Motorbike engine oil is added to a motorbike’s engine for several reasons. The first is obvious, motorbike oil acts as a lubricant to ensure your engine operates correctly, with almost no metal to metal contact – everything is coated in a thin film of oil. Motorbike engine oil also has several other important tasks to do. One such task is to circulate throughout the engine to cool engine parts that do not get near a water jacket.
Motorcycle piston rings do not perfectly seal, & by-products of combustion such as particles of carbon will slip past into the engine. In a motorcycle’s engine, these carbon particles can cause a lot of damage. Motorbike oil holds these carbon particles in suspension until the oil filter can grab them. Finally, motorcycle engines get internal build ups of tars, waxes, and other gunk. Motorbike engine oil keeps the bike’s engine clean by dissolving and removing these.
It is for these reasons that it is important to check your motorbikes oil levels regularly as not only does having a good level of oil improve the performance of the bikes engine it will also keep it healthy thus extending the bikes life expectancy.
Choosing the right motorbike engine oil
Using the right oil is just as important as having oil in the engine as there are so many different types of oils on the market. Oils designed for automotive engines should not be used in motorcycles and you should seek out specialised motorbike oil where possible.
There are some special considerations to consider when choosing the right motorbike oil for your bike.
- Wet Clutches – in a motorbike clutch the oil flows through the clutch and if the motorbike oil used has too much molybdenum, this can cause the clutch to start slipping. For this reason, users should avoid energy conserving motorbike oils as these contain friction modifier additives which cause clutch slipping. 0w-20 and 5w-30 oils should not be used in a motorcycle.
- Sporadic Use – people who use their motorcycles only sporadically might see that the oil has drained into the sump, leaving no protective film in the engine. This can cause the next start to be particularly hard on the engine. The film strength is very important in the motorbike oil for bikes that are only used sporadically. A synthetic motorbike oil will have a much higher film strength than a petroleum oil. This will cause the oil to take longer to drain off the engine into the sump.
Key advantages to using Synthetic Oils:
- A higher viscosity index than mineral base oils.
- Better resistance to thinning at high temperatures and thickening at low temperatures.
- Longer lasting in service without radical changes in viscosity.