The most common debate amongst riders is between using synthetic versus mineral oil. Riders on performance bikes will typically choose synthetic oils because traditional mineral oils won’t provide the protection they need. However, it goes beyond simply choosing between synthetic or mineral-based oils. Using the correct grade (viscosity) that is recommended for your motorcycle will provide you with optimum performance and protection.
A concern for oils amongst performance riders, is that their oil tends to sheer (viscosity breakdown) more quickly due to high temperatures. If your oil is not designed to handle higher running temperatures to increase viscosity retention, the viscosity could change (also known as sheering your oil). Once your oil viscosity changes, it may no longer offer the same protection that your motorcycle engine needs. A mineral oil often doesn’t have the formulation to protect a performance bike. It’s not able to handle high temperatures as well. Mineral oil will often peak out in terms of protection versus the synthetic will allow a wider range of performance. Unless you have an older motorcycle, synthetic oils will provide the best protection for performance bikes.
The first thing you should look for when choosing a high-performance synthetic motor oil is a brand name that is trusted and revered in the motorcycle industry. Saving money by going with an unproven or untested oil could cost you in the end. You want to look for the JASO grade that the motorcycle manufacturer recommends.
There are four JASO certifications and choosing the correct one for your particular model is critical. Currently, the highest JASO classification is MA2 which is backwards compatible to MA. So if your motorcycle manufacturer recommends a MA certification, you can utilize an oil with a MA2 classification. If you happen to also own a performance motorcycle that has an older or well-used clutch, a MA2 classification will be the best choice for grip.