How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Oil for Peak Performance + Top 5 Solutions in 2021
You may have a bike featuring the most cutting-edge technology, but you need the best motorcycle oil to ensure its optimum function and peak performance. Bike oils are vital because they keep the moving parts clean, ensuring the engine is well-lubricated and runs optimally, without overheating.
In essence, your bike’s health depends mainly on motorcycle oil, and it’s not recommended to risk poor-quality products. However, with so many motorcycle oils on the market, it may be challenging to find the appropriate one for your bike, mostly since all of them come with different characteristics.
You don’t need to be an expert to choose the best motorcycle oil for your bike. But you can rely on our team to help you find the best product to keep your bike at peak performance and in excellent shape.
Top 5 Motorcycle Oils for Peak Performance and Durability
We have tested over 20 motorcycle oils and chosen the 5 best solutions for different riding styles and oil grades.
1. Best Overall: Mobil 1 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil
Key features: 20W-50 viscosity, 32 fluid ounces, API-certified
We love Mobile 1 for its reputation and long-standing experience in the industry. Mobile 1 is known for its high-performance products, such as a V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil. We recommend it for four-cycle motorcycles that use 20W-50 engine oil. This is a fully synthetic motorcycle oil that provides maximum horsepower and acceleration, protecting your bike from extreme temperatures and situations mineral oil won’t be able to withstand.
If you are a tough rider with a high revving engine, this motorcycle oil should be your go-to choice. On the other hand, motorcycles with small capacity engines should avoid it. What we noticed with Mobil 1 V-Twin is that the engine is running significantly cooler and smoother. Another benefit worth mentioning is less noise, which may be a significant improvement, especially on Harleys.
It is a great product overall, although it is pretty expensive. However, it is about high-performance lubrication that keeps your engine clean and functional in the long run.
WHAT WE LIKED: The meaningful difference in running temperature, Fully-synthetic motorcycle oil, Excellent to use for both primary and transmission.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: Although the oil is top-notch, it comes with a hefty price tag.
2. Best Value Motorcycle Oil: Maxima Premium Motorcycle Engine Oil
Key features: 10W-40 viscosity, 128 fluid ounces, API-certified
Maxima is another leading brand in the automotive industry that deserves a second place on our list. Its Premium Motorcycle Engine Oil is a professional-grade product that ensures optimum protection and utmost performance at a reasonable price. This 10W-40 motorcycle oil delivers excellent film thickness and viscosity stability at all operating temperatures. Additionally, additives will keep your engine clean and functional for an extended period of time.
We chose this particular product for its great set of features and additives that ensure a smooth and responsive ride. You will notice a significant improvement in ride quality, especially if you are experiencing problems with shifting through gears. We highly recommend it if you race motocross, go for long rides, on-, or off-road adventures. Either way, this oil will make your bike look and feel new.
Another thing we liked about this motorcycle oil is the price. Although it is on par with premium-quality products, it comes at a reasonable price, considering the amount of liquid you receive.
WHAT WE LIKED: Price, Extra protection in all temperatures, Excellent anti-wear additives.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: It caused the motorcycle clutch to slip once we applied it.
3. Best Premium Motorcycle Oil: Motul 7100 Synthetic Oil
Key features: 10W-40 viscosity, 4000 milliliters liquid volume, API SL/SH/SG/ and JASO MA-certified
When talking about premium, the first brand that comes to our mind is Motul and its top-notch 7100 Synthetic Oil 4T. We find it the best for achieving the ultimate engine refinement. It is specifically designed to make gear shifting easier and deliver incredibly smooth operation. Thanks to its low viscosity, you will experience peak performance at low temperatures.
What we liked the most is that this fully synthetic oil is made to last longer. According to Motul, you won’t need to replace it until you’ve reached 1,000 miles. We also noticed that Motul 7100 makes the bike run quieter. Overall, this is the best 4 stroke motorcycle oil we have seen so far, and it is particularly convenient for motorcycles with catalytic converters.
However, we won’t recommend this oil for low-capacity bikes and riders that go for short rides around the city. Namely, their high operating temperature makes it quite unreliable for such a riding style. Besides, performance enthusiasts may find the product a bit pricey.
WHAT WE LIKED: Low viscosity, Excellent protection to the gearbox, A lot smoother shift.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: This oil is not as versatile, It is not convenient for small-capacity engines and city driving.
4. Best Rated Motorcycle Oil: Royal Purple 01315 Max-Cycle
Key features: 10W-40 viscosity, 32 fluid ounces, JASO MA2-certified
Royal Purple 01315 Max-Cycle allows the engine to run cooler and achieve more horsepower. Thanks to its proprietary Synerlec additive formula, Royal Purple improves the oil’s properties and film strength. The product meets API specifications regarding viscosity, meaning that it won’t cause transmission slippage, even in bikes with wet clutch applications.
What caught our attention is the improvement in ride quality, which became significantly smoother with this bike oil. Besides, it can be an excellent solution for noisy engines and motorcycles with catalytic converters. Other advantages include anti-wear features and the ability to use the oil without flushing out your oil system before use.
The only drawback we noticed is the price, especially if you go for a six-pack. Also, make sure you don’t overfill because draining the excess oil can be pretty challenging.
WHAT WE LIKED: Contains proprietary Synerlec additive chemistry, Rust and corrosion protection, Best motorcycle oil for wet clutch.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: High price.
5. Best 20W-50 Motorcycle Oil: Quicksilver 8M0060086
Key features: 20w-50 viscosity, 1-gallon liquid volume, JASO MA2-certified
Another full synthetic motorcycle oil we liked pretty much is the Quicksilver 8M0060086. It is equipped with a unique formula to resist shear and oxidation, enhancing the fluid life. Quicksilver uses advanced additives that protect against corrosion, wear, and high heat conditions. It can resist harsh weather and extreme temperatures.
Versatility and maximum engine protection are WHAT WE LIKED about this product. It meets all major vehicle manufacturers’ warranty requirements, and you can use it with peace of mind. Besides, it is quite affordable, and you don’t need to change it until you’ve reached 5,000 miles. Thus, it provides an excellent value for money compared to similar products.
This motorcycle oil features higher viscosity than the previously mentioned products, meaning that it is more suitable for warmer climates and lower-capacity engines. Therefore, it might not be the best choice for high-performance engines and extremely low temperatures.
WHAT WE LIKED: Works excellent on Harleys, Great value for money, Top-notch additives for maximum protection and wear resistance.
WHAT WE DIDN’T LIKE: We wish this oil came in quarts rather than a gallon jug.
Motorcycle Oil Types
There are different types of motorcycle oils, including:
Mineral Motorcycle Oil
Mineral oils consist of crude oil with additives for neutralizing acids. However, certain companies tend to use frictional modifiers to improve lubrication in their products and ensure you don’t run out of it soon. It is recommended to use mineral oils on new bikes because they offer the utmost protection for new engines. Additionally, this motorcycle oil type is excellent for small-capacity engines.
Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
Synthetic motorcycle oil is a modified oil type that uses pure crude as an additive. Riders prefer synthetic oil due to its low levels of viscosity, which ensures a smoother movement and decreases internal friction. However, synthetic oils tend to be more expensive.
Semi-Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
Semi-synthetic oils are a mixture of mineral and synthetic oils. They offer better protection than mineral oil but are less expensive than their synthetic counterparts. In addition, semi-synthetic oil works well in low temperatures and resists oxidation. Semi-synthetic motorcycle oil is an excellent choice if you want to enjoy great quality without paying a premium price tag.
Motorcycle Oil: Key Features
The most prominent bike oil features are viscosity and additives.
Viscosity refers to how fast the oil flows in your engine. While low-viscosity oil can flow fast and freely, high-viscosity level tends to flow much slower. It is essential to put adequate viscosity to prevent potential damages to your engine.
The owner’s manual of your motorcycle specifies the oil viscosity type adequate for your engine. For example, you may see the marks such as “5W-30,” in which “5W” refers to the oil’s ability to flow in cold temperatures. The lower the number is, the easier it will be to flow when it’s cold outside. On the other hand, the “30” indicates the oil’s ability to flow at the engine’s regular operating temperature – 212 °F.
The role of additives in motorcycle oil is to neutralize acidity and eliminate debris while keeping your engine cool and lubricated. Almost every fluid contains additives (10 – 30%), whether they are mineral or synthetic.
Additives can significantly reduce wear on your engine and ensure its long-lasting performance. Still, it is quintessential to pick the right oil for your engine to prevent friction and enhance the engine lifespan.
Essential Benefits of Motorcycle Motor Oils
Your engine can significantly benefit from the right motorcycle oil. This fluid is packed with features essential for your engine’s health, lifespan, and overall performance, which is why its choice is critical.
- Keeps your engine lubricated: The primary role of bike oil is to lubricate all engine parts, covering them with a thick slick film that prevents friction and wear. For the best results, the lubrication system should provide a continuous oil flow to all parts of the engine.
- Cools the engine: Motor oil keeps the heat away from lubricated parts, allowing the oil to stay cool while in the oil pan. It is critical to ensure the oil temperatures don’t go above the flashpoint.
- Cleans your engine: The two main bike oil ingredients are base oil and additives. While base oil helps with lubrication, additives provide extra protection through the cleaning process. Good motorcycle oil will clean up all engine components, especially the carbon formations on the engine parts.
- Enhances performance and efficiency: Because oil for a motorcycle keeps your engine clean, you will notice the best fuel efficiency. A clean engine tends to run smoothly, which maximizes your engine’s mechanical output.
- Prolongs engine’s lifespan: The regular use of motor oil will enhance your engine’s lifespan because it lowers the risk of sludge buildup and keeps the internal parts clean and well-lubricated.
Best Motorcycle Oil Brands
The most reputable names in the motor oil industry are:
- Motul is a French company that develops, manufactures, and distributes lubricants for cars, motorcycles, and other vehicles. It is a trusted brand and the number one producer of synthetic and semi-synthetic oils.
- Mobil Corporation is a famous brand name known for its daily production of 20 million barrels of oil.
- Castrol is a British international brand that produces automotive lubricants for a wide range of vehicles. It is a significant player in the industry, and its products are chosen by drivers worldwide.
- Royal Purple is a chemical company based in Texas. It is a reputable brand that produces some of the best synthetic oils for diesel and gas engines.
Oil for Motorcycles: Price Range
You can have motorcycle oils at different prices, depending on their brand, features, and critical characteristics.
- Less than $20: Motor oils under $20 are often natural or synthetic brands. You can go for synthetic blends to enjoy excellent quality at a reasonable price.
- $20-$30: Full synthetic oils are usually in this price range. These oils feature low viscosity, high performance, and incredible efficiency.
- $50 and up: High-performance motorcycle oils suitable for racing bikes are often more expensive solutions. Products in this price range aren’t ideal for small-capacity bikes.
How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Oil?
Besides motorcycle oil’s price, features, and brand, it is essential to consider the following factors when shopping for a particular product.
- Compliance: Best motorcycle oils have a JASO, SAE, or API mark on their bodies. These symbols indicate excellent quality, meaning that these oils are a choice worth considering.
- Riding style: Your riding style is vital because it determines the type of motorcycle oil you’ll buy. For instance, performance enthusiasts and calm drivers should choose mineral oil over synthetic ones because synthetic oils resist extreme temperatures.
- Oil grade: If you live in a cold area, go for bike oil with a low “W” level. To be sure you’ve chosen the right product, don’t forget to check the oil’s viscosity (i.e., 5W-40).
Q: How Often to Change Motorcycle Oil?
A: Changing your motorcycle oil depends on various factors. For instance, motorcycles with semi-synthetic oil may need an oil change after 5,000-8,000 miles, while fully synthetic oils can last up to 10,000 miles before changing them.
Q: How to Check Motorcycle Oil Levels?
A: Warm up the engine to operating temperature. After you turn it off, wait a few minutes to ensure the oil drains down from the top end. Then look at the window located on the engine’s bottom to make sure the oil level is between the two marks. You can also check the owner’s manual to ensure you’re doing everything right.
Q: How to Check Motorcycle Oil?
A: You will know whether your oil needs change based on the following factors?
- Nice and clear liquid means that everything is perfect
- Dark or black color means you need to change the oil
- Milky white color may indicate a major engine issue
- If the oil smells like gas, you’ll need to take it to the shop and check the engine.
Q: Where to Buy Motorcycle Oil?
A: You can find the best motorcycle engine oil on Amazon. Apart from being fairly priced, the products are delivered promptly, and you can enjoy the most reputable brand names there.