In our previous editions of Motul All About Lubes, we have tried to cover the basics and tried to answer essential questions pertaining to engine oils. Through our previous two instalments of the series, we explained to you in detail the broad categories of engine oils, oil grades and markings on the package, the differences between car and motorcycle oils and also the differences between synthetic and mineral oils.
In one of our previous issues, we have also tried to explain as to why using synthetic oils over mineral oils doesn’t always have a huge advantage for your everyday, sedentarily driven cars used in moderate climatic conditions.
However, this position changes when we talk about performance machines, especially motorcycles. Modern performance motorcycles have lightweight engines which rev very highly very quickly, and produce immense amount of heat. When piloted by an able rider and ridden to the limit, the going may get pretty tough for the lubes inside that engine chamber.
Be it the new range of high revving KTMs, even the low 200cc capacity ones like the Duke 200, middleweight motorcycles such as the Kawasaki Ninja / Versys 650 or absolute scorchers such as the MV Agusta F4 or the Ninja H2 – performance motorcycles across a wide spectrum of cubic capacity, power and price have special requirements to protect their engine.
We have explained to you in our earlier issues that motorcycle engine oils are stressed way more than their automobile counterparts. This is because motorcycle engines rev harder, reach higher temperatures and shear, burn or evaporate the lube at a faster rate. Additionally, motorcycle lubes have to ensure that they don’t induce slippage in the clutch.
All the aforementioned factors, especially for high performance motorcycles, make it imperative that you choose your engine oil wisely. Even slight carelessness in choice of lubes for such high-performance motorcycles can cause great damage to their internals. And not only would that cost you financially, but if it’s a beloved possession, may cause immense emotional hurt as well.
Also, if you have bought a high performance motorcycle, you would have bought it for a reason. Such bikes are typically ridden by seasoned riders who are looking at extracting the best from their mechanicals. In such a scenario, using the right engine oil can actually improve the performance of your motorcycle to bring that contented smile on your face.
Typically, synthetic oils work better with modern high performance motorcycles as compared to traditional mineral oils. However, that’s not the end of it. As we all know, not all synthetic oils are created equal. Even if you’re using the right grade of fully synthetic oil, its protective qualities may deteriorate when put under extreme pressure.
For instance, taking your performance bike for a vigorous trackday, or for a long distance endurance ride may put the anti-shear capabilities of your engine oil to its extreme limit. In such extreme scenarios, if you are even slightly careless with you engine oil choice, you might actually end up with a broken down engine.
It is, thus imperative that you use a high-quality synthetic oil from a reputed brand for these motorcycles. Typically, these motorcycles are very expensive, and so are their spares. So the additional money you invest in a time-tested brand is justified over the disproportionately huge losses you’d have to bear if something went wrong. You should look for an oil brand which not only meets, but far exceeds the performance requirements specified by the manufacturer. Saving a few bucks in favour of a substandard engine oil would probably be the worst decision you would ever make, both financially and emotionally as far as your prized motorcycle is concerned.
Another important consideration to make while buying the right engine oil for a performance motorcycle is to ensure that it complies with the JASO grade specified by the maker. Motor oils that meet the JASO T 903:2006 standard can be classified into four grades: JASO MA, JASO MA1, JASO MA2 and JASO MB – where JASO MB is the most frictionless of the lot, though it’s not necessarily a replacement for the other grades.
As we have elaborated in our earlier articles as well, ester technology which sits at the very top of the lubricant food chain should always be considered by those who can afford it. Motul has been a pioneer in ester blended engine oils, and their 300V Factory line of 100% Synthetic Ester core engine oils are pretty much the best engine oils money can buy off the shelf in India right now. 300V Factory Line oil exceeds all existing standards In API & JASO and is recommended by Factory Racing Teams. The oil is also approved by Suzuki Motorcycle India for its Superbikes.
For those who are on a relatively lower budget, Motul’s 7100 range of fully synthetic engine oils is a terrific option. The 7100 range comprises 100% Synthetic oils with ester blend and complies with the most stringent API SN and JASO MA2 standards. Here’s a list of the various grades of the 7100 line of Synthetic oils available for various performance oriented products
- Motul 7100 10w40 – Approved by BAJAJ Auto for use in Kawasaki Ninja & Suzuki Motorcycle India for use in Inazuma
- Motul 7100 5w40 & 10w60 – Approved by MV Agusta India for their superbikes which sit on the top of the performance pyramid.
- Motul 7100 10w50 – Approved by BAJAJ Auto for use in KTM RC 390 & DSK Motorwheels for use in Benelli and Hyosung motorcycles
- 7100 20w50 – Approved by BAJAJ Auto for use in other KTM motorcycles.
Finally, for extreme performance, Failure Load Stage or FLS rating is an important parameter to consider. In this test, the gear teeth are inspected after each Failure Load Stage for scuffing to visually detect scratches on the pinions. This test ascertains if sufficient lubrication film thickness is built between the gears for gearbox reliability. FLS rating ranges from FLS 1 (very poor) to FLS 14 (outstanding). Both Motul 300V Factory Line and Motul 7100 exceed FLS 14 rating, offering failsafe protection under the most extreme conditions.
If you have any questions or doubts about choosing the right lube for your performance motorcycle, just shoot away. We will try to have your question answered at the earliest. If you find this post about performance lubes useful, do share it with your auto enthusiast friends. We’ll be back soon with another instalment of Motul All About Lubes, sharing more knowledge with you. Till then, rev hard, rev free and ride safe!