Best Motorcycle Oils Reviewed & Rated for Quality

Every vehicle needs some kind of oil. Whether it be fossil fuel oil or a synthetic blend, it’s required for a vehicle to run correctly. Cars, trucks, and yes, motorcycles are a lot of machinery running and vibrating at high speeds very close to each other for long periods, and it can get pretty rough without some proper lubrication. The engine especially needs a good supply of oil to run properly. But of course, some brands are better than others.

Featured Recommendations

Motul 7100 Syntheticimg
  • Motul 7100 Synthetic
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Smoother Transmission
  • Price: See Here
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Mobil 20W - 50 V-Twin
  • Mobil 20W - 50 V-Twin
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Reduces Engine Noise
  • Price: See Here
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Honda Pro GN4img
  • Honda Pro GN4
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Abrasion Protection
  • Price: See Here
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Motorcycle oil makes a lot of different stuff happen. It keeps the pipes clean, for one, making sure that everything runs smoothly and doesn’t get clogged up by gunk from repeated use. It keeps the engine nice and lubricated so that it doesn’t seize up or overheat, and even improves the overall performance of the motorcycle it’s used on. And we’re counting down the top ten best of them, here today. So, get ready for a smoother, faster ride, because we’re counting down the:

 

10 Best Motorcycle Oils

 

1. Motul 7100 Synthetic

1. Motul 7100 Synthetic
Kicking off our list, we have the Motul 7100 Synthetic Oil 4T - 10W40. Yeah, get used to the word salad names, because the naming people behind these oils are not the most creative in the world. But thankfully, that sentiment does not extend to the actual manufacturers of this oil, who, as we will see, are nothing short of genius.
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Cleans and protects from dirt

If you love taking your motorcycle on those long country roads, then you need an oil that can handle a lot of dirt getting into your motorcycle. Dirt can be the worst enemy of your motorcycle’s inner machinery if you let it build up too much. Which is why this oil helps to clean out dirt deposits from the inner workings of the motorcycle, and then protect from more dirt that would take its place.

Smoother transmission

No matter the vehicle you’re riding, the transmission is considered one of the most important parts of the entire mechanism. So, it’s a definite plus that this oil, among all the other benefits it offers, also makes the transmission a lot smoother than it previously was, maybe even smoother than when you first bought it.

Cost and Value

Some may consider this oil to be overpriced, but when you take into account everything that it does for you and your motorcycle, the price becomes a lot more worth it, at least in our eyes.

Pros

Cleans and protects from dirt

Smoother transmission

Improves engine response

Cons

A bit pricey

2. Mobil 20W - 50 V-Twin

2. Mobil 20W - 50 V-Twin
Coming in second place, we have the Mobil 20W - 50 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil. As a company, Mobil first got its start in racing, making oil for race cars. But since then, they’ve branched out significantly into other areas. And when it comes to their best motorcycle oil, they’ve yet to top this product. Let’s find out why.

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Reduces engine noise

When your engine makes a ton of noise, it’s because of, among other various things, a lack of lubrication and a lot of heat making the metal rub up against each other. And since metal rubbing up against each other can result in sparks, and a motorcycle engine is typically filled with flammable gasoline, this is something you definitely want to mitigate. By keeping the engine properly lubricated with a steady supply of oil, this oil can drastically reduce how loud your motorcycle is when running.

Withstands extreme hot

Motorcycle engines, or any engine really, get really hot after a long enough time running. It’s inevitable due to the way the machine works. So, any oil that hopes to be useful to you should be able to handle things getting toasty. And yet, a lot of oils tend to fizzle out when things get particularly hot. Except for this oil, of course, which can withstand a lot more heat than most of the other entries on this list. It does this through a mix of synthetic oil based technology and synergistic additive technology.

Cost and Value

This oil is much more expensive than the previous entry, which is what kept it from the top spot. But in its defense, Mobil likes to sell its oil in packs, with this oil typically being sold in packs of 3-6. So, you’re definitely not getting ripped off.

Pros

Reduces engine noise

Withstands extreme hot

Removes dirt deposits from the engine

Cons

Very pricey

3. Honda Pro GN4

3. Honda Pro GN4
Finishing up our top three-segment, we have the Honda Pro GN4 Motor Oil. You know Honda best for their cars, but they also specialize in high-quality oils. Such is the case with this best motorcycle oil, which is one of the best options for the rider on a budget.
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Abrasion protection

You definitely want to reduce abrasion in your engine as much as possible. Your engine may look tough and weigh a ton, but once you get under the outer layer, you find a surprising amount of delicate machinery that needs to be carefully maintained, and too much abrasion can seriously harm your motorcycle in the long run. Which is why this oil is built to protect your engine from abrasion, keeping your engine running at peak performance for much longer than it would otherwise.

Smoother performance

From the transmission to acceleration to shifting gears, this oil makes everything easier and smoother than it was before. Which is especially good if you love going off road, where being able to shift from one mode to another is essential for getting from one end of the trail to the other. So, if smooth overall performance is paramount to you, we can’t recommend this oil enough.

Cost and Value

In stark contrast to the previous two entries, this oil stands at a mere fraction of the cost its predecessors were asking for. Making this the best motorcycle oil for the rider on a tight budget.


Pros

Abrasion protection

Smoother performance

Affordable

Cons

Only meant to work with Honda engines, though has been known to be usable with other engines

4. Red Line 20W-50

4. Red Line 20W-50
Coming in at #4, we have the Red Line 20W-50 Best Motorcycle Oil. If you prefer Harley Davidson engines, then you’re probably familiar with the frustrations of finding an oil that works with their more advanced engine models, such as the Twin Cam and the Evolution. Well if that describes your situation, then you’ve come to the right oil.
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Complete engine protection

When you apply oil to your motorcycle engine, you don’t want that oil to work some of the time, or even most of the time. You want it to always be effective up until the point where you must apply more. Thankfully, this oil understands this, and so this oil comes featuring a higher level of anti-wear substances such as phosphorus and zinc. Making for constant protection for your engine.

Improved wet clutch operation

There are a lot of ways to improve the performance and transmission of a motorcycle, almost as many as there are ways to hinder it. This oil accomplishes this task by containing special friction modifiers that help to improve the wet-clutch operation of almost any device you apply it to. Making for a more thorough improvement on the performance of your motorcycle.

Cost and Value

The best part about this oil is its price, which is definitely the cheapest we’ve seen thus far on this list. If you’re on a tight budget but still want the best motorcycle oil possible, then you can’t go wrong here.

Pros

Completely engine protection

Improved wet-clutch operation

Cheap

Cons

Has been reported to occasionally result in a noisy valve

5. Shell Rotella T6

5. Shell Rotella T6
For our #5 spot, we chose the Shell Rotella T6 Full Synthetic Heavy Duty Engine Oil. Shell needs no introduction, being one of the top dogs in the world of oil and fuel. Which brings us to their best motorcycle oil, with this product being one of their golden boys in terms of quality performance.
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Advanced deposit control

We’ve talked at length so far about oil that can help to control the amount of dirt that gets into your engine, but there’s a lot more than just dirt that can get in there. All kinds of debris can get stuck in there, a lot of which would be unaffected by other oils on this list and elsewhere. Which is why this oil is made with a combination of multi-functional dispersant additives and synthetic base oils, which provides enhanced protection and control over the debris that gets into your motorcycle’s engine.

Emissions system compatibility

There’s a lot of stuff that comes out of the exhaust of a motorcycle that should not go anywhere near, say, your lungs. But unless you have the right oil (i.e., this oil), there can be a whole lot worse stuff in there. Which is why this oil is made with an advanced low-ash formulation that helps to control the blocking or poisoning of exhaust after-treatment devices. Which helps the vehicle maintain emission compliance and improves the fuel efficiency of the engine.

Cost and Value

The main problem with this oil is its price, which is, put bluntly, the most expensive oil on the list so far. Even buying just one bottle of this oil will cost you more than any of the previous entries. However, as we have shown, we still believe it to be completely worth the money.

Pros

Advanced deposit control

Emissions system compatibility

Improved heat resistance

Cons

Very expensive

6. Castrol Power 4T

6. Castrol Power 4T
Coming in 6th place, we have the Castrol Power 4T 10W-40 Synthetic Best Motorcycle Oil. When it comes to engine oil, probably the most famous name in this niche industry is Castrol. Sure, there are other brands out there, as we’ve discussed, but Castrol has all of their eggs in this basket, and it has more than paid off for them. As we will now demonstrate.
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Superior acceleration

Most oils out there improve the acceleration of your motorcycle, by improving the engine or transmission quality. But few do it as effectively as Castrol does here, through its unique blend of synthetic oils and formulas. This blend allows for superior acceleration at the touch of the throttle, flowing fast and minimizing internal engine friction, so nothing gets between you and your desired speed.

Versatile

Viscosity is often the death knell for a best motorcycle oil, at least if you go for the cheaper formulas. Viscosity is caused by mechanical shear or stress and worsened by extreme shifts in internal temperature. None of which you will have to worry about when using this oil, which can adapt exceptionally well to different climates, no matter how fast they shift, and can resist change in viscosity better than most entries on this list.

Cost and Value

The price of this entry isn’t low enough to be called affordable, but not quite pricey enough to be labeled as such either. It’s right there in the middle, and that’s where Castrol like it.


Pros

Superior acceleration

Versatile

Fully synthetic oil

Cons

Will leak if the engine gaskets are not placed properly

7. YamaLube All Purpose

7. YamaLube All Purpose
For our 7th place spot, we chose the YamaLube All Purpose 4 Stroke Oil. If you need your best motorcycle oil to be a cut above the rest in terms of performance and resistance, like if you’re an off roader or drive a motorcycle for sports, then YamaLube has you more than covered. What do we mean by this? Allow us to explain.

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Mineral oil formula

One of the aspects that plays into a more protected motorcycle engine is the clutch. Both the stability and strength of the clutch are vital to protecting the engine from wear and tear over time. Which is why this oil is made with a mix of mineral oils that help to improve the strength and stability of the clutch.

Versatile Performance-Blend

The best part about this oil is just how versatile the formula actually is. Because of its performance-blend construction, this oil can be used on a wide variety of engines, including motorcycles, ATV’s, side-by-side vehicles, and even scooters.

Cost and Value

While not as cheap as the #4 spot, it’s a close second, as this is one of the list’s most inexpensive entries. So, if you have a need for high performance oil for a good price, then this is the oil for you.

Pros

Mineral oil formula

Versatile performance-blend

Cheap

Cons

Price can vary depending on where you’re buying it

8. Lucas Oil High Performance

8. Lucas Oil High Performance
Kicking off our final three entries, we have the Lucas Oil High Performance Synthetic 20W-50 Best Motorcycle Oil. If racing is your pleasure, and you need the best oil for the job, then you’ve come face to face with your dream oil. This is one of the best racing engine oils on the market right now, and we’ll explain why now.

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Superior longevity

One of the great things about racing engine oils, in general, is the fact that they tend to be a lot longer lasting than your best motorcycle oil, due to the specific ingredients needed to be able to integrate well with a racing engine. But even among those ranks, this oil lasts significantly longer than even most racing oils.

Reduces noise

This is technically standard issue for motorcycle engine oil, but when you’re going at the speed expected of a racing motorcycle, noise reduction is paramount. Without proper noise reduction, that engine is going to drive you close to deaf, which is why this engine oil drastically reduces the noise made by a motorcycle engine when going at high speeds. So, you don’t have to worry about busting your eardrums just because you want to go fast.

Cost and Value

This oil is a good deal more expensive than the last entry, but by itself, it isn’t that bad. So, if you have some extra cash to spare and you want the best racing oil out there right now, we highly recommend this oil.

Pros

Superior longevity

Reduces noise

Doesn’t leak as often

Cons

Make sure your engine is compatible with it, or get ready for a lot of noise

9. Maxima Pro Plus

9. Maxima Pro Plus
For our second to final entry, we have the Maxima Pro Plus 10W-40 Synthetic Motorcycle Engine Oil. Out of all of the entries on this list, we consider this one to be the most efficient of the bunch. What do we mean by this? Well, let’s find out.
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Improved fuel economy

If there’s one thing drivers want from their cars and motorcycles these days, it’s better fuel economy. We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but gas prices are pretty steep these days. So, any way to lessen how much fuel your engine uses per mile is a definite bonus. Which is why the best part about this oil is how it drastically improves the fuel economy of your motorcycle, having it use less fuel per mile. Not by a wide margin, there’s only so much it can do after all, but enough to bring gas prices for you down a few precious bucks.

Balanced additive system

This oil is blended with a balanced additive system, focused on both anti-wear and anti-scuff capabilities. What this results in is a minimization of engine deposits, while at the same time, protecting vital engine, transmission and clutch components. Making this one of the best engine oils out there when it comes to balancing multiple protections at once.

Cost and Value

We feel safe in calling this a close third in the running for the cheapest entry on this list. While a good bit more expensive than the #7 spot, it’s still more than worthy of being called affordable.

Pros

Improved fuel economy

Balanced additive system

Very affordable

Cons

Shifts and gearbox have been reported to make noise depending on the engine

10. Castrol Actevo

10. Castrol Actevo
For the last entry on this list, we return to our friends over at Castrol for the Castrol Actevo 10W-40 Synthetic 4T Best Motorcycle Oil. As is expected of the brand, this Castrol oil delivers top-notch performance, if a bit less quantity given the price. What makes this oil so good? Let’s finish up this list by finding out.
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Clinging action

This oil doesn’t just protect your engine parts, it clings onto them and refuses to let go. Sure, after a while (a long while, we should stress) it will dissolve like all other oils, but until then, this oil provides a continuous layer of protection for your engine parts, providing a 70% reduction in wear and tear. Which dramatically increases the lifespan of the engine.

Excellent thermal stability

Thermal stability is vital for the longevity of a motorcycle, and thankfully, this oil does it better than just about anyone else. This oil delivers well above average thermal stability to your engine, providing enhanced protection as well as resistance to oil burn-off, even at extremely high temperatures.

Cost and Value

The main problem with this oil is the price. Not that it’s all that high, in fact, it’s just behind the previous entry in that regard. The problem is that, while every other entry on this list is or is close to a gallon of oil, this is just a quart.

Pros

Clinging action

Excellent thermal stability

Protects against high temperature carbon deposits

Cons

Not enough quantity to justify the price

We all (and by we all, we mean anyone who would click on an article like this, of course) love the feeling of riding at top speed on a motorcycle. Feeling the wind whipping through your hair, the sun on your face, and just the general feeling of being on the road. There’s an undeniable sense of freedom to it all, but that freedom requires vigilance. A motorcycle needs to be regularly oiled in order to work properly. Otherwise, a whole load of problems tend to crop up. From longer term problems such as abrasions and machinery grinding to the more immediate issues of the engine potentially breaking down right in the middle of the road.

Motorcycle oil comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and types, but the necessity of it remains the same. Different motorcycle engines need different types of oil, but they need oil all the same. All engines need oil it keeps everything nice and lubricated, it keeps the engine from breaking down, and it protects vital components from damage. So, if you need top of the line, best motorcycle oil, and are tired of the cheap brands you’ve had to slum with, maybe try out one of these excellent specimens. What we guarantee you is that you won’t be disappointed.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Motorcycle Oils

Putting together a list of criteria for this article was a tricky process. We essentially had to learn the various chemical intricacies of some of the best motorcycle oil to get a good list put together, which was as arduous as it was skull-cracking boring. But we got results. So here are the most vital criteria we used to determine which entries got on the list and where.

Oil types

Like we said earlier, different types of engines need different types of oil, as the machinery used to make up the engine may have different needs than another. Generally speaking, there are three different types of the best motorcycle oils used for the engine.

Conventional Oil

Conventional oils, or mineral oils, as it’s more commonly known, are, as the alternate name suggests, natural oils found in the soil. Typically speaking, these oils are made from refined crude oils, with different additives put in such as detergents, which help to reduce debris and acids. This makes conventional oils the preferred brand if you’re primarily trying to clean your engine. Conventional oils will also contain friction modifiers, which help to improve lubrication.

Synthetic oil

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Synthetic oil is the oil that is artificially created by humans. Usually with pure crude used as an additive, rather than as the base of the material. Thanks to advancements made in chemical studies and technology, synthetic oil has gone from a pipe dream, to what many people consider to be the next step from fossil fuel oils. The main hurdle it needs to get over is the fact that it is significantly more expensive than conventional oil.

So why bother with the stuff? Because synthetic oils tend to contain a lot less viscosity, and because of this helps the engine run a lot more smoothly than with conventional oils. They also improve the overall efficiency and performance compared to mineral oils.

Semi-synthetic oils

But maybe you want the best of both worlds, and don’t feel like choosing between two excellent choices for oils. This is where semi-synthetic oils come into play. These oils are, put simply, the two previous oil types mixed. A high-speed motorbike requires the materials used to make synthetic oil, which this type of oil provides. But it also has the materials that make up conventional oil, which help to keep the engine clean and running longer.

Longevity

The best motorcycle oil can get pricey if you want the good stuff, so you want to make sure that it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This is where longevity comes in. This refers to how long each application of the oil into the engine tank last before you have to apply it again. The ten entries on this list will last you for quite some time before needing to be changed.

Cleaning capabilities

And then there’s the oil’s ability to clean out your engine. This is a vital aspect that every high quality and best motorcycle oil needs to nail down. A lot more gunk and debris than you might think gets into your engine every day, and there’s no way to manually clean it all out yourself without taking the thing apart and putting it back together again, which is a lot more trouble than it’s worth. We made sure to only put an entry on this list if one of the main selling points of the product was its efficiency in cleaning the engine’s inner workings of dirt, grime, and debris, and then keeping it clean. Because the cleaner an engine is, the better it will run for longer periods. The best oils out there keep the engine components clean by cleaning off the gunk from the components and then sticking onto those components themselves to keep more debris from sticking to it in the future.

Price

The last criteria we judged these entries by was the price of each product. The price of these entries tended to vary on how powerful they were, how long they lasted, and how much they did for the motorcycle engine they’re applied to. And a lot of these oils, as a result, are pretty pricey. As such, we sought to judge each entry by how well they justified the prices they asked for, rather than by the prices themselves. One way we looked at it this way was by examining how much oil you got out of the bargain. The #10 spot is one of the best oils out there right now, as expected of Castrol, but the problem is that it’s only available in quarts, whereas the other entries were closer to a gallon. So the price became a lot harder to defend.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

For the last segment of this list, we’re going to look at some frequently asked questions surrounding some of the best motorcycle oil. Motorcycle oil isn’t something you want to screw up with when applying it to the engine of your bike. Because if you do, it could lead to some serious problems. So, it’s only natural that there would be some questions people would ask before making a purchase. So, with that said, here are the most frequently asked questions surrounding the best motorcycle oil and the answers thereof.

Q: Why do I need to replace my motorcycle oil?

A: Think of motorcycle oil as the blood of your motorcycle. Keeping vital cells moving from one area to the next, and generally keeping the machine going. And like blood, there comes the point where the nutrients and effects of the oil have been wrung out over time like a damp cloth. And it’s at that point when it needs to be changed. This can either be through waiting until the oil has been completely evaporated by the heat put off naturally by your motorcycle’s engine, or by getting out in front of it early, siphoning out the old oil and replacing it with the new stuff.

You need to do this to ensure a long lifespan for your motorcycle engine as well as continually smooth performance.

Q: I don’t have, nor can I afford any of the best motorcycle oil, but I have a canister of car oil, can I use that?

A: A classic rookie rider question. And the answer is a big fat. No. The oil used for car engines is on a completely different wavelength from the oil used for motorcycles. Trying to use it for your motorcycle engine can and will cause irreparable damage to your motorcycle’s engine the minute you try going anywhere with it.

The reason for this is due to the purpose of the two oils. Car oil is meant to lubricate the many moving parts inside the car engine. But the inside of a motorcycle engine doesn’t move at all, so you can see where the problems arise. Motorcycle oil is meant to lubricate the engine, keep the clutch and lubricant cool and protect the gearbox from damage. These two oils are meant for completely different jobs.

Q: It’s getting about time for me to change my motorcycle oil, and I’m nervous that I’m going to miss a vital detail. Do you have any tips?

A: Certainly! First off, before you pour the oil, always double-check the drain intervals from your service manual. For instance, if you were using mineral oil, then you need to drain and change after about 2,000 miles, give or take. On the other hand, if you’re using synthetic oil, that amount increases to up to 5-6,000 miles.

Always make sure to change the oil filter. It’s true that not changing it as often as a cost-saving measure in the short term, but it may end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Besides, if you’re already splurging your money on expensive synthetic oil, you might as well go all in and spend a bit more on a new filter. And remember, you need to change the filter when you change the oil.

Sources

  1. Wikipedia, Motor Oil
  2. Motor Audit, Top 7 Best Motorcycle Oil
  3. Young Choppers, 13 Best Motorcycle Oils
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