MOTORCYCLE LUBRICATION: Facts, fiction and folklore
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Motorcycle Lubrication Basics
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Motorcycle Oil Compared
We carry a wide variety of very high quality lubricants and filters
We can substitute our house brand for your brand oil/filter choice for a small up-charge
Schedule a no obligation FREE oil analysis appointment
Why Use Synthetic Motorcycle Oil?
Synthetic Versus Conventional Petroleum Motorcycle Oil
Oil Testing Scams
Oil Rating Information : What oils are safe for use in motorcycles?
Considering the cost of a motorcycle and how important not breaking down in the middle
of nowhere is, using the best lubrication products available only makes good sense. A
few more dollars to protect the engine in a 15 to 30K motorcycle is a smart and prudent
move. The real issue is that most people don't know what product is really the best.
Claims that someone has used Product X and "not had any problems" is hardly a glowing
Over the years we have noticed a drop in the engine noise in almost any engine changed
to AMSOIL. This is a strong indication of better lubrication. The better lubrication
is why the engine is quieter. It's also important to have a look inside the used oil
filter and to do at least a basic oil analysis on the oil being drained out. Almost
no Dealerships or shops do this. We do it for EVERY machine we do an oil change on,
We stock most of the very high quality motorcycle lubricants that are out there including
Amsoil, Redline and Castrol. There are a few motorcycle oils that are so inferior
(in our opinion) the we do not stock them and we will not install them even at a
customer's request. Ditto for oil filters.
With regard to oil ratings: S as in SJ or SN stands for use in spark fired engines.
The second letter stands for the revision to the specification. Generally the new
specifications are backward compatable meaning the new oil will work in any application
of the older specification.
The C specification is for compression fired engines (diesel) The second letter is the
revision of the specification and the number refers to if the engine is 2 or 4 cycle.
The problem here is the more modern C specification has limited the amount of anti
wear additives to protect the catalytic converter and the diesel particulate traps. So
the CJ4 oils are not as good as the the CH oils. This means that the CJ series oils
should not be used in any motorcycle application. C Diesel engine oils have extra
dispersant chemistry and the CJ series has a lowered zinc and phosphorus limits. Diesel
engines are long stroke and slow speed and motorcycle engine is high speed and short
stroke for the metric bikes and in many cases the oil is for both the engine and the
transmission. A much different application. You have to guess what motorcycle oils
are designed for motorcycles since C-rated lubricants are designed for diesels.
The recommendations and specifications stated by motorcycle manufacturers describes the
MINIMUM product acceptable to them. Specifications are always for the minimum acceptable.
Sometimes the S and C specifications over lap and in these cases the oil can be double
rated so that is why you will see both the ratings on the oil container sometimes. Some
of the older specifications don't cover the turbo diesel requirements. So it is very
important that the turbo diesels have the correct oils. JASO is focused on the needs
of a motorcycle and it includes the needs of a wet clutch where as the S and C
specifications don't consider wet clutch at all. The latest SM and SN products have a
friction modifier additive that will over time glaze the wet clutch in a motorcycle
application. Therefore, these products are not recommended for the MC application.
Will any C-rated 4 stroke oil work in your motorcycle? Sure (probably...). But is
saving $10 every oil change by buying your oil at WallyWorld a good long term strategy?
Most likely, not. Sounds sort of "penny wise and pound foolish" to us... If you're
changing your oil every 3,000 miles or less, you *MIGHT* be able to get away with
using a CJ-4 rated oil. But that gets us back to the "minimum acceptable" oils
versus pampering your engine so that you'll get thousands of miles of trouble-free
service out of it. You do indeed get what you pay for.
Many thanks and a tip of the hat to Mark Schell of Peak Performance, for his substantial
contribution to this segment. Mark is one of just several hundred STLE certified
Tribologists in the whole wide world. We are grateful for Mark's willingness to share
his wisdom, insight and knowledge.
- THE SMALL PRINT -
What does "Express oil change" mean?
We don't believe that nickel-and-diming customers is the way to build a business.
If you need "something special", a drain plug washer or whatever, you'll still be out
the door with a smile for something very close to these advertised prices.
If you're not totally happy, you won't come back and you won't recommend us to your friends.
"Doing The Right Thing" is good for you and it's good for us!
We will change your old oil FAST and for a lot less dough than you'd pay most anywhere else!
All of our lubricants meet and usually far exceed Manufacturer's recommendations.
If you are running extended drain interval oils or just want to know the condition of
the oil that's currently in your bike, drop by for a free, no obligation analysis!
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Appointments are appreciated but are not at all required
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MOTO ExpressLube, Portland, Oregon
Motorcycle Express Lubrication Service Company
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