Choosing the right engine oil for your motorcycle is crucial to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your bike. With so many different types of engine oils available on the market, it can be overwhelming to figure out which one is right for your motorcycle. In this guide, we will dive into the different types of engine oils and the specific requirements for each type of motorcycle.
Type of engine oil
First, it is important to understand the different types of engine oils available. There are two main types of engine oils: mineral oil and synthetic oil. Mineral oil is made from crude oil and is the most basic type of oil. Synthetic oil, on the other hand, is made from a complex chemical process and is designed to provide better performance and protection for your engine.
The JASO certification is specifically designed for motorcycles and sets standards for both 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines. JASO certification is divided into two categories: MA and MB. MA oils are designed for wet clutch systems found in most motorcycles and provide better friction control, while MB oils are designed for motorcycles with separate gearboxes and clutches.
API certification, on the other hand, is designed for all types of engines and is divided into different categories depending on the viscosity of the oil. The most common categories for motorcycles are API SN and API SM. API SN is designed for modern 4-stroke engines and provides better protection against wear and tear, while API SM is designed for older engines and provides better engine cleanliness.
Manual Transmission Motorcycle Engine Oil
For manual transmission motorcycles, it is recommended to use engine oils with a higher viscosity. This is because manual transmissions have more metal-to-metal contact, which can cause more wear and tear on the engine. A higher viscosity oil can help to reduce this wear and tear and provide better protection for your engine.
Oil viscosity is a measure of how thick or thin the oil is. It is determined by the oil’s resistance to flow at a certain temperature. The higher the viscosity, the thicker the oil, and the slower it will flow. The lower the viscosity, the thinner the oil and the faster it will flow.
Oil viscosity is typically expressed as a number and letter combination, such as 10W-30 or 5W-40. The number before the “W” (winter) refers to the oil’s cold temperature viscosity, while the number after the “W” refers to the oil’s hot temperature viscosity. For example, 10W-30 oil is thinner when cold than 5W-40 oil, but thicker when hot. It is important to use the oil viscosity recommended by the engine manufacturer to ensure proper lubrication and protection of the engine.
For scooter motorcycles, it is recommended to use engine oils that are specifically designed for scooters. These oils are designed to provide better fuel economy and protection against wear and tear for the smaller engines found in most scooters.
Scooters generally do not have a clutch that operates in an oil bath like traditional manual transmission motorcycles. Instead, most scooters have a dry clutch system that does not require the engine oil to function.
The main function of engine oil in a scooter is to lubricate the top components of the engine and the crankshaft bearings. This helps to reduce friction and wear between metal surfaces, which can cause heat buildup and premature engine failure. In addition to lubrication, scooter engine oils may also contain additives that help to reduce engine deposits and improve fuel efficiency.
Most modern scooters also have a separate gearbox that requires gear oil to function properly. Gear oil is thicker and more viscous than engine oil and is specifically designed to provide lubrication and cooling to the gears and bearings in the gearbox.
When selecting engine oil for your scooter, it is important to choose an oil that is specifically designed for use in motorcycle engines. Look for engine oils that are JASO MA or MB rated, as these oils are specifically formulated to meet the unique needs of motorcycle engines, including those in scooters. JASO MA and MB-rated oils have been tested and approved for use in engines with wet or dry clutch systems, ensuring that they provide the proper level of lubrication and protection without causing slippage or other issues.
2-Stroke Motorcycle Engine oil
When using a 2-stroke engine, it’s important to use oil that’s specifically designed for 2-stroke engines. These oils provide better lubrication and protection for the engine, which can help to extend its lifespan by reducing wear and tear.
To achieve optimal performance, 2-stroke motorcycles require two separate lubricants. The first, 2T oil, is used to lubricate the top components of the engine, including the crankshaft, crankshaft bearings, rod, and piston. The second lubricant, 4T oil, is commonly used in 4-stroke motorcycle engines but is also required in 2-stroke motorcycles for lubricating the clutch and gearbox sections only.
There are specialized oils available, such as Motul Transoil, which are designed specifically to protect the clutches and gearboxes of 2-stroke engines.
The best thing about the 2-stroke motorcycle is the design of the engine that allows for the use of lighter or thinner engine oils in the clutch and gearbox sections, this can provide faster speeds and better grip. This is not possible with 4-stroke engines, as the same oil viscosity is needed to lubricate the pistons and camshaft parts, or else quick wear to top components may occur. It’s important to note that using a thick oil can also cause clutch slippage.
When selecting 2T oil for your 2-stroke motorcycle, it is important to choose an oil that meets the JASO FD or ISO-L-EGD ratings. These ratings indicate that the oil is specifically designed for high-performance 2-stroke engines and meets the required standards for lubricity, detergency, exhaust smoke, and exhaust system blocking.
Japanese motorcycle manufacturers have found that the API TC specifications are too loose and oils meeting this standard may not prevent excessive smoke and exhaust blocking. It is also important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the oil-to-fuel ratio, as this will vary depending on the engine size and design.
In cold temperatures, engine oil tends to thicken, which can result in poor engine performance and damage. Choosing an engine oil with the appropriate viscosity rating is crucial to ensure that the engine starts easily and runs smoothly in cold conditions.
For example, using an oil with a viscosity rating of 10W-30 or 5W-30 is recommended for colder climates, as it is formulated to flow more easily at low temperatures. It is also important to consider the oil’s cold cranking viscosity, as this indicates how easily the oil flows during engine start-up. Checking the owner’s manual or consulting with a trusted mechanic can help in determining the best engine oil for your motorcycle during the winter months.
choosing the right engine oil for your motorcycle is crucial to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of your bike. Consider the type of engine in your motorcycle, whether it is a manual transmission or scooter, and look for specific certifications and classifications for your engine oil. By taking these factors into consideration, you can find the right engine oil to keep your motorcycle running smoothly for years to come.