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easy explanation, it makes stuff slipperyer
 

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During development of oil/engine combinations the last stage is destructive testing.
Some engines are put through hard cycles until they die and some are left with the throttle wide open until they burst, no oil changes.
(Some of the engineers break down crying and need counselling at seeing this, no names but I’m looking at you QM)

With the genuine synthetics I’ve seen tests abandoned because time ran out, the engine would not die before the end of the project.
It is astonishing stuff
Very good post Bluebottle. Only just seen this as I've been away a long time. Yes it would be me crying at the 'full throttle' death of many engines. Some that I even had a big hand in designing and developing. Counseling didn't help much either...lol.

Hope you are doing ok. I'll drop you a line soon.
 

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For Rotella fans - it’s good news and bad news, on the up side the improvers in Rotella are at the high quality end (based on old info but to the best of my limited knowledge).

...run out of time to cover testing and finding results, will try later.
The one thing I do remember from when we did our oil testing in various motorcycle engines was that Rotella fully syn oil as it was then was very poor at protecting motorcycle engines., especially at high, hot engine revs. From memory it had a pretty poor oil film strength (OFS) of around 68,000psi at 100c. Most car dino oils of 10-40 variety managed around 62-66,000psi, so you'd think a synthetic, even a diesel orientated oil would be much better. It isn't! Today, most synthetic oils for motorcycles return readings of between 86-110,000psi. Few car oils could match that at the time of testing that we did and probably don't even come close to that now as most cars (unlike our bikes) don't need that sort of oil power. 'We' meaning my development team lead by the oil research and development guys that we worked with.

As previously posted some years ago on this site, we noted accelerated engine wear with the use of Rotalla synthetic diesel oil when used in motorcycle engines. This was almost completely due to the poor oil film strength and the oils inability to 'cling' (poor electrostatic cling) to fast moving motorcycle parts such as camshafts, pistons and rings. This caused 'scuffing' of key engine components leading to early failure, compared to engines that used motorcycle oil. After all, motorcycle engines on average rev several times higher than car or truck engines, spending most of their time revving at 3-4 times higher than a car or truck engine. I addition, motorcycle engines in our scooters and bikes have a much higher power output per litre than car engines meaning they need really good protection to survive. It was all very fascinating.

Rotella is a great oil, but not in motorcycles was our conclusion. But then, that's ok as it's not designed for motorcycles.
 

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Not to refute the information too much but a Burgman 650 does not act like a GSXR1300 in most "USER" riding.
A AN650 is 638cc and has 54 horsepower @ 7000 RPM so that is 0.08464 HP per cc. 8500 Rpm Fuel Cut Redline
A GSXR1300 is 195.5 HP @ 9500 RPM and is 0.15 HP per cc. 10,600 RPM Fuel cut Redline

A AN650 runs 4,000 RPM at 70 MPH. About 7200 RPM @ 115 MPH
A GSXR1300 runs about 3800 RPM at 70 if you baby it in 6th gear. About 10,600 RPM @ 195 MPH

Now most modern performance cars are more high output than a lot of bikes, per cc.
My 'Old School' 2006 Subaru Outback XT has a 2457 cc Turbo and 250 HP @ 6000 RPM. That is 0.0102 HP per cc, NOT in the Honda Fit powerband.
At 70 MPH it is running about 2900 RPM. THis engine is under BOOST most of the time even when you're baby'ing it. Its oil requirement is 5W30 but most owners use Synt 5W40, 10W40 or 15W40 and change it at 2500 miles.

So, in a nutshell, NO I would NOT run Rotella T6 15W40 in any:
VW air cooled engine
Any high reving engine like a GSXR1300
Any air cooled Harley engine
Any air cooled engine.

Face it, on average, NO Burgman 650 will ever be on the road past 150,000 miles. VERY few exceptions to that. On the average of 80,000 miles the engine damages 'POSSIBLE' done by the Rotella T6 5W40 will not be a factor. Something else will take the bike out of service BEFORE an oil related failure happens.

But you can argue it on the moot point.
 

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Discussion Starter #46
Hi QM, good to hear from you

...you'd think a synthetic, even a diesel orientated oil would be much better. It isn't! Today, most synthetic oils for motorcycles return readings of between 86-110,000psi...
That fits the impression I got from progress meetings and venting over a pint etc (not my department as you know)

As we’ve said before, it isn’t a true fully synth, it is (or was) a hydrocracked group 3 base (Shell XHVI) and not a synthesised base, which probably accounts for most of that and the lack of cling.
 

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ok , now I understand all that, how do you get it outta a cats fur?
 

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Discussion Starter #48
I don’t think cling was covered before so it might be worth adding something about that.

A benefit of true synthetics (as opposed to some US oils labelled as synthetic) is that they “cling” better, sticking to metal and even creaping over it to form a self repairing skin.

Some people will tell you ”this is impossible advertising hype because oil can’t be magnetic and if synthetic flows better It can’t also be stickier”
however if you rub an inflated ballon on a cat it will stick, and neither of those are magnetic either.

The secret is ”esters”, the stuff proper synthetics are made of.
The way these molecules form means that they have an in balance of electrons and protons and that gives them a slight electrical charge and that gives them an affinity for metal, the same way the charged ballon has an affinity for the cat.

The bit of the molecule with this affinity will try sit on the metal or even enter into the metal and other Ester molecules will then bond to this metal-bonded molecule and so on.

so it tends to leave a doting, repair itself and have better film strength.

————-

There are also additives that make the oil “sticky” and are used to carry friction modifiers and hold them in place until mechanical action pounds them into the surface of the metal - but the beauty of synthetics is that the oil does it with no help, so it doesn’t get diluted with things that aren’t oil.
 

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Well guys, this thread is beautiful. I like to learn things from the "science" point of view (or at least from a competent, technical and reasonated opinion).

What i'd like ('cause then i go back in real life and i'm just a programmer riding a scooter) is a list of worldwide available brands/products oils that, if not defined "better than xxx" are "for sure good oils" or "avoid at all costs".
I've just made my oil/filter replacement and bought Mobil 10w40, but i have remnants of Mobil, Shell, Bardhal which i use for "filling"(i added abouf 600ml of oil in my first 8000km). I always fear to buy the wrong oil or to pay too much for just a brand reputation :)
 

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Not to refute the information too much but a Burgman 650 does not act like a GSXR1300 in most "USER" riding.
A AN650 is 638cc and has 54 horsepower @ 7000 RPM so that is 0.08464 HP per cc. 8500 Rpm Fuel Cut Redline
A GSXR1300 is 195.5 HP @ 9500 RPM and is 0.15 HP per cc. 10,600 RPM Fuel cut Redline

A AN650 runs 4,000 RPM at 70 MPH. About 7200 RPM @ 115 MPH
A GSXR1300 runs about 3800 RPM at 70 if you baby it in 6th gear. About 10,600 RPM @ 195 MPH

Now most modern performance cars are more high output than a lot of bikes, per cc.
My 'Old School' 2006 Subaru Outback XT has a 2457 cc Turbo and 250 HP @ 6000 RPM. That is 0.0102 HP per cc, NOT in the Honda Fit powerband.
At 70 MPH it is running about 2900 RPM. THis engine is under BOOST most of the time even when you're baby'ing it. Its oil requirement is 5W30 but most owners use Synt 5W40, 10W40 or 15W40 and change it at 2500 miles.

So, in a nutshell, NO I would NOT run Rotella T6 15W40 in any:
VW air cooled engine
Any high reving engine like a GSXR1300
Any air cooled Harley engine
Any air cooled engine.

Face it, on average, NO Burgman 650 will ever be on the road past 150,000 miles. VERY few exceptions to that. On the average of 80,000 miles the engine damages 'POSSIBLE' done by the Rotella T6 5W40 will not be a factor. Something else will take the bike out of service BEFORE an oil related failure happens.

But you can argue it on the moot point.
Hello Dave, long time no speaky! Hope you are well.

You make some interesting points Dave. Some of which I would not particularly argue with. But to further make a point, Harley's generally have a low power output and rev low. However, they have a very high piston speed for any given engine revolution due to being a long stroke motor. These V twins have specific engine oil requirements if rapid piston, ring and bore wear is to be avoided. So I'm glad you wouldn't use a car or truck oil like Rotella. It's not made for bikes. There are V twin motorcycle oils made specifically for those engine types and they do work well at reducing engine wear in those applications.

On the other hand, my GSX1400 in the cruise at 70mph was turning 3000rpm in 6th gear. It would hit 145mph at 6850rpm in 5th gear. Yet the engine has a much slower piston speed per revolution (it's a shorter stroke engine) than a Harley in spite of revving much higher. Oil requirements are a bit different therefore if you want your engine to last a long time. You need not only good OFS (oil film strength) but good electrostatic cling so the oil clings to the faster moving parts, it's electrically attracted to certain key engine parts to reduce engine wear (as per Bluebottles description above). Neither of those things were found to be good enough in Rotella for most petrol engine motorcycle use. In larger engines bikes such as Honda Goldwings it worked fine because that bike uses an engine with car engine qualities of low revs, lower mean power output per litre etc.

What I'm saying is that engines can be very different in terms of the oil that is needed to get the best engine life. You know that too I can see.

One interesting fact to again make the point about specific engines needing specific oil and how careful one should be about the oil you use. I just recently bought a new car which has a 1.2 ltr petrol turbocharged 3 cylinder engine coupled to an automatic 6spd torque converter gearbox. I've been covering 4000 miles per month in it and it's very good indeed. It has 110hp & 205nm of torque at 1500rpm. It performs more like a standard 2 litre engine but achieves between 62-70mpg. Cruising at 70mph it is revving at 2200rpm so relatively low for a small petrol engine. In reality the engine is working quite hard with high piston speed at low revs. It's a long stroke engine. However the engine uses an offset crank for better torque and reduced engine wear. It complies with euro 6.2 emissions and as such has a CAT and Petrol Particulate Filter. To assist in lowering emissions and reduce engine wear further it uses a 0-20 fully syn oil with oil changes every 16500 miles or every 12 months whichever is sooner. The 0-20 oil has very high OFS, better than 5-40 car oils by far. So in spite of its low revs and easy going nature Rotella would probably kill the engine very quickly if I was silly enough to use it. With my engine designers hat on I'd say the motor would last no longer than 20k miles before she broke something. And of course it would kill the PPF.

It can be the same for bikes too. Even just using a variety of car oils in bike engines when we were testing shortened the life of the bike engines by as much as 40%. In service failures of engine components also increased. These included piston ring failures and camshaft failures amongst other things. It pretty much always came down to too little OFS and insufficient electrostatic cling as being the culprits.

My Burgman 400 cruised at 70mph @7000rpm. The extra wear from using a car oil would be easily measurable if I had used it. So Rotella, great in diesel engines and many petrol cars, not so great in most bikes. Why anyone would try and save a few bucks putting that in your pride and joy is not something I understand.

Nearly forgot. Just a reminder that me and my team were actually testing engines, and not specifically the oil. We were noting the effects of different oils on mostly new engine designs. This involved testing some engines to destruction. Bloody brilliant fun!

Sorry far too long a post and wanders about a bit! It's 2.16am, that's why!
 

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So...are you saying that for bikes, (most) any car oil is not as good as a motorcycle-specific oil? Of course, I always use a 10W-40 JASO-MA rated oil (usually synthetic, but sometimes dino) in the bikes with a wet clutch. But in the scoots with no wet clutch I have been using a synthetic 10W-40 car oil. For best wear resistance and longevity should I use the JASO motorcycle oil in the scooters as well? Price isn't the issue, I just assumed the regular oil would actually be better since it has friction modifiers (more slippery-er) that are detrimental to multi-plate wet clutches.
 

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During development of oil/engine combinations the last stage is destructive testing.
Some engines are put through hard cycles until they die and some are left with the throttle wide open until they burst, no oil changes.
(Some of the engineers break down crying and need counselling at seeing this, no names but I’m looking at you QM)

With the genuine synthetics I’ve seen tests abandoned because time ran out, the engine would not die before the end of the project.
It is astonishing stuff
Along those lines, I recall one test of sports-car engines which had them run at redline until failure. The Mazda Renesis Wankel rotary (from the RX-8, great car BTW) had an interesting failure mode: the exhaust manifold melted.
 

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Along those lines, I recall one test of sports-car engines which had them run at redline until failure. The Mazda Renesis Wankel rotary (from the RX-8, great car BTW) had an interesting failure mode: the exhaust manifold melted.
I was big into rotarys back in the 70's. With the auto oil injection system it add the oil to the carb. My friend used some Arco Graphite and when he was doing a high speed run the graphite was burning hotter and it melted the apex seals, exhaust port and warped the iron exhaust manifold. I think Racing Beat had the same issue and recommened just standard Dino oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #54
So...are you saying that for bikes, (most) any car oil is not as good as a motorcycle-specific oil? Of course, I always use a 10W-40 JASO-MA rated oil (usually synthetic, but sometimes dino) in the bikes with a wet clutch. But in the scoots with no wet clutch I have been using a synthetic 10W-40 car oil. For best wear resistance and longevity should I use the JASO motorcycle oil in the scooters as well? Price isn't the issue, I just assumed the regular oil would actually be better since it has friction modifiers (more slippery-er) that are detrimental to multi-plate wet clutches.
It is often said that motorcycle oils do not contain friction modifiers - but that isn’t strictly true.
The writer is sometimes trying to simplify a complex subject, sometimes google provides their only knowledge and they are doing there best to be helpful or combative/defensive about their personal favourite.

It is more accurate to say that motorcycle oils don’t have the friction modifiers most commonly used in car oils.

They can use certain friction modifiers that don’t have a detrimental affect on the clutch (measured by what is called it’s “stop time index”). This is often to do with there molecular shape which gives them a positive or negative friction-speed curve.

Bike oils are different in many unexpected ways such as increased anti-foaming additives but also an additive or inherent property can do double duty and not be listed under the expected heading - for example true synthetic is already less prone to foaming and requires less attention in that area or calcium additives affect clutch take up because they have a side effect in boundary friction.

So yes, bike oils are better in bikes.
Nobody is saying your bike will immediately explode, but if I had to drag race two identical high mileage bikes for money - I’d choose Quantum’s bike over an “oil-is-oil” one.
 

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Discussion Starter #55
... My friend used some Arco Graphite and when he was doing a high speed run the graphite was burning hotter and it melted the apex seals, ...I think Racing Beat had the same issue and recommened just standard Dino oil.
I never really thought about it before but I wonder if that was made worse by the centrifugal action of those big rotors?
In the same way that a medical centrifuge separates blood cells from plasma by spinning and forcing the heavier solids to the outside - the rotors might concentrate the heavier graphite out of the lighter oil at the contact points causing it to build up (plus unknown effects of spraying the lubricant).

I’m sure Dave already knows but to avoid confusion for readers, Arco Graphite was a conventional oil with graphite added and not a synthetic - so “standard Dino” in this case means without the graphite rather than “not synth”.
 

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One more question...how can one distinguish a true synthetic oil from one that's not? Particularly motorcycle oils.
 

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Discussion Starter #57
One more question...how can one distinguish a true synthetic oil from one that's not? Particularly motorcycle oils.
Unfortunately that isn’t easy at the consumer level if you are in the US.

In Europe an oil described as “fully synthetic” must be fully synthetic and derived from group iv stock (ie no ancient cockroach legs because it was made by chemical process).

Group iii such as Rotella (which isn’t marketed here) would be labelled “HC synthesis” because it is severe hydroracked (HC) dyno oil. Then there are semi synthetic which are a blend of synth and dyno (or HC dyno)

European standards are generally higher across the board and favour consumer protection.

But in the US the US the oil industry lobby is very powerful and got the courts to agree that “fully synthetic” was a marketing term with no real meaning or definition - which meant the SAE technical definition has to be deleted (so they had to delete a technical definition because an oil company said it didn’t exist)

iIt was a big and historic legal battle to prevent one companies technical advance from giving them an advantage in the market and everybody has been stuck with it ever since.

All you can do is look for group iv base stock in technical comments about the oil, not group iii or HC/hydrocracked (severe heat treatment to break it down and drive off impurities).
Unfortunately the bottle and advertising don’t really tell you anything on your side of the pond (intentionally).
 

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Thanks for that explanation. I'm going to go one step further, and if you're not comfortable answering just say so and I'll understand. Do you know any specific MC oils that are fully synthetic, by the technical definition?
 

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Discussion Starter #59 (Edited)
Somebody else might be able to answer that better than me as I’m not up to date on recent US stuff.

I think Royal Purple “max cycle”, Amsol (except XL) Mobil SuperSyn, Motul 300 V, and Redline.

I should have said:
1. all oils have a “Safety Data Sheet” (SD) that is publicly available and this will give you clues as to what the oil is made of/if it is true synthetic.

2. Look for “PAO” in oil blurb as this means its a group iv fully synth (or part of it is)

3. Group v also fully synth and that includes the esters and similar types of base (or part of it is)

some oils contain combinations (iv + v remains fully synth, iii + iv would be semi-synth)
 

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Most of the SDS and PDS sheets I've looked at (which is not a lot, but probably representative) are somewhat cryptic, using vague language and wording.

The Motul 300V seems to be highly regarded. It is labeled as a Racing Oil, and some have posited that because of that it contains few (no?) detergents and therefore not particularly suited for normal oil-change interval street use. Old wives tale?
 
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