Motorbike Engine Oil Basics


Motorbike engines are in need of use one kind of lubricating oil named 4T or 2T engine oil to activate the motorbike. Motorbike engine oils are specifically developed for use in the internal combustion engines and transmissions of motorbikes and may also be recommended for use in vehicles utilizing drive-trains similar to those of motorbikes, such as quad-bikes.

The majority of modern motorbikes use the same motorbike engine oil to lubricate the engine, transmission, and the clutch. Normal, “car-derived” motor oils are designed just for engines but were historically suitable for motorbikes.

However, some of the latest American Petroleum Institute or API specifications are claimed to be completely unsuitable for motorcycles with wet clutches, although reports of clutch slippage may be exaggerated.

Representative organizations of motorbike manufacturer, particularly Japanese Automotive Standards Organization, or JASO, work with Motorbike engine oil manufacturers to create “motorcycle-specific” standards for oils.

Engine oil manufacturers have two different products with the same chemical content. Motorbike transmissions, just like all gear-based automotive transmissions can quickly degrade a multi-viscosity or multi-grade engine oil. Conventional car and truck transmission oils have specific EP, and other specialized anti-wear additives, but these EP additives are not suitable for the combined application of lubricating the engine and transmission with the same engine oil, as is the norm in motorcycles.

Quality Motorbike Engine Oil

Viscosity improver chemicals

Multi-viscosity oils contain viscosity improver chemicals known as VIs to keep the oil from becoming too thin at high temperatures. It tends to shear between the cogs of a motorbike transmission. That can have the effect of reducing a 10W-40 Motorbike engine oil to a 10W-30 in a relatively short number of miles. One solution to shearing is to use single weight oils, which do not have VIs and are not susceptible to degradation in the transmission. However, single weight oils do not flow well in cold conditions, reducing overall lubrication until the oil has warmed up.

Use of synthetic oil

Synthetic oil is designed to have good cold-flow properties yet maintain high viscosity with fewer VIs. Energy Conserving (EC) motorcycle engine oil can cause wet clutches to slip. Many motorcycles have a wet clutch, where the clutch plates are immersed in oil. Some oils make the friction plates in the clutch slippery so that the clutch does not engage properly when shifting gears or the clutch slips when the engine exceeds a certain torque level.

Synthetic Engine Oil for motorbike

Few of the motorbike oils contain friction reducing chemicals. Properly specified motorcycle oil will still allow for the appropriate lubrication and cooling of a motorbike clutch, whilst maintaining 100% of the drive to be transmitted by the clutch, even under arduous operating conditions.

JASO MA Standard

One element of the JASO MA standard is a friction test designed to determine suitability for wet clutch usage. An oil that meets JASO-MA is considered appropriate for wet clutch operations. Oils marketed as Motorbike engine oil-specific will carry the JASO MA label.

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