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What is the best engine oil for a motorcycle?

From racers and hobbyists to enterprises operating fleets of couriers, those who own motorcycles are always on the lookout for the best engine oil to use in their bikes.

Engine oil is the lifeblood that keeps a motorcycle running smoothly and effectively while protecting its mechanical parts. While every owner will have their own personal preference when it comes to the engine oil they use, it’s worth reading on for some points worth considering.

Base oil quality and composition

In modern engine oils, the quality of a motorcycle’s base oils, and the quantity and quality of its additives, will be a determining factor in how well it performs its important role; for instance, how well it cleans your motorcycle engine, how effectively it keeps particles suspended to keep them clear of crucial bearing surfaces, how it holds up against corrosion, how well it coats the internal components and how long for.

Most engine oils are around 80% base oil and 20% additives. A full synthetic lubricant can be made from two different base oils and between 10 to 20 additives. An engine oil might only use a single mineral base, but as soon as a single additive is included, it becomes semi-synthetic.

How old is your motorcycle?

Age will impact which engine oil is the best option. It is generally understood that over the years, motorcycle engines have steadily become increasingly efficient, mainly due to tighter tolerances. As a result, engine oils have been required to stay in step and progress too.

If you own a vintage vehicle, you should consider using ‘classic’ engine oil as the paper gaskets found in older motorcycles aren’t compatible with every modern oil available today. In cases where the engine has no filter, you should select an oil that can dump deposits into the sump, instead of carrying them around. On the other hand, if you have a modern motorcycle, using a classic engine oil can be harmful, so select from the wide range of synthetic and semi-synthetic oils available.

Back to basics

To protect your motorcycle and your investment in it, always buy a high-end and dependable brand of engine oil. Make sure the engine oil you purchase is compatible with your make and model, and of the correct viscosity.

Ultimately, the oil that will be best for any bike will be one that is changed regularly and meets the specific requirements recommended by the bike’s manufacturer.

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