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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Although written about boats, I think it lends itself well to use on motorcycles. (Actually boat engines operate under much higher stress than cars or motorcycles) This article on synthetic oils precisely states my view of the value of the product. I am sure there will be detractors but there is certainly a sound logic to the stated opinions.

http://www.passagemaker.com/channels/are-synthetic-engine-oils-right-for-your-boat/
 

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To be honest, the advantage for bikes and cars is usually much better than for boats. It isn't just a huge reduction in engine wear, which is and has been measured between semi and fully syn oil, but the extra power and economy is measurable too. All these advantages will vary depending on the type of engine and type of riding owners do but the one thing that is certain is that it works in all engines. We tested engines to destruction in my old R&D dept and fully syn was so good at protecting the engines we had to switch to semi syn oil to make any impact on destroying the engines. Oil film strength on fully syn goes up over semi syn by anywhere between 60% to 100% or more. Here in the UK fully syn is often the same price as semi syn. Just don't use it before your bike has covered 6k miles or more. It's so good at stopping engine wear that it prevents the engine running in and conforming process taking place on new bike engines. That's different to cars by the way which often come with fully syn oil in from new. Car engine use different engine materials and different honing processes that enable fully syn to be used from new.
 

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Synthetics are often a waste of money. I watched a fleet of livery vehicles wind up huge miles (over 300,000 was common!) on whatever oil the company could get cheapest by the drum!
 

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Synthetics are often a waste of money. I watched a fleet of livery vehicles wind up huge miles (over 300,000 was common!) on whatever oil the company could get cheapest by the drum!
I agree but with a slightly different twist. Whether it is a car, truck, motorcycle or scooter, a properly maintained engine will usually outlast the rest of the vehicle. By the time the engine needs work, the owner has already gotten rid of the vehicle or wants to do so. The money saved by not using synthetic makes a good down payment on the next one.
 

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This might tick some people off, but, to me, there's another factor. I have owned motorcycles for over 50 years and one of the pleasures I get is caring for my machine (currently a 2006 Burgman 650) as part of the hobby. I enjoy keeping it as clean as possible, I enjoy the process of maintaining it, and I get satisfaction that I am giving it the very best lubricants. I've found, also, that it pays off when it comes time to sell it. I keep meticulous records which I always show the prospective buyer. In several instances, my friends who know I use synthetic lubes and know how picky I am with keeping it serviced, have told me to let them know when I intend to sell it. Simply put, there's the enjoyment factor that I get from maintaining my machines (cars, tractors, mowers, leaf blowers, etc.) using the very best parts and lubes. Just sayin'.
 

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You know Jim, I'm with you on this. I love the whole process too. But there is also another way to look at it. When using fully synthetic oils the engine always runs more efficiently due to friction modifiers in the oil. It not only liberates more power but more economy too. Power is usually up by around 3-4% more with fully syn over semi or dino oil. This is proven and I've witnessed it on dyno testing we've done on all sorts of bikes. Plus of course, you have the knowledge you have reduced engine wear to as close as possible to zero! Over this side of the pond (uk) fully syn oil is about the same price or only a little extra on some brands than semi syn oil so it's a no brainer.
 

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I've used pure synthetics in my Honda cars for over 31 years with never a problem. I used to run it for anywhere between 7,000 and 14,000 miles between oil changes, mostly about 10,000 miles. My last Honda had 16 years and 250,000 miles on it and ran like a top, the rest of the car was rusting beyond repair.

The thing about synthetic is that it works and you don't have to worry if you miss an oil change like you would using regular oil.

With my older Honda, I had to slow the idle down when I changed it to synthetic.
 

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You know Jim, I'm with you on this. I love the whole process too. But there is also another way to look at it. When using fully synthetic oils the engine always runs more efficiently due to friction modifiers in the oil. It not only liberates more power but more economy too. Power is usually up by around 3-4% more with fully syn over semi or dino oil. This is proven and I've witnessed it on dyno testing we've done on all sorts of bikes. Plus of course, you have the knowledge you have reduced engine wear to as close as possible to zero! Over this side of the pond (uk) fully syn oil is about the same price or only a little extra on some brands than semi syn oil so it's a no brainer.
I switched to fully syn oil back in 2005. Use it in my cars and trucks. Switched to syn in one of my motorcycles this year (my Burgman). I still use Rotella dino oil in my V-Strom though because so many have had clutch slippage problems on the V-Stroms with syn oils. I just change the oil in the V-Strom more often to make up for the dino oil.

It is somewhat puzzling to me that dino and syn oils cost the same in the British Isles. We have a large price difference here in the USA. I am accustomed to the idea that you guys have to pay more over there for things. Strange that oil cost is just the reverse. Is that because dino oil has a high cost in England and Europe or some other reason?

Doug from Kentucky
 

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The thing that worries me with these longer oil change intervals is, synthetics clean better, so aren't you running dirty engine oil longer? I've always used synthetic in 2-strokes but just haven't tried it yet in any of my 4-strokes.
 

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I've used pure synthetics in my Honda cars for over 31 years with never a problem. I used to run it for anywhere between 7,000 and 14,000 miles between oil changes, mostly about 10,000 miles. My last Honda had 16 years and 250,000 miles on it and ran like a top, the rest of the car was rusting beyond repair.

The thing about synthetic is that it works and you don't have to worry if you miss an oil change like you would using regular oil.

With my older Honda, I had to slow the idle down when I changed it to synthetic.
Hi Steven, yes that's not too uncommon to have to slow the idle down after switching to fully syn oil. Of course you don't have to do that on our Burgmans because it's automatic idle control.

Doug, I admit you have to shop around a little to find fully syn at the same price as semi syn but it's out there in abundance here in the Uk. Very cheap. Not sure why there might be that big difference though with many brands. Generally, we pay much more for everything concerning car, motorcycles, fuel etc etc.

Mike33, my current car goes 30,000 miles on fully synthetic oil in between changes or every two years, whichever comes first. My car has only 16k miles on the clock at the moment but my last one I did over 200,000 miles in 5 years with no problems. I sold it to a friend who has covered another 70,000 miles with no issues. The oil does go black but the colour is not an indicator of the oil needing changing with these synthetic oils. Many european makes now go 2 years or 30,000 miles between changes. My bikes that I've had all ran fully syn oil but I tended to change it at near normal oil change times due to the fact I used to commute shorter journeys and it hammers the oil whether fully syn or semi syn.
 

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The thing that worries me with these longer oil change intervals is, synthetics clean better, so aren't you running dirty engine oil longer? I've always used synthetic in 2-strokes but just haven't tried it yet in any of my 4-strokes.
I change oil because it gets dirty. I don't think dirt knows whether it is in dino or synthetic oil. If I used synthetic, I would still change it at the same interval. I've used dino for over 50 years without a problem. I don't know what I would gain by using synthetic except for higher oil costs. But keep in mind that I seldom keep a vehicle much over 200,000 miles and they still run great when they leave me.
 

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It is all about how well the oils stay in "grade" and capture the dirt and suspend it. Dirty oil is NOT always BAD oil. The cheapest made oil that is getting black may be bad twice as soon before a premium oil is solid black. Real well made oils will suspend the dirt and crud and will never allow it to touch the bearing or cranks surface. Just changing oil cus its color is black is not always a good thing but heck its your money and it will not hurt anything. But if I do an oil change interval at 3000 miles, I will use the CHEAPEST oil I can find. I use a better grade oil so 5000 to 7500 miles between changes. Your bike, your money, your choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Whether it is a car, truck, motorcycle or scooter, a properly maintained engine will usually outlast the rest of the vehicle. By the time the engine needs work, the owner has already gotten rid of the vehicle or wants to do so.
I totally agree with osbornk's above quote. Yes, synthetic may yield a "little" more MPG and power and it may make the engine last a "little" longer. But weighing cost vs benefit makes this a false economy. Unless you are going to run much longer oil change cycles it will be wasted money.

I don't think I have ever read of a single Burgman 650 that's engine just wore out from use. Yes, some break but I haven't seen any of these that point back to just plain old wear that a better oil might of prevented.

How about this - if a Burgman dealer could offer you a set of tires that were guaranteed would last to 1,000,000 miles on the original cycle for $5000. Would you buy them? He says it is a GREAT DEAL! In a million miles you will spend at least $20,000 on tires. Hey, you are saving $15,000!

Is this a good deal?

Now in the above substitute synthetic oil for tires and you have about the same situation we are discussing. :)

I know - this is just my opinion................
 

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I totally agree with osbornk's above quote. Yes, synthetic may yield a "little" more MPG and power and it may make the engine last a "little" longer. But weighing cost vs benefit makes this a false economy. Unless you are going to run much longer oil change cycles it will be wasted money.
Not if the bike is a 'keeper'. It's not just the extra power, mpg's etc, but you get some extra added safeguard against catastrophic failure at high engine speeds. The engine components are proven to run cooler in critical areas due to reduced friction and better flow. Most engines run a little quieter too with fully syn oil and require fewer valve clearance adjustments. If you like to ride hard then that's another bonus. Engine wear is as close as you can get to zero with fully syn oil. As Dave says, it wraps up the dirt and carbon in the oil much better than semi and prevents it wearing the engine. Oil film strength with fully syn is up to 100% stronger varying to 60% stronger in some bearings than semi syn. It stays in grade much longer too so you can go much longer in between changes as the oil companies will tell you. In fact at our R & D we had several engines being tested to destruction and found fully syn oils to give better than 60% more engine life in our type of engine being tested. It may vary from engine to engine a little but that's a good rule of thumb. That makes them overwhelmingly the best oils to use for anyone as any extra cost is offset by the payback in extra engine life and performance, economy and longer in between oil changes. It's all proven but each of us has to make their own decision based upon what they want to do with their bikes. If only keeping it for a year or two then semi is ok I guess.
 

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Not if the bike is a 'keeper'. It's not just the extra power, mpg's etc, but you get some extra added safeguard against catastrophic failure at high engine speeds.
I have never heard of a 650 having catastrophic engine failure or even one wearing out. Anyway, catastrophic engine failure is usually associated with broken parts (rod breakage, timing chain breakage, etc.) that is not related to an oil issue. The only motorcycle engines I have ever heard of being worn out and in need of rebuilding are abused dirt or racing bikes.
 
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