Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Technical, Bike forums > Yamaha Tech

Yamaha Tech Originally the Yamaha XT600 Tech Forum, due to demand it now includes all Yamaha's technical / mechanical / repair / preparation questions.
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 26 Sep 2005
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Vännäs, Sweden
Posts: 58
"Motorcycle oil" a scam?


What´s the difference between a semisynthetic 10w-40 oil for a car engine and a semisynthetic 10w-40 oil for a motorcycle (XT) engine.

I´m beginning to suspect that they are basically the same fluid in two separate canisters, only the bike-one is much more expensive.

Am I right or wrong? Can I run my 1VJ on car oil instead?

(I´m gonna get hanged by the oil companies now for sure...)

Regards / RtS
Rikard the Swede
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Sep 2005
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 15
Hi car oil is for engine only not gearbox & clutch. If you use car oil you could end up with clutch problems or oil will have shorter working life as it is in gearbox
2005 TT600re
Reply With Quote
Old 26 Sep 2005
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 212

I have taken a more than healthy interst in this question and have conclude that for our bikes car oil is fine as long as fully synthetic is avoided.
Semi-synthetic car oil has never caused any of my bikes clutch slip problems over many tens of thousands of miles.

The usual reason given for needing to spend the extra and buy propper motorcycle oil is tha it contains a magic additive that better resists the shearing action of our gear boxes, but the following link seems to disprove this


Reply With Quote
Old 27 Sep 2005
KlausXT600's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 295
yamaha's owner manual says:
use SAE 20W40 SE-specification
nowadays SE is almost the worst you can buy.
so if you use SF or better you are always on the safe side, no matter what type of oil.
any mineral oil will do. of course it won't harm if you use high-tech oil (synt., semi-synt.), pressumed you have too much money in your wallet.
i use mineral car oil since more than 260 tkm on all of my bikes with no bad experience at all.

best regards
xt600.de / tech. dep.
Reply With Quote
Old 27 Sep 2005
Registered Users
HUBB regular
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: bristol, uk
Posts: 60
oils are made from a base oil improved with additives. the higher the "synthetic" claim, the more of the "base oil" is replaced by "harder" man made or improved fractions... therefore fully synth is fully man made / processed. this has naff all to do with "bike or car" applications. (and is instead looking for air release, shearing (from gears), heat, acid and base resistence (not an exhaustive list my any means) - the longer the oil remains in good condition, the longer it does its job. obviously this is important in highly tuned engines, (Race and high revving road).
my personal rule of thumb - if most of the time is speant below 8K (on bikes), use mineral, above use semi, if racing (not track days) use fully synth.

the clutch probs come from friction reduction additives that are added to car oils - these esters (i think) bond to the internal surfaces to provide another molecular layer of protection. If your bike has a wet clutch (one which runs in the engine oil) these additives bond to this as well, reducing the coefficient of friction of the clutch, (not what you want - causes slip).
Bike oils leave out this additive. that is the only difference (well, it was in the world leader oil firm i worked for). If you have a dry clutch (ducati's and all cars) this isn't an issue as the oil doesn't come in contact with it. a newer clutch is "rougher" so will resist it more. If you ride gently you will notice it less, BUT the damage is still done.

had a boss who owned a training school who proved this theory brilliently. 10 bikes, bulk car oil (despite advice!), all get a service, all need new clutchs due to excess slip within a week!

so, IMHO. for 99% of the bikes on this page there is no point buying anything more than mineral bike oil. change it often (when it needs it not when the book says!). Most important: Always keep it topped up (will make it last far longer as it has longer "recovery" when your engines working)

and no, the price difference is not justified.

gosh, rant, sorry! hope it answers the question though!


Reply With Quote
Old 27 Sep 2005
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: bizovac, croatia
Posts: 240
"I´m beginning to suspect that they are basically the same fluid in two separate canisters, only the bike-one is much more expensive."

In some cases this is realy a true! So do yourself a favour and obtain Motul or Silkolene semishynt ESTER based oil, so you can not miss! Unlike Motul and Silkolene, most of other synt oils are just MC oils, usualy used in automotive range.

Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

HU DVD Autumn Special!

Take 40% off Road Heroes Part 1 until October 31 only!

Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers Peter and Kay Forwood (193 countries two-up on a Harley); Dr. Greg Frazier (5 times RTW); Tiffany Coates (RTW solo female); and Rene Cormier (University of Gravel Roads).

The first in an exciting new series, Road Heroes features tales of adventure, joy and sheer terror by veteran travellers."Inspiring and hilarious!"

"I loved watching this DVD!"

"Lots of amazing stories and even more amazing photographs, it's great fun and very inspirational."

"Wonderful entertainment!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'HEROES' on your order when you checkout.

Renedian Adventures

Renedian Adventures

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 11:32.