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View Poll Results: Stay with regular oil or go synthetic?
You don't need no stinkin synthetic! 14 26.42%
Synthetic is the CHIT! 34 64.15%
I really don't know and have no business even answering this poll. 5 9.43%
Voters: 53. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:48 PM   #1
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Synthetic vs standard ? ? ?

Okay, so maybe SOMEWHERE in here there is a thread on this subject already, but I didn't see it. I am looking at changing over to full synthetic oil in the bike on the next change. Give me some thoughts on the pros and cons of each. I know that you can't go back to standard once you change to synthetic, but are there any advantages in an older bike to going one way or the other?

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Old 01-13-2009, 10:57 PM   #2
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unless you race track, you are wasting money.
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Old 01-13-2009, 10:57 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by RojerLockless View Post
unless you race track, you are wasting money.
Ill agree with that
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:02 PM   #4
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Read this and it will answer most of your questions and concerns. A little lengthy but worth it.

I think full syn is a waste of money also. Except for track.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:18 PM   #5
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Synthetic is less resistant to shear and breakdown from heat than dino oil. If you go longer between changes you get your money back. If you beat your bike on the track you have the confidence of knowing you put in the best. Oil is cheaper than repair bills.

I run dino in my street bike and change often. I run synthetic in my track bike and change it often too.

You can change back if you want. The newer synthetics are more compatible than when it first hit the market. Read the labels.
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Old 01-13-2009, 11:49 PM   #6
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FWIW my buell shifted 100% smoother with Amsoil full syn. in the trans

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Old 01-14-2009, 12:06 AM   #7
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even patrick at motorcycles unlimited will tell you.. don't use a synthetic unless that's all ur bike has ever ran.. if anything maybe try a semi synthetic to find and leaks and to see if it does help the tranny.. I run a regular old yamalube in my engine which was about 20 bucks for 5 quarts works great and so far haven't notices anything negative.. stick with a regular oil and change about every season or so for normal street riding
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Old 01-14-2009, 12:33 AM   #8
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i use synthetic because i dont change my oil often, too busy.
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Old 01-14-2009, 02:33 AM   #9
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In my opinion, using synthetic in motorcyle is not good due to the wet clutch transmission. Just change your oil regularly depending on your usage. If you are using synthetic to prolong your laziness, it will do more harm than good.
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Old 01-14-2009, 07:42 AM   #10
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the ONLY thing that matters in oil is FREQUENCY. get what you want. Change it frequently. Stick with the program.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by level5 View Post
In my opinion, using synthetic in motorcyle is not good due to the wet clutch transmission. Just change your oil regularly depending on your usage. If you are using synthetic to prolong your laziness, it will do more harm than good.
if it has detergents ( car oils mostly do ) it's bad for clutches

and i run syn in all my veh. i also run extended times.

you can change oil freq. it can't hurt anything besides your wallet.

my current and past honda cars have had an oil change minder, they came on about 7500mi. so i run syn.
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Old 01-14-2009, 08:43 AM   #12
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Synthetic fortified FTW
NOT fully Syn
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:03 AM   #13
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Here are a few pertinent excerpts from

Choosing an Oil for Your Motorcycle

There are a few special problem areas for motorcycle oil. Most motorcycles have wet clutches, which means the motor oil runs through the clutch. If the motor oil has too much molybdenum in it, there are fears that the clutch can start slipping. No one I know has ever actually had this happen to them, but the warnings are all over your owners' manual and the oil companies' web pages. On the back of all certified oil cans is a circular stamp with the certification. Avoid oils that say "energy conserving" in the bottom half of the donut. These oils contain friction modifier additives that could cause clutch slipping over time. Essentially all 0w-20, 5w-30 and 10w-30 oils are energy conserving, and should not be used in your motorcycle.

Most motorcycles run the engine oil through the transmission, and the transmission gears are very hard on the oil's VII package. This means that over a couple thousand miles, the oil's viscosity can break down. Standard car oils are only good for typically 1500 miles before they've lost about half of their viscosity. Remember, 10w-40 oils contain a lot of VIIs which tend to shear in your transmission, so I believe 10w-40 oils should be avoided. You can't use 10w-30 because of the friction modifiers. This doesn't leave much. Commercial 15w-40 oils are a good choice, because they have relatively few VIIs which are the more expensive shear-stable sort. Synthetics typically don't contain much of a VII package, so shear is not as big an issue with them.

Some people use their motorcycles only sporadically. This means the oil can all drain completely into the sump, leaving no protective film on the bearings. The first start after a long period of non-use can be particularly hard on an engine. Film strength is very important if you're a sporadic rider.

There are several key advantages to using Synthetic Oils:

Synthetic oils have a higher viscosity index than mineral base oils. Synthetics have better resistance to thinning at high temperatures and thickening at low temperatures. Since synthetics have little or no VIIs, synthetics last longer in service without radical changes in viscosity.

Synthetics have a much higher film strength than petroleum oils, so it takes a lot longer for the oil to drain completely off your bearings and into your sump.

Diester synthetics are polar molecules with solvent properties which dissolve residues and combustion byproducts.

Choosing a Break-In Oil for Your Motorcycle

The theory that synthetic oils should not be used during break in is the same as the theory that your engine will break in better if you use synthetic oil but add a dinner candle to your four quarts of engine oil. Frankly, I find this theory, um, questionable. Oh, , laughable. Corvettes and Porsches come from the factory with Mobil-1 in their engines. Remember, these engineers have designed world-champion engines for F1, Indy, Le Mans 24 hours, etc.

There's a lot of mythology surrounding break-in oil. It's simply not the case that synthetic oils are more "slippery" than conventional oils. Also, break-in of a modern engine is completely different than break-in of an engine made before about 1980. Modern engines, by comparison to something made in the '60s, are pretty much already broken in from the factory due to the fact that today we hold much tighter machining tolerances. The exception, of course, would be the Ural, a motorcycle made on a production line unmodified since about 1935.


I recommend you change your break-in oil at 75 to 100 miles, 100 to 150 kilometers. Your engine does shed a fair amount of metal particles in the first 20-50 miles, and I really can't understand why you would want this stuff floating around your bearings for the first 600 miles, 1000 kilometers.

I put Shell Rotella "synthetic" (87% group III) oil in my DL650 at 75 miles. It burns no oil, gets great gas mileage, and runs great. I recommend you switch to a good synthetic at your first oil change.

Some people should, in my opinion, clearly use a synthetic oil. You should be using a synthetic if:

* you routinely start your engine in temperatures under 40f, 5c.
* you live somewhere where it gets below -35 degrees, and you want to start your car. In this case you must use either Mobil-1 0w-30 or the Canadian 0w-40 Rotella. If you're riding your bike in -40 degrees, I want a picture just before you die.
* you leave your vehicle sit unused for months at a time.
* you are unable or unwilling to change your oil within 2000 miles.
* you have one of these new 4-stroke MX bikes. These MX bikes hold only about one quart of oil, all of them have marginal cooling systems, and if there's a more severe use of an engine than MX, I don't want to be physically present when it happens.

If it's below -55c, -65f, stay home. Really.

Three synthetics stand out from the rest: Mobil Delvac 1, Mobil-1 SUV and Shell Rotella T Synthetic. These are C certified industrial oils meant to be purchased in 55 gallon drums and used by companies which run a lot of diesel engines. The Commercial oils, as discussed above, have more expensive additive packages which are meant to prolong engine life and oil life, as opposed to being cheap to buy at Pep Boys and helping the car companies meet their CAFE requirements. These oils meet all the automobile requirements through SJ, and also have extra additives to help pick up gunk in the engine, to keep the oil from becoming acidic, and to maintain the oil's viscosity over a long time. In fact, the manufacturers talk about their oil's viscosity resistance to shear forces - exactly what a motorcycle needs. Shell Rotella-T Synthetic is available at Wal-Mart for $13 / gallon, so I consider this the motor oil of choice. Delvac-1 is very hard to get in the west - there are only two places in all of California where you can buy it. Mobil-1 SUV is readily available everywhere for about $4.50 / quart. When used with the correct filters, these oils are certified for 50,000 mile oil change intervals, and are frequently used for 100,000 to 150,000 miles in diesel long-haul trucks. Now, before you get all excited about the possibilities, you must also keep in mind that the diesel engines don't run their oil through their transmission, and the large diesels all have two oil filters, one a normal paper filter, and the other a 1 or 2 micron filter that catches pretty much everything. We don't have these secondary ultra-fine oil filters on our bikes. Also, the large diesel engines hold eleven gallons of oil - a oil and filter change costs these guys $350 if they use synthetics, $150 if they don't.

The synthetic diesel oils are 5w-40 oils. Some people have expressed concern to me that this doesn't match the 10w-40 specification for their engine. The 5w rating only applies when the oil is cold, below about 80 f. Once your oil and engine are up to operating temperature, these are 40 weight oils, just like all the others. In cold conditions, under 40 f, the 5w oils are much better for your engine than a 10w oil.

AMSOil, Motul 5100, Mobil-1 MX4T, Mobil-1, Redline, and Golden Spectro are apparently made with high quality additive packages, similar to the commercial synthetics. Personally, I would find it reassuring if these oils were CI-4 certified. However, many motorcyclists have used these oils for years with good results. They are all fine oils, and perfectly acceptable to run in your motorcycle. They are a bit on the pricey side. Delvac-1, AMSOil, Redline and Motul synthetics contain no petroleum oils - they're pure synthetic. To the best of my knowledge, all other synthetic oils contain some amount of Group III oil.

Mobil-1 automotive oils all contain small amounts of moly - about 100 to 200 ppm. This can cause clutch slippage in some motorcycles. I've only heard of this being a problem in Honda Shadows.


The article goes into detail regarding oil classifications for both mineral and synthetic oils and provides more data points. Good article! Thanks for the pointer.
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:22 AM   #14
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i've always run full synthetic in my bikes.. it's going to be at the heart of your bike making sure it shifts smooth and keeps everything running smooth and protecting your engine.. why not spend alittle extra for a full synthetic.

yes it's not a necessity by any means but it aint gonna hurt to put a better oil in your bike regardless of a track day or race.. i recommend either motul or amsoil full synthetic... can't go wrong. In all the bikes i've ever owned, i've never had engine problems... ever.. I had a cr125 mx bike that i raced every weekend and owned for almost 5 years, and i only had to replace the top end in it once and the clutch went out once.. but that's expected maintenance and it was my secondary mx bike so i didn't worry about replacing the top end or clutch till it went out. But i could bet that it was thanks to the synthetic i was running from day one.

Just my opinion anyways.. Hope it helps!
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Old 01-14-2009, 11:29 AM   #15
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I went syn in the 636 and the shifting felt better to me.

I run dyno oil (whatever is in there from the factory) for the 1st ~7K miles and then switch.

In my cars I always run syn.
Titan is on RP
BMWs are on BMW syn.
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Old 01-15-2009, 01:46 PM   #16
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I have found and the site's forums to be very informative about motor oils and lubricants. The motorcycle sub-forum is good too, so its worth taking some time and reading.
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Old 01-15-2009, 02:14 PM   #17
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ive run syn and dino in my bike. shifts smoother with syn and i can go longewr between oil changes, bout all the difference ive noticed
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:54 PM   #18
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I hear Mobil-1 15w40 High Milage full synth is good for a MC. I also hear it is not.

The tech at the shop says NO, this mobil1 synth is bad and not certified for 4stroke or any MC.

Is he just trying to sell me oil? I use Mobil 1 synthetic in everything, even the lawmower just not the Versys.

I know this has been beat to death, but whoat do you think?

Any links to other discussions welcome.

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Old 03-04-2009, 05:33 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by SexualChocolate View Post
I went syn in the 636 and the shifting felt better to me.

I run dyno oil (whatever is in there from the factory) for the 1st ~7K miles and then switch.

In my cars I always run syn.
Titan is on RP
BMWs are on BMW syn.
Werd. my tranny felt much better with amsoil full syn.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:37 PM   #20
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Change it early (maybe the first 20-50miles... you'll be suprised how much is floating around!) and often...
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