic".
The companies are required to file an MSDS, which is usually available on line (with a good search). The approximate percentage range is listed, so as not to give away trade secrets, but you can get a feel for the actual values for your preferred oil brand.

While synthetic oil bases do not cause slippage of a wet clutch, whatever additives used can, and do. It is odd, but not exceptional, that a specific oil caused yours to slip.

Synthetic oils have two features that I like: higher rate of heat transfer, and better cold start lubrication after standing for a period of time. I used full synthetic in my '72 Fiat 850 Spyder from about 3k miles to about 65K miles, when a flaw caused the head gasket to leak. On disassembly, I found almost no accumulation of oil breakdown products around the valve train, and the cylinder walls appeared as though they were recently reground, with no ridge where the rings changed direction. It engine didn't have a normal oil filter, but a centrifugal one, like my CB450 Honda. It also ran about 10 degrees cooler when climbing the hills from Barstow to Needles in the summer. Of course, a wet clutch was not the issue in that car. But, because of that experience, I've used nothing but synthetics in all my cars and motorcycles, and never had any oil related issues. I don't use as much oil as you do, because my machines don't burn it up as fast as yours appears to.
 

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a helpfully enjoyable overshare. :)

The companies are required to file an MSDS, which is usually available on line (with a good search). The approximate percentage range is listed, so as not to give away trade secrets, but you can get a feel for the actual values for your preferred oil brand.

While synthetic oil bases do not cause slippage of a wet clutch, whatever additives used can, and do. It is odd, but not exceptional, that a specific oil caused yours to slip.

Synthetic oils have two features that I like: higher rate of heat transfer, and better cold start lubrication after standing for a period of time. I used full synthetic in my '72 Fiat 850 Spyder from about 3k miles to about 65K miles, when a flaw caused the head gasket to leak. On disassembly, I found almost no accumulation of oil breakdown products around the valve train, and the cylinder walls appeared as though they were recently reground, with no ridge where the rings changed direction. It engine didn't have a normal oil filter, but a centrifugal one, like my CB450 Honda. It also ran about 10 degrees cooler when climbing the hills from Barstow to Needles in the summer. Of course, a wet clutch was not the issue in that car. But, because of that experience, I've used nothing but synthetics in all my cars and motorcycles, and never had any oil related issues. I don't use as much oil as you do, because my machines don't burn it up as fast as yours appears to.
Thank you for your great feed back.

It'd be awesome to have oils which allowed me to change my oil less than once a week (assuming I don't drive my truck for whatever reason). I have a long commute and adding an oil change late at night on top of full time school and work is frankly disheartening. I honestly want to try Shell Rotella Diesel oil as many WR250R owners rave about it, without any "normal car oil" issues. Probably because Diesel fuel protects diesel engines better so the oil doesn't have to. (less additives)

I was changing the filter just as often but 6 months into my ownership, I went over to the pile of filters I had (then I did about 6k miles a year) and I realized, these don't look dirty at all. I still pull the filter every-time, but the oil is what is wearing out rather than filth building up. I've always ran synthetic but the beast has had me using oil filters twice (NEVER BEFORE) and using conventional (not since half a life time ago). I'm similarly sold on synthetic oil. Sometimes when I get a used beast I can make myself do a quick conventional change as one of the reasons for synthetics is that the viscosity doesn't break down nearly as fast and if you're using oil as a "flush", I don't see the benefit of maintaining viscosity better during a period where there will be no loss of viscosity. (even then in the back of my my mind is the sound of "but, but, but, I use synthetic only" LOL :) )

I did DEEP research online and found an article where they paid for a bunch of oils to be tested.

What I found was that Honda, Yamaha, and Castrol oil had the least additives for their motorcycle oils. Their pick of chemicals to add a bit of lubricity modification was different. The one Honda picked to increase with their semi-synthetic apparently doesn't effect my wet clutch.

Unfortunately, due to funding restraints they picked 3 oils per test so I can say much across the board, but Mobil 1 was pitted against Castrol and they both came out equal in oil effectiveness the few times they were tested against each other, except on one metric. The taper-roller test. In this test, Castrol got 1 unit better rated than Mobil 1 and that's it.

Unfortunately, I didn't think of it when I drained the Honda Semi-synthetic and I couldn't get a lab report on it for how it faired for viscosity. The engine sounded better for longer, maybe 1,500 miles of okay driving versus 1k miles for the Castrol and Yamaha.

Yamaha recommends 4k mile oil change intervals. Either they want me to break my ride or there's something wrong with mine! Teasing. I asked the dealer and there are TSB's about how the oil appears to fill itself on these engines (signs I guess of viscosity break down). It's not fuel contamination. The oil doesn't smell of it. Not any more than other healthy engines. No coolant loss.
 

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I have never tested my oils but in my 1982 CX500i, 1997 Blackbird, 2012 CBR250, 1977 GL1000...I use(d) Royal Purple Diesel 15W40 the rest of my bikes not listed I used Dino oil. It have always just been easier to have my bikes share with my truck and never had any clutch issues, and as far as thinning goes, no idea but it seems ok, except when my carbs dumps Gas into the oil and thinned it then... that was a problem.
The only reason I haven't tried Rotella Diesel oil in 15w-40 is that it's 15w-40 when I'm supposed to use 10w-40. It's summer, it's not getting cold, I should let go of my excuses and try it, eh?

Hey, if I could afford to keep testing everything versus just listening to my ride, as I've learned to do finally with familiarity, wouldn't it be awesome if Blackstone came back with. Your 15w-40 has broken down to 10w-30. LOL :) Not 5w-30 as they've been saying. :) :) :)

I asked them if I could go longer on my oil change interval. Most people get a yes from the lab. Blackstone told me flat out no. (I embellish). Due to higher than average metals which may be normal for your ride, or a sign of poor break in, we don't recommend longer OCI. (Oil change interval). Earlier they stated, due to higher metals keep changing your oil at the same time and retest on schedule to check for changes. Having checked all my vehicles at least once with the lab as a cheap threat analysis of engine longevity and choices of whether this ride is long-term or not, the metals part, really concerns me.

Anyone else test motorcycle oil? Due to the higher struggle of a single piston is this normal? Blackstone labs says they have no baseline. When I've been "bored" I've entertained myself on various forums on this subject and Blackstone always has base lines unless it's a motorcycle.
 

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Practical application:
I read the owners manual and it tells me what to look for on the can.
One day I only had the French version and I got it wrong. Bluzu my 06 SV1000S does not like the wrong oil. The clutch and the gearbox did not like it. I replaced with the correct synthetic, and Bluzu was happy again.
Some clutches may not like the wrong oil.
My 83 XS400 rattles a little when fired up in cool temperatures. I was told synthetic oil would help, based on the residual effect. There is not a lot of noticeable difference with synthetic.
My XS11 shifts like a Mack truck, or a Harley. I have not tried synthetic in it. Switching is not a concern. Getting rid of the crash bang when engaging first would be nice.

UK
 

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UK, does your XS400 have hydraulic lifters? If so, synthetic won't stop the rattle, because the lifters have to pump up. Otherwise, the engine design may cause more clearance on some moving parts when cool enough; nothing the oil can do there, either.

My Valkyrie has straight-cut transmission gears, and can clunk pretty hard, too. I went to Amsoil 20W50, because I pull a trailer, and don't ride below about 50F, and its a little bit quieter, I think.
 

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That seems like an awful short interval. What does your bike's manufacturer recommend?
Yamaha recommends 4k miles after following some break in changing rules for the oil. The oil looked filthy at 1,300 miles. Seemed wrong. Changed it and sent it to Blackstone labs. At this point, if something drastic happens, I'm planning to use Blackstone Lab reports to force Yamaha after my warranty is over to deal with an engine, which, in my opinion from what little I've seen, has the highest metals of any motorcycle I've ever seen with shared test results. I don't think I actually have a good engine.

I made sure to make complaints during the first year at the dealer to set the stage in case they owe me a well built engine.

My 1999 Chevy Prizm had lower metal reports just before it blew up.

Again, I don't know if motorcycles are "supposed" to have higher metal values, but it worries the P(*& out of me. Especially while I was still making payments on it, not knowing what was going to happen. Blackstone Labs was nonchalant about it in their comments, but "due to high metals, we recommend not going with a longer OCI" (made up quote at the moment, but you get the idea.
 

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UK, does your XS400 have hydraulic lifters? If so, synthetic won't stop the rattle, because the lifters have to pump up. Otherwise, the engine design may cause more clearance on some moving parts when cool enough; nothing the oil can do there, either.

My Valkyrie has straight-cut transmission gears, and can clunk pretty hard, too. I went to Amsoil 20W50, because I pull a trailer, and don't ride below about 50F, and its a little bit quieter, I think.
The XS400 is a twin overhead cam motor making 45 hp about 9000 revs. Max revs is 10,000. I usually just run the little guy at WOT a lot of the time. Deep Purple is my winter ride. I have a spare engine.
Yami has Inder the side car attached most of the time. Aside from crash bang going into first, he also makes some cool sounds shifting into other gears. I have a spare engine for Yami. I may try some other oils.

UK
 

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Yamaha recommends 4k miles after following some break in changing rules for the oil. The oil looked filthy at 1,300 miles. Seemed wrong. Changed it and sent it to Blackstone labs. At this point, if something drastic happens, I'm planning to use Blackstone Lab reports to force Yamaha after my warranty is over to deal with an engine, which, in my opinion from what little I've seen, has the highest metals of any motorcycle I've ever seen with shared test results. I don't think I actually have a good engine.

I made sure to make complaints during the first year at the dealer to set the stage in case they owe me a well built engine.

My 1999 Chevy Prizm had lower metal reports just before it blew up.

Again, I don't know if motorcycles are "supposed" to have higher metal values, but it worries the P(*& out of me. Especially while I was still making payments on it, not knowing what was going to happen. Blackstone Labs was nonchalant about it in their comments, but "due to high metals, we recommend not going with a longer OCI" (made up quote at the moment, but you get the idea.
Just out of curiosity, which metals and how much higher?
 
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