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Ester based oils.... #1501518 06/17/09 07:14 AM
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EXC400rider Offline OP
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What is the benefit, or characteristics of ester based oils? Specifically when used in a motorcycle.

Is this just another form of marketing hype? or is there a benefit to ester based oil? And of course, what is Ester?

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: EXC400rider] #1501525 06/17/09 07:21 AM
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bepperb Offline
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In an air cooled engine you would benifit from their higher natural viscosity index. They have a slightly higher capacity for heat which would help there as well.

It really depends on the application. Not just the machine but the conditions it's used. Sorry, I don't know anything about KTM's except that the chain is on the wrong side.

Edit: So I see the chain is on the proper side. Shows how little I know about dirt bikes anymore. Anyway, on a water cooled bike I'm not sure the benifits are as good. A syn will give you better protection from overheating, less deposits. But any good oil will probably be fine. What weight does the bike call for?

Last edited by bepperb; 06/17/09 07:32 AM.

2004 Highlander 2.4
2011 Toyota Sienna 3.5
Recently Gone:
2006 Accord 2.4l K24A8
1993 Kawi EX 500
Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: EXC400rider] #1501527 06/17/09 07:22 AM
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addyguy Offline
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In a nutshell, Esters are 'polar' in nature - they 'stick' to metal very well, reducing start-up friction. Also, Esters have very high natural solvency, so they clean deposits and prevent them very well.


2010 Kia Soul 2U - 2.0L I-4, auto; 148k miles.
Castrol GTX HM 5W-30, STP blue bottle; Fram TG 9688.

2009 Pontiac G5 - 2.2 I-4, auto, 121k miles.
Oil/filter TBD
Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: bepperb] #1501533 06/17/09 07:29 AM
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Johnny Offline
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 Originally Posted By: bepperb
In an air cooled engine you would benifit from their higher natural viscosity index. They have a slightly higher capacity for heat which would help there as well.

It really depends on the application. Not just the machine but the conditions it's used. Sorry, I don't know anything about KTM's except that the chain is on the wrong side.


Did you read something between the lines that I did not see. Where did KTM's come from.

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: Johnny] #1501542 06/17/09 07:34 AM
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bepperb Offline
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EXC400 Rider. I assume he's asking about his EXC 400.

But all I really know are Honda dirtbikes, and even then mostly from the 80's.


2004 Highlander 2.4
2011 Toyota Sienna 3.5
Recently Gone:
2006 Accord 2.4l K24A8
1993 Kawi EX 500
Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: bepperb] #1501574 06/17/09 08:10 AM
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ZZman Offline
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Well Ester based oils resist heat very well. They also are very viscosity stable and resist shearing very well.

http://www.redlineoil.com/products_motoroil.asp?productID=45&synthFlash=1&subcatID=14

Redline and Motul oils are Ester based.

Last edited by ZZman; 06/17/09 08:13 AM.

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD.
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Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: bepperb] #1501585 06/17/09 08:25 AM
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Johnny Offline
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 Originally Posted By: bepperb
EXC400 Rider. I assume he's asking about his EXC 400.

But all I really know are Honda dirtbikes, and even then mostly from the 80's.


Well, you are a lot sharper than I am. I did not know what EXC 400 was. To date myself, my dirt riding days were on Bultaco and Sachs motorcycles.

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: Johnny] #1501648 06/17/09 09:09 AM
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 Quote:
To date myself, my dirt riding days were on Bultaco and Sachs motorcycles.
Yikes, Stone-Age!!


"even if you're paranoid, they can still be following you" hide

"live so the preacher doesn't have to lie at your funeral" wink


Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: Johnny] #1501711 06/17/09 10:04 AM
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Steve S Offline
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 Originally Posted By: Johnny
 Originally Posted By: bepperb
EXC400 Rider. I assume he's asking about his EXC 400.

But all I really know are Honda dirtbikes, and even then mostly from the 80's.


Well, you are a lot sharper than I am. I did not know what EXC 400 was. To date myself, my dirt riding days were on Bultaco and Sachs motorcycles.
I have ridden Bultacos and Sachs!!

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: bepperb] #1501888 06/17/09 12:58 PM
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EXC400rider Offline OP
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 Originally Posted By: bepperb
EXC400 Rider. I assume he's asking about his EXC 400.


Right you are.

A synthetic blend, ester based oil was recommended by a local dealer. Since new the bike has only been run on Amsoil full synthetic. I have been having a hard time finding it this year, and the blend I can find is selling for $20 a quart, so I'm looking for something a little more reasonable....

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: EXC400rider] #1502214 06/17/09 06:27 PM
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bmwtechguy Offline
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Get with one of the site sponsors here to get some Amsoil if that was working well for you. Pablo, Gary Allan-send a PM to one of these guys and they will hook you right up. Also you can go to the Amsoil site and use their dealer locator if you want someone locally. But I think you will have better results with one of the Amsoil guys here.

Schaeffers makes a couple of oils that would be excellent in your KTM. Their racing 20W-50 is a synthetic blend with a great additive package. "salesrep" here is the site sponsor for Schaeffers and Mark is great to deal with. All these guys are very knowledgeable and will help you get the right oil.

Not sure about your focusing on an "ester" oil since much more goes into oil than just esters. Redline synthetic oil is sure to have a good shot of ester in their base oil makeup. But no oil will really have an all ester-based oil, but a blend of several base oils to get the desired performance in the end product.

Just as important as the base oil blend is also the additive package. Many additives contain some type of ester and a careful balance of quality additives is the key to the perfomance of the final prduct that you pour into your engine. Remember, esters also have friction modifying ability-something to think about when you have a wet clutch.

Finally, there are many types of esters and some do certain things better than others. Esters cost money, so using the right ester and enough of it to do the job well and at a reasonable price, is a careful balance.

You might read some of what sunruh has posted concerning his experiences trying different oils in his thumper. He was "destroying" higher cost synthetics in an hour or two while racing his bike. I believe viscosity shear, shown in his oil analysis reports, was his main criteria for a thumbs down on each oil he tried. IIRC the EXXON Superflo straight 30 and SAE 40 oils did best in this regard over the synthetics even. Something to think about if you do a lot of hard riding. And if this is you, then 'change oil frequently' seems to be he mantra I hear for that type of service, regardless of oil type or brand.

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: bmwtechguy] #1502248 06/17/09 06:59 PM
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"when 5W30 is cold, ...the oil is 35 weight (5+30),...20 w 50 starts at 70 and warms up to 50"
- Kyle, auto mechanic & VP Speedline Motorsports, INTL
Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: saaber1] #1502328 06/17/09 07:52 PM
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Amsoil is fine IMO...but find a Canadian distributor so you don't get killed on shipping etc.

Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: PT1] #1502557 06/17/09 11:53 PM
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Being in Canada Silkolene may be available to you.I used to use Pro4 in my air cooled dirt bikes...they do a 15/50 which is very good.I used the last of mine in the airhead....I don't need a motorcycle specific oil in it,but ester oils are just so good for an air cooled engine.


1987 BMW R65 - Penrite VTwin 20-50
2005 Nissan Expert - 5W-30 Castrol Edge
1996 Volvo T5 - Penrite HPR15 - 15W-60. Ryco syntec filter.
Re: Ester based oils.... [Re: Silk] #1504674 06/19/09 08:06 PM
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EXC400rider Offline OP
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Thanks for the info guys.

I'm not hung up on ester based oils, It just happened to be an ester based semi-synthetic oil that was recommended to me by someone who's been riding and fixing these bikes for a long time. He's a local dealer, very involved with the local club, donated much time and money to our sport over the years and generally nice guy. I don't think he would claim to be an expert on oil, nor did he claim that it was the best available, but he did say it had been working well for guys, and it was reasonably priced.

I didn't know was ester based oil was, or what the characteristics were, which is why I started the thread. So now I know a little more, thanks again for the info.

My bike is liquid cooled. I see a lot of references to ester performing well in air cooled bikes, so maybe that that is one characteristic that isn't relevant in this application. Also I am riding offroad, mostly tighter technical woods type riding, so I am generally pretty low RPM's. That being said, I still like to change my oil pretty frequently. I figure that oil is cheaper than metal. I try to change the oil after 10 hrs. of riding.

Any recommendations I am all ears. I'm always eager to find out what works best, and if there is a difference, one brand/type over another, I think it's worth paying extra for. (within reason) Quality oil is cheap insurance.

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