Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Six Reasons Motorcycles Need Better Lubricant Protection

Why do people spare no expense on their vehicles, and especially accessories after the purchase, then use the cheapest engine oil they can find? Oil plays one of the most important roles in an engine’s performance, yet motorists often give it virtually no thought whatsoever.

For bikers it is especially important to choose wisely when selecting a motorcycle oil, because motorcycles put greater demands on their lubricants than autos do. Here are six of the primary differences between the two.

1) Operational Speed. 
Motorcycles tend to operate at significantly higher engine speeds. The result is added stress on engine components, increasing the need for wear protection. It also subjects the lubricant to higher load-carrying and shear forces. Higher RPMs also promote foaming and accelerate lube breakdown due to oxidation.

2) Compression Ratios. 
Motorcycles tend to operate with higher engine compression ratios than cars. This places additional stress on engine components and increases operating temps. Higher demands are placed on the oil to reduce wear. Elevated operating temps also promote thermal degradation of the oil, reducing its life expectancy and increasing the formation of internal deposits.

3) Horsepower/Displacement Density. 
Motorcycle engines produce nearly twice the horsepower per cubic inch of displacement of automobile engines. This also raises temperatures and adds additional stress.

4) Variable Engine Cooling. 
Automobiles generally use a more sophisticated water-cooling system to control engine operating temperatures. Many motorcycles are air cooled or use a combo air/oil design, which results in greater temperature fluctuations, especially in stop and go traffic. Higher temps promote oxidation and cause oil to thin, reducing their load carrying capabilities.

5) Multiple Lubrication Functionality. 
In passenger cars, the motor oil only lubricates the engine, with transmission fluid in the tranny and gear lube in the differential. Many motorcycles have a common sump supplying oil both to the engine and the transmission. In these instances the oil is expected to meet the needs of both the engine and the transmission gears. Many motorcycles also incorporate a friction clutch within the transmission which uses the same oil.

6) Inactivity. 
Motorcycles are typically used less frequently than automobiles. In many parts of the country they can only be used seasonally. Condensation of moisture within the engine can cause rust. Acid corrosion protection is also a critical need.

It doesn’t take long to recognize that motorcycles place a different level of requirements on lubricating oils. Motorcycle oils must therefore be formulated to address this unique set of high stress conditions. If you want power, performance and protection, the oil you choose can make a difference. We recommend a synthetic solution.

Note: Photos on this page are from the Laconia Bike Rally of which AMSOIL is the Official Oil. Visit our website for more information on AMSOIL synthetic oils for motorcycles.

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