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I was doing a bit of research re oils for my 99 900ss ie track bike... manual says 20w50... all well and good. Then I found this discussion on another forum.

Just thought some may find it an interesting read. In particular this comment

"No, for those with a 20W-50 designation by Ducati, by all means run Mfg recommendation.. Mine says 10W-40 and for those whose manual says 10W-40....... (however, methinks this 20W-50 recent recommendation changge is related to Shell's Ducati racing sponsorship and Shell's not making a 10W-40 full synthetic motorcycle oil... Woops, lets change that manual to read 20W-50 don't want to be recommending an oil our sponsor doesn't make!) "

Anyway here's the link

Thoughts?

All About Motor Oil according to George
 

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I think you’re absolutely right. It would be ridiculous to recommend an oil your sponsor doesn’t make. I’ve never been sold on 10-40 in a motorcycle engine anyway, especially when it’s also the transmission lube.
 

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shell have never made ultra 4 in 20w50 that i've known of. they made 10w40, and 15w50. at one point the shell motorcycle oil distributor in au stopped bringing in the 15w50 because they sold so little of it, but then ducati released a service bulletin saying you had to use 15w50 and they had to start importing it again. it took them a while - i bought the last of the 20 litre drums they had, and when i ran out they still didn't have any more in stock so i went to motul 7100 and use the 10w60 in everything pretty much.

i think 40 is too light as a hot weight in au - it can make them noisy when hot. we also had quite a few customers who went to motul and said they had a lot better gear shifting compared to the shell.

generally, if you're doing track work they say to use 10w60. i'd certainly use a something 60 in a tracked air cooled 2v motor - it'll get hot.
 

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Oil threads are always good for a laugh.

What temps do you normally run that bike in? What goals do you have, max hp, oil longevity or lowest engine wear.

Answer those and you can then pretty much pick your oil. But all things considered it's not going to matter a whole lot between 10W40 and 20W50. People always say if it's hot, go 20W50.

There's an engine tuner out there selling a "magical" horsepower oil additive that makes me laugh. All it does it drop the viscosity a couple notches to allow lower internal operating resistance, allowing for maybe 1 or 1.5 more hp on the dyno. Unfortunately, this magical oil additive makes the oil break down super fast so you need an oil change every race weekend or you wreck your engine, and then engine rebuilds are *required* once per year because for some reason your engine now gets "tired" after a half season of racing.

No wrong answers with oil choices, just know what you're picking and why.
 

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10W-60? How often do you change your oil? With the oil also lubricating the transmission the high molecular weight polymer coils added to improve viscosity are being shredded at much higher rate than in applications where transmission is not lubricated by the same oil as the engine. The bigger spread between the winter rating and summer rating the more polymer additives is needed. The polymer coils are bunched up in cold and unwind into linear shape in hot conditions to keep the viscosity at an acceptable rate and not allow the oil to become too thin. Low spread viscosity oils do not need or have a lot less of the polymer coils. The polymer coils start to shear as soon as you start the engine and the WS spread start to decrease. The rate of shearing if the oil also lubricate tranny is significantly higher.

So in effect when you pour the oil in, it's 10W-60, but as soon as you start riding the higher viscosity number starts to rapidly decrease in application where the gears in the tranny, that is being lubricated by the same oil as engine, start to shear the polymer coils. Why do you need 10W rating that is rated down to 0F when you can use 20W rated down to 32F? I'm sure it's a lot warmer than 32F when you ride so the viscosity of the oil is sufficient to lubricate on start up.

Don't take this the wrong way, just to something to think about.
 

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Well, after reading that thread you linked until I couldn’t read any more I now know more than I ever thought possible about oil. Too bad I won’t remember half of it tomorrow. I will in the future be making a more informed decision on the lubricant I buy. But they still didn’t answer my top question: Is it warm for me and tingly for her or the other way around ?
 

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10W-60? How often do you change your oil? With the oil also lubricating the transmission the high molecular weight polymer coils added to improve viscosity are being shredded at much higher rate than in applications where transmission is not lubricated by the same oil as the engine. The bigger spread between the winter rating and summer rating the more polymer additives is needed. The polymer coils are bunched up in cold and unwind into linear shape in hot conditions to keep the viscosity at an acceptable rate and not allow the oil to become too thin. Low spread viscosity oils do not need or have a lot less of the polymer coils. The polymer coils start to shear as soon as you start the engine and the WS spread start to decrease. The rate of shearing if the oil also lubricate tranny is significantly higher.

So in effect when you pour the oil in, it's 10W-60, but as soon as you start riding the higher viscosity number starts to rapidly decrease in application where the gears in the tranny, that is being lubricated by the same oil as engine, start to shear the polymer coils. Why do you need 10W rating that is rated down to 0F when you can use 20W rated down to 32F? I'm sure it's a lot warmer than 32F when you ride so the viscosity of the oil is sufficient to lubricate on start up.

Don't take this the wrong way, just to something to think about.
i won't take it the wrong way, but when you do this for a living the difference between desirable theory and practical reality has far more influence on what is used. points i'd make, in a rambling fashion.

two of the manufacturers i deal with - guzzi and mv - recommend the 10w60. guzzi does not have the issue of a gearbox chopping up the polymer additives. the mv does. in reality, most guzzi owners balk at the cost of the 10w60 anyway, and prefer the 3100 15w50.

in the same engine, would you say that it's not worth running a 10w60 as opposed to a 10w40 due to the extra damage to the 60's polymer chains? how long does it take for their additives to be effectively the same? do they deteriorate at the same rate? most importantly, what damage would you expect to see as a result?

20 cold weight does impact starting of some bikes here in winter. as such, i'd not use a cold weight heavier that 15, regardless of the theoretical recommendations. if a customer thinks there's a problem, regardless of the theory involved, there's a problem. often fixed at my cost because i should have known. i don't like that bit.

we used to use 10w40 ultra 4 in air cooled bikes that were noticeably noisier when hot that using the 15w50. so i won't use 40 as a hot weight.

motul make different/non expected weights in some oils. 7100 is 10w40, 10w50, 10w60 or 20w50. all the same price, so i use the 10w60. if they made a 15w50 i'd have a drum of that and a smaller amount of the 10w60.

i could recommend to people that they change oil twice a year to allow for temp variations and/or the theoretical considerations of the long term use of wide viscosity range oils (i understand that bit), but i'd be the only person in town doing that so i'd be looked upon as an arsehole trying to get more money out of customers. and lots of these owners are flat out seeing the reason to change oil even once a year. most of the bikes i work on are time based, not km in terms of servicing. and some will prefer to (well, will only) see me every two years.

some owners will do whatever i say. most think about the money and inconvenience side of it first. getting the bike to me for the work is often more of a hassle than anything else.

some of the 2v air cooled engines that are commuters will see quite wide temp variations, even in winter, over the course of one ride. in that instance, i see their oil requirements as far more extreme than a water cooled bike doing the same job. most owners wouldn't think their 620 commuter needs better oil than their 1098, but in reality it probably does.

if i could, i'd probably use penrite oil. locally made, they have some great stuff and the comparable top range oils are cheaper than motul. but some customers would scream and demand i drain it out (and probably give it a full engine rebuild) if i did that. it has little to do with actual reality, just perception and mob mentality. i actually had that happen when i put 7100 in a bike that had used ultra 4 all its life. owner was furious. the fact you couldn't, at the time, locally buy the 15w50 ultra 4 was a moot point on him.
 

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Fascinating, thanks for the links. Regarding Neo Magnets - just ordered a pair for my bikes. N-52 spec

"Regarding the temperature range of Neo magnets for use on our oil filters. Some of the higher quality Neo has a significantly higher temperature operating range, so keep an eye open for those magnets. As with engine oils, there are Neo's and then there are Neo's.
The magnetic field will reduce with elevated temps but the field is always there to some degree. Additionally, the metal surface of the oil filter can where the Neo is attached to will become magnetized by the Neo creating an excellent force field area. Once particles begin to collect in the area, they too become magnetized, enlarging the field area. With elevated temps the "reach" of the magnet decreases but does not turn off like a light switch. And as the oil is cooled, the magnet force field returns back to original levels. I have examined hundreds of oil filters that had Neo on their surfaces and in every case there is ferrous residue ranging from a small amount of paste to paste/chunks/clunks. i.e. there is always "something" there and that "something" is iron and steel. Any abrasives, especially ferrous, we can capture from the system is a win/win for our engine and transmission.
George Morrison, STLE CLS
"
 
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