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Old 05-10-2012, 03:47 AM   #1
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Default Ok, you motorcycle gurus...answer me this.

I've been working on cars and bikes for my entire adult life. While I consider myself pretty knowledgable, but by far I don't know everything, this just doesn't make much sense to me and never did.

What the hell is the big difference between motor oil for cars and motorcycles? I don't see any difference at all, though obviously I can't see what is added to the mix. What makes mc oil so much greater that synthetic brands to justify costing up to 4 times as much as Pennzoil Platinum or Mobil 1!!?? The conventional petroleum oils are just as bad in comparison, 2 to 3 times as expensive. I was at a local shop the other day picking up my new front tire after it got mounted and balanced. He had this stuff, I cannot remember the brand, that was $70/gallon!!

They run Mobil 1 in NASCAR stockers and they run up to 9000 rpm and being a fan, I haven't heard of a rash of lubrication related engine failures in any make engine for years. I bought a gallon of M1 for $26 at Wally World yesterday. I ran Amzoil in the Yamaha touring bike I had back some years and it ran just fine on it for many miles and smiles.

I'm not cheap, guys, by any means. Still, $70/gallon for motor oil? Come on!!

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:52 AM   #2
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I am not an expert when it comes to oil. But the way I understand it is some ratings should not be used with a wet clutch, like on a motorcycle. One of my bikes said not to use any oil that had an "SH" rating...whatever that is. I have been buying valvoline motorcycle oil at walmart for a decent price. It is a lot cheaper than the Honda shop anyway.

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:55 AM   #3
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I use Castrol synthetic in my VTX1300. The main thing to watch for in my bike and many like it that use the same sump for engine and transmission is that it doesn't have the extra slick additives that would harm a wet clutch.
I would have to go out to the garage to tell you the markings on the oil bottle as an example, and I'm too tired.

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Old 05-10-2012, 04:27 AM   #4
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a lot of it has to do with the additives they use in the oil. many motorcycles use a common sump that allows the same oil that lubricates the engine, also lubricates the transmission and clutch. because of the shear and stress forces of the transmission gears and the friction plates in the clutches, they require different additives than a conventional engine in a car or truck.

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Old 05-10-2012, 05:23 AM   #5
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With a car it is engine oil, on most motorcycles it is engine and transmission oil which requires friction modifiers, etc..

Use Red Line oil for your motorcycle.

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:13 PM   #6
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What they said!

Engine and trans oil. therefore it needs different additives and is a different class/rating

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axxe55 View Post
a lot of it has to do with the additives they use in the oil. many motorcycles use a common sump that allows the same oil that lubricates the engine, also lubricates the transmission and clutch. because of the shear and stress forces of the transmission gears and the friction plates in the clutches, they require different additives than a conventional engine in a car or truck.
That's exactly what I've always read and believe. Truth is, if you religiously change your oil every 1000 miles any of the top brands will probably be OK. (Highlight 'probably.') A lot depends on your riding habits…Week-end rides or long-haul blasts across Kansas in July. IMO, $70 oil is a bit much, but buying and using the brand recommended by the manufacturer and stocked by your local dealer doesn't add that much to the cost of an oil change. And helps support the people who you may need for service along the way.
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:50 PM   #8
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It's strictly about the friction modifiers and the effect on clutch friction material.

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Old 05-10-2012, 02:56 PM   #9
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It's strictly about the friction modifiers and the effect on clutch friction material.
true about the friction modifiers, but most motorcycles are air cooled and so they put additives in there to help with heat related breakdown of the oil. plus there are the stress forces associated with the transmission if it uses the same oil as the engine, so more additives for the transmission are needed also.

try doing the oil change on an older Harley. engine oil and filter. different oil fot the transmission and then also a different oil in the primary for the clutch. use to cost me about $60 to do an oil change every few months!
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Old 05-10-2012, 02:57 PM   #10
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http://www.mobiloil.com/usa-english/motoroil/car_care/askmobil/Differences_Between_Car_and_Motorcycle_Oil.aspx

Quote:
Question: Difference Between Car and Motorcycle Oils. What is the difference from motorcycle oil than car oil?-- Matt Coffman, Attica, NY

Answer: Motorcycle oils and passenger car oils are very similar, with the exception of a couple of areas that are key to motorcycle operation. The first area concerns common sumps, or the use of motor oil, to lubricate and cool the transmission. As you know, in a passenger car the transmission is lubricated by an ATF fluid, which has frictional properties required for transmission operation. In a motorcycle, where the transmission may be lubricated by the engine oil, an engine oil that does not have the same level of friction modification (for fuel economy) of a typical passenger car engine oil will provide better transmission performance in terms of transmission lock-up and slippage. So motorcycle engine oil does not contain the friction modifiers of a passenger car engine oil. The second area of concern for motorcycle engine oils is that they tend to shear (breakdown viscosity) more quickly than a typical passenger car. Mobil 1 motorcycle oils are designed to provide exceptional protection against viscosity loss.
This article goes into a fair bit of detail:

http://motorcycleinfo.calsci.com/Oils1.html

It this ^ article doesn't answer most of your oil questions, then oil isn't your problem.
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