View Full Version : Motorcycle Oils and Filters
08-22-2010, 02:33 PM
What do the motorcyclists here run for oil and filters?
My Bandit 600 calls for old-spec SF 10W-40 and the crazy Suzuki screw-on filter.
I'm coming up on oil change time and was wondering if anything (affordable) was out there besides the Rotella T 15W-40 and Wix filter I used last time.
I paid $12 for a gallon of oil and $8 for the filter last time. I am willing to spend a little more for better or longer-lasting stuff, but can't shell out $10/qt for something that I'll change every 2K miles.
The Motorcycle OEM's have us by the B@**'s when it comes to the filters. I spent $10.00 for the OEM micro filter on the 2010 Yamaha WR250X. For Fluid, I had the choice of either 10W-30 for 70 degrees F and below or 10W-40 for 70 degrees F and above. $12.75 for two quarts of 10W-30 Mobil1 Synthetic later and you have my selection. Not inexpensive by any means :(
I am positive you can purchase the filters from the Honda Supply Shop everyone orders their big ticket items for 2/3 the price as local shops but add shipping for a simple filter and you are right back to where you started from :(
08-22-2010, 04:00 PM
I always use a true motorcycle oil. I've had problems with the clutch sticking when I used auto spec oil. If you pull in the clutch, put it in gear, then the engine stalls, try using a motorcycle specific oil.
08-23-2010, 12:21 AM
Yeah, filters are pretty expensive. Suzuki's probably even worse than Yamaha due to their filters using a proprietary screw-on fitting.
Do you use M1 car oil or the M1 motorcycle-specific stuff? I've only found M1 motorcycle @ $12/qt, too rich for my blood. I've also tried to stem some of the financial bleeding by increasing OCI to 2,000 mi. The recommended OCI is 600 mi, but I'd be changing the oil every other week at that rate!
I haven't tried an oil marketed specifically for motorcycles as generally they are $7+/qt around here. Some of the heavy-duty diesel oils like Rotella T & Delvac are marketed as meeting the JASO "MA" motorcycle standard (similar to old SAE SF), and people have reported good results with the 15W-40 grades, so I've used that until now. Plus at $10-$12/gal or less, it is a lot cheaper.
08-23-2010, 06:49 AM
Are you sure that the oil change interval is 600 miles Usually that is for the first one to allow for break in, and 2500 miles after that.
While specific oils are specified, in the case of the Yamaha, it is any energy conserving-II or greater oil that cannot be used in the WR. What does your owner’s manual say about oil types?
And 600-miles is awfully short. SouthernCannuck's thoughts on break-in apply.
08-23-2010, 11:51 AM
Suzuki says any SF/SG rated 10W-40 is good. The factory manual and Clymers both have charts claiming a 600mi/1month Interval including oil changes and valve check. That seems a bit frequent, but other Suzuki TBs talk about checking oil consumption every 600 miles, so I can't tell.
After I changed the filter from one that it may have left the factory with, I figure I'll leave it until 2-3K miles, the oil starts shearing, or it turns too black for my comfort.
Other grades are allowed depending on temp, ranging from 10W-30 under 70deg to 20W-50 above 60deg.
09-04-2010, 12:35 PM
I'm sorry that I didn't see this thread sooner.
The recommended oil change interval is 3500 miles after the initial 600 mile break-in for my Suzuki GS500F. I can't see why the Bandit would be any more frequent than this.
Depending on the mileage you accumulate in a typical year, I would be sure to change the oil and filter at least once a year, regardless of mileage.
As far as the type of oil to use, as SouthernCannuck said, use a motorcycle specific oil. As you probably know, the same oil serves the engine, clutch and transmission. In an air cooled bike like mine, it also plays a vital role in cooling too. Auto grade motor oils have friction modifiers that can adversely affect the clutch and may not be ideal in the transmission either. Suzuki recommends oil with the JASO "MA" classification. This may also be marked API "SF or SG" without any"Energy Conserving" reference on the label.
The 10W-40 viscosity is the most versatile grade but 10W-30 is fine to about 80F. Heavier oils will affect your fuel economy and don't provide any better engine protection. Synthetic oils made for motorcycles are excellent once the motor is past the break-in stage. Personally, I use Castrol Grand Prix conventional motorcycle oil in 10W-40 grade. (Sold as Castrol 4T in the US). I noticed an immediate improvement in the gear shifting with it. In Canada, this oil is priced around $5.00/qt. and sold at regular outlets like WalMart. I use aftermarket filters which appear to be of good quality and cost around $7.00 each.
Hope you have many more days for riding before the weather changes.
The reference to API "SF or SG" without any "Energy Conserving" reference on the label is almost the same as the Yamaha manual other than they do not recommend any oil with Energy Conserving-II or higher classification. All the Mobil1 synthetics can be sued in the 250X while the non-Synthetic's drop the Energy Conserving label altogether making them a great low cost oil for a bike vs. the bike specific stuff you are going to pay dearly for at the dealership.
09-07-2010, 11:59 AM
Can anyone confirm any oil related engine/transmission damage from using automotive oil in a street ridden motorcycle using reasonable oil change intervals (OCI)? I can possibly see clutch slippage from energy conserving oil or engine or transmission damage in a high load/ high heat racing environment. On the street, our typical oil stress is really not that great.
41,000+ no mercy kid driven miles on my old air-cooled GPz 550 and not even a hint of damage. All on automotive Castrol 20W50, 2500 mile OCI. Now over 63,000 miles with nothing but Delo400 15W40 on the Concours, 4,500 mile OCI.
While newer technology bikes probably put higher stresses on oils than older designs, todays standard oils are really great. I'd use a synthetic or motorcycle specific oil if doing track days, I was particularly abusive to the engine or wanted an extended OCI above 5000 miles or so. For the street, I like the Delo400 stuff. It promotes good shifting, has good life, has more zinc for the gearbox, and is reasonably priced.
My key performance indicator for when to change oil is shifting quality. When shifting effort increases it is telling me that the oil has degraded to the point it should be changed. On the Concours it is routinely about 4000-4500 miles. After the oil change shift quality is instantly restored. Most discussion about using motorcycle specific oil centers around gearbox issues that relate to zinc content to prevent metal to metal contact, or friction modifiers affecting clutch engagement. It stands to reason that the engine really isn't affected, it would be the transmission or clutch that would fail first.
While motorcycle specific oils have probably the highest amount of zinc, I question the necessity to use such oil in anything but the highest stress environments. While synthetic oils are also really great in seldom used engines where the film layer in conventional oils drains away in a few weeks, even still post storage wear for conventional oil is minimal. For a selom used motorcycle that is run hard from a cold start-up, I'd spend extra bucks on a good synthetic. Otherwise using a conservative OCI with a non-synthetic 15w40 diesel oil (that has more zinc for the gears) is a reasonable program.
*** Note this Oil discussion is a hotly contested discussion on other bike forums, as most readers probably know. Just ride your friggin bike as much as you possibly can and buy the oil that makes you happy. The oil really doesn't make all that much of a difference, really! ***
09-07-2010, 02:28 PM
The only problem that I have had is the clutch plates are stuck together first thing in the morning. I pull in the clutch, put it in gear and the bike clunks, lurches forward an inch and stalls. I try again, and all goes well. I never could figure it out and last month I read about it in a motorcycle magazine. The mag says it the car oil. I no longer have that bike so I can't tell you that changing to bike oil would have fixed it. The article did say it might.
09-07-2010, 02:51 PM
Motorcycle Consumer News (MCN) did an article a few years ago on oil, complete with analysis on the oil contents. The take away I got from it was that the zinc content in motorcycle specific oil (the single biggest difference from car oil) was greater, but not by much and the varaibility was high among brands.
A lubrication publication I get at work stated that viscostity of the base oil is the single most important factor in engine lubrication. The author said that he wouldn't recommend anything lighter than 10 weight as the base oil for automobiles. Oil drain off for 5wXX and 0wXX from bearing surfaces was too thin to protect all but the most finely machined surfaces. He didn't go on to elaborate about motorcycles or gearboxes though.
For clutch plates sticking, I had the same thing happen only in cold weather on my old Kawasaki GPz occasionally. Dunno, maybe it's the additive package?
09-21-2010, 03:21 PM
Filters... I usually order mine in batches from Yamaha Sports Plaza, best price I've found for OEM filters for my bike (a Yamaha WR250R incidentally). Service Honda or someone similar likely sells the Suzuki filter for a discount, but wait till you have to order other stuff anyways to not get hosed on shipping.
Oil... I've never used automotive oils in my bike, can't afford to risk the clutch in my primary transportation over a couple quarts of oil. I have used Rotella 15w40, Rotella synthetic 5w40 (which was recently reformulated to lower its ash content and is now JASO MA rated), Yamalube in various flavors and grades, Amsoil moto 10w40, and M1 moto 10w40 however and usually change on a schedule similar to beatr911 i.e. when shifting starts to get clunky its time to change. Regardless of oil this seems to happen around 2000 miles on mine, depending on how much abuse I've put the bike through (all commuting, high speed travel, lots of trail riding with clutch slip and insane amounts of dust, etc) though Amsoil 'feels' the best and Rotella 'feels' the worst (best I can say without sending oil out for analysis). Might try Rotella Synthetic again now that its MA rated and $20/gallon. Head over to the Bob is the Oil Guy forums if you really want to make your head spin on oil... iirc in the end the basic determination is that diesel oils are better built than the rest because their customers (truckers) can't and won't afford oil that doesn't work.
09-23-2010, 07:04 PM
I stick with Kawasaki syn oil 10w-40 and factory spin-on filter and change it twice a year for my W650. The oil is $40 for 4 liters and the filter is $16, but I trust the factory oil and filter as I would like to keep the bike. I have had no problems with the wet clutch on factory syn oil.
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