|1. Yamalube||2. Castrol||3. Red Line|
Just like how humans need nutrient rich fluids to get energy, motorcycles need the same, but in the form of engine oils. Oils are essential to keep the engine running smoothly, clean the pipes and ensure the bike doesn’t overheat. Hence, you should never neglect the importance of motorcycle tune up.
With motorcycle sales going up, as has the number of engine oil manufacturers. However, not all of them will give your motorcycle the care it needs. Infact, some can even harm your prized ride. So, it becomes vital to choose the best motorcycle oil. By going through the next few paragraphs, you are sure to become a lot more knowledgeable about what oil to use in your motorcycle.
Different Types Of Engine Oils
1. Mineral Oils
Mineral oils are the most crude of all motorcycle oils. Furthermore, they are the direct by-products of petroleum. However, this doesn’t mean they are not good. Infact, for lower capacity bikes, mineral oils are the best motorcycle oils.
On top of this, mineral oils are the cheapest of the lot. You wouldn’t have to burn a hole in your pocket to buy them. However, they do not last as long as other synthetic varieties. You would have to replace them quite often.
2. Semi-Synthetic Oils
In the middle of the spectrum we have got Semi-Synthetic Oils. As you might have figured out, they are a mixture of Mineral and fully synthetic oils. Therefore, they give the advantage of both types, while reducing their respective deficiencies.
With Semi-Synthetic Oils, you get a mixture that can handle high performance, while protecting the bike from internal damage too. Also, they are more long-lasting than mineral oil, while also being way cheaper than fully synthetic oils.
If you are using a bike with middle spectrum displacement, you should definitely get Semi-Synthetic Oils.
3. Synthetic Oils
These are oils that are made in an artificial environment using artificial ingredients. They are used only by people having the best motorcycles in the world and people who can afford them.
Since they are made of polymers, they can make the motorcycle handle a lot of stress, making them perfect for superbikes and racing motorcycles with a lot of power.
Although you have to pay a premium to buy them, you would not have to worry about shelf-life at all. They are very long lasting and won’t reduce in quality in less time. The lubricating properties of synthetic oils are also way better than any other variant.
Factors To Look For While Buying Synthetic Oils
1. Manufacturer’s Recommendation
This should be the first thing that you look at before choosing an engine oil. The people who made the motorcycle will definitely know a great deal about the bike and hence, you should listen to their advice. You can easily find the specifications of the oil needed in the user manual.
In some cases, the manufacturer themselves will have a brand of oil made for their motorcycles. This might be a safe option if you don’t want to experiment with oils from third parties.
How easily an oil flows is what decides it’s viscosity. You might think about how that will affect the performance of a motorcycle. However, you should note that it plays a very important role. The viscosity decides the lubrication level within the engine.
If viscosity is on the higher side, more friction between engine parts will mean more power requirements. If it is too low, there won’t be enough lubrication, leading to a damaged engine. There is something called as Goldilock’s Zone, which gives the perfect viscosity for motorcycle engine oils. All companies use that as a reference.
The grade of the oil can seem to be a bit more complicated than other factors. However, once you understand it, choosing a grade becomes easier.
In basic terms, grade defines the viscosity of the oil at different temperatures. It is usually indicated through a series of numbers like 15W40, 10W40 etc.
If there is “W” in between the numbers, it indicates a multigrade oil. Now you may ask what are multigrade oils? These are oils which have different grades, depending on the temperature outside. It is a common phenomenon that viscosity of oil is more in winters and less in summers. Multigrade oils help you in dealing with this problem.
Engine oil additives are the one’s added to improve the performance of the primary oil being added to the engine. Mainly, they help refine the engine by better lubrication of the stock oil.
Usually, additives are no more than 5% of the total volume of engine oil. Just like any other thing, adding too many additives can be counter-productive to the engine’s performance. These days, all three kinds of motorcycle oils contain additives to give a performance boost.
Efficiency is something that results as a combination of all the factors we discussed until now. It varies from engine to engine, and there are a lot of factors that go into deciding how efficient the engine oil is.
Some of these factors are, the age of the engine, the maintenance of the engine, power transmitted by it etc.
However, if all these factors are good and the engine oil doesn’t offer efficiency, it will be counter-productive. The efficiency of the oil you choose should also consider the age and type of motorcycle.
If the bike is old, you should always go with conventional or mineral oil. The same is true for motorcycles with low horsepower. If the power is high, you should go with fully synthetic oils to get the best efficiency.
Lastly, you should also consider the price of the oil you are buying. If you have a low-end motorcycle, it doesn’t make sense to invest in a higher priced motorcycle oil. It will give no notable increase in performance.
On the other hand, buying cheap oils for your high-end motorbike can be disastrous. It will damage your engine beyond repair. So, read about the compatibility of the oil you choose and ensure to spend only the required amount.
Top 20 Best Motorcycle Oils 2021
1. Yamalube All Purpose 4
This highly rated product from trusted bike manufacturer Yamaha is also Amazon’s choice for this grade of oil. Talking about the grade, it is rated as a 20W50 oil. This means it is a multi-grade oil suitable for use in all temperatures.
Since it is an all-purpose oil, you can use it in ATV’s, side-by-side motorcycles, lawnmowers and other engine based machines. However, you just have to make sure the engine is a 4-stroke variant.
It comes in a one-gallon bottle that would be sufficient for one oil change for your motorcycle.
This All Purpose engine oil from Yamaha is a mineral oil, and hence quite cheap. If you have an entry level motorcycle with not much power, this should be your go-to choice when buying a motorcycle oil.
On the other hand, this should not be used in a higher end motorcycle with good horsepower. It won’t be able to handle the power and provide sufficient lubrication.
JASO MA is the standard set by international bodies to measure the quality of engine oil. According to Yamaha, this engine oil exceeds the JASO MA requirements. Additionally, the company has added ultra clean additives to give anti-frictional properties to the oil. All in all, if you are looking for a cost-effective mineral oil, this should be your choice for best motorcycle oil.
2. Castrol 06116
A well-known brand when it comes to engine oils, Castrol has been pioneering innovation in this field for many decades. They have a plethora of different motorcycle oils in their catalogue. The product we are reviewing here is a high-end synthetic oil from Castrol.
The V-twin 4T is highly popular among high-end motorcycle owners. You ask why? It is because of the quality and refinement it provides to the engine. It is headed as of 20W50, meaning it is a multi-grade oil.
Just like any other Castrol oil, it comes with trizone technology. Unique to Castrol, it is designed to protect your engine, clutch and breaks.
As the name indicates, this specific oil is designed especially for V-twin engines, as you would find in Harley-Davidson motorcycles. However, you can use it for other bikes too.
Users have reported their transmissions and chain cases have become way smoother by using this oil.
Not to mention, the 06116 is certified by JASO MA-2 and API SI standards. The company claims it even exceeds the standards set by these organisations. There are also additives that improve acceleration even at high engine temperatures.
Lastly, we can say that if you own a Harley Davidson, this is one of the best motorcycle oils you can buy.
3. Red Line 42904
Redline might not be as famous as Castrol or Yamalube, but they do have some great motorcycle oils up their sleeve. The brand is well known among mechanics and hardcore bikers.
This particular product is notable due to its popularity among Harley Davidson owners. The V-Twin primary case oil not only helps in better transmission, but also better functioning of clutch and chain case.
The temperature range in which this oil works is quite wide and you won’t have to worry about it’s grade at all. Moreover, it is fully synthetic in nature and hence motorcycles with big engines should be the ones in which this oil is used. The can comes in a 1 quart size and 2 of these cans should suffice for big Harley’s.
Other than conventional motorcycles, this oil can also be used for ATV’s, UTV’s and racing motorcycles. However, it’s best application is when used in V-twin American motorcycles.
Lastly, it is one of the highest rated engine oils you can find on this list, helping it sky-rocket in popularity. If you own a V-twin, this is the best synthetic motorcycle oil we can recommend.
4. Mobil 1
Mobil 1 has become synonymous with motorcycle racing. Such is the popularity of this brand that the top bike racers in the world prefer this to run their motorcycles. One of the most popular products in its huge portfolio is the racing 4T 10W40 engine oil. Since it is used in racing machines, it is fully synthetic in nature.
Since it is designed keeping in mind the 4-stroke on-road racing machines, it is best used in those kinds of bikes. However, as the company itself says, you won’t face any problem if you use it in off-road motorcycles too.
The grade specified is the most common 10W40 one. Most racing motorcycles use this grade of oil in their engines.
Coming to the qualities of this engine oil, it is designed to provide consistent power as losses due to friction are reduced. On top of that, reduced frictional losses also mean a smoother engine and increased fuel efficiency.
Combine all this and you will get an engine, whose life will be far greater than engines using other oils. For this grade, the Mobil 1 racing 4T is the best motorcycle oil 10W40 grade.
5. Maxima 50-03901
Compare it to the other brands on this list, Maxima might not be among the most famous brands. However, this particular motorcycle oil from them is highly rated and is Amazon’s choice for Harley fork oil. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it in racing motorbikes. But, it does give the best results for a V-twin engine.
According to the company, they have used the most premium base oils in combination with required additives to come up with this motorcycle oil.
The additives are surface active in nature and included to reduce corrosion in suspension, increase lubrication in all parts and control foaming. Moreover, lubricinol formula has been added to seal and protect moving parts.
All of these factors combine in a smoother transmission, a better sounding engine and great all round lubrication. This is done by making the forks perform the best they can across different temperatures. Lastly, the additives added help in increasing suspension life by protecting against usual wear and tear.
6. Maxima Chrome 90-119016C
Another product from Maxima on this list, which is also highly rated is the twin cam one. Along with the oils, you also get a K&N filter within the box to add in your motorbike.
This is a nice complimentary gift that is seldom found with other engine oils. Along with the filter, you get a bunch of additives to take your experience to the next level.
The two additional oils given are a transmission oil and a primary oil that you can combine with the main oil to get the best possible results.
A word of caution though, this oil is best used for Harley Davidson V-twin engines manufactured after 1999. Anything prior to that, and you won’t get the optimal quality.
Additives added into the oil are surface active esters that help in reducing operating temperatures and in-turn protecting the engine. Furthermore, it also helps in lessening the effect of usual wear and tear.
Additionally, high film strength of the oil goes a long way in protection against shocks and viscosity loss. Combine all this and you will get a smooth engine with accurate gear-shifts and superb life cycle.
7. Maxima Black 90-069014B
While the previous two products from Maxima were made for V-twin engine motorbikes, this one is purely sportster focused. Moreover, it is a mineral oil unlike many other racing oils, which are fully synthetic in nature.
However, this doesn’t mean it can’t be used in other Harley V-twins. In fact, it would work perfectly fine with any other V-twin motorcycle too.
Just like the previous Maxima product, this also comes in a package containing additive oils and a K&N oil filter. However, where it differs is that you can use it in pre-1999 models too.
Since it is a mineral oil, you might think it won’t be good for a big engine like most V-twin’s. Although, that isn’t the case and it is fully compliant with all standards. Moreover, it won’t void your warranty at any cost.
The company has put in place a polymer system to protect your engine from shearing and the effects of very high temperature. It goes a long way in increasing the life of the engine.
The polymer acts in such a way that it doesn’t let the extreme conditions affect the viscosity of the oil. All in all, if you are in the market for a mineral oil, the Maxima Quick Evo is our choice for best motorcycle oil.
8. Redline 90226
As we have already seen, Redline might not be that popular, but still has good products in its line up. Unlike all the other motorcycle oils we have reviewed until now, this isn’t just an oil.
It is a complete set of everything you need to revamp the engine. Moreover, the main product, that is the oil is of high quality and will be great for your motorcycle.
Inside the box you will get a 20W50 graded motorcycle oil, transmission oil made especially for V-twin engines, chain case oil and an oil filter and a funnel that can be used for many things. Additionally, you also get a set of evolution and twin cam engines to go with the oils.
Coming to the oil properties, this is fully synthetic in nature. Since Harley Davidson engines run at very high temperatures, it is better to use synthetic oils to prevent damage.
Moreover, the 20W50 grade should be good enough for most weather conditions. Customers who have used this oil reported that the oil completely changed their engines for the better. Engines became much more refined and cool compared to their counterparts.
9. Lucas Oil 10771
It might not ring a bell when you hear Lucas oil, but this motorcycle oil on Amazon has some great reviews. It is all American made and is fully synthetic in nature.
It is a type of fork oil that has a range of different applications. Some of the systems in which this oil is compatible are damping rods, cartridges, bladder and inverted forks.
Using this fully synthetic oil assures you of many things. First of all, your handling of the motorbike will become much more easy and responsive. There have been additives added that don’t allow the oil to foam and cause a mess.
Moreover, the oil helps in maintaining optimum temperature of the engine and makes sure it doesn’t overheat.
Other features of this highly rated oil include the ability to stop the hardening of the seal and reduce static friction, so that the engine life increases. Furthermore, it has properties that prevent it from thickening due to oxidation. With that in place, you are sure to get more use out of the oil.
10. Maxima V-Twin
Another superb oil from Maxima that has become a crowd favorite among bikers is the 10wt V-twin fork oil. It is Amazon’s choice for a Harley Davidson engine oil.
That is just a testament to its popularity and more importantly, its quality. It comes in a 32 oz bottle that would be sufficient for one fill.
Just like the other Maxima engine oils, even this comes with a premium quality base oil that the company says is of the purest form possible. To this, additives have been added to give it the properties it needs.
Some of these additives help in preventing foaming, corrosion, hardening of seals etc., while increasing the lubrication of the engine. Additionally, the temperature of the engine is maintained well by the oil according to the company and users alike.
To increase the performance of the oil even more, detergents have been added that play a part in increasing engine life. They do this by reducing the wear and tear the engine is subjected to.
It also aids in cleaning the residue and deposits that get accumulated over time, giving better overall performance. Lastly, it is available in 5w, 10w and 20w specifications and you can choose the one suitable for your motorcycle.
11. Valvoline SAE 75W-140
Valvoline is a household name when it comes to oils. This particular product is the best motorcycle oil you can get in this grade, that is 75W140. A gear oil that comes with rave reviews, it is surely one that won’t disappoint you.
As the grade suggests, it is an oil that is made specifically to be worked with in high temperature and high pressure scenarios.
Needless to say, it’s anti-friction and anti-corrosion properties are top of the line. Additionally, it also has resistance against wear and scruffing.
As we already know, this helps in adding years to an engine’s life. Moreover, since the grade is so high, you won’t have to worry about temperature breakdown in any scenario.
Coming to the additives, it has special ones that go a long way in preventing rust of gear teeth. Some additives also reduce clattering of gears in limited-slip differentials.
12. Motul 104076
Motul is a world renowned brand that is at the top of the motorcycle oil business. It has some legendary products up its portfolio.
The one we are reviewing here is also one such product and has been a biker’s favourite since ages. It is a versatile oil that is suitable for every type of 4 stroke oil.
Motul’s technosynthese ester technology is quite renowned and will take engine response to the next level. Coming to protection, it has an extreme pressure formula inside the contents to keep the effect of high pressure and temperature in check.
More importantly, the sulphur and prosperous concentration in this oil is quite low. This benefits bikes with a catalytic converter.
Needless to say, this oil exceeds the recommendations set by JASO MA and API. All in all, this is an all-rounder that should definitely be on the list of best motorcycle oils.
13. Lucas Oil 10779
The second product on our list from Lucas oils is its extra heavy synthetic version. The company says it is one in the long list of quality oils it manufactures. We are inclined to believe them, as it has some good reviews for itself on the internet.
This particular oil is made for track performance, as opposed to many of the previous products that are focused on V-twin touring motorcycles. It can handle a lot of pressure, since it is geared towards being used on a track in competitions.
14. Bel-Ray Fork Oil
Bel-Ray is another renowned company that makes motorcycle oils. Their products are usually in the higher end of the price spectrum. This particular product is no different.
However, it offers exceptional quality according to reviews on the internet. It is a fork oil and can be used in both cartridge and dual chamber systems.
The base fuels are of high-viscosity, which leads to a reduction in fade. This allows the engine to perform smoothly across different temperatures. On top of that, friction is reduced to a large extent leading to a smoother engine.
15. Maxima 55901
As we already know, Maxima have a wide range of products up their sleeve. The 55901 fork oil is one of those and like the others, is quite popular.
It has one of the best ratings you can find on any motorcycle oils. It’s grade is 10W and preferred by many Harley owners.
Maxima has added Lubricinol inside the oil to reduce friction on the forks. It then protects the internal components from wear and tear.
The company also says it can be blended with other oils to get required viscosity. Needless to say, it has been certified by all required organizations that it meets required specifications.
16. Maxima Castor 927
The next product is quite unique in nature. It is one of the few 2 stroke oils that you can find. It is a type of premix oil that can be used for racing motorbikes.
Compared to other oils, it is on the higher side when it comes to price. However, that is justified as it serves a niche audience.
Coming to the oil itself, it is a combination of raw castor oil, a unique form of synthetic oil and additives to give it the properties it needs. The additives are added to give protection against rust and corrosion.
Since this oil is biodegradable, the vapours don’t stick to the walls of the cylinder. It also provides more protection to the cylinders than other oils.
17. Spectro Heavy Duty
The fork oil from Spectro looks like a no nonsense solution for your motorcycle’s oiling needs. It comes in a black container and has 1 quart of oil sufficient for 1 refill.
It is a heavy duty fork oil that is designed to provide you with a good damping effect. The lubrication it offers remains intact for a longer duration than most other fork oils.
Additionally, this fork oil can also be used for its anti-foaming and anti-rust properties in old motorcycles susceptible to it. The additive added prevents hardening of seals to a large extent too.
Other additives include ones to plug fading and avoid leakage of oil. All in all, we can say that this oil is designed to increase the life of your bike’s fork. Lastly, considering that it has perfect ratings on Amazon, it is the best motorcycle oil if you are looking for fork oil.
18. Valvoline 798151
The last Valvoline product we reviewed was one that was made for high temperature and pressure. The current one however, is of the normal grade and you can use it in regular conditions.
It is an oil that can be used in all kinds of 4 stroke engines and not only in motorcycles. The grade is 10W40 and has a viscosity of 155 on the index.
The optimum temperature range in which this oil works best, is between 33 degree Celsius and 220 degree Celsius. Anything above that will be dangerous for the oil as it might catch on fire.
As with every other oil, it exceeds the parameters set by JASO MA and other such organisations. Lastly, it is the versatility of this oil that sets it apart from the competition.
19. Red Line 58204
As we have already seen, Redline makes some excellent engine oils for all kinds of vehicles. The heavy shockproof oil that we have here for review is one among them and Amazon buyers have loved this.
Some of the reviews say that this product is better than what seasoned manufacturers like Castrol, Motul and Valvoline offer. Let’s see why customers rate it so highly –
The grade of this oil is quite high at 75W250. This means it can be used at very high temperatures. Along with the one from Valvoline, this is the other oil on this list having such high capabilities.
If you have a 6 speed Harley Davidson motorcycle, then this is the best option for you to quiet down the engine. Many people have said that their engine feels like a completely different one, once you start using this oil.
The transmission is also said to become butter smooth after using this oil. Since the grade is so high, you don’t have to hesitate to use it in high temperatures and high pressure situations. Lastly, it comes in a one quart container that should be enough for one refill.
20. Yamaha Sport II
The last product on our list deserves to be called the best motorcycle oil that you can buy. It is a complete kit that can be used for every kind of oil that your bike needs.
It has got everything from gear oil, fork oil, to additives. Although you can use it in any 4 stroke motorcycle, it shows its best performance when used in Yamaha motorcycles.
Along with the oils and additives, you get an oil filter, the necessary drain gasket and other accessories for the oil change. The grade of the oil is the familiar 10W40. This is best for sport motorcycles like Yamaha.
Also, needless to say, it is fully synthetic in nature. All in all, if you are looking to change oil for your Yamaha Sport bike, then this company endorsed OEM product should be on the top of your list.
Best Motorcycle Oils – Your pick?
With that, we have come to the last part of this in depth article on best motorcycle oil. Engine oils come in various types, and it might seem confusing to a beginner. However, there is no reason to fret if you just follow what is given in the bike’s manual.
It will have all the information on what should be the specifications of the oil you put in the motorcycle. Once you have that, you have to choose a product from many different manufacturers according to their reviews and suitability.
To make it more simple for you, in the next few paragraphs, we are going to recommend products in different niches that might be suitable for you.
If you own a Harley Davidson motorcycle like most American bikers, you will have a plethora of good options. The ones from Maxima and Redline are all quite good, and users have excellent opinions on them.
On the other hand, if you have a sports motorcycle, you should look at the two Yamaha products we have on the list. The ones from Castrol, Motul and Valvoline are also very good options.
If you have a Yamaha motorcycle, then there will be nothing better than the Yamalube. There are also some complete oil change kits that would be suitable for people looking to service their own motorbike like the ones from Maxima and Yamaha.
There are also some bikes that have a 2 stroke engine. Some examples include bikes made for off-roading. For such niche bikes, you can opt for the Maxima Castor oil based engine oil.
On the other hand, if you are looking at oils with high grades and which can handle high temperature and pressure, you should buy the Redline heavy shockproof gear oil or the Valvoline SAE 75W140.
FAQs on Motorcycle Oils
1. Is Fully Synthetic Oil Better For Motorcycles?
That is a very subjective question and only your motorcycle’s user manual can answer that. As a general rule, bikes with big capacity engines that have great power will need synthetic oils.
Mid capacity engines will need semi-synthetic oils and the lower capacity ones can make do with mineral oils. It is generally accepted that synthetic oil is the best motorcycle oil.
2. Are Motorcycle Oils And Car Oils Different?
Motorcycle oils and car oils are very similar in nature. The only difference being that car oils contain friction modifiers while motorcycle oils don’t.
3. How Long Will A Synthetic Oil Last?
As a general rule of thumb, once the oil of your motorcycle is changed, you don’t have to worry about an oil change for the next 2000-3000 miles of running.
4. What Will Happen If You Don’t Change My Motorbike’s Engine Oil?
Engine oil is essential and if you don’t replace it at regular intervals, it can cause the engine to overheat, increase friction between the parts and hence reduce the motorcycle’s life. After one point, the engine will fail and you will have to replace it.
Kenneth Campbell is our writer at Motorcycle Larry and he is one of the most efficient individuals in the office. He is a graduate of Wisconsin University where he studied engineering. His love for motorbikes encouraged him to take up the course. Kenneth is highly knowledgeable and up-to-date when it comes to bikes.