Engine oil is probably the most important part of a motorcycle. Because no matter how tech laden, how modern your motorcycle is, if it doesn’t get the recommended, good quality engine oil, it will, simply, not perform to its potential.
In simple terms, engine oil is a lubricant that forms a thin layer between the moving metallic parts inside the engine. This helps in preventing wear and tear caused by rubbing of metals and the best engine oil for bikes are those which also aid in enhancing their overall performance. If you do not pay heed to what’s going inside your motorcycle’s engine, it could lead to overheating and eventually seizure!
In this story, let us quickly talk about the types of engine oils available for motorcycles and their drain intervals.
Types of Engine Oils
You can buy and use any of these three engine oils…
- Mineral Oils
- Semi-Synthetic Oils
- Fully Synthetic Oils
These are the most basic type of engine oils available for motorcycles. As the name suggests, these are naturally available oils obtained through the refinement of crude oil. They offer the most basic protection and lubrication to your engine and are generally the most affordable as well. They are also the most widely used engine oils in motorcycles in India.
On the other hand, synthetic or fully synthetic oils are developed by engineers by mixing crude with various other additives to enhance their lubrication characteristics. Synthetic oils offer the best protection for your engine, enhance its overall performance and life and since they require significant manual engineering, they are the costliest oils available in the market.
As the name suggests, semi-synthetic oils are basically combination of mineral oils and full synthetic oils. They are prepared for usages when the demand is for a better lubricant (than mineral oils) but not at the cost of fully synthetic oils. There is a vast variety of Semi-synthetic oils that can be produced as per the demands of motorcyclists/market.
Few Quick Pointers
Mineral oils are suggested to be used on small capacity motorcycles. Even on entry level sports motorcycles you may use mineral oils for the initial few thousand kilometers. They have the smallest change interval.
You can use synthetic engine oils to extract the best performance from your motorcycles; obviously when cost is not an issue. However, these oils report leakages on some engines. They have the longest drain interval.
A very good compromise is semi-synthetic oils which can be used when you want good performance at a relatively lesser price.
Here are the general recommended drain intervals for each of these motorcycles based on our experiences.
- Mineral Oils – Upto 2000 km
- Semi-Synthetic Oils – 2500-3500 km
- Synthetic Oils – 5000-6000 km
Apart from this, you should also, ALWAYS, adhere to the recommended grade of engine oil for your motorcycle. Grades are the numbers mentioned on engine oils; for example – 10W 50, 20W 40, etc. These numbers suggest at different temperatures what is the viscosity (thickness) of particular engine oils.
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In the end, remember that most regular motorcycles do not require usage of synthetic oils always and in fact, they can live on good quality mineral oils for most or all part of their lives. Choose semi-synthetic or synthetic oils when you own performance motorcycles and if your kind of usage generally puts a lot of stress on the engine.