Choosing the right oil: Synthetic oil – what is it?

What is synthetic motorcycle oil?

There are basically two types of synthetic base oil used in synthetic motorcycle oils.

The most common is the Group 3 – which are a really a super refined mineral (also called hydrocracked), the commonest being XHVI, which is made by Shell and promoted by them as a synthetic, as they are a very big company, and XHVI is a lot cheaper than a Group 1 (proper) synthetic, most folk go along with them!

The proper Group 1 synthetics are man made blends of PAO’s (polyalphaolefins) and Esters, being specified for stability and lubricity.

All modern motorcycle oil has some synthetic content to enable it to meet any of the specs denoted by the groups of letters written in small print on the back of the bottle (if not there, put it back you really don’t want it!).
Most specs can be met by a semi synthetic oil ( a semi synthetic is a mix of mineral and synthetic oils).
The real test is, does the oil still meet the spec when it is drained out at the end of it’s service life!
Think about this, because I guarantee you never have before, will the oil you are pouring into your engine still meet the required spec when you take it out?
A simple check anyone can do is to look at it, smell it and feel it! If it is black and yucky, smells burnt and feels not at all oily then you are damaging your engine! Simple!
It should look much the same as when you put it in, a bit darker with the combustion byproducts held in suspension, but still smelling like oil and still oily on your fingers.

Please wear gloves or wash your hands immediately, as used oil is one of the most carcinogenic things known to man – and FFS don’t drink/taste it!!

If your oil is failing you, then you must do one of three things, either:
a) buy better oil
b) change it more often
or
c) ride a lot slower.

A better oil is usually cheaper than twice as much cheap oil and extra filters!

How do I know if I have a good oil? is the label on the front a good guide?
The basic truth is that, if it is in a gold / silver / green bottle it is good and if it is in a blue bottle it is not good and not fit for your mower!! Simples!!

Source: If we told you he’d have to kill us!

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