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Motorcycle oil

12 June 2020, 15:00

Motorcycle oil
Oils for motorcycle and scooter engines are different from those used for cars. That’s why it’s never advisable to use an engine oil designed for cars. In this article Eni gives technical advice to help you choose the right oil!
 
The most important reason to choose specific motorcycle oil is that, unlike a car, the engine oil also has to lubricate the gearbox. The oil also has to be compatible with a wet clutch. Engine oil for cars is not designed for this purpose.
 
In 5 steps you select together with Eni the motor oil that is suitable for a motorcycle.
 
Step 1: 4-stroke or 2-stroke
To make the right choice, you need to know which engine technology motorcycle in the workshop uses. These days, most modern motorcycles and scooters have a 4-stroke engine for its smooth and quiet operation, economical fuel consumption and environmental friendliness.
 
Two-stroke engines are still used for lawnmowers, go-karts, chainsaws, boat engines and dirt bikes. A two-stroke engine generally has fewer moving parts, which makes it both cheaper and lighter and gives it an excellent power-to-weight ratio. The downside is the increased hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.
 
In two-stroke engines, the oil is mixed with the fuel. This mixture is used for the combustion. This specific property of the 2-stroke engine calls for different engine oil properties. That is why only an engine oil with a 2T specification can be used. Of course, the same applies the other way around to 4-stroke motorcycles.
 
Step 2: Adjusting the oil to use and properties
The type of engine oil doesn't just depend on the type of engine (2T or 4T). We also have to consider the type of motorcycle and how it is used (city trips, high mileage, racing).
 
Scooters are used more often during the winter than motorcycles, for example. Oils for scooters are therefore designed to operate at low temperatures and to withstand potential technical issues caused by repeated engine starts and stops and the stop-and-go nature of city traffic.
 
Engine oil for touring motorcycles calls for completely different properties. The important aspects when driving long distances are a combination of good engine protection with very low oil and fuel consumption.
 
For sports and racing engines with a very high power output, the oil must be able to withstand extremely high temperatures and very high thermo-oxidative conditions (which is why these oils are often fully synthetic). The correct operation of gearboxes and wet clutches also has to be guaranteed.
 
Step 3: Wet vs. dry clutch
Wet clutches have the clutch plate in the crankcase, allowing the engine oil to coat the clutch parts to keep everything cooler and quieter. Wet clutches sooner pollute the engine oil because the dust generated by wear and tear remains in the engine.
 
Dry clutches do not come into contact with engine oil. That means less resistance, more power to the rear wheel and also: cleaner engine oil. The downside of a dry clutch is that it wears out faster and the engine produces much more noise. The vast majority of motorcycles have wet clutches mainly for their durability and moderate noise production. The oil has to lubricate the engine without affecting the resistance of the clutch system. This calls for oil specifically for motorcycles.
 
Step 4: Synthetic or mineral engine oil?
Compared to mineral oils, synthetic oils yield better performance at a wider temperature range and better oxidation stability, which translates into a longer oil change interval. Synthetic engine oil is usually recommended for racing and endurance engines, where the effective speed (revolutions per minute) and temperature are higher than with normal motorcycles.
 
Step 5: Specifications are also very important
As well as the type and viscosity of the oil, you must also bear the specifications in mind. The main specifications are those of the Japanese Automotive Standard Organisation (JASO), because e.g. API and ACEA are mainly focused on car engines. For example, the JASO MA classification implies good performance with a wet clutch, while JASO MB has improved friction performance. That makes JASO MB unsuitable for an engine with a wet clutch and is usually recommended for scooters.
 
Eni I-Ride engine oil: for all motorcycles and scooters
With its Eni I-Ride, Eni offers a complete range of high-quality engine oils for motorcycles and scooters. The product line is subdivided into: Racing, Street & Touring, Off-Road and Scooter; available in the right viscosities and with the right specifications to optimise the technology of that particular motorcycle or scooter.
 
Eni has developed the online Eni Lube Finder to help you find out exactly which engine oil is prescribed for the motorcycle in your workshop. It is free of charge and available for advice 24/7.
 

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