Why Synthetic Oil?

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See also: When can I change to synthetic oil? and Preferred Brands

Is synthetic oil really all that great?

Synthetic oils have better resistance to thermal breakdown than petroleum-based oils, which is important in small-displacement, high-revving engines like ours; synths work almost as well under high heat as when relatively cool, while fossil oils can thin out unacceptably.

There are more advantages. Synthetic oil has better residual properties; it clings to engine components better than fossil oils (more cohesive), which means cold clutch plates are less likely to stick. Synth oils get to cold engine parts faster than fossil oils, which means less damage at startup. And because of the better synth cohesive properties, those components that don't get fully lubricated during the first few seconds after startup (while pressure is established) will suffer less frictional wear. Synthetic oils also maintain their viscosity more effectively over time, and under different engine loads. Ultimately, synthetic oils just lubricate better.

Once your engine is broken in, a good quality synthetic will offer superior engine protection, especially under high load or in high heat applications. The only problem with synthetic oil comes during break-in. Use standard oil until roughly 3500 miles.

Full synthetic shouldn't be confused with semi-synthetic oils, which are part standard oil and part synthetic base oil. If you're going to use synthetic, go with full synthetic.

Race synthetic oils that promise to increase HP are something to be wary of. Yes, they work, but they are designed to be drained and replaced after each race. This is not good for the street, and continued use of race synthetics without constant changing will be worse for your engine than regular dinosaur oil. If you change oil after every ride and feel you need an extra HP, then this may be for you.