Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-32-0505
2020-01-24

Developing High-Performance Motorcycle Oils 2019-32-0505

Published motorcycle lubricant research often focuses on developments to meet certain specifications, regulatory requirements, or a combination of the two. Seemingly missing from the literature is research where the primary goal is development of a lubricant that enables maximum torque, power and acceleration from a machine for the purpose of winning races. The present study combines the two areas of research, where a high-performance motorcycle engine oil platform is developed to be used in competition, while simultaneously meeting the necessary regulations and specifications to be useful for commuters and leisure riders alike. Well-known are the demands on a motorcycle oil, which must lubricate and protect the crankcase, clutch and gears, all of which have competing requirements such that a strategy to improve the performance in one area can cause a detriment in another. Formulating for racing engines that are typically much more powerful than production versions further exacerbates these dichotomies, where the traditional strategies for gaining power through the lubricant of reducing viscosity or adding friction-reducing chemistries can leave the clutch and gears open to severe damage. To meet these competing demands, a novel additive system with unique anti-wear and friction modifier chemistries was introduced to ensure clutch and gear protection while simultaneously improving power output and minimizing deleterious effects to aftertreatment devices. Further, the oils were designed to withstand the higher temperatures, speeds and power densities found in high performance machines through improved antioxidants, base stocks and shear-stable polymers, which also provide durability across the oil drain interval for leisure riders and commuters alike. Through a combination of performance bench testing, engine dynamometer testing and field testing on the track, it was demonstrated that substantial power gains can be achieved while still maintaining hardware protection, thus achieving the goal of a high-performance racing oil that is also suitable for everyday use.

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