It was a COLD winter morning in the winter of 2016! How cold of a morning? It was -10F. That COLD! So, why am I just now telling you what happened last winter? Let’s go back to that cold day. I was out, working in the shop, and the heater was set at 50 degrees. Now, that may sound cold to most of you, but when the weather stays so cold for a long period of time, 50 degrees is actually comfortable (at least to me). I had a TIG welding class that day and a student asked what was covered up outside the front door of the Brew Shop. It was an oil delivery from Spectro. When I left the night before it was dark and I just plain forgot to bring it in. The student asked, what does leaving it in the cold do to oil? I started telling him how it would be very thick and that the oil would be as thick as molasses in a cold motorcycle engine.
Now, we started chatting about motorcycle oil vs. automobile oil, and then synthetic vs. non-synthetic oils. I know people say I use this car oil and mine doesn’t have any problems. But, you know, motorcycle oils are made for air-cooled, high revving performance engines. I know someone that brought a tail light for me to put on his bike. It was a beautiful piece of workmanship and cost him over $300 plus shipping. Yet, the same person would not spend the extra money for oil made for motorcycles. I just don’t get it. I love working on engines and making them go faster. I have been building my own race engines for 43 years and am now packing to head to Bonneville to race an engine I built. A few extra dollars on the oil makes sense to me.
Oh, back to the story about that cold winter morning. The student asked how thick the oil really is and I thought it would be great to see for myself. The delivery from Spectro included two cases of oil, both 10w40. One case was synthetic and the other non-synthetic. The student (let’s just call him Bob), Bob asked if there was any difference between the two on how thick they would be. I thought for a minute and said, “Well, there shouldn’t be, they are both 10w40.”
At that time, I noticed a mason jar in the front window, and yes, it was empty! So, I took this empty Mason jar and asked Bob to time how long it took to fill it to the top with the oil. I had some oil already in the shop, which again was 50F degrees and I still didn’t want to go out and get THAT COLD, so, we tested these first. The non-synthetic I poured first and it took 5.20 seconds. Next, I poured the synthetic and it timed out at 3.90 seconds. Same make oil, only one was synthetic and the other was non-synthetic. So yes, there was a difference which surprised me. But I still was thinking the times to pour out the oils at -10F degrees would be close.
As I went out to get the other two cases of oil left out all night, the bag the delivery man put them in was now covered with snow and ice. I kicked and beat at it and it finally came loose and I brought it in to the now seemingly HOT 50F shop! The first -10F degree oil was the conventional, non-synthetic, 10w40. It took so long to pour out! A whopping 23.50 seconds to be exact. Then, it was time to test the synthetic 10w40. It only took 11.75 seconds.
What a HUGE difference! Back to why I am just now telling you what happened. Soon, the nights will get cooler and then cooler days. After seeing these results, what oil are you thinking about running? I now use synthetic for all seasons, in all my bikes. I think it is worth the few extra bucks. You?
Till next time,
BREW Bikes LLC