Whats the best oil?

I knew I shouldn't have opened this forum post... I knew it!

Now, I'm not so confused as to what people are using... or recommend. BUT like some of you have been saying...

1- How do you know that the motor and internals ARE NOT truly wearing like you mention, unless you continually take the motor apart and inspect (Besides the aided oil test that tells you about 'stuff' in the oil, but not particularly which stuff or what component).

2- How is it that everyone swears by an oil... but doesn't really have any specific info on that oil? I mean I'm in the same... I use one specific oil (name and address withheld) :D but don't swear by it. Why do I use one specific?! Intended use, name brand, conveniently packaged in gallons, price... etc. Nothing mathematical or researched that's for sure.

3- There never has been a true test of motor oil...(easy... U know what I mean, flames are not necessary) and if there was, like quadsan says "who'd trust it?" There are too many factors to consider. Just way to many.

SOooo... "which oil is better" has now become a huge and loaded question in my book... and I've changed this question to a statement, "Synthetic oil seems the best for the motor in our motorcycle and ATVs... but making sure it's ingredients are as mentioned and not counteractive to wet clutches...etc."

How's that?!?! :D

Man... I'm soo confused! :):D

So where do I buy the Rotella (gas stations?) and what should I expect to pay?! I'm all for it and am going to start using it... as soon as my last gallon is consumed.

BTW, Does that mean that I can also use it safely for my personal vehicles too?!?! The Rotella T Synthetic I mean.

If you want an oil that definitely works, then simply buy an oil that's JASO-MA rated as outlined in your Honda manual and follow their recommended maintenance schedules, which will ensure our bikes (on average) have a long healthy life.

If you really want to know how your oil is holding up for your engine in your application, then send samples out for oil analysis (it's very simple to do). You'll know for sure if your oil is breaking down, whether its contaminated, if your oil still has plenty of life in it, if your engine is wearing out too quickly, etc. Oil analysis is commonly used in the trucking industry and also for industrial equipment to find potentially serious problems before they become serious and to know just how well their oil / grease is working and whether or not they can extend their drain intervals to further reduce their costs, etc. As I recall, you had been using ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) in your XR650R instead of motor oil and that probably led to some of your problems, but oil analysis would have comfirmed just how well the ATF was working, whether or not your engine was wearing abnormally, if there was any foreign contamination, etc.

If you decide to use a commercial grade mixed fleet motor oil, then you're taking on some risk because the oil company can change their formulations someday without you knowing and they may not be as friendly to our bikes as they once have been over the years where as JASO-MA oils have to meet certain specs for bikes. While a synthetic oil may be better for some folks, it's not always the best choice for others. Our 1980 XR80 has been beaten, abused & miusused by people learning to ride, people way too big for the bike (adults), etc. This bike does not have an oil filter, yet it's still running strong after 20,000+ off road miles on a petroleum based oil (Chevron Delo 400). I'm happy with my new oil choice (Mobil Delvac 1) and I know it works well, but there's plenty of good choices out there whether petroleum or synthetic based.

Will do... thanks for the input.

I currently use Spectro 10-40... but am open to use something better. And yes, I had used ATF... a definitely 'head in the mud' time, coming from 2 strokes. The XR was my first thumper... and since then I'm not running it anylonger for obvious reasons.

I'm not saying 'testing' doesn't work. I hope you didn't get that from my post. I'm just saying it really doesn't tell you it's cylinder wall over piston wear or gear breakdown (unless you know exact makeup of those parts)...etc. I've had it done (2 years ago by Hawthorne) and it was a pretty amazing test.

Thanks again Quadsan for your input... very valuable. :)

I am close to settling on my oil of choice, but have one last question for you Qadsan. I can get Shell Rotella synthetic at Wally world for $12.85 a gallon. Only problem is they only carry the 5W-40. I know synthetic is suppose to retain viscosity at high temperature, but is that going to have enough viscosity for hot summer months??? Thank!

I'm planning to use Delvac 1 5W40 in the summer months when it's 100F+ outside, but I won't be riding too often in that kind of heat. I will also be sending a used oil sample out to verify viscosity, etc, but I'm not too worried with this oil. Engine oil is viscous when cold and thin bodied when warm and is classified as follows. The first number is the SAE class number for cold viscosity measured at the temperature of 0°C and the letter “W” stands for "winter", not weight like some folks think. The number behind the “W” is the SAE weight class measured at 100°C. So a 5W40 is an oil that flows like a 5 weight oil at 0°C and like a 40 weight at 100°C. A 40 weight oil is supposed to be in the range of ~12.5 to 16.5 centistokes @ 100°C, which is a measurement of kinematic viscosity. If my oil analysis report comes back with numbers outside this range, then I know my viscosity has changed.

I have not used or tested Shell Rotella T-Syn myself, but I've read some good things about it and have read some oil analysis reports from owners who used it in their motorcycles where the gearbox & engine oil are combined like our bikes. The testing that I've seen for viscosity looked rather favorable compared to many other oils, which is one of the reasons I'd be willing to give it a go in my bike.

I don't have the XR650R owners manual handy, but if it says a 40wt oil is acceptible for the temperatures you'll be riding in, then I wouldn't worry too much about using Rotella T-Syn if the oil is changed based on Honda's recommended schedules. I just found this link to a Shell Rotella motorcyle forum, but have't checked it out. You may want to snoop around in there to see if you can find any other interesting info.


Thanks, Qadsan. That's my oil.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now