Automotive Motor Oil For Your Motorcycle?

Automotive Motor Oil For Your Motorcycle?

By on Oct 11 2013

When it comes to what motor oil to use in your motorcycle there are two continuing debates. The first is between standard petroleum oil versus full synthetic for your bike. The second is whether or not there is any benefit to using motorcycle specific motor oil versus the less expensive automotive products on the market.

We asked a member of our PSC Online Team, Mike, who loves bikes and currently is running a Honda CBR 600RR what he thinks. Brand selection is up to the rider " says Mike, but in my bike I have always used automotive Mobil 1 Full synthetic 15w-50 and have been really happy, but another great option is Kendall Full Synthetic, which is less expensive. " Mike also does not see any benefit to using motorcycle formulated engine oil for the added expense "especially if you change your oil every 1500-2000 miles." According to a great article on there are many motorcycle specific lubricants that have not been tested for the latest API standards and are still rated SF or SG. " As a consumer you may be overpaying for outdated motor oil formulations " that would sell for a fraction of the cost at auto parts stores.

We recommend that you watch out for cheap motorcycle oil and consider running automotive synthetic or petroleum based motor oil in your bike. This thought process is supported by a great manufactures recommendation on Ducati.Ms (click here) that highlights a study that compared the performance of automotive vs. motorcycle oils. According to MCN, The best performing oil of the group tested was Mobil 1 automotive oil. " The post went on to provide 3 tips for applying the proper motor oil in your bike that we thought would be great to share below:


1. Use a synthetic oil. The viscosity of synthetic-based oils generally drops more slowly than that of petroleum-based oils in the same application. There is no evidence that motorcycle-specific synthetics out-perform their automotive counterparts in viscosity retention when used in a motorcycle.

2. Change your oil more frequently, and more often than 3,000 mile intervals that is normal for cars. Motorcycles are somewhat harder on an oil's viscosity retention properties than cars. (The gears in the transmission are probably the significant factor in cutting the longer oil molecules into shorter pieces that are less viscous.)

3. Use the Mobil 1 in the 15W-50 viscosity only. The recent reformulation of thinner viscosity versions of Mobil 1 make them inappropriate for both wet and dry clutch applications.

In terms of viscosity selection Mike from PSC Online supports the article pointing out that it is always best to follow what the operating manual calls for " and that running a thinner oil is not something that I'm going to do to try to squeeze a few more miles out of a tank when I already have great gas mileage. In the long run lubricating the engine properly is my main priority. "

Whatever oil you use in your bike the most important thing you can do is regular maintenance, because if you treat your bike right it will return the favor.

Questions or comments post below.

From the team of experts at PSC Online.

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