Performance and Technical
information about engine motor oil for your high performance motorcycle.
If you own a new, or fairly new vehicle, to keep your warranty valid you must
use an oil that meets the manufacturer's specifications. Virtually all well known motor
oils exceed warranty requirements for US, European, and Japanese motorcycles. But
what about the other letters and symbols you find on the bottle, such as API, SJ, SH, CF,
CG-4? Or SAE 5W-30?
API stands for the American Petroleum Institute, which publish standards
high quality oils must meet.
SJ was adopted in 1996 and covers oils used in gasoline engines in
current and earlier passenger cars, sport utility vehicles, vans and light trucks operated
under vehicle manufacturers' recommended maintenance procedures. SJ oils may be used where
SH and earlier categories have been recommended.
SH applies to gasoline engines in cars, vans and light trucks and
indicates that the oil provides improved control of engine deposits, oil oxidization, and
engine wear compared to earlier oils. It also provides protection against rust and
CF was adopted in 1994 for use in indirect injected off-road diesel
engines that use a broad range of fuels, including those with a high sulfur content. It
offers effective control of piston deposits, wear and corrosion of the copper-coated
bearings used in this type of engine.
CF-2 is formulated for use in two-stroke diesel engines requiring highly
effective control over cylinder and ring-face scuffing and deposits.
CF-4 covers oils for use in high-speed, four-stroke diesel engines. They
are designed for use in on-highway, heavy-duty truck applications.
CG-4 describes oils for use in high-speed, four-stroke diesel engines,
and is suitable for both highway and off-road applications. They provide effective control
of high temperature piston deposits, wear, corrosion, foaming, oxidation stability and
soot accumulation. These oils are especially effective in engines required to meet 1994
SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers. Motor oils have SAE
grades, or numbers that indicate viscosity. In other words, the SAE numbers tell you the
"thickness" of the oil. The lower the number, the "thinner" the oil.
W signifies its winter rating, showing that it will perform well in
particularly cold weather.
When you buy oil, or have it changed, be sure not only to pick the right API rating for
your engine, but ask for the SAE viscosity recommended in your owner's manual. Normally,
manufacturers recommend multi-viscosity grades, which are suitable for use over a wide
Today, motorcycle manufacturers usually specify SAE 20W-50 oil. This
will give excellent protection in virtually all parts of the US.