Best Motorcycle Oils: Keep Your Motorcycle Running at Peak Performance
Our top picks for the best motorcycle oil for your bike
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PUBLISHED ON May 28, 2019
In a single year, more than one million motorcycles are sold in the United States alone. Each bike comes equipped with the latest technology for efficiency and performance. For a motorcycle to function efficiently at peak power, it requires oil. Oil keeps your pipes clean, making sure the engine is lubricated, runs fine, and doesn’t seize or overheat.
If you are looking for the best motorcycle oil, we are ready to help you make the right choice. Listed below are the best motorcycle oils to keep your bike’s engine running at peak performance and efficiency.
- Best OverallMotul 7100 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 4TSummarySummaryMotul 7100 Synthetic Oil 4T is the best motorcycle oil recommended for all four-stroke motorcycles with catalytic converters. Meets JASO MA, API SL standards. Designed with ester technology for better engine response.ProsProsCleans and protects engines from dirt. Ideal for smoother transmission. Designed to improve motorcycle engine response. Lasts long before requiring an oil change.ConsConsNot ideal for low-capacity motorcycles. A bit pricey. Not ideal for short interval or city rides.
- Best ValueCastrol 06112 Power1 Synthetic Motorcycle OilSummarySummaryCastrol Power 1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is a premium-quality engine oil designed for four-stroke engines, both fuel-injected and carburetor. Exceeds API SL, JASO MA-2 Standards.ProsProsProvides exceptional engine performance. It is manufactured by a trusted brand. Great capability to improve motorcycle acceleration. Ideal for a wet clutch. Comes in a pack of six.ConsConsHigh purchase price. Users might need to change oil frequently. Some engines will experience added noise with this oil.
- Honorable MentionMobil 1 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle OilSummarySummaryMobil 1 V-Twin Motorcycle Oil is a high-performance engine oil designed to resist thermal breakdown. It is the most ideal motorcycle oil for air-cooled and hot running engines. Best oil for Harley-Davidson bikes.ProsProsPremium-quality motorcycle oil. Help reduce engine noise. Protects motorcycle engine from dirt composites. Offers smooth transmission performance.ConsConsPricey motorcycle oil. Not ideal for low-capacity engines. Some users have complained of receiving the wrong product after ordering.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Motorcycle Oil
- Lubricate your engine. The main function of engine oil is to ensure enough lubrication is provided to all engine parts to minimize friction and wear. Motorcycle engine oil works by lubricating two moving parts, covering them with a thick slick film. For maximum effect, the lubrication system needs to provide a continuous flow of oil to all parts of the engine.
- Cool your engine. Engine oil carries the heat away from lubricated parts. When the engine is switched off, oil returns to the oil pan. The best motorcycle engine oils will help cool your oil when it is in the oil pan. It is essential that the oil temperatures never go above the flash point.
- Clean your engine. Engine oil is made up of two basic ingredients: additives and base oil. While the additives provide additional engine protection through a cleaning process, the base oils help in lubrication. Motorcycle oil is designed to clean up all engine components it contacts. The additives are well-formulated to clean the carbon formations collected on the engine parts.
- Improve efficiency and performance. Since motorcycle oil helps keep your engine clean, your bike’s motor extracts the best fuel efficiency. When your engine is clean and running smoothly, it maximizes the mechanical output of your engine.
- Elongate engine life. A well-maintained engine will last longer than an abused engine. Regularly using good engine oil will help maximize the life of your engine. Motor oil helps minimize sludge buildup, keeping the internal parts clean and well-lubricated.
Types of Motorcycle Oil
Mineral oils are composed of crude oil with different additives that neutralize acids. Moreover, some companies include frictional modifiers in their products to improve lubrication so that you don't run out of the product. Mineral oils are very useful if you are using a new bike. They offer great protection for new engines for the first few miles. Also, in case you have a small-capacity engine, it is advisable to use this type of oil.
Synthetic oil is a modified oil that contains pure crude as an essential additive. Over the years, synthetic oils have improved with the advancement of technology. Synthetic oils are popular due to lower viscosity, which makes movement smoother for motorcycle engine parts and reduces internal friction. The problem with synthetic oils is that they are quite expensive, which can be a small price to pay for protection and long life.
Semi-synthetic oil, like the name, suggests, it is a mixture of mineral and synthetic oils. High-performance motorbikes require synthetic oil, while mineral or conventional oils keep the engine clean and running smoother for longer. Semi-synthetic oil is ideal for 125-180 cc medium-sized engines.
Motul is an international French company that manufactures, develops, and distributes lubricants for automotive engines including motorcycles, cars, and other vehicles. This lubricant company was founded in New York back in 1853 as the Swan & Finch company. Today, Motul has set camp in more than 80 countries internationally. As a pioneer of synthetic and semi-synthetic oil, the company has always favored innovation, research, and development. Motul is a trusted brand due to its technological development in motorsports. One of its top products is the Motul 7100 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 4T.
Mobil Corporation is a former American petroleum and chemical company founded back in 1866. In 1999, Mobil merged with Exxon to form Exxon Mobil Corporation. Today, Mobil is still a popular brand name within the combined company. As of 2016, it had a daily production of 20 million barrels of oil. There are four main Mobil sub-brands: Mobile Gasoline, Mobil Devlac, Mobil Industrial, and Mobil 1. Mobil 1’s V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is one of its best selling products.
Castrol is a British global brand of industrial and automotive lubricants that offers a wide range of oils, greases, and similar products for lubrication applications. The motor oil company was founded back in 1899 by Charles Cheers Wakefield. Its name originated after researchers working on Castrol products added castor oil to the lubricant formulations. Castrol is a major player in motorsports and has signed deals with Toyota and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Castrol’s 06112 Power1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is one of its popular products.
Motorcycle Oil Pricing
- Under $20: Motorcycle oils in this price bracket are less expensive and tend to be natural or synthetic blends. Synthetic blends are a good choice if you are looking to enjoy the benefits of full synthetic oils at an affordable price.
- $20-$30: Motorcycle oils in this price range are popular due to their full synthetic formula, low viscosity, high efficiency, and performance.
- Over $50: There aren’t a lot of motorcycle oils in this price bracket. Motorbike oils here are high-performance oils suitable for racing bikes. They have low viscosity, peak performance, and efficiency-boosting capabilities. These motorcycle oils are not suitable for small capacity bikes.
Viscosity is how fast or slow the oil flows in your engine. Low-viscosity oil is capable of flowing fast and freely. High-viscosity oil, on the other hand, flows much slower. You will notice oil ratings like this: 10W-30. The 10W represents the SAE viscosity when the engine is cold, and 30 is when the engine is hot. Putting the wrong viscosity in your engine will cause metal on metal grinding, which could be fatal to your engine.
Additives in motorcycle engine oil work to remove debris and neutralize acidity. They also lubricate and cool your engine. Getting the wrong oil for your motorcycle can cause increased friction and a shorter engine lifespan.
- Compliance Standards: Check the body of the product for a standard mark since high-quality motorbike oils have a mark given by the manufacturer. They will have an SAE, JASO, or API mark on their body. These symbols indicate high-quality options.
- Riding Style: It’s very important that you know your riding style because motorcycle oil varies according to this. If you are a performance enthusiast, you should consider getting synthetic motorcycle oil since hard riding causes high temperatures compared to normal riding. Synthetic oil is specially designed to resist breakdown at extreme temperatures. However, if you are a calm driver, buying mineral oil would be an ideal choice.
- Oil Grade: The grade of oil your motorcycle uses is very important. It tells the user which temperature range the oil is and the right amount of viscosity to provide effective lubrication. For example, in 5W-40, these numbers represent the viscosity of the oil. The first number in the viscosity grade is the low-temperature winter rating. The “W” stands for winter. The second number in the viscosity grade is the high-temperature rating. Therefore, if you live in an extremely cold area, buy motorcycle oil with a low “W” level.
Best Motorcycle Oil Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Motul 7100 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 4T
If you are looking for motorbike oil that will give your engine the best refinement, then Motul’s 7100 is your best bet. This motor oil has been formulated to make gear shifting easier with little pressure on the lever. Motul 7100 is a full synthetic motorcycle oil certified by the American Petroleum Institute for its purity and smooth operation.
If you are a performance enthusiast, Motul 7100 synthetic is the ideal product for your motorcycle. It is designed with improved oil film resistance for better performance at high temperatures and revs. Its ester technology helps minimize internal motorcycle engine friction, providing improved performance and efficiency.
This fully synthetic oil is manufactured to last longer; Motul suggests that motorcycles using this oil can reach 1,000 miles before replacing the fluid. Its excellent shear resistance protects your engine as well as your gearbox, resulting in smooth shifting and trouble-free performance.
One drawback to the Motul 7100 Motorcycle oil is that it is not ideal for low-capacity bikes. It also has a high operating temperature, which makes it unreliable for city or short rides. This high-performance, low-viscosity oil is also pricey compared to other products in its range. On the bright side, it offers excellent value in few amounts, which is a small price to pay.
Best Value: Castrol 06112 Power1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
Most motorcycle engine oils are designed to improve your bike’s acceleration by improving the engine transmission quality. However, very few products can match Castrol. The Castrol 06112 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil, through its unique oil blend formula, allows for superior acceleration at the touch of your throttle. This helps your engine roll fast with little friction.
The Castrol Power1 synthetic oil is affordable engine oil that offers great improvements to your bike’s transmission. Apart from offering excellent longevity, it is also available in two different grades: 10W-40 and 20W-50. This motorcycle oil is capable of changing viscosity when it is subjected to mechanical stress, making it more fluid when it is subjected to extreme temperatures.
A disadvantage with this oil is the possibility of leakage if your engine gasket isn’t properly placed. You might also need to change the oil more frequently using this oil compared to others. Some motorcycle owners have also noticed increased engine noise using the oil.
Honorable Mention: Mobil 1 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
If your motorcycle engine produces a ton of noise, it could be because of lack of lubrication or heat produced when metal parts rub up against each other. Mobil 1’s V-Twin Synthetic Motor Oil has been specially blended to lubricate your engine with a steady supply of oil. This oil is also specially designed to minimize engine noise.
The Mobil 1 V-Twin Synthetic Motor Oil is also designed to save your engine from harmful debris. This formula is perfect for running hot, meaning you can ride for longer without worrying about engine damage. It also offers smoother acceleration and transmission for seamless riding experience.
A drawback to this oil product is that it’s pricey compared to other motorcycle oils in its range. Also, some users have complained of receiving the wrong oil after ordering. Mobil 1 V-Twin synthetic oil is also not ideal for low-capacity bike engines.
- Before changing your motorcycle oil, make sure you check the drain intervals from your service manual. In case you are using a natural oil, make sure it is replaced after 2,000 miles. If you are using fully synthetic oil, you can change the oil after 5,000 miles.
- Most riders don’t change the oil filter, but this is necessary. Changing your oil filter together with the oil offers better performance and efficiency from your engine.
- Some motorcycle owners prefer using additional additives after changing the oil. However, this is not necessary for the long run. Additives cost more money, and using them together with your synthetic blend oil that already has additives won’t offer any benefit.
- Before changing your oil, make sure you start your bike and let it warm up for at least 10 minutes. Wear safety gear when handling old used oil.
- Replace your old washer with a new one after replacing oil. This simple maintenance tip will save the threads in your oil pan since it will take less torque to tighten the drain plug.
Q: Can I use car oil instead of motorcycle oil?
A: No. The oil used for motor engines is on a completely different wavelength from the oil used for motorcycles. Trying to use it for your motorbike can cause irreparable damage.
Q: I have an oil change coming up, what oil should I use?
A: Check your bike’s owner’s manual. It is difficult to go wrong with what the manufacturer recommends. The manufacturer knows what a specific bike requires. A rule of thumb is to check whether the product is API-, JASO-, or ILSAC-certified.
Q: Should I use synthetic or conventional oil for my motorcycle?
A: Synthetic oil will rarely affect things; however, this doesn’t mean it is appropriate for every motorcycle. Again, a good rule of thumb is to check your owner’s manual for the most appropriate product for your motorcycle.
Our top product for the best motorcycle oil is the Motul 7100 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 4T. This motor oil is specially designed with ester technology for maximum efficiency and faster engine response.
If you are looking to get something that’s more practical but offers great value, the Castrol 06112 Power1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is a perfect choice.