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Motorcycle Oil

Motorcycle Oil
Motorcycle Oil

This is the wBW Motorcycle oil page, with information about motorcycle oil, motorcycle oil filters, fork oil, gear oil, spline lubes, chain lubes and more!

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Our advice - don't get obsessed with oil: the best advice you can find is in the owner's manual.  Don't try to second-guess the factory!

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Note: Older BMW's and other motorcycles need regular cleaning and greasing of their splines; many other bikes that are shaft driven need regular spline lubes also (e.g., Moto Guzzi). 

There has been much debate regarding the best grease to use for this - but everyone's pretty much in agreement that the BMW recommended red grease #10 doesn't cut it; and whatever you use, it should be tacky (sticky) and have Molybdenum disulfide in it.

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From "R.D." (3/09):  "In over 40 years of riding I have never bought MC specific motor oil for (either) dry clutch (Moto Guzzis) or wet clutch (Suzuki, Yamaha) motors.

But I will say my motors hardly ever get up to 7K rpm or higher too.  If they do it's not for long.

But I have owned since new a `91 Suzuki VX 800 with 80K miles on it now and never have I had a motor/clutch problem with it using car 10W-40 oil the whole time.

But I do change the oil every 2K miles the filter every 6K miles.

I also have used 10W-40 or 20W-50 auto oil in my `81 Guzzi with 110K miles on the motor for over 20 years.  On this bike I change the auto oil every 2K mi. and the filter every 10K mi.

The Guzzi spends most it's time in the 3,500 to 4,500 rpm range and has a dry automotive type clutch.

In total I have 6 - 2 or 3 wheel rigs and all of them run with auto oils.  I have never regretted it."

From "B.M.":   Referring to the issue of motorcycle specific oil vs. automotive oil used in motorcycles)

"...There is the comment (from an old Motorcycle Consumer News article on motorcycle oil) "The viscosity of petroleum-based oils, whether designed for auto or motorcycle application, drop at approximately the same rate when used in a motorcycle." and "There is no evidence that motorcycle-specific oils out-perform their automotive counterparts in viscosity retention when used in a motorcycle."

I do not doubt these statements but they ignore two pertinent issues.

One, viscosity retention is not the only measure of an oil's ability to protect an engine.  Many motorcycles have flat tappet cam & rocker arm interfaces, which create high shear stresses. 

Newer automotive oils have removed the additives most beneficial in resisting these stresses (zinc? I'm not sure). This is a characteristic of the "Energy Conserving" oils recommended for modern automotive engines.

I don't have any evidence of failures due to this in motorcycle engines, but I have seen evidence of failures in older automotive engines.

Two, clutch operation is NOT equal between moto & auto oils.  I recently "just tried" an oil change with Valvoline 4-Stroke Motorcycle oil.  I had been using Havoline 10w-40 (non-energy conserving), and difference was astounding. 

With the auto oil, I thought I was about due for a new clutch.  I had to work at getting a smooth engagement without excessive slippage.  With the moto oil, the clutch bite was much better and still smooth.

I know that many moto oils are quite expensive, but the Valvoline is only slightly more expensive than auto oils, so cost is no longer an issue.  For me, it's a no-brainer. I'm sold on moto oils now."

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