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#2745502 - 09/16/12 12:45 PM Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil
HDxr1200 Offline


Registered: 09/16/12
Posts: 6
Loc: MI
I’ve recently purchased a Harley sportster XR1200 (oil cooler+ oil cooled heads) and I changed the oil for the first time and used mobil1 20w-50 oil. Within a couple miles the valvetrain started getting louder, soon that sound turned into “marles rattling around in the heads “ sound. I understand that there is more valvetrain noise in the evo engine but this was unacceptable. After checking out the net, I found that this excessive noise is a common complaint of using M1 in a pushrod evulution engine.

Being a sucker for sales pitches from net, I ordered Royal purple Max for Vtwins, because I was told it was good at keeping the HD pushrod valve train chatter at a minimum and it was synthetic. While I waited I put in some regular (cheap) penzoil 20w-50 dino automotive oil- and to my surprise the valve clatter became much softer under an engine load. It was great to ride!


I recieved the RP and after about 70 miles the valvetrain has gotten louder (not as loud as M1, but louder than the cheap pennziol 20w50), nevertheless- it getting close to my ‘annoyed threshold”.

So I ask, is there an conventional oil that proctects the Evo engine decently, but offers a quiet vavletrain?

Option 1 : drain a quart of RP out and add a conventional 50W- kinda like blend?

Option 2 : Stick with a non-synthetic oil: which is the quietest?

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#2745505 - 09/16/12 12:48 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
tribocessive Offline


Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 277
Loc: bay area california
doesn't everybody want an oil that will make your harley louder?
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#2745547 - 09/16/12 02:08 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
NHGUY Offline


Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3306
Loc: USA
Dont let the color of oil make your mind up for you....that purple color goes away in short order.Then you just have "Royal"..

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#2745549 - 09/16/12 02:10 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
psychodoc Offline


Registered: 10/17/11
Posts: 5
Loc: Vermont
Congrats on the Sportster. It remains the more enjoyable bike to ride for me.I only use Castrol GTX 20W50 in the Sporty and have never had any issues. I have had this bike for 24 years and have ran the same oil since day one. The Dyna gets Castrol but in synthetic 20W50. No valvetrain noise from either one.
Hope this helps.
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#2745610 - 09/16/12 04:13 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
Robenstein Offline


Registered: 12/23/09
Posts: 3123
Loc: Central IA
Honestly, i would worry less about noise and more about wear numbers. And as far as those go Kendall GT1 20w50 and Valvoline VR1 (dino and syn) both show EXCELLENT wear numbers and are very low cost oils. Id say if you want synthetic, try the VR1 Syn (its a pretty royal blue LOL)but if you go dyno the dino VR1 or the Kendall GT1 are excellent choices.
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#2745634 - 09/16/12 04:44 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
Roadkingnc Offline


Registered: 07/16/11
Posts: 589
Loc: NC USA
VR-1 50 wt above 60 degrees is the quietest in my big twin, 15w50 m1 is what I usually run and put up with the noise. No noise until I changed cams, now noise only at certian rpm ranges.

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#2745726 - 09/16/12 06:12 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 6630
Loc: Texas
Years ago I went Redline in my Harleys...and never looked back. Their V-Twin line of motor, trans and primary fluids are second to none and I've tried them all.

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#2745749 - 09/16/12 06:46 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
Errtt Offline


Registered: 11/14/10
Posts: 2121
Loc: California
I gone from Harley oil to Amsoil and the Amsoil is what I been using. 20w-50
But I have about 2 more years left of Amsoil stash, and may try the VR1 after my Amsoil stock runs out. Read some good things about it for UOAs

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#2746840 - 09/17/12 07:43 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
GT Mike Offline


Registered: 12/27/03
Posts: 752
Loc: Oshkosh, WI
Schaeffer's #707 Supreme V-Twin is what I used in my Sporty. '06 XL1200L. Never had any abnormal valvetrain noise, but even watching some YouTube videos on the XR, it seems like they do have a more pronounced noise to them. I personally wouldn't let it bother me. Might have something to do with the cam grind, etc. I also remember reading about the oil coolers not getting all their air out of them when the bike was first prepped for delivery, and once the cooler thermostat opened, the bike was roughly a quart low on oil. Always check oil level hot.
A friend's XL883 has a noticeable valvetrain noise as well, and it's been clackety-clacking along just fine. She has it serviced at the dealer, and probably uses Syn3, based on how much they push it.

I almost (and I do mean almost... I was in the sales office ready to pull the trigger) bought a leftover '10 XR1200, but at the very last second decided not to since it was late in the season, and I figured why buy it then pay to insure and store it for the winter months. Come springtime I himmed and hawed some more about it, and finally decided to go a totally different direction, and bought a used, super low mileage 2003 V-Rod. I couldn't be happier.
It's a shame H-D pulled the plug on the XR1200x... I have a friend that races them professionally and she really likes them. Not as fast as the metric liter bikes, but apples and oranges.

Visit www.xlforum.net for the best resource on the Sportsters (including the XR and Buell). I learned tons there when I had mine.

Like I said though, I wouldn't let a little valvetrain noise worry me. Just run a good oil and filter, change it regularly, and pay attention to noises that seem to change or get louder. Only then would I get concerned.


Edited by GT Mike (09/17/12 07:45 PM)
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#2748186 - 09/19/12 10:07 AM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
RISUPERCREWMAN Offline


Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 668
Loc: RHODE ISLAND
Recently I had the 5K service performed on my 2012 FLHX Street Glide. I had been running Spectro Platinum 2W-50 Full Synthetic & was getting the marbles in valvetrain noise with that oil. At the service I had them put in the Harley Syn-3 synthetic & the noise virtually went away! I have found my new oil! Less noise to me equals less wear!


Edited by RISUPERCREWMAN (09/19/12 10:09 AM)
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#2748331 - 09/19/12 01:26 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: RISUPERCREWMAN]
fxrider Offline


Registered: 06/09/09
Posts: 818
Loc: Wyoming
Valvoline VR1 20W50 is a better choice at half the cost cool

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#2748700 - 09/19/12 07:02 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: RISUPERCREWMAN]
GMBoy Offline


Registered: 11/22/04
Posts: 6630
Loc: Texas
Originally Posted By: RISUPERCREWMAN
Recently I had the 5K service performed on my 2012 FLHX Street Glide. I had been running Spectro Platinum 2W-50 Full Synthetic & was getting the marbles in valvetrain noise with that oil. At the service I had them put in the Harley Syn-3 synthetic & the noise virtually went away! I have found my new oil! Less noise to me equals less wear!


Syn 3 is garbage. Overpriced for what you get.

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#2748780 - 09/19/12 08:10 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: GMBoy]
Robenstein Offline


Registered: 12/23/09
Posts: 3123
Loc: Central IA
Originally Posted By: GMBoy
Originally Posted By: RISUPERCREWMAN
Recently I had the 5K service performed on my 2012 FLHX Street Glide. I had been running Spectro Platinum 2W-50 Full Synthetic & was getting the marbles in valvetrain noise with that oil. At the service I had them put in the Harley Syn-3 synthetic & the noise virtually went away! I have found my new oil! Less noise to me equals less wear!


Syn 3 is garbage. Overpriced for what you get.



Its not garbage, but it is not a good value. Plus there are the politics involved since if I recall its a Citgo made product and Citgo = Venezuela = Hugo Chavez. But yes, the UOA's on here show that VR1 and Kendall GT1 20w50 put Syn3 to shame for about 4 bucks per quart.
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2011 Triumph Speedmaster
1986 Chevy Monte Carlo SS
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2006 Scion TC

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#2748925 - 09/19/12 11:03 PM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
HDxr1200 Offline


Registered: 09/16/12
Posts: 6
Loc: MI
I tried this concoction out: one part Kendall GT1 20w-50 (dino), another part 50w (dino). The valve train noise is actually significantly more softer now.

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#2749109 - 09/20/12 08:09 AM Re: Harley/ motorcycle oil guys - quietest motor oil [Re: HDxr1200]
Doog Offline


Registered: 10/24/11
Posts: 3440
Loc: Ohio
Try some Brad Penn racing oil (20w50). Look them up on the web and find your local distributor. You will like it. It is dino but as robust as synthetic and your engine will run quiet. BTW, your vt noise is normal.

http://www.penngrade1.com/


Edited by Doog (09/20/12 08:10 AM)
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