Everybody knows that filling up your motorcycle with the correct oil allows for better engine performance, a longer lifespan and less emissions. There has also been raging arguments about whether mineral oil or synthetic oil is better for you motorcycle. Even though this doesn’t really have an easy answer, we will outline the advantages and disadvantages of each type and supply you with some of the best-selling oils on the market so that you can make an informed decision.
So, what’s the difference?
Many of us have heard many glories about the benefits of synthetic over mineral and even though some of it does seem to be true, a lot of these claims are pretty opinionated. To be completely frank, both mineral and synthetic oils come with their own benefits and their own cons and the choice is completely up to you but firstly we need to specify what each oil actually is.
Mineral oil, plainly put, is oil that comes from the ground. However, before it meets the requirements to be poured into your engine, it has to be rigorously refined. The refining process removes a large amount of contaminants and any contaminants that remain are miniscule and very unlikely to cause any damage.
Synthetic oils, on the other hand, are completely manmade and usually synthesized into complex molecules from simpler compounds. They are contaminant free and consistent. However, it is important to note that some manufacturers sometimes mix some mineral oil into their synthetic product.
There are 4 different classes of oil, though: Mineral, Synthetic, Semi-Synthetic and Fully Synthetic but for this post we’ll only focus on Mineral and Synthetic.
Which is the best?
It would seem that synthetic oils would be the way to go but that isn’t necessarily the case and it largely comes down to personal preference and your motorcycle. The major benefit of using mineral oil is the simple fact that it is much cheaper than synthetic oil. Sometimes even a quarter cheaper. However, synthetic oils flow at lower temperatures and don’t break down at higher temperatures.
As a side note, many new motorcycles actually get delivered with mineral oil in the engine because mineral oil actually helps the pistons and rings set properly during the run-in stage whereas synthetic oil can, in some cases, actually form a layer around the bore that leads to higher oil use and slippage as the engine ages.
Top 5 Mineral and Synthetic Oils on the market
A general rule of thumb is to check which oil to use in your motorcycle manual and it would be extremely wise to stick with that selection. However, manufacturers mostly only state the necessary specifications for viscosity/weight and service classifications. So, the selection is up to you and now onto the oils themselves and the benefits that they have.
1 – Royal Purple Max Cycle 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
The Royal Purple Max Cycle Motorcycle Oil is a synthetic oil that is compatible with both air-cooled and liquid-cooled 4-cycle engines.
Something that makes the Royal Purple unique as well is that it features Synerlec additive technology that not only enhances your engine life but also cleans your engine while it lubricates all the components. It allows for greater wear protection and also offers exceptional rust and corrosion protection which, ultimately, leads to enhanced engine performance and a longer life span.
BUY – $15.75 (1 Quart)
2 – Castrol Power1 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
Castrol has long been known for their excellent petroleum based products and the Castrol Power1 is no different.
When it comes to oil class, the Power1 is a fully synthetic motorcycle oil that has been formulated to give you Trizone technology that protects all 3 critical zones – engine, clutch and gearbox. It also features race-derived tech that allows for maximum acceleration and delivers both extreme high temperature air-cooled performance and water-cooled performance.
The Power1 also has excellent shear stability that prevents viscosity breakdown.
BUY – $50.48 (1 Quart – 6 Pack)
3 – Yamalube All Purpose 4 Stroke Oil 10W-40
The Yamalube All Purpose Oil is a mineral oil that is suitable for a large range of vehicles, including ATV’s, Utility Vehicles, Street/Sport/Off-Road Motorcycles, Scooters, Snowmobiles and a variety of others.
The Yamalube is, as a matter of fact, actually the oil that gets used in factory assembly for all of Yamaha’s motorcycles and would be an excellent addition to your motorcycle to set the rings and pistons.
BUY – $28.95 (1 Gallon)
4 – Valvoline 10W-40 4-Stroke Motorcycle Oil
The Valvoline 10W-40 4-Stroke Oil is the next on our list and it is also a synthetic oil. However, a major bonus of this oil is that it is somewhat cheaper than Castrol’s Power1.
Some of its features include High RPM and high temperature performance and it also has the added advantage of delivering wet clutch protection and advanced cleaning mechanisms to keep your engine running smoothly. It also allows for maximum shear stability that reduces viscosity breakdown and provides excellent corrosion protection.
BUY – $35.38 (1 Quart – 6 Pack)
5 – Mobil 1 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Oil
The Mobil 1 20W-50 Synthetic Oil is a good example of a Group IV synthetic oil that consists of molecules that have been synthesized from simpler compounds. However, this oil has been specifically designed for V-Twin 4-stroke motors. Make sure to check you motorcycle’s specifications.
This Mobil 1 oil provides maximum shear stability to resist viscosity shear down in high performance motors and also has spectacular thermal stability that resists oxidation and high-temperature degradation. It also delivers excellent protection against engine wear and transmission components and has been optimized for wet clutch performance.
BUY – $15.51 (1 Quart)
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