LAST UPDATED: December 20, 2019
Best Dirt Bike Oils: Keep Your Bike’s Engine Trouble-Free
These top three dirt bike oils have top-of-the-line additives and cleaning agents to keep your dirt bike’s engine trouble-free
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PUBLISHED ON December 20, 2019
A dirt bike is built very differently than its street counterpart. The engine is mated with shorter gears, and the techniques involved in dirt biking push it to its limits. Therefore, it is essential to take proper care and maintain your dirt bike’s engine for optimum performance. Apart from lubricating and reducing friction on the moving parts, motor oil also cleans the engine of sludge. Different engines use a different oil, and with a plethora of options available on the market, it may seem daunting to choose the right one. Here is our list of the best engine oils for your dirt bike.
Premium-quality, fully synthetic engine oil specially made for two-stroke motorcycles from the popular brand Motul.
Uses ESTER Core technology that includes superior esters to protect your bike’s engine. Users report smoother shifting. Exceeds industry standard specifications.
This premium product has little to no drawbacks. However, it is a little more expensive compared to other brands.
The industry recommended specifications might be outdated, depending on your bike. It’s also only intended for Yamahas.
Highly-refined castor oil blended with a specially prepared synthetic and an additive system to provide a wide range of features. It’s made for two-stroke vehicles.
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Benefits of Dirt Bike Oil
- It's designed specifically for dirt bikes. Dirt bikes are hard on their lubricants. The best oil for dirt bikes is formulated so that it can withstand the abuse of a high-performance motorcycle.
- It features special additives. The best oil for a dirt bike contains specific additives that are combined to work smoothly in conjunction with the engine. This may include additives that clean or dissipate heat.
- It boosts performance. For optimum performance, you need the highest quality dirt bike oil you can find. Dirt bikes require regular maintenance in order to operate at full potential. Using the wrong oil can be catastrophic and affect your bike's longevity.
Types of Dirt Bike Oil
Two-stroke oil burns with the fuel and is more refined than four-stroke oil. It also features several additives. For example, the oil has detergents that clean varnishes and carbon deposits. It also includes anti-wear agents that safeguard the engine's moving parts. The best two-stroke oil for dirt bikes also has antioxidants.
Four-stroke oil is more similar to oil used in cars and has the same goal: lubricate the engine. Unlike two-stroke oil, you do not mix it with gas. The best four-stroke dirt bike engine oil also has additives, but the oil isn't formulated to burn. As a result, the additives are slightly different. Never mix four-cycle oil with gas in a two-cycle engine or use two-cycle oil in a four-cycle engine, because you can irreparably damage the engine.
Most modern motorcycles use synthetic oil. It’s more tolerant when it comes to high-performance and high-revving engines, particularly in hotter climates. This type of oil lasts longer and doesn't usually create black sludge due to oxidation. Synthetic dirt bike oil has a lower viscosity, which reduces internal friction, provides more efficiency, and increases engine performance. The downside is that it's more expensive than mineral oil.
If you have an older motorcycle, mineral oil may be more effective because it's heavier, thicker, and less likely to leak. It's common for older motorcycles to leak more if they use synthetic oil. Also, older unmodified engines are typically not as highly stressed as newer engines, so they won't benefit as much from synthetic oil.
The French company Motul was founded in 1853. It manufacturers engine lubricants for motorcycles, cars, and other vehicles and pioneered the formulation of a 100-percent synthetic lubricant for car engines in 1971. It's involved in several racing competitions, including 24 Hours of Le Mans, World Superbike, and Supercross, among others. One top product is the Motul 800 2T 2-Stroke Premix Fully Synthetic Motor Oil.
Maxima was founded in 1979 and is headquartered in Southern California. The race-inspired company produces high-performance oils, lubricants, and related products. Its oils are used in more than 50 different countries. One of its popular products is the Maxima Castor 927 2-Stroke Premix Racing Oil.
The British company Castrol was founded in 1899. It produces industrial, automotive, and motorcycle lubricants, including oils and greases. London-based BP bought the company in 2000. One of its top oils is the Castrol POWER 1 4T 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil.
Dirt Bike Oil Pricing
- Under $30: The price of dirt bike motor oil depends on many factors, including the size of the product. Oil is sold in ounces, liters, or gallons. Non-synthetic oils tend to be less expensive. There are several options in this price range, but they may not come in large quantities.
- $30 and up: Premium oils and oil in larger packaging are more expensive. A brand such as Motul, a French manufacturer, is on the higher end of the spectrum.
Motorcycle oils have different additives than car oils. They're designed to prevent a wet clutch from slipping and to hold up under engine stress. The best two-stroke dirt bike oil and the best four-stroke dirt bike oil is formulated to maintain lubrication when you lean around corners or bounce around on rough terrain. Look for products with antifoam and surface-active additives.
Dirt bikes and other performance bikes require oil that has an ester, which is a synthetic additive. Esters are commonly used in racing oils. An ester controls heat through dissipation, which is essential when it comes to high-performance engines. An ester works by moving the heat to sections of the engine where it can cool down due to air or a cooling system.
Engines can get really dirty over time. The best oil for dirt bikes is designed to work in conjunction with the engine to keep it cleaner. Some brands have cleaning agents with the ability to suspend carbon particles. This prevents sludge from developing on internal parts in the engine.
- Oil Weight: Read your bike's owner's manual to determine the type of oil it needs. Oil for four-stroke dirt bikes comes in a variety of weights, such as 10W-40 and 20W-50. The former is more common. Note that you shouldn't, for example, use 10W-30 if the manufacturer recommends 20W-50 because the engine won’t run as smoothly or efficiently.
Best Dirt Bike Oil Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This premium-quality, 100-percent synthetic engine oil from Motul is specially designed for two-stroke motorcycles with high-performance engines. It provides protection against deposits and prevents the piston rings and exhaust power valves from sticking. In addition to motocross bikes and jet skis, this oil works in lawn equipment, including trimmers and blowers.
The oil does its job well. It uses ESTER Core technology, which protects your bike’s engine, and it's great for hard riders and high-rev engines. Users report that the product promotes smoother shifting. The oil exceeds industry standard specifications, and it comes with a nice pour spout. Overall, the oil lubricates and burns very clean and works and mixes well with racing fuel.
Most bike oils have some caveats. But this premium product is so good that it has no drawbacks except for its price. It is a little more expensive compared to other brands.
This all-purpose, performance-blend oil from Yamaha is designed for use with most four-stroke vehicles, including motorcycles, ATVs, and scooters. It meets or exceeds JASO MA requirements, which determine the highest certified motorcycle engine oil rating.
The oil improves shifting because it maintains the correct film and friction between the clutch plates. That's because the oil features a mineral base and ultra-clean additives that ward off friction. The oil provides stable clutch performance and protects the engine from wear and tear. Since it’s a genuine OEM Yamaha product, it works perfectly with Yamaha motorcycles.
One problem with this product is that the industry-recommended specifications might be outdated, depending on your bike. The product can be difficult to pour without spilling, and it's a little pricey. It’s also designed specifically for Yamahas; however, riders with other types of bikes have also used it successfully.
This is a highly-refined castor oil designed for two-stroke vehicles. It keeps power valves cleaner and functioning properly and operates best as a premix for leaded and unleaded fuels. The oil is blended with a specially prepared synthetic and an additive system that generates a wide range of features.
This oil burns fairly clean and smells good without buildup at low speeds. Castor oil like this is great if you want to stop friction. It provides excellent rust and corrosion protection and reduces carbon and gum formation. The oil vaporizes at a much higher temperature compared to other lubricants and works for a long time. It is also biodegradable.
One problem with this oil is that it is not designed to work in oil injection systems. Also, it does not mix well with some fuels, like the 100LL AV and some racing fuels. The product is also a little expensive.
- Double-check that the oil you are buying is the right one, depending on whether you have a two-stroke or four-stroke bike. Also, check your owner's manual for any recommended or required specifications.
- If you have a two-stroke dirt bike, you must combine the oil with gas to get the proper liquid for your engine. Check the owner's manual to know the correct oil-to-gas ratio for your bike. Also, consider buying an oil-to-gas ratio measuring cup.
- Be sure to have an oil drain pan at hand before taking off the oil filter cap. As the oil drains, tilt the bike from side to side to get rid of the dregs.
Q: Can I use car engine oil for my four-stroke dirt bike?
A: A four-stroke motorcycle engine environment is much more severe than that of a car. Motorcycle engines break down oil much faster than cars because they run hotter and faster. Generally, motorcycle-specific oils have five times the protective additives than car oil. They also do not have friction modifiers, which can mess heavily with the clutch performance. Therefore, it is highly recommended to use oils designed specifically for motorcycles.
Q: How frequently should I change the oil on my bike?
A: There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to oil changes. However, the general consensus is that oil must be changed every five to 15 hours of riding or every six races. To get a more accurate idea, refer to your owner’s manual.
Q: How do I dispose of used dirt bike oil?
A: It is often illegal to dispose of used engine oil into sewers, garbage cans, down kitchen sinks and drains, or even to pour it on the ground. A single gallon of used oil contaminates one million gallons of freshwater. Your local refuse center or oil recycling facility may accept used oil from consumers. If you cannot locate one in your area, ask your local motor oil retailer about the places they recommend.
The Motul 800 2T 2-Stroke Premix Fully Synthetic Motor Oil is the best clean-burning oil with excellent additives that protect your engine’s moving parts.
The YamaLube All-Purpose 4-Stroke Oil is a great budget option that lasts long.