The 2018 World Enduro GP kicked off with a bang a few weeks back in Finland through icy and snow-covered conditions. This video wraps up all the action from a very chilly Helsinki. Hope they had hand warmers!

International stars and local heroes take out Farm Jam 2018, cementing its place as the best freestyle event in NZ

Oil is one of those subjects that you’d think is as simple as tying your shoelaces. But in reality, there’s a lot more going on with the golden good stuff we put in our engines than at face value.

Words: Mat Pic: iStock

Unless you’re running an electric bike, your bike’s engine will be filled with oil to lubricate the internal workings. That means pretty much all of us have some exposure to the stuff, but not all of us understand the finer details of oil beyond what the manufacturer of our bike says to put in the filler hole. So what is the deal with oil and why is it a lot more complicated than we give it credit for?

What is oil’s purpose?

Oil isn’t only about lubrication, it’s also there to reduce noise, wear on the engine and even temperature control. That’s a lot of functions for a simple product that looks like golden syrup! With all those differing functions, it is important to keep your oil in tip top shape, so make sure you stick to the recommended oil change frequency to make sure it’s doing its job to the best of its ability.

Those Numbers

One of the first things you’ll notice about a bottle of oil in your local shop is that there are different grades of oil as displayed with a number followed by a W followed by another number. One of the most common grades you’ll see is 10W-40, but what does that mean exactly?

Well, it’s all about viscosity with the first number representing for the oil’s cold viscosity, or how thick the oil is when the engine is cold. The lower the number, the better the cold starting efficiency of the oil is. The W after all stands for Winter. So in theory a 5W oil is better at getting around the oil galleries of your engine on a cold morning than a 10W. But what about the 40? That stands for the viscosity at 100 degrees, as the oil is a multi-grade oil. The reason we get oils with multiple grades is that back in the old days, oil used to come as a single viscosity. This meant that in winter you had to change your oil to a thinner viscosity to aid with cold starts, then change your oil again in summer to keep the oil viscosity within the specs the engine was designed for. What a pain!

 Synthetic, Semi-Synthetic and Mineral Oils

On top of the difference in viscosity, oil also comes in different varieties ranging from mineral oil through to man-made synthetic oil and even varieties that bridge the gap between the two. It’s all confusing stuff, but when it comes to your engine, you only want to put the best stuff in it to keep it going for longer. Generally, (and take this with a pinch of salt) a synthetic oil is the best protection for your engine as all of the molecules are engineered to be the same structure and offer more uniform protection than a mineral oil which has more varying molecular structure. With that said, your bike’s manufacturer will likely have a preferred type of oil with which they have engineered the engine for, so it’s always best to check your owner’s manual before forking out on expensive fully synthetic oil.

Bike Oil vs Car Oil

Even though the viscosity numbers can be identical, you don’t want to cheap out and use a run of the mill car oil in your bike. There are multiple reasons for this, but the most important is that a car oil isn’t designed for an engine that shares its oil with the gearbox. Instead, it is designed to have as little friction as possible in order to increase fuel economy for the heavy four wheelers. Bike oils conversely have less friction modification than a car oil and require balanced friction characteristics between lubricating the wet clutch, which in turn transfers engine power to the drivetrain, and lubricating the rest of the powerplant. So, if you run a car oil in your bike, you will likely find that your clutch is much less effective which will make you slower!

 

OIL FAQs

Is it safe to mix different brands of oil?

In short, it is perfectly safe to mix different brands of oil, the trick is to try and make sure that the oil is of the same viscosity that your engine is designed for. While there are obvious benefits to running one type of oil, if you’ve got to mix and match to get to your destination there’s no major harm in doing so.

Which oil should I use?

How long is a piece of string? Depending on a number of factors we could give a number of answers to this. The safest bet is to pull out your owner’s handbook and read up the section on servicing. Your bike’s engine has been designed with specific tolerances in mind, so best stick to what it was designed for to ensure you get the most life out of your motor.

Should I change my oil more often than the manufacturer’s oil change guidelines?

There’s certainly no harm in changing your oil more often, and in fact racers will change their oil after every meeting to make sure their bike’s engine is getting the maximum out of its oil. If you’re not a racer, you might consider changing your oil more frequently if you do lots of cold starts, high revving city journeys, or even if it has been stored for a while. That last one is important as oil will degrade whether you use your bike or not.

How long can oil be stored for?

Generally an oil manufacturer guarantees oil for three years after manufacture, but some can still retain their oily goodness for up to five. So, if you’re of the sort who likes to do their own oil changes, there’s no harm in stocking up if there’s a good deal on at the local bike shop.

SOLID RESULT FROM TEAM NEW ZEALAND IN THE UK

Tauranga’s Josiah Natzke, the top rider for Team New Zealand in Sunday’s B final, where he finished third overall. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

It was a courageous effort, but Team New Zealand could not quite repeat a top-20 result at the weekend’s 71st annual Motocross of Nations in the United Kingdom.

After failing during preliminary qualifying to earn direct entry to Sunday’s main event, the Kiwi trio – Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper, Takaka’s Hamish Harwood and Tauranga’s Josiah Natzke – were obliged to race the B Final race first thing on Sunday morning.

This was a “must win” race and, early on, with just two of the three results to be counted, it looked as if they might succeed.

However, even with Natzke finishing third and Harwood seventh, and the Kiwis discarding Cooper’s 14th placing, it wasn’t quite enough to edge out the solid finish of the Slovakian team.

Slovakia was therefore granted a start in Sunday afternoon’s main races (where they eventually finished 19th overall of the 38 nations represented) and Team New Zealand packed up early for the long trip home.

“The word I’d like to use right now you can’t really publish,” said Team New Zealand manager Bevan Weal, of Taupo.

“It’s extremely frustrating, but that’s the way of things with this sport sometimes. It is gut-wrenching to miss out on direct qualification by just one point, Russia outscoring us by just one position on the track. Then to miss out on winning the B Final by just four points from Slovakia … well, it’s depressing.

“It was a case of close but yet so far, and so far away from home too. 

“We had some really good mud riders, but even they were struggling in these conditions today. We’ll be back. Kiwis don’t give up.

 “I want to make a special mention of our sponsors – including Battle of the Clubs, Taupo; Crown Kiwi; Artistic Media and Motorcycling New Zealand – and the whole New Zealand motocross community, without whom we could never have attempted this.”

Team France won the event outright, making it a fourth consecutive year that they have taken away the coveted Chamberlain Trophy.

Runners-up were the men from the Netherlands, with host country Great Britain claiming the third step on the podium.

The Motocross of Nations will be staged at the Red Bud circuit, near Chicago, in the United States next year. 

Final MXoN standings 2017: France 1st; Netherlands 2nd; Great Britain 3rd; Belgium 4th; Switzerland 5th; Australia 6th; Italy 7th; Estonia 8th; USA 9th; Sweden 10th. New Zealand was credited with 21st overall.

Ten weeks after the Dakar Rally, Monster Energy Honda Team returns to face the 2017 season due to culminate with the Dakar 2018.

The Monster Energy Honda Team, almost in its entirety, will kick off the 2017 campaign next week with the same strategy used last season: while one part of the team is in action in Mexico, the other riders will be simultaneously competing in the World Championship in the Middle East.

Monster Energy Honda Team’s American rider Ricky Brabec is poised to participate in the Sonora Rally in México, a four-day event where riders will have to tackle nearly 1000 kilometres of racing. The Californian currently leads the American Hare & Hound competition after having completed the event’s first two rounds. Brabec, the current champion, will face the Sonora well-armed with the Honda CRF450 RALLY and accompanying roadbook. The race gets underway from Puerto Peñasco on Tuesday 21st March.

Team-mate Joan Barreda was also scheduled to line up for the event, but the Spaniard was injured while training before the race, requiring surgery to his right collarbone and will now miss the action. Barreda should be back in competition in less than a month.

“It is time for the Monster Energy Honda team to get back into racing after the Dakar 2017, says team general manager Martino Bianchi. The Sonora Rally in Mexico will be quite important to continue our program of testing and the heavy sand and dunes of the course will be quite demanding and interesting for all participants. In a couple of week’s time we will also start the first race of the FIM World Championship Cross Country Rally, where we can see Kevin Benavides and Paulo Gonçalves in action. For Kevin this will be the first race back after the injury, an important test to check the state of his hand. For Paulo, the Cross Country Rally races are always interesting and it’s useful too in order to maintain the level of fitness of the competitors.”

Benavides and Gonçalves in Abu Dhabi

Argentine Kevin Benavides (above) is all set to start the season after injury prevented him joining the Dakar Rally in January. The rider from Salta had an accident in Chile a fortnight before the 2017 Dakar Rally and missed the event entirely. Benavides underwent an operation involving the internal fixation of various right-hand fractures (osteosynthesis) and Kirchner wires. After two months recovering in a cast, Kevin began rehabilitation and physiotherapy in an attempt to regain full movement of the joints. Early in March, Benavides was back in the saddle of the Honda CRF450 Rally and back in training for what will be his first shot at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, which takes place from 1st to 7th of April.

Alongside Kevin Benavides in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge will be Portuguese rider Paulo Gonçalves – sixth place overall finisher in the Dakar this year – who will also participate in each round of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The Portuguese rider claimed the title of the 2013 edition of the World Championship, finished runner-up in 2014 and took the bronze medal in 2015.