Joined: Feb 2012
The SynLube Affair - synthetic oils in MC's (warning: only for anal-retentive types)
been doing some research into synthetic engine oils which included a rather interesting email exchange with one of the SynLub Lube-4-Life
fellas. clearly there is some bias here as he only trusts vehicles with 6 wheels - 4 on the ground, 1 in the trunk and one in the drivers hands, as he puts it.
still, he brings some rather interesting comments and data to the table. see for yourself...
i have an '07 DR650SE and became interested in your products after some
as far as i can tell, SynLube should be fine in an air cooled bike
engine with a wet clutch, but please let me know if this is not the case
also wondering if you have oil filters available for this engine and, if
not, could you recommend some high quality filter companies that offer
SynLube (sends 3 replies):
SynLube reduces friction by 60% so it is not suitable for use where now over 20 years obsolete API oil categories are necessary for use like in bikes that have certified useful life of only 30,000 km (18,000 miles) (CLASS 3), they are basically designed to be disposable and have the worst possible lube system design with total disregard for tribological knowledge available for last 50 years - that is one fluid is used for everything which is esentially a poor design, so the use of oil that you DO NOT CHANGE would be of absolutely no benefit, and only low cost oil and filter changed as often as you can (even every 500 miles or 50 hours or less of operation) will make slight difference in useful life.
In your case the bike is already past the design life of 5 years, if not by mileage also, so just do what ever you have done as it apparently worked for you.
Perhaps the only cost effective investment would be the installation of FILTER MAGNET (see MAGNETS) on our web, at least that way the wear materials will be trapped in the oil filter and not cause a secondary wear. The filter magnets are by filter diameter most likely yours is about 2 to 2.5 inches diameter.
The UNIMAG covers 100% of the filter diameter the FILTERMAG 50%,
To match the oil filter we would need FRAM or AC equivalent part number as no technical data is released by SUZUKI for any of their products.
According to above it is as simple model as was legally possible in 2007 MY, i.e. no emission control, catalyst or EFI.
So I would think it does not have spin on filter or even a pressure lubrication, thus even the use of the magnet is not possible.
Just use cheap oil and change it often that is about all you can do!
API SE or lower quality is probably the best as any oil with friction modifiers will adversely affect the clutch.
see www.api.org for API Oil Ratings if you do not know what they are.
Since such oils are not made for about 26 years for Automotive application due to their technological obsolescence (they would damage modern engines with OBD II systems), you just have to look for "specialty" motorcycle oils that are obsolete oils repackaged in fancy bottles and sold at premium because they are no longer produced by any major oil company, but some independents sometimes have such low quality batches available due to production glitches.
hi Miro - thanks for the information you've sent!
re: the DR650SE...
the filter is an internal cartridge type. K&N part...
almost all bikes (if not every single one) have a 'single chamber' case, if you will, using the same oil for trans and engine. some will have a dry clutch and some wet which, again, uses the engine oil.
as far as engine longevity, from personal experience and reading what others have to say, the 18,000 mi. service limit seems very conservative. guys are typically going well beyond 25,000 mi. with normal oil consumption, and in at least some cases exceeding 50K and 70K mi. many street bikes can and do go much further (30K on my personal KZ750 and never touched the engine and it ran like new when sold)
Suzuki is not the best quality manufacturer of motorcycles, granted, but the DR/DR-Z line are well established with a very long track record and a huge number of fans
by the way, mine has 766 mi. which is why i'm interested in lubrication - if it had over 10K or so i wouldn't care about the oil so much and certainly wouldn't be considering running a super quality syn
i very much appreciate you taking the time to help me and provide documentation and, especially, for being honest about the use of SynLube in a bike. in the end i think i'll probably run Amsoil which, to my knowledge, is pretty good oil
if you have any suggestions for high quality filter manufactures, i'm all ears (just brand names i mean - i don't expect you to cross-reference for me). i'm interested in micro/synthetic fiber media that will trap the really small stuff
thanks much for furthering my education!!! i'm not usually overly anal about my vehicles, but i like to research lubricants and filters since they are a big key to longevity
Use of any Synthetic oil in your application is just total waste of money, frequent oil changes is the only thing you can do, and about 500 miles or 50 hours would be optimal.
We have many customers with bikes like Harley and BMW where the engine oil is separate, and they do indeed last "longer" but the fact is that no motorcycle manufacturer that sells bikes in USA has EVER certified any longer than for the MINIMUM for class III bikes which is 30,000 km =18,000 mi "useful life".
I would think is anyone would want to establish "superiority" they could certify them for longer life but they do NOT !
Engine designers thing of bike engines a candles that burn bright and fast, and with the exception of very expensive exotic cars no one in the automotive consumer business would stay in business very long if they made engines for cars to the same specifications, i.e. incredible HP from minimal displacement and minimum component weight - even racing engines that only last about 50 hours on average are made more robust!
Currently we do not have any bike fleets, but few years ago we had BMW Police bikes from NY State and they only kept them 25,000 miles or about 6 months, as if they tried to keep them any longer the resale value was next to nothing at auction, so the lowest cost was to them with frequent trade-ins. Engine had separate oil. And they ran them without any oil changes and with the spin on MicroGlass filter and TWO RA300 magnets.
We still have one customer than bought one Police BMW at auction and found about the "black oil" that was in it and has been using SynLube ever since he now has 73K miles (no oil changes but it burns about 1 L ever 3,000 miles), and all the Harley customers we have usually need expensive engine work by 50K that costs more than the value of the bike at that time, they also ALL without exception have oil leaks.
I personally do not trust anything that does not have 6 wheels (4 on the ground, a spare and one in my hand), but I do have extensive experience with HONDA horizontal twins as they were used in the AN/AZ 600 cars in USA. (But DRY CLUTCH was used due to the fact the car was 1275 lbs, wet clutch just would not last more than few weeks. Or one day in San Francisco as they found out the hard way before they changed it for USA.
SO changing the oil and the filter is the only magic you can do, as NO lubricant is designed to do all that happens to it in single fill engine case where metals of at least 4 different types end up as wear, clutch linings, synchro bits, lot lot lot of fuels (due to carburetor and blow by) and thus trying to use any oil for even 2,500 miles is beyond its capabilities, especially in air cooled unit with accidental cooling where the NORMAL oil temperature will be about 320 F on the oil, in automotive application anything over 265 F is engine failure time if petroleum is used.
At 300 F you have about 2 hours of "lube" life and at 320 F about 1/2 of that, that is just chemical fact that oxidation rate doubles for every 15F increase in temperature and NORMAL for cars is 190 to 220 F.
One reason there are no API certification for motorcycle oils, they just can not survive even the shortest engine test designed for automotive applications which are FAR MORE easier on the lubricant (temperature and contamination).
Too cold is perhaps even worse for wear and anything under 170 F is problematic since anti wear additives do not work at temperatures below that.
SO air cooled engine is in reality only happy for about 15 minutes between being TOO COLD and TOO HOT.
PS: to my knowledge no one makes cartridge filters for bikes that are not made from paper (cellulose) as there just is no market for it since almost every engine uses different filter and thus only hand full of companies even bother to make such filters even in paper version.
PS: We do have SAE 5W-40 non colloidal Motor Oil for "OLD" diesels, that does not have the anti friction additives, it is capable of operation at 500 F. Few people used it in HONDA GoldWing with no problems, but that engine being Water Cooled and more like a car on two wheels does not stress the oil as much as what your application does.
Lube-4-Life® for Engines (motor oil)
• NON-COLOIDAL Version •
(Initial & Add) •
SAE 5W-40 • 1 Liter
Price is per Liter and includes shipping. That would NOT make the clutch slip. The oil would definitely outlast your bike, but you would still have to change the oil filters at least every 3 months. Since that takes more time than draining the oil, then unless you are really fanatic about your bike, it would not save you any time or money in the long run comparing to frequent oil changes with low quality petroleum oil.
there's a couple points i'd like to make regarding the information you've provided...
"useful life" - you mentioned "class 3" for motorcycles and i didn't really understand what this referred to. i just happened to be reading my manual and found this information in a section titled "emission control warranty". so the first point is that the 5 year/18K mi. "useful life" figures appear under a section having to do with emissions and i wonder how, or even 'if', these figures actually apply to real-world, mechanical service life. if the implication is that the useful mechanical life of a motorcycle engine is 5 years/18K mi., whichever comes first, this is simply completely silly and, therefore, i am inclined to believe these figures are influenced by politics having to do with emissions rather than real-world, mechanical service life and i think this can be supported by the following...
1) motorcycles are simply not scrapped after 5 years/18K mi.
2) it appears the majority of used bikes on the market are older than 5 years and, at the very least, many of them are older than 5 years.
3) there are countless instances of motorcycle engines lasting well beyond 5 years and 18K mi. without major engine repairs. in fact this seems to be the norm, not the exception, including from my own experience
the point here is that real-world data simply doesn't support an average mechanical service life of 5 years or 18,000 mi.
this is from a dealer that sells MC parts. it happens to be specific to the Suzuki DR650, but i don't think there's much doubt, at least not by MC riders, that it can be applied to motorcycles in general...
--- quote ---
Q: How long would it take to wear out a DR 650?
How many miles does the average DR650 last as far as everything goes? I recently found a 2005 for $2500 with 11,000 miles on it. I know they are pretty bulletproof but I just want to be sure I am buying something that will last.
A: We don't see anybody wearing them out. There are lots of guys around with more than 50K miles on them. Most folks don't get to ride enough to wear any motorcycle out!
--- end quote ---
further supporting that the 5 yr/18K mi. figures are tied to politics rather than the real-world is a document from the EPA titled "Summary and Analysis of Comments: Control of Emissions from Highway Motorcycles"
--- quote ---
3.2 Class III Useful Life
What We Proposed:
Useful life is the period over which a manufacturer must demonstrate the effectiveness of the emission control system. The current useful life for Class III motorcycles is 5 years or 30,000km, whichever occurs first. Based on usage data supplied by an industry trade organization, we estimated that the average operating life of highway motorcycles is well above our current useful life definition. We requested comment on, but did not propose, extending the useful life by up to10,000 km to reflect a value more consistent with actual use.
What Commenters Said:
MIC opposed a longer useful life for Class III motorcycles for three reasons. First, a longer useful life is not consistent with the stated goal of harmonizing with the California standards, and that a longer useful life would result in greater catalyst usage to meet the federal standards than would be required in California. Second, increased useful life isn’t consistent with usage patterns of smaller Class III motorcycles. Finally, MIC commented that a 40,000 km useful life in based on the projected accumulated distance at 10 years, a point at which 34 percent of vehicles have already been retired from service. MIC stated that since motorcycles don’t stay in service as long a passenger cars, it isn’t equitable to define the useful life of both types of vehicles at the same, 10-year age.
Harley-Davidson opposes any changes to the Class III useful life. Harley-Davidson stated that California considered and rejected an increased useful life requirement in its December 1998emission regulations. Extending the useful life would defeat the goal of harmonization with California and undermine manufacturers’ efforts to meet those regulations. Harley-Davidson also commented that what little data exists on usage does not support an increased useful life and suggests that annual per motorcycle usage is less than 4,200 km. Finally, Harley-Davidson commented that while riders are increasing the miles they ride each year on highway motorcycles, multiple motorcycle ownership is also increasing, meaning that total vehicle miles are being spread over more motorcycles
--- end quote ---
regarding oil temperature, i did some research on this and it appears average oil temperatures for motorcycle engines are well below the 300+ F figure you mention, so i'm a bit curious as to where you got this figure. if that figure is for head temps, it would make sense, but not for oil according to what i'm seeing, which seems to be around the low to mid 200 F range...
lastly, i would agree that MC engines present a far more hostile environment for engine oil than cars. what doesn't make sense to me is why you would state that using synthetic oil is simply a waste of money under these conditions when this seems to be exactly the environment that synthetic oils were designed for - high load, high temperature applications where resistance to breakdown is superior to petroleum based oils. it seems to me you'd want to give these engines extra protection, not less, especially if high temps are an issue since synthetic can help lower them
so... in the end...
Great Research so now I guess you understand it.
Point is that under CLEAN AIR ACT it is the vehicle manufacturer that has to demonstrate the "useful life" (like Harley did) and then warranty the emission system for the "useful life" - or be subject to $5,000 per vehicle fine in case of motorcycle.
There is also one time in a life exemption for "custom bikes"
There is nothing in the regulations that PROHIBITS any manufaturer to demonstrate LONGER useful life and certify their vehicle for LONGER, as I suggested I believe that would be great marketing opportunity that you can legally advertise (as per FTC.gov regulations), but bike sales are so miniscule that no MFG even considers it.
I did mention to you that I have small association with HONDA and even mentioned that to them way way back, and their response was that 50% of the HONDA 600 cars were in junk yards after 36,000 miles = THE REASON GIVEN: It is really a motorcycle engine put into as minicar - their data not mine, so indeed it proved the "short" life, but still that was DOUBLE of the certification minimum for CLASS 3 bikes, which being lighter than 1275 lbs in theory sould last even longer.
Same reason Ferrari is certified for 2 years ro 25,000 miles, as average wner drives it only 2,500 miles annually - there may be few who do more, but it is very rare. All modern Ferrari are glued together - yes really and dow that supplied the structural adhesive has life for it of 7 to 9 years - yet people that spend $$$$ for such car have some dilusion that it will last "forever" and will be collector item etc.
Not when it comes unglued 10 years later !!!
The bottom line is that manufacturers have sucessfully convinced NHTSA and CARB with engineering data, market syrveys and such from RL POLK and JD POWER that indeed 5 year and 18,000 miles (30,000km is the actual legal language just to confuse people) is adequate service/useful life for such vehicles.
And when you use and recomend oil in such application that can and has been demonstrated to damage modern (after 1996) automotive engine, you are more or less assuring that long life will not be the case, etc.
See (API SA) on oue web in publications section.
See SynLube on youtube:
See SynLube latest website addition:
SynLube's Automotive BLACK LIST
See our latest Press Releases:
SynLube PRICE LIST is on our web:
i dropped the conversation at this point as he never really addressed any of the points i made in my last reply.
i DO give him credit in that he didn't act like a typical salesman and try and push the produce down my throat, but either his logic is flawed or i'm not understanding what he's trying to get across - seems to me that in a harsh operating environment like an MC, you'd want extra protection, not less, especially where high heat can be a problem, yet he kept insisting that synthetic is useless in this application.
viseGrip screwed with this post 03-19-2012 at 05:09 PM