Shell Rotella 5w/40 syn

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Aug 6, 2005
Irvine, CA
Good Evening Board,

I just received my Blackstone report. I used Shell Rotella 5w/40 syn, in my 2001 Honda Valkyrie, 6 cyl, 1520 cc's.

Miles on oil: 1325
Miles on bike: 13550
Oil Filter: Stock OEM, Toyo Roki

Shell 1st column.
Mobil 1 T&S 5w/40 2nd column 1273 miles on oil.
Amsoil 10w/40 motorcycle specific oil in 3rd column 2414 miles on oil.

Alumimum 1-3-3
Chromium 1-0-1
Iron 6-9-25
Copper 3-5-12
Lead 0-0-1
Moly 6-1-1
Nickel 0-0-0
Manganese 0-0-0
Silver 0-0-0
Potassium 0-0-0
Boron 7-41-0
Silicon 6-6-4
Sodium 1-0-5
Calcium 3250-2705-3494
Magnesium 72-417-12
Phosphorus 1243-1137-1051
Zinc 1391-1377-1261
TBN 9.70-7.50-7.70
SUS @210 67.20-64.70-68.10

It would appear to me the Rotella syn stayed in grade?, and had reduced wear numbers making it superior to either the Mobil 1 T&S or the Amsoil oil in wear protection.


At the end of this test RevRider, your bike only had 13,550 miles on it. Backtracking from there, when you first went to Amsoil 10W-40 (probably the AMF, not the higher performing MCF), it looks like you had 8,538 miles on it.

What did you run before the Amsoil? Was it a standard dino 10W-40?

IMO, and especially if it was, you can't compare directly when going from a dino to a synthetic -- particularly in a wet-clutch motorcycle, where transmission silts can be heavy and subject to scavenging. The last three oils you've been running have been cleaning out the engine, and your results reflect that.

Nice to see your bike approaching final break-in, btw. Great rugged motor in that thing.

Be sure to keep the rear drive-splines heavily lubed with ProHonda MolyPaste 60, lest "they turn to dust"!

I've been running synthetic since the 600 mile service. Dino was only for the 1st 600 miles out the showroom door.

M1 motorcycle specific for one change, but for the last 4 years I've been using Amsoil exclusively until I tested the M1 T&S.

So it would appear the playing field was level between Amsoil, M1 T&S, and Shell Rotella Syn, with the Rotella coming out on top.

Amsoil stayed in grade; M1 did not; Rotella did. The total wear particles was significantly less than the Amsoil even as I pro-rated it for the mileage difference.

From a cost viewpoint, the Rotella Syn was about $3.50 per quart, the Amsoil was over $8.

The stock Toyo Roki filter ($7.50) was equal in performance to the Amsoil higher cost filter ($12.50 +/-). Interesting point, is there was a post on the board saying the Toyo Roki was junk, cardboard caps, etc., well, when I cut mine open, it was metal end caps, a very well constructed filter, and certainly didn't deserve to be considered junk at all. It goes to show, if you want 1st hand accurate information, cut it open!

I have in the Valk now, the M1 motorcycle specific, 10w/40, and will test it out in about 3 to 4 months, as soon as the mileage is comparable. I suspect that it will not be significantly better than the Rotella. I paid $12 per quart.

After reviewing the results, I don't see how there can be any significant improvement in wear, I am not expert, but would you agree?

I would agree, Rev. The important part now, since your engine is largely broken in, is picking an oil that stays in grade -- and since it appears that either the Rotella or the Amsoil fits that bill, the choice becomes one of running a "motorcycle specific" oil at a higher cost, or staying with Rotella.

Your wear metals results are somewhat hard to interpret though, because break-in doesn't happen at a consistent rate. Aside from relatively more wear early on, riding patterns change, temperatures change, all sorts of things. Any of these three oils would probably turn in a very good performance now that break-in is mostly behind you.

Sticking with the OEM filter is a great idea. I use the identical filter on my ST1100, and it is superbly constructed. My Tavia cutter struggles with it, in fact.

Kudos to you for keeping an eye on what's happening inside your engine. You'll get many miles out of it!
I think people are getting the Honda car filters mixed up with the MC filters. The car filters are made by Fram so people assume the MC filters are also Fram. Toyo Roki motorcycle filters are good as are the Fram motocycle filter and they don't have cardboard end caps either.
I'd say the Rotella is good for you, the AMSoil was ran double the milege, it would be interesting to know what the metals look like on the Rotella at 2400 miles.
IVM: I agree with you, I believe all 3 products are no doubt excellent oils, and we are well served by using any of them. The best part of opening the oil filter was using my new Dremmel 400XPR my wife gave to me for my 50th birthday a few days back, it sliced it right open. I am trying a Wix motorcycle filter now, just for fun, and they are about $6 dollars cheaper than the OEM from my Honda shop.

HANS: Good point. I think it's important for all of us when evaluating a product and posting our comments, whether oils or filters, that we are "careful" about what we post, making sure of the accuracy, lest we are guilt of defaming an otherwise excellent product.

MACKELROY: If you pro-rate the wear metals appropriately, the Rotella would still be significantly better. That's assuming that pro-rating is an accurate way of leveling the mileage field.
The Rotella 5-40 seems like a good oil. I mixed 4 quarts of it with 1.8 of Rotella 15-40 mineral oil in my 2053 cc Vulcan. I'm impressed the shifting has stayed so good for a little over 1000 miles now. This is better than 15-40 by itself. My shifting foot tells me the 5-40 is staying in grade better. I have a clutch of Amsoil 10-40 on deck, ready to go when the current brew has three clunking shifts...that's what I give an oil before calling it "out". Wonder if it will make it to 1500, or even 2000?
I like that big Vulcan - beautiful bike.

How does it sound?

What oil viscosity is it spec'd for?

My plans for my Valk are oil changes between 1500 to 2000 miles. Unless the M1 really drastically improved the wear metals, which I doubt it will, I will be using the Rotella 5w/40 -- hoping Shell doesn't radically change the formula. I may just buy a 5 year supply of it --- does oil have a shelf life?

As an additional thought, I was on the Amsoil website, and they have their new oil filters out for the bikes, but gee, at $17 per filter...

I've used their filters in the past, and received good soluable reports from Blackstone. I then tried the Honda OEM, worked just as well in the filtration report. Now trying the Wix 51358 filter.

I sometimes scratch my head about all this - $17 filters - $10 per quart oil - and it is my humble opinion, perhaps not worth much, but, I just wonder how long our engines would last using just the "recommended filter" and "a good oil" even dino, or a reasonably priced synthetic like Rotella.

At 50 years old, I bet you the engine will outlast me!!!


PS. I don't mean to disrespect any manufacturers or their reps...
RR, I love the way it sounds...but, I knocked out the two back plugs, and "swiss-cheesed" the front one. There are catalytic converter honeycombs just after the front that helps to keep some of the noise contained. It's quiet enough to ease through the neighborhood at night without complaints, but, I can hear it rumble at cruise, and it wakes up dogs a few blocks away if I open it up. I also like the deceleration grumble, like an old man waking up in the morning.

As far as prices of filters and oil...I agree, it seems outlandish at times. That said, I'm going to try some Amsoil when it's time to pull out my current brew. However, I stick to the Pur-o-lator filters at 49 cents after rebate when on sale. I actually think the WIX is a better filter, and I'll switch to Wix when I've used the couple of filters I have stashed away.

If the AMsoil doesn't last three times as long as the Rotella 5-40/15-40 brew I have in there right now, I'll be back to the Rotella brew. If my bike didn't have a wet clutch, I wouldn't worry about shearing so much. Spec'd for 10-40 up to 20-50.

Like those Valkyries, BTW! Monster bikes!
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