What engine oil?

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Any suggestions as to the best engine oil to use?

I'm about to buy an unused 2001 model F4 in the Philippines.

The dealer recommends and stocks a Motul synthetic.

However, I believe that the science in Shell lubricants must be better (after all they are the Ferrari recommended lubricant).

Any recommendations out there? I'd like to start the running in with the best there is!



-- Jeremy Cliff (jeremy_cliff@bigfoot.com), December 08, 2002


Hi Jeremy. I think the bigger issue is, do you want to use:

1) Regular vs. synthetic 2) Automobile oil vs. motorcycle synthetic

Using Shell because it's used in Ferraris is like using Mobil one because it's used in Porsches. I think it's more of sponsorship dollars than it is in technology. Ironically, I am using Mobil One synthetic instead of the usual motorcycle oil....I'm just use to using Mobil One. Chaging oil every 3K miles is probably going to be a bigger factor than the brand oil.

I haven't noticed too much of a difference between car oil and motorcycle oil. Has anyone noticed a difference between auto synthetic vs. car synthetic?

-- Allan Gibbs (Phoenix, Arizona) (Agibbs996@aol.com), December 09, 2002.

A few years ago, when I first returned to bikes, I wrote to Castrol UK regarding using top-spec car oils in a motorcycle. In a nutshell, their answer was an emphatic NO!

Bike oils are a totally different animal; they have extreme pressure additives to protect the gearbox and also the formulation takes account of the fact that the clutch is running in the oil - car lubricants are not designed for these factors.

I think it's also widely accepted that you should run a bike in on a non-synthetic oil as you do want some friction to allow the components to run-in properly. Of course, the bike will have oil in it when you collect it from the dealer.

Thereafter, the best you can get!

-- Ralph (ralph@eurograv.co.uk), December 09, 2002.

Thanks for the advice, guys But what oils do you use / recommend? Regards, Jeremy

-- Jeremy Cliff (jeremy_cliff@bigfoot.com), December 09, 2002.

Hi Jeremy,

I guess everyone have their story about which oil to use. I had an old AJS 7R 350cc Racing bike from 1957. I was recommended to use a mineral Castrol Racing oil. Worked for me. In my car I use Mineral Pennzoil as my father has been using it all his life in his old Ferrari, Maserati and +50 different old cars. He never had any problem with it. Then of course is the issue with Mineral vs Synthetic. That's not something I want to start a discussion about. You will have the same with Coke or Pepsi, East or West coast and so on. + and -.

I guess a Racing oil wouldn't be all wrong. But beware that they can cause problems if you don't change it in regular intervals I've heard. Castrol R was one of them, more or less “glued” the engine to one piece. (Probably they solved it by now).

Good luck with your oil choice…


-- Nils Haak (nhaak@algonet.se), December 10, 2002.

Be careful about believing blanket statements about the difference between motorcycle oil and car oil. I was listening to a guy at the track that did some very in depth research and he came to some conclusions. There is at least one major oil company that sells oil branded as motorcycle oil (synthetic), that is NO different at all from their car oil. Just a different label. Ideally, a motorcycle oil should have better ability to resist shearing, which is what you get in the gearbox. Cars don't use the engine oil in the gearbox so standard synthetic is fine. I see more and more people using blend in their bikes, which tends to get the best of both worlds. I use blend in my R1. That said, my MV dealer changes my oil with the finest Motul 100% synthetic and I feel fine about that. MV recommends fully synthetic Agip...

Break the bike in properly (don't beat on it, but don't baby it the whole time either), and change the oil fairly often. You'll be fine.


-- Andy Ruhl (quadreverb@yahoo.com), December 10, 2002.

Thanks, Andy So the Motul synthetic is OK? Regards Jeremy

-- Jeremy Cliff (jeremy_cliff@bigfoot.com), December 10, 2002.

Yep. My dealer uses it, and it's probably damn near identical to the Agip that MV recommends anyway.

-- Andy Ruhl (quadreverb@yahoo.com), December 10, 2002.

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