Automotive engine oils often contain viscosity modifiers and lubricity additives that help increase the efficiency of a car’s engine. Engine oils are becoming a vital tool for automotive engineers to help them meet fuel efficiency and emissions requirements. In a motorcycle, engine oil performs a much different, and typically more difficult job. Motorcycle engines typically have a smaller sump than automotive engines so their oil volume is smaller. Motorcycles run at higher RPM than automobile engines (sometimes double) and higher operating temperatures. Smaller volume, high RPM use and high temperature can put significantly more strain on the oil, far more than in an automotive application.
Many motorcycles utilize a wet clutch system where the engine, transmission and clutch all share the same lubricant. Viscosity modifiers and lubricity agents that increase efficiency in an automotive application can damage or destroy a wet clutch. The gears in a motorcycle transmission can shear apart an automotive engine oil that leans on viscosity modifiers as these can become fragile when hot. Motorcycle engine oils are specifically engineered for use in wet clutch systems where the drive system is dependent on effective clutch actuation and where gear sets need to be properly lubricated.
Finally, motorcycle engine oils typically have a different viscosity profile than automotive engine oils because they need to be thin when cold, for easier starting and cold flow, and thick when hot to maintain adequate film strength. Users should always consult their owners manual and use engine oil with the proper viscosity and industry approval specifications for their bike. Quicksilver motorcycle engine oils are formulated with high viscosity index base stocks so they can withstand heat, high RPM and resist shear in gearcases. Also, high viscosity index base stocks mean Quicksilver motorcycle oils do not have to use viscosity modifiers, which are more prone to shear when hot or under heavy stress. Quicksilver motorcycle oils meet the latest JASO requirements for motorcycle engine oils, something automotive engine oils cannot claim, and have blends to meet motorcycle manufacturer’s recommendations for engine oil for nearly every bike on the market.