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New Bullet oil question

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New Bullet oil question
Started at 07:27pm on the 4th January, 2018 by OldManBen
OldManBen Subject: New Bullet oil question
Hi All, I took delivery of a new 500 Bullet this week and was going to pick up some spares, so I checked the manual to find out what oil it takes (15w50) but also found that during the PDI of the bike the dealer has changed the oil for 10w40? I assume they did it because it works better in a colder climate? Either way, what oil should be in it? Thanks. Ben.
Posted: 07:27pm 4th January, 2018
Andy M Subject: New Bullet oil question
Either or. So long as its proper non-clutch slip motorcycle oil it'll work. No point buying expensive stuff either, you drop it out every 2500 miles so its not doing the sort of work a 8000 mile watercooled bike will cause. Andy
Posted: 08:18pm 4th January, 2018
OldManBen Subject: New Bullet oil question
Cool, thanks. I'll stick with the 10w40 then as its already in it and you can find it everywhere.
Posted: 08:27pm 4th January, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: New Bullet oil question
At risk of dredging up an age old argument. It doesn't have to be motorcycle specific oil. Nor will you find any manual that sitpulates a motorcycle specific oil, they just specify the grade and viscosity. The type of oil wont make your clutch slip. Compressed springs, glazed slipper plates/worn friction plates and notches baskets make clutches slip. New oil may make it more obvious but a slipping clutch was already on the way out.

I was running Morrisons 20w-50 diesel car oil in the primary of my bullet at one point. It slips more on ATF than it did on that.

I put over 70k miles on a GPZ500 running it on castrol GTX. I put halfords own brand car oil in my VFR750 and my wifes CB500s. No worries. Oil is oil. All available oil is of sufficiently high grade to put in a motorcycle engine. Worn clutches will slip regardless of what oil you put in them.

In answer to the original question. The dealer put 10w-40 in your bike because that's what he has a big drum of out the back. Not for any other reason. That'll be what he puts in every single bike that goes through his workshop regardless of what is supposed to be put in it because that's what motorcycle shops do. If you want your bike servicing according to the manual and you want everything doing on that service that is specified in the manual, the only way is to do it yourself. Take this from someone who paid through the nose for dealer servicing for 3 years on a brand new bike only to find the sparkplugs were rusty and almost seized in, the tappet covers had never been removed, the coolant was totally spent and the fork oil had never been changed when he did it himself.

Also in answer to your question. 10w-40 will work fine, especially in winter. It might burn a bit more of it than it would of a higher viscosity oil.

Dealer servicing on amotorcycle consists of dropping the oil, changing the oil filter. Looking at the air filter and saying "Ahh, it'll do." then filling it with oil from the big drum of semi synthetic 10w-40 out the back. Possibly tightening anything they find is obviously loose as they go past.

Or maybe I'm too cynical?
Posted: 11:04pm 4th January, 2018
Felix Subject: New Bullet oil question
I'm amused by such stuff as Harley Davidson Oil, Amsoil, Motul, Agip, and other exotically marketed oils. I've used GTX all my cars and bikes for over 40 years and the only slipping clutch was a souped up Ducati's dry clutch.
Posted: 11:24pm 4th January, 2018
Alan R Subject: New Bullet oil question
Hello Guys and Hi Stinkwheel--------So, "Oil is Oil" eh ??------ If only that were the case how much easier my Engineering life in the RN and Army would have been ( And British Railways for that matter----not forgetting the Aerospace industry either ).......In the following MoDspeak..OEP = Oil, Extreme Pressure.....OM = Oil, Mineral....... OMD = Oil, mineral, Detergent.......Whilst the numbers are NOT SAE ratings but refer to the BR Numbers ( Book of Reference ) where each individual oil, grease etc is individually catalogued and explained...The book is about as thick as an old-fashioned Bible and is constantly kept up to date within a Technical Library system....Some of you Ex-Military types may remember E.M.E.R.'s ??...........and it's applicable across the whole of NATO as well..... ENJOY !!
Posted: 01:07am 5th January, 2018
Leon Novello Subject: New Bullet oil question
Motorcycle oils have fewer or no friction modifiers, but usually more zinc/ZDDP/ phosphorous, for protection of extreme pressure metal to metal working areas. This stuff is dangerous to the environment and should be disposed of safely. Oil companies are reducing the amount of ZDDP because of this. I think ZDDP is still available in the old quantities in Classic-type motorcycle oils such as Penrite market. Synthetic and car oils are more" slippery", but will still work with a clutch in good condition. It is when there is a build-up of modifiers on the plates over time that the clutch might start to slip; sometimes this can work the other way and the plates will stick together. When running-in an engine, it is better to use an oil with no friction modifiers so the rings can bed- in properly in the shortest possible time.
Posted: 01:26am 5th January, 2018
Tim NZ Subject: New Bullet oil question
"When running-in an engine, it is better to use an oil with no friction modifiers so the rings can bed-in properly in the shortest possible time".

Running in; who does that???
Now-a-days it seems like most owners follow the 'Ride it like you stole it' process?
Posted: 01:47am 5th January, 2018
Andy M Subject: New Bullet oil question
This is a NEW bullet. A UCE. Stinkwheel is correct about the old iron tractor gearbox jobs, but this one has the clutch in the engine oil. Next you'll be on about samrat rockers and moving the splines round on the front brake! Andy
Posted: 06:34am 5th January, 2018
Alan R Subject: New Bullet oil question
Hi Guys---- just out of interest sake I had a look at the David Silvers site to see what oil they supply for my 1980's Honda XBR 500 ( A 500cc, single cylinder, Air-cooled, Unit Construction Engine with its' 5-speed gearbox and clutch all lubricated with the one oil ).....Admittedly there is an Overheard Cam but almost the same operating conditions as our new Bullet....OK, a world away in terms of performance but this enquiry was just out of interest.....anyway here it is}-----

On the back of the oil container you'll see the specifications listed as}---- JASO MA,... AND API 5G.

Here is the description regarding those specs.}-----

So the answer to the original question would appear to be}--- "Yes, that 10w-40 is perfectly ok providing it meets the original quality specs. found in the 15w-50"
Posted: 08:59am 5th January, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: New Bullet oil question
As above. I use bog standard car oil in my VFR750. A liquid cooled, V4, DOHC, unit construction sports bike with gear driven cams producing 100bhp and redlining at 12,000rpm. I ride it hard, bouncing it off the redline and sitting at three figure speeds for sustained periods. I change the oil every 9,000 miles. Specifically, I use halfords own brand 10w-40 semi synthetic oil since castrol GTX started getting more expensive and harder to come by in the correct viscosity. It doesn't have rockers and it's certainly been a while since I moved the splines round on the front brake...

There is a lot of sales hype about motorcycle oils and I'm convinced it's a scam. While yes, there are many different types of engine oil, for the purposes of the vast majority of motorcycle engines, it really doesn't matter as long as the viscosity is in the right ballpark.

From years of experience, I think the talk about friction modifiers damaging clutches is pretty much hearsay. Be interested in anyone who has directly experienced it? I've had a slipping clutch once when I topped up a bike with GTX magnatech but on further investigation, the friction plates were well below their service limit, the oil change just highlighted an already worn clutch.

The only oil I'd see as having significant benefits over their competition is the zero grade mobil 1. In extreme temperatures, this stuffs viscosity performance is amazing but will we see those temperature extremes? It should allow you to double the service interval. However, that's not getting rid of particulate matter so would you want to take a risk on a blocked filter?

Interestingly the XBR500 manual specifies 10w-40, API SG. I can pretty much garauntee you wont find oil with that low a spec. unless it's new old stock. A "New" bullet is probably getting close to the degree of mechanical sophistication of a 70's japanese bike.

Posted: 12:27pm 5th January, 2018
Alan R Subject: New Bullet oil question
Hi Guys----------I once tried that idea of moving the front brake spline...BAD was a disc brake !!LoL !!......Hi stinkwheel}--- Have you actually got an XBR500 manual then?? ( or access to one ?? ) as I haven't .... (hence me quoting from David Silvers site) .... and could certainly do with one..
Posted: 12:35pm 5th January, 2018
Alan R Subject: New Bullet oil question
Sorry, forgot to say}-----I wonder what oil RE are specifying for the new 650 twin ??...Like my XBR500 it also has an overhead cam and rockers...Back in the 1960's ( When I was more mechanically ignorant than I am now---) I inadvertently put a High Detergent oil in my mate's Vauxhall Cresta.......Boy, did that thing RATTLE !! ...... and so did I when he got hold of me !!
Posted: 12:46pm 5th January, 2018
stinkwheel Subject: New Bullet oil question
I don't have an XBR manual, I found a website with the specs listed. I suspected it would be SG because any other bikes I've had from that era specirfied the same (eg a GPZ500)

Yes, sticking high detergent oil in an older vehicle that hasn't had it before is a recipe for disaster. The classic was when people stole oil from the army and put it in theri banger. It scoured every bit of carbon from the engine and they'd land up smoking and clattering like a bag of spanners.

Again though, not really anything to do with the oil itself. The engine was already worn, the detergent just made this apparent.
Posted: 04:25pm 5th January, 2018
Alan R Subject: New Bullet oil question
Hi Guys------ This might help calm us all down a bit as Connie Francis sings}---- "Oil be with you in Apple Blossom time"
Posted: 03:21pm 8th January, 2018
Alan R Subject: New Bullet oil question
Posted: 03:21pm 8th January, 2018
ogri Subject: New Bullet oil question
OMG!!!!!! What is it with RE owners and OIL that has us all so vexed???!!!
Posted: 08:21pm 8th January, 2018
Leon Novello Subject: New Bullet oil question
Ogri: Probably the oily mess they have to clean up under the bike every day. The missus doesn`t approve of the motorcycle dripping oil on the carpet in the lounge room either.
Posted: 09:17pm 8th January, 2018
Jack the Lad Subject: New Bullet oil question
My EFI Bullet is still going strong at 31,000 miles using the manufacturer spec oil, changed no more frequently than the recommended 3750 mile intervals. No clutch or engine problems yet. It may or may not have been the same on cheaper car oil, but it's only a couple of litres a time, so why take the risk for such a trivial cost saving.
Posted: 07:26am 9th January, 2018
Presto Subject: New Bullet oil question
Orgi I don’t think it’s only Bullet owners who ask questions and get excited about oil. Most owners, of whatever machines, have a vested interest in using the ‘right’ grade/type. What I’ve never understood is why anyone would choose to ignore the manufacture’s recommendations! After all, who has more interest in the durability, reliability and consistent function of the engine than the makers? Also it’s a fair bet having designed the motor they will have a better idea than most of us which oil will be ‘right’ for their products. However, some aspects of an oil’s specification are more important than others, some will depend on the way we ride our bikes, where we ride, on the depth of our pockets, and our personal attachment to this or that oil producer. Anyway it’s always a favourite on this forum – and long may it continue!
Posted: 11:04am 9th January, 2018

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