Best Oil for Harley Davidson Twin Cam in 2023 (Top 5 Picks)

Best Oil for Harley Davidson Twin Cam in 2023 (Top 5 Picks)

If you’re a bike enthusiast, you understand how crucial it is to maintain and take care of your motorcycle, and this includes utilizing the best oil for your Harley Davidson Twin Cam engine. Taking proper care of your Harley Davidson affects its durability and performance. If you’re looking to have optimum durability and performance from your HD’s engine, then the type of oil you use and how often should you change the oil on a motorcycle it is important.

Most manufacturers of bike engines will specify the type of oil used in the engine. The specified oil meets the engine’s needs and also improves its performance. Furthermore, your riding patterns will dictate the type of engine oils you pick for your bike’s engine. How far can you ride? Does the bike’s engine get very hot when you drive long distances?

Harley Davidsons are available in various engines, including twin cam and evolution engines. These engines vary both in structure and power output. This means that the type of oil you use for either engine will vary.

So, which is the best oil for the Harley Davidson twin cam engine? I’ve been in the motorcycle industry for 10+ years and can shed light on many aspects of the Harley Davidson twin cam engine. I will also outline five of the best types of oil to use for your bike. Read on to find out more. 

Also Read: The Best Synthetic Motorcycle Engine Oils Brand Reviews

The Best Oil for Harley Davidson Twin Cam Engines – A Snapshot of Our Top 5 Picks

The Harley Davidson twin cam engine was introduced to the market in 1998. The discussion around twin cam engines began in 1992 when the motorcycle market needed a power upgrade over the renowned evolution v-twin engine.

HD enthusiasts liked the evolution engine’s modification and its power output. But Harley Davidson released a new engine design coded p-22, later called the Twin Cam. The production of this engine was scheduled for 1997 but was delayed for another year. The delay occurred after their styling department rejected its oil cooler. Moreover, the bike’s engine had very high temperatures.

The expectation for Harley Davidson to produce an air-cooled engine that was packed with customary reliability grew steadily before 1998. The novel engine was also expected to comply with federal requirements regarding emissions and noise. Besides being air-cooled, the engine employs a valve activation method using pushrods. Its crankshaft also has a single pin with a knife and fork arrangement for the pushrods.

Types of Twin Cam Harley Davidson Engines

  • Twin cam 88. This engine was launched in 1999, and it generates 80 horsepower with 1,450cc. It is air-cooled and utilizes an overhead valve activated by pushrods.
  • Twin cam 88B. This engine provides more performance and power output. Unfortunately, the engine’s design couldn’t fit in the Softail motorcycles without them being modified.
  • Twin cam 96. This engine model was introduced in 2007, and it generates 1,584cc.

The other twin-cam engines include the latest twin cam that offers 1,801cc and the Twin Cam 103, which produces 1,690cc. 

Best Oil for Harley Davidson Twin Cam


Harley Davidson owners recommend and argue about various brands when choosing the best oil for the Harley Davidson twin cam. All of these oil brands perform outstandingly, so you can’t blame HD owners. Therefore, the best way to determine the best oil is to assess the wear-scar test of various types.

AMSOIL synthetic oil performs better than any other oil as it leaves just a 0.39mm wear scar. . But this is not the only reason why AMSOIL 20W-50 motorcycle oil is the best oil for Harley Davidson bikes. Here are some of its notable features:

Key features

  • Highly reliable anti-wear additives
  • Impressive heat-control capabilities
  • Friction modifiers to improve wet-clutch performance and ensure smooth shifting
  • Prevents rust in humid conditions


  • Rust protection
  • Ideal for clutch smoothness
  • Extreme heat resistance
  • Perfect wear protection


  • It’s not ideal for places with ambient temperatures of less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • It’s hard to determine the amount you’ve poured into the engine 


Friction, overheating, rust, and wear are the major enemies of engines. AMSOIL helps to keep all of them in control and preserves your Harley Davidson’s powerful engine for many years. The oil is formulated with some of the best additives, making it perfect for your Harley Davidson twin cam motorcycle engine. Its thermal properties help keep your engine protected even when it’s extremely hot.

Another impressive aspect of AMSOIL oil is that it’s oxidation resistant. This prevents the forming of acids and corrosive materials in your bike’s engine and guarantees that this fuel will increase its durability.

This oil also keeps your engine clean to run at optimal performance. Interestingly, the synthetic oil has a sprout on its bottle to make it convenient to pour the oil into your Harley Davidson.

Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil – Runner-Up

Mobil synthetic oil  is packed with lots of features, and its performance rating is quite impressive, except for its wear-scar test results (0.44mm). This type of oil is great for use when the engine and transmission are separate or when the transmission and engine are common. It also works well in long-distance riding and traffic jams and generates optimal acceleration and performance.

Another reason why you should consider this type of oil is because it’s equipped with base stock technology with faultlessly balanced additives. These additives help your Harley Davidson engine run efficiently and quietly, saving you a huge chunk of money on fuel costs.

Moreover, your investment will be protected from debris and rust throughout its life. Engine longevity is a logical reason to get this oil brand.


  • It enhances energy conversion
  • It keeps your bike’s engine clean
  • It enhances the durability of your engine
  • It prevents rust and debris


  • Its cold start is not quite pleasing
  • Its upfront cost may be unaffordable to some users


Mobil 1 synthetic motorcycle oil is the best oil for your Harley Davidson because it enhances its overall performance, prevents overheating, keeps it clean, and protects it from rust. You can check out its online customer reviews to back up your decision, and you’ll not find much against this brand.

It may cost slightly more than other oils, but it will save you much in the long run. You’ll enjoy better fuel efficiency and longer draining intervals. If you want to enhance your Harley Davidson’s performance, Mobil 1 is the way to go.

Castrol 06116 POWER1 V-TWIN 4T 20W-50 – Most Affordable

Castrol is one of the least expensive oil brands on this list. This is not to mean that it’s very cheap, but it’s less expensive compared to other oil products. But make no mistake – this oil brand is packed with almost similar performance and features to the other high-quality lubricants.

Its wear scar of 0.55mm is fairly great, and it’s a perfectly balanced lubricant formula. The lubricant formula is designed to protect the three critical zones of your Harley Davidson – the clutch, gearbox, and most importantly, the engine. What’s more, it employs race-derived technology to produce high-quality oil for your bike.


  • It offers smooth wet-clutch transmission performance
  • It maintains optimal temperature when in traffic jams
  • It’s specially tailored for V-Twin engines


  • It’s not ideal for colder places


Without compromising your Harley Davidson’s performance and overall quality, you can purchase the Castrol 06116 POWER1 V_TWIN synthetic oil at a reasonable cost. It comes with a perfectly balanced additive blend that helps to deliver optimum performance and power for many years.

Motul 7100 4T Synthetic Ester Motor Oil – 20W50 – Honorable Mention

Motul is also widely renowned in the oil and lubricant category for Harley Davidson motorcycles, and it should be ranked higher than here. But Mobil 1 has a better-balanced synthetic blend, which performs slightly better than Motul 7100.

Many bike reviewers and experts often recommend the Motul 7100 4T synthetic ester motor oil for various reasons, including it being packed with handy features. It has a proprietary high-pressure lubricant formula that helps to keep your Harley Davidson’s gearbox safe. It’s also very environmental-friendly as it has a low phosphorus and sulfur formula.


  • It helps to maintain optimal engine performance
  • It clears the vital pathways of the engine
  • It facilitates smoother gear shifts which keep a smooth ride
  • It improves your engine’s durability


  • It’s not suitable for certain regions


Motul is a lubricant specialist who has been in the industry for over 100 years. With that said, Motul 7100 is the go-to oil for Harley Davidson owners who want excellent engine performance and still take care of the environment. Its proprietary high-pressure additives formula helps to protect your gearbox and the engine in general. This is why many engine specialists and experts recommend this brand.

Red Line Oil Big Twin 42504 20W50 Powerpack – Other Considerations

Red Line synthetic oil is designed to be used in high revving bike engines, including sport bikes and motocross. It decreases the thinning effect caused by high temperatures in the engine.

The oil is packed with unique anti-wear properties to prevent wear and tear inside your Harley Davidson’s engine. The anti-wear properties help to increase the engine’s durability. Its bottle also has an efficient style with a sprout to make it convenient to pour the oil into your engine.


  • It’s perfect for high revving motorcycle engines
  • Its thermal properties can help the engine to withstand high temperatures
  • Its container has an efficient design


  • Its high price can make it unaffordable to some


Red Line is a renowned synthetic oil corporation, and they’re specialized in manufacturing synthetic oil to ensure optimal engine performance. Their high-quality oil and anti-wear properties evidence their specialization. If you’re looking for high-quality oil for your Harley Davidson and don’t mind parting with a few more bucks, you can benefit a lot from this oil brand.

What Does Harley Davidson Recommend for its Twin Cam Engines?

What Does Harley Davidson Recommend for its Twin Cam Engines

For Harley Davidson owners, it’s important to get the best for their bikes. Besides having a professional check the motorcycle, using the best oil is one of the best things you can do to maintain your Harley Davidson.

If you intend to use the bike in all weather conditions, the motorcycle giant recommends using SAE 20W50. But the best oil you can use on a Harley Davidson is the one that the company itself has manufactured. The SYN3 synthetic oil is recommended in Harley Davidson engines, transmission systems, and chain-cases.

Tips for Keeping Your Engine in Top Shape

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions

No one understands your bike’s engine better than its manufacturer. Therefore, it’s important to consider the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. For example, some engine manufacturers make their oil. They recommend using their particular type of oil on your motorcycle’s engine to achieve the best results. If your manufacturer has issued such an instruction, ensure you follow it.

Failure to follow the owner’s instructions may also void your bike’s warranty if there’s an eventuality. These instructions can include servicing intervals and how you can determine the right level of your bike’s fluids. They also provide recommendations on the right color and the best grade of engine fluids to use.

Use the right oil for your engine

The type of oil you use on your motorcycle engine plays a significant role in its health. You can use various oils on your engine, including synthetic and conventional oils. Conventional oils are the least expensive, but they don’t deliver the best performance and protection.

In contrast, the upfront cost of full synthetic oils tends to be quite high. But they provide your engine with the best protection it can get. They possess cleaning agents that help keep your engine clean. 

In addition, synthetic oils don’t disintegrate when the bike’s engine heats up – long-distance riders will appreciate these oils more. This helps to improve your engine’s durability and performance.

Take the motorcycle to a professional regularly

It’s important to have a professional look at your bike, even if it sounds well and delivers optimal performance.  The professional will often be able to find problems that may be hard for you to notice on your own.

Run your bike’s engine regularly

Oil usually drains and settles at your engine’s bottom if the engine doesn’t run for a significant period. When the oil drains to the bottom, it leaves several components of your engine exposed, which eventually leads to rust. Rust, in turn, reduces your engine’s lifespan significantly.

Therefore, it’s essential to run your bike’s engine from time to time, even when you don’t intend to ride. Doing so helps the oil lubricate and circulate among the engine’s components. Lubrication creates a protection cover to keep the engine parts from rusting.

Listen to your engine

You may not be a motorcycle professional, but it’s not hard to tell if something is wrong with your engine. If you can spot engine faults early, it can help you find a solution before the problem escalates. Moreover, it’s best to check your bike’s engine as often as possible. When doing so, look at the engine, oil, transmission fluids, and engine components.

Also Read: How to Prepare For a Long Distance Motorcycle Touring?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is synthetic oil better for my Harley Twin Cam?

Yes, synthetic oils are the best for your twin cam engine. As synthetic oils circulate in the engine, they do away with all sludge and deposits leaving your engine clean and delivering excellent performance to the rider.

What oil does Harley Davidson Twin Cam use from the factory?

Harley Davidson Twin Cam engines come with the SYN3 synthetic oil made directly from the company itself.

How often should I change synthetic oil in my Harley Twin Cam?

The number of times you change your oil depends on the type of oil you use. However, the average number of times you should change your bike’s oil is after every 5,000 miles. And you will need to replace with best harley oil filter or reoil your filter every 10000miles.

Is AMSOIL better than Mobil 1?

Yes, Amsoil is slightly better than Mobil 1. Both Mobil and Amsoil have a lubricant formula perfect for the Harley Davidson twin-cam engines. But Amsoil’s synthetic engine oils is slightly friendlier for the powerful V-Twin engines compared to Mobil.

Does changing your own oil void Harley Davidson’s warranty?

On the manufacturer’s instructions, Harley Davidson recommends the type of oil you should use on the bike. Some oils, especially conventional oils, can void your motorcycle’s warranty.

Final Thoughts

Which is the best oil for Harley Davidson twin cam engines? We hope you now have your answer. You’re aware of the advantages you can enjoy if you use the best oil for your bike – but it can all go wrong for your mistake. Avoid taking advice from some pretended motorcycle expert or your friend. It may not be worth it.

It’s important to choose the oil that your Harley Davidson deserves. If you’re looking for the best oil for your bike, you should go for Amsoil or Mobil. But if you want an affordable option without having to part with a huge chunk of money, you’ll like Castrol.

joshua mattie

Joshua D. Mattie

My motorbike addiction began with 50cc at 5 years old. I rode motocross as a teenager & into my 20's when I worked as a mechanic. This helped me to see the light—sportbikes & cruisers became a passion. Now I'm building BikersRights to be the #1 resource for everything on 2 wheels!

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