Regular Automotive Oil in Motorcycles

There is a lot of confusion about oil in motorcycles. Specially marketed “motorcycle oil” is a lot more expensive than oil sold for cars, but is it really safe to run car oil? Yes, just make sure it meets SG, SH, SJ, or SL service requirements. Generally, you are better off with a heavy-duty oil for motorcycles, such as 15w40, below is a list of oils known to work well in motorcycles:

1. Chevron Delo 400 15w40

2. Mobil Delvac 1300 Super 15w40

3. Pennzoil Long-Life 15w40

4. Quaker State 4X4 Synthetic Blend 15w40

5. Shell Rotella-T 15w40 (my personal favorite)

6. SuperTech 2000 (WalMart) 15w40

7. Valvoline All Fleet 15w40

8. Castrol Syntec Blend Truck and 4X4 15w40

A really good choice HAS always been Mobil One 15w50, but recently they changed their formula from TriSynthetic to SuperSyn, which has additional friction modifiers, which may make it no longer a good choice for bikes. This is still up in the air, with people having mixed results, but I say, why risk it, try one of the other ones above!

Now, this may seem sketchy to you, and you’re thinking, yea it may work, but will my bike die in a year? In the June 1996 Issue of Sport Rider Magazine, there was a report called, “100,000 mile Honda CBR900RR.” The owner used regular Castrol GTX car oil, 20W50 in the summer, 10W40 in the winter, changed his oil every 4000 miles, only changed the oil filter EVERY OTHER time. When this bike had 100,000 miles on it, they dyno’d it up against an identical bike with only 6,722 miles on it, and the horsepower and torque curves were virtually identical! The magazine later did a follow up, with the same CBR at 200,000 miles and going strong, so as you can see, the oil had no affect on his bike.