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Motorcycle engine oil ingredients

Four stroke motorcycle engine oils with a manual transmission share the same oil between the engine and the gearbox. Furthermore, most manual transmission motorcycles have wet clutches - they are cooled and lubricated with the same oil as the engine and the transmission.  

There are additional challenges that a lubricating oil must overcome in a motorcycle, including a low volume of oil, high temperatures, high specific power, high average RPM, and so high component stresses. As well as these challenges, as cities across the world look to reduce air pollution, motorcycles are coming under increasing scrutiny, with new regulations adopted to curb emissions. 
oil going into a motorcycle engine

Friction modifiers for manual transmission motorcycles 

In passenger cars, low viscosity engine oils are used to provide low drag to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Low viscosity oils have poorer film forming properties and so in passenger cars, friction modifiers are used to reduce metal-on-metal friction and wear. 

In a motorcycle, lower viscosity oils are not generally used because the oil must also lubricate the transmission. Transmissions need thicker, more viscous oils with good film forming properties in order to limit gear wear and increase durability.  

The “feel” of bike and how the clutch engages is also very important. In the clutch, a high friction environment is desirable to prevent slippage and poor feel. The same engine oil is used to lubricate the clutch and so friction modifiers can negatively affect the clutch friction in a motorcycle, by reducing it too much and causing the clutch to slip. Therefore, friction modifiers are not generally used in wet-clutch motorbikes. 

There is a need for friction modifiers that reduce engine drag and increase fuel economy even in a high viscosity engine oil. 

Marketing sheet: Perfad 3500 series

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Perfad™ 3500 Series Friction Modifiers

Croda has developed a range of products, the Perfad™ 3500 Series, that help overcome the challenges in formulating next generation engine oils for four stroke, manual transmission, wet clutch motorcycles. Perfad 3500 series products reduce friction within the engine but minimise changes to clutch friction, maintaining the JASO grade and so clutch feel and rider enjoyment. 

Watch the presentation to learn more about global motorcycle emission regulations and an introduction to the Perfad 3500 series, including test data. 
 

Friction test data

Steel/steel friction reduction using MTM: 50% slide roll ratio

JASO T903 Clutch Friction Test on SAE#2 Test Rig

  JASO grade
Premium 15W50 Motorcycle Engine Oil -
manufacturer's performance classification
 
MA2
 Croda Control (JASO T903: 2016) MA2
 + 0.5% Perfad 3570 MA2
 +1% Perfad 3571 MA2
 +1% Perfad 3575 MA2
 +1% Perfad 3576 MA2

Friction data summary

  • Significantly reduced steel-steel friction when top-treated into a premium grade 15W50 motorcycle engine oil that has been specifically formulated for wet clutch applications. 
  • The JASO T903 standard demonstrates that there is no significant loss in friction of the treated oil versus the control condition and maintains the JASO grade.
  • Contact us for more information and data in more motorcycle engine oils.

Engine test data

Fuel consumption test results

Max Power and Torque Results

Tested on a 150cc Japanese OEM motorcycle with wet clutch. Rider commented that no clutch slippage was evident with any of the samples

Sample  Max power/kW  Max torque/ Nm
 5W40 MA Engine Oil  19.39  16.66
 +0.5% Perfad 3570  19.54 (+0.8%)  16.72 (+0.4%)
 +1% Perfad 3570  19.57(+1.0%)  16.73 (+0.4%)
 +0.5% Perfad 3571  19.66 (+1.4%)  16.76 (+0.6%)
 +1% Perfad 3571  19.32 (-0.3%)  16.77 (+0.6%)

Engine test data summary

  • We tested fuel consumption in a 110cc Honda Wave motorcycle with wet clutch on a rolling road
  • The 0W30 MA2 engine oil was top treated with Perfad 3971
  • A reduction in fuel consumption of 0.23% was measured
  • We demonstrate an increase in power and torque with Perfad 3570 and 3571 in a 150cc Japanese OEM motorcycle with wet clutch
  • The 5W40 MA racing oil was top-treated with Perfad 3570 and 3571 at 1% and 0.5% w/w.

Testing solubility of Perfad 3500

Many formulated oils can be top-treated with Perfad 3500 series products without issue.

In rare cases the product may not be completely soluble, however this can usually be solved by re-formulating the lubricant.
 
Watch the video for a demonstration of how to perform a brief solubility test.

Recommended products

Perfad™ 3570

Perfad™ 3570

Perfad 3570 is a polymeric organic friction modifier particularly suited for use in four stroke motorcycle engine oils.

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