Just like a car engine, a motorcycle requires engine oil to work. The basic function of motorcycle engine oil is to lubricate the engine’s moving parts to reduce friction and wear and tear.
Choosing the correct engine oil for your motorcycle isn’t exactly easy. The viscosity of the engine oil needs to be exactly right. Motorcycle oil that is too thin will not be able to withstand pressure while too thick and the oil begins to create friction between the parts.
Choosing the correct weight or grade of oil for your type of motorcycle is imperative. Riding your motorcycle with the wrong oil for too long may cause the engine to overheat. It could also cause more wear and tear on the engine than is normal.
Be sure to check your engine oil levels regularly, ideally once a week, and every time before going on a road trip or a long ride. Otherwise, you might need expensive repair down the road, or worst still, kill your engine.
Best Motorcycle Oils Reviews
We have put together a comprehensive review of the best motorcycle oil on the market. We picked out 5 of the best synthetic motorcycle oils on the market. Our reviews are based on performance, quality, and customer satisfaction as the main criterion for ranking these products.
This information should help you pick out from the array of options that promise the world but do not live up to their claims.
We have also included a handy Buyer’s Guide at the tail end of this article to further help you to choose the best engine oil for your motorcycle.
Check out the comparison table below for a quick overview of the best motorcycle oils.
1. Motul 300V Synthetic Engine Oil
This is fully synthetic oil that is proven to increase your engine’s lifespan and performance. It is best suited for 4-stroke engines regardless of whether or not they have converters. Motul 300V has a double ester technology that works to provide awesome lubrication properties and better engine response while maximizing the RPMs of your engine.
This 10W40 is designed with high-performance racing in mind where minimizing metal-to-metal startup is especially important. This Motul product works especially well on bikes that frequently run at high RPM or high temperatures such as dirt bikes, speed bikes, and race bikes.
Motul 300V fully synthetic motorcycle oil uses Ester Core Technology, combining two types of esters to boost lubrication and improve engine response at high RPM.
Motul 300V backs up its claims with certification. This motorcycle engine oil passes the JASO T904 wet clutch compatibility test and the Bosch ASTM D6278 test where the oil records 0% shear loss. The latter means that the oil sustains its lubricity despite mechanical stress or external conditions.
This motor oil is also a staple feature with world-class racers including MotoGP and World Superbikes in part due to its polar molecular structure that allows the oil to bond with metals, providing exceptional protection from friction in the engine.
The downside of this product is it is a little expensive which is typical of premium motorcycle engine oils. This oil is also good for road racing bikes and other high-performance motorcycles. You might not see much of a difference when using this oil on a regular motorcycle.
2. Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5W-20
Just as the name implies, this oil will provide the extended performance to your engine. It is pure synthetic oil, lacking containments, and provides guaranteed protection for about 15000 miles. Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5W-20 Motor Engine Oil has stable oil viscosity. This makes it a powerful weapon for quick cold-weather starting without putting stress on the engine.
This motor oil is formulated with exceptional thermal and oxidation stability to give you outstanding engine performance up until the maximum recommended oil change interval in your motorbike’s manual.
The Mobil1 Extended Performance oil has enhanced frictional properties that provide great fuel economy while reducing stress on your engine, particularly in the starting system components.
The main downside with this motor oil is; it can be difficult to distinguish between Mobil 1 Extended Performance 5W20 meant for passenger vehicles and the option meant for motorcycles. Make sure you read the label carefully before buying to ensure that you get the right oil.
3. Castrol Power1 10W-40 Synthetic 4T Motorcycle Oil
Castrol is undoubtedly one of the most trusted oil production companies and why not trust them with your bike’s heart? The Race Derived Technology used in this wonder oil helps it to flow fast and reduce internal engine friction regardless of the circumstances.
The Tri-zone Technology formulation protects all three major parts; engine, clutch, and transmission; by giving air-cooled performance even at extremely high temperatures. These two technologies make it the perfect oil for those who love racing and pushing the engine to the limit.
This is yet another full-synthetic oil which means that the product is 100% non-crude.
Full-synthetic blends such as this one clean your engine while producing clear emissions. The Castro Power1 4T meets the JASO MA-2 standards for newer model motorcycle engines. This test is specifically designed to check for emission standards.
The Castrol Power1 10W-40 Synthetic 4T Motorcycle Oil has an excellent shear ability which allows it to retain its integrity despite extreme stress or outside conditions.
The primary target for this oil is high-performance motorcycles, particularly those using the latest technology and/or fitted with turbochargers.
This Castrol motor oil is also good for motorcycles that use the clutch as an integral part of the transmission.
The main downside of this motor oil, like most premium full-synthetic motorcycle oils, is expensive. Expensive in this case is, however, relative. The motor oil is priced reasonably considering its performance and customer satisfaction ratings. It’s available in value packs of 6 bottles. This is also the type of oil only used on high-performance motorcycles which alienates a huge market.
4. Bel-Ray EXS Synthetic Ester 4T Engine Oil
Bel-Ray EXS is a premium fully synthetic motor oil containing the finest quality synthetic hydrocarbon and ester base fluids. It is a perfect match for 4-stroke engines and wet clutches. The additives in this oil contain unique anti-wear capabilities to enable your engine to achieve efficiency demands.
The Bel-Ray EXS Synthetic Ester 4T Engine Oil has 10W50 viscosity which allows it to perform optimally under high RPMs and high temperatures.
The proprietary additives in the engine oil provide further protection in your engine, specifically by extending bearing life and reducing wear on the cylinder and piston ring.
This engine oil is perfect for motorbikes with a wet clutch. The product provides smoother power transfer and prevents jerky engagement and harsh clutch grabbing while promoting controlled and efficient gear changes.
Bel-Ray EXS Synthetic Ester is also great for motorbikes without a wet clutch or if you need a JASO MA/ MA1/ MA2 qualified motorcycle engine oil. The oil also meets requirements for API SG/ SH/ SJ/ SM standards.
You can get EXS in four different viscosities including 5W-40, 10W-50, 10W-50, and 15W-50.
There isn’t much to say about the downside of the engine oil except like the oils reviewed here, it is a little pricey for some. The results are however worth it and you should begin to feel a difference soon after switching to Bel-Ray EXS.
5. Maxima Maxum4 Extra Engine Oil
Formulated for street and off-road motorcycles’ wet clutch applications and engines, Maxima Maxum4 is a fully synthetic triple ester engine oil that provides anti-wear and extended protection while lowering operating temperatures.
Maxima Maxum4 is great for all weather types and provides easy cold starts without damaging the engine. The best thing about this oil is its ability to improve your fuel economy.
This 10W40 engine oil has excellent shear viscosity which allows it to perform optimally even under high heat without breaking down or mechanical shearing. This all-weather motorcycle engine oil contains additives that help with smoother transmission shifting while cleaning the engine during operation.
The Maxima Maxum4 Extra Engine Oil is especially good for air or water-cooled 4-cycle gasoline engines. These bikes should see extended engine life and improved fuel economy when using this oil.
This is one of the more affordable options on the market and ranks high in the best synthetic motorcycle oil category. The product meets API SG/SC specifications and JASO-MA M/C 4T specifications.
What Does Motorcycle Engine Oil Do?
Before getting into the criteria for choosing the best oil for your motorcycle, it is worth exploring what engine oil does for your bike. This will help to reiterate the importance of choosing the right type of oil.
Below are a few benefits that engine oil has for your motorcycle:
Lubricate the Engine
The first and most important job of motorcycle oil is lubricating your engine. The oil flows through the different moving parts and covers the engine components with a thick, slick film. This lubrication helps to reduce friction between the moving parts and therefore reduce wear and tear.
The oil needs to flow freely and consistently throughout the engine for the best effect.
Clean The Engine
Engine oils are primarily made of base oil and additives. While the base oil lubricates the engine, additives provide additional protection including cleaning the engine.
Carbon formations and other debris find their way in the engine and can build up over time. Good quality oil should help to clean the engine components that it comes into contact with.
Cool the Engine
Motor oil helps to redirect heat away from the engine components that it lubricates. The oil flows into the oil pan once the engine is switched off where it sits until the next time you start the engine. Good quality motorcycle engine oil will cool quickly when sitting in the oil pan.
Additionally, the oil should also not heat up beyond its flashpoint. Fully synthetic oils are the best for this purpose. They are great for high-performance motorbikes that operate at high temperatures and high RPM.
Improve Engine Efficiency and Performance
A clean and well-lubricated engine performs optimally which is especially important with high-performance motorcycles such as off-road bikes and racing bikes.
You also enjoy better fuel economy with an engine that runs efficiently.
Prolong the Life of the Engine
Using high-quality engine oil consistently and maintaining the appropriate oil levels will help to prolong the life of the engine.
What to Look For When Choosing the Best Motorcycle Oil
Knowing what to look for in good motorcycle oil will help you sort through the noise to find the perfect product for your motorcycle. Below we have detailed the qualities to look out for in a good motorcycle engine oil.
A good place to start when choosing the best motorcycle oil is to consider feedback from other motorcycle owners or experts.
This goes to the rookies. It is better to rely on other people’s (especially pros) opinions and experiences when you are not knowledgeable about engine oils.
It is also worth reading through the customer reviews section on Amazon for direct consumer feedback about the product you are planning to buy. All the products reviewed here score highly on Amazon for customer satisfaction and have stellar reviews from users.
If unsure, speak to your mechanic. A professional would be in a position to advise you accordingly based on your specific motorcycle’s needs.
Every motorcycle has its engine oil requirements that are specified by the manufacturer.
There are three types of motorcycle oil – synthetic, semi-synthetic, and mineral. Find out which one works best for you by examining your motorcycle requirement. Refer to your user manual for details on the appropriate engine oil to use on your motorcycle.
We have outlined the basic types of motorcycle oil below for you to use as a general guideline:
Mineral Oil (MO)
Mineral oil is typically derived from crude oil and is the most basic type of oil. This motorcycle oil is typically used on old or vintage motorcycles. It is cheap, simple, and low performance. You also see this type of oil used in small capacity engines.
It is worth noting that some people recommend using mineral oil on a new motorcycle to break in the engine during the first few miles. While this might have been necessary in the past, newer motorcycle engines are adapted to synthetic oils. They have far smaller tolerances than their predecessors. You can use synthetic oil from the first mile out of the lot without any problems.
Mineral oils are favored for their affordability. The oil, however, doesn’t last as long. It requires more frequent oil changes so you will need to stay up to date on your maintenance schedule.
Semi-Synthetic Oils (SS)
Semi-synthetic oils are a mixture of mineral oils and synthetic oils. These oils strike a good balance between engine protection and high performance.
Semi-synthetic oils are a good choice for smaller capacity motorbikes and up to 2500 cc or bikes with decent horsepower but largely used under normal driving conditions such as commuting to work.
These motorcycle oils are typically a better choice than mineral oil, but they are slightly more expensive. You can still stick with mineral oils for mopeds under 150cc. However, anything with a higher capacity engine could benefit from more protection and better performance of semi-synthetic oils.
Fully Synthetic Oils (FS)
Fully synthetic oils are the crème of motorcycle engine oils. These oils are made using a chemical process rather than from crude oil or petroleum as is the case with mineral oil.
Fully synthetic oils are more expensive than the other two oils mentioned here. Fully synthetic oils offer better lubrication, better protection, clean the engine, and have a longer life cycle, therefore, making up for the difference in cost.
These oils are typically used on high-performance motorcycles, racing bikes, and superbikes which operate at high RPM and high temperatures. These fully synthetic oils do not break down under pressure as long as you are using the correct grade of oil for your motorcycle.
Motor Oil Viscosity/Grade
Viscosity refers to how the oil flows through the engine to provide lubrication. The viscosity of the oil is indicated by its grade such as 5W40.
The numbers before and after the letter ‘W’ are referred to as multi-grade while the letter ‘W’ means Winter. The number before the W indicates the lowest temperature that the specific engine oil will hold its viscosity while the number after the W indicates the highest temperature at which the oil will perform.
The temperature, in this case, refers to the outside temperature rather than the engine temperature.
As indicated earlier in this section, motor oil does a lot more than lubricating the engine. Good quality engine oil should help to clean the engine. Dirt and debris find itself into the engine while there is no feasible way to clean the system except to take the engine apart. Fully synthetic engine oils are especially good at cleaning gunk and dirt in the engine.
While you get what you pay for, you don’t always have to pay a premium price for good quality motorcycle engine oil. It is possible to strike a balance between quality and price.
Maxima Maxum4 Extra Engine Oil is a great example of a high-quality product that provides amazing value for money.
Motorcycle Engine Oil Frequently Asked Questions
We have included a few frequently asked questions about motorcycle oils to cover any subject that we might have missed in our Best Motorcycle Oil Review and Buyer’s Guide thus far.
Below are the most commonly asked questions regarding buying motorcycle engine oil.
How Often Should I Change my Motorcycle Engine Oil?
As a rule of thumb, you should change your motorcycle engine oil every 3,700 miles or so. Refer to your motorcycle’s manual for details of how often you should change your oil.
The frequency of the oil change is also determined by your driving habits. You may need to change your motor oil more frequently if you primarily drive short distances, if you use the bike intensely, or if you don’t use the motorbike much.
Fully synthetic oils can take you up to 5000 miles in between oil changes.
Is Cold-Starting an Engine Bad?
Cold starting can potentially damage your engine in the long-term. The oil may all drain away from the engine’s surfaces when the bike is off. In a very cold climate, this means that the engine will run dry for a minute or two when it is first turned over.
Good synthetic engine oil will leave a layer of lubrication on the moving parts, giving the engine sufficient lubrication during ignition. This is also why you should use the type of engine oil recommended by your motorcycle’s manufacturer.
Can I Use Car Oil in a Motorcycle?
Hypothetically speaking, you could use car oil with the same viscosity as your recommended motorcycle oil, which will often be cheaper. You may not experience problems right away but using anything other than motorcycle oil on your bike will take a toll on your engine and transmission in the long-term.
Remember that car engine oil is designed to only work in the engine while motorcycle oil also lubricates the transmission. Car engine oil does not have the additives required to lubricate your transmission effectively especially for bikes with a wet clutch.
How Long Can I Keep Engine Oil For?
You may have some oil left over after the last service and are wondering whether it is still good to use.
The simple answer is yes, you can use the oil as long as it hasn’t been stored for more than 12 months. Once the seal is broken, the oil comes into contact with air and begins to slowly oxidize. The oil can lose some of its capabilities after a year sitting in your garage. Try to remove as much air as possible from the oil before using it.
New Oil Instantly Turned Black, Is The Oil Bad?
New engine oil turning black almost immediately after service is common when upgrading to better oil. The additives in the new oil will clean the engine of deposits and debris, hence the reason it turns black. This is actually a good thing.
You may want to replace the oil once again so that you don’t have the grime swirling around the engine for prolonged periods. It is always a good idea to service a used bike immediately after purchase despite when the old owner says it was serviced.
Do I Have To Use The Brand Of Oil Suggested in My Manual?
You don’t have to use the specific brand that your manufacturer recommends as long as you stay within the correct specifications for your motorcycle.
It is rarely the case that you absolutely have to use the engine oil recommended by the motorcycle manufacturer.
It is also worth noting that you can mix brands of motorcycle oil if you are in a pinch, provided that you stay within the correct specification. The correct brand of oil may not be available when you are running low. Mixing the brands is a lot better than running without oil at all.
Tips for Extending the Life of Your Motorcycle Engine
A motorcycle, even a used bike, is a considerable investment so you would like to keep it for as long as possible. Most motorcycle damage and wear and tear can be avoided by taking proper care of your bike. Below are some quick and easy tips to ensure that you get the most out of your bike.
- Keep modifications to a minimum. While some modifications can increase performance and prolong the life of your engine, some may actually do the opposite. Consult an expert before making modifications if you do not have a good working knowledge of how motorcycle systems work. A common mistake people make, for example, is installing aftermarket exhaust without first modifying the carburetor to account for the increased airflow.
- Keep your bike clean. Even surface dirt can find its way into the engine and other mechanical parts. Use a good anti-corrosion product regularly to keep your bike looking new for longer.
- Follow your manufacturer’s maintenance guidelines for engine maintenance. The engine is the most important component on your bike and should be treated as such. Ensure that your motorcycle engine is properly lubricated using the correct type of oil.
- Clean your air filter regularly and replace it as soon as it is necessary. A dirty or old air filter lets dirt into the engine and reduces its lifespan.
Best Motorcycle Oil Final Roundup
Choosing the best sports bike oil need not be difficult as long as you know what you are looking for. Not all premium fully synthetic motorcycle oils are expensive so there is no excuse not to feed your engine with the best nutrition for optimum performance.
Make sure that you stay within your manufacturer’s recommended specifications to prolong the life of your engine and to avoid potential damage and excessive wear on your engine.
Pay attention to your riding style to determine the kind of engine oil you need. Premium oils may not be the best option if you use your bike for short commutes while cheaper oils may be disastrous if you regularly go hard on the throttle.
It may also be worth investing in premium motorcycle oil with additives that you need rather than mixing additives to cheap engine oil. The benefits of these additives are often contentious and may even cancel out the benefits of the existing engine oil.
Finally, it is good practice to change your oil filter along with the engine oil for the best engine efficiency and performance. You can now shop confidently for the best engine oil for your motorbike!