Michael Bilokonsky grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He went on to study physical education at West Virginia University, with the hopes of becoming a teacher and football coach. Upon graduation, Bilokonsky realized there were no positions available in his area. Ever the optimist, he took a position as a mega logistics company nearby. He learned the ropes and quickly became an expert in logistics. After just a few years, Bilokonsky founded his own freight company, Whitehorse Freight, in 2015. In his free time, Bilokonsky is a passionate motorcycle enthusiast who enjoys riding his Harley Davidson on the open road.
In order to keep his bike in top shape, Bilokonsky is careful with his maintenance routine. One of the key upkeep tasks for him is keeping engine oil fresh and perfectly tuned to his vehicle. It’s important to note that motorcycle engines run faster and hotter than car engines. That’s why you should never use engine oil designed for cars. Instead, pick something that is specifically made to make your bike run at its best.
Types of Oil
There are three types of engine oils to choose from, each coming with its own set of pros and cons. Choosing the right fit for your bike will depend on its specifications, the manufacturer’s recommendation, as well as your own driving style.
Mineral oils are actually direct by-products from petroleum, making them one of the least expensive options on the market. But that does not make them lesser. In fact, mineral oil is a great choice for low-capacity engines. Mineral oils are often recommended for the first few miles of your new bike, but are also used in vintage engines. Some manufacturers even add friction modifiers to mineral oil, allowing your engine to run as smoothly as possible.
The main drawback of a mineral oil is that it doesn’t last quite as long as its synthetic counterparts. You will likely find yourself changing your bike’s oil if you choose this option.
Ideal for medium-sized engines, the semi-synthetic oil is designed to offer riders the best of both worlds. Semi-synthetic oils are a mix of the high performance of a synthetic oil and the natural, engine cleaning mineral oil. Because it is a blend, semi-synthetic oils are cheaper than their fully synthetic cousins and also last longer than mineral oils alone.
Semi-synthetic oils are great for riders who like to push their bikes occasionally but aren’t looking for the highest performing materials required for racing or the track.
Fully synthetic oils are man-made compounds created by combining various chemicals for the ideal finished product. Synthetic oils can handle the hottest and coldest of weather and can take a beating when it comes to performance. If having the highest-end bike with the most power is your game, then synthetic oils are probably the best choice for you.
Synthetic oils are the costliest option, but certainly make up for it in shelf-life. You’ll also find that you won’t have to change the oil as often.
What to Consider
When you’re looking at what types and brands of engine oil to purchase for your bike, you should take a moment to consider your needs and your bike’s specifications, says Bilokonsky.
Viscosity is what determines how slowly or quickly the oil flows in the engine. A lower viscosity oil will mean more lubrication in the engine while a higher viscosity will move slower, offering increased power between the engine parts.
Each bike should come with a recommendation in the owner’s manual for what works best.
Almost all engine oils on the market today come with additives. They shouldn’t make up more than five percent of the final product, but do offer some great performance boosts. They can also help cool the engine as it works, offering a longer lifespan.
The grade of your engine oil determines how viscous it will be in different types of weather. You will often see grades expressed in numbers with a W in between, standing for winter. Choosing the appropriate grade for your bike will ensure it runs smoothly in all kinds of weather.