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 engine 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 engine oil. The specified engine 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 Davidson 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
At A Glance: The Best Oil for Harley Davidson Twin Cam Engines
- Best Overall: Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil
- Most Affordable: Amsoil Full Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 20W-50
- Best Heat Protection: Motul 7100 4T Synthetic 20W-50 Motor Oil
- Best Race-Derived Technologs: Castrol 06080 Power Rs V-Twin Motorcycle Oil
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 engine 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
Whether you are running a Twin Cam or a soft tail, using the right oil makes a world of difference. We have researched the best oils to help you save a few bucks on the official Harley Davidson engine oil. Below are our top picks of the Best Oil for the Harley Davidson Twin Cam.
Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil – Best Overall
The Harley Davidson engine produces a lot of power and is prone to heating up. The Mobil 1 96936 V-Twin oil solves this issue by cooling the engine. The synthetic oil uses synthetic base stock technology to reduce the problems arising from high temperatures.
The reason it makes the top of our list remains undisputed. Mobil 1 96936 20W50 V-Twin Motor oil offers excellent performance in harley davidson motorcycles with a standard engine. Its base technology and balanced additives help the engine run smoothly and quietly.
Its only disadvantage is that some users may not appreciate its price point. However, this shouldn’t be an issue since you get value for your money.
- Outstanding protection: Its components and valve trains protect against rust and corrosion.
- Efficiency: It provides lubrication in cold temperatures and causes less drain on starter systems.
- Optimized frictional properties: It provides good frictional characteristics for the transmission system.
- Thermal and oxidation stability: The oil minimizes deposit formation under adverse operating conditions.
- Provide engine cleanliness: Mobil 1 96936 oil has detergent and dispersant capability to keep the engine clean.
- The oil is highly durable, with longer drain intervals.
- It provides better fuel efficiency.
- Mobil 1 synthetic oil can stand harsh riding conditions.
- It reduces engine noises and increases energy conversion.
- Its cost may be too expensive for some users.
Mobil 1 96936 V-Twin oil is the best for Harley Davidson Twin Cam. Its synthetic oil technology optimizes power output and protects the engine from adverse conditions.
Amsoil Full Synthetic Motorcycle Oil 20W-50 – Most Affordable
AMSOIL Full synthetic motorcycle oil is the most affordable high-quality synthetic oil in the market. It is mainly compatible with synthetic and conventional motor oils.
When relying on the wear-scar test of different engine oils, the AMSOIL synthetic motorcycle oil takes the lead. It acts like a gear lube having no harmful effects of high-pressure additives, making only 0.39 mm of wear on the metal surface.
This oil works perfectly on air-cooled bike engines due to higher resistance to heat. The viscous nature provides lubrication during start-up and even in cold weather.
- Excellent wet-clutch performance: This Synthetic Motorcycle Oil provides wet-clutch lubrication. As a result, you get positive clutch engagement and smooth shifting.
- Resists viscosity breakdown: It retains viscosity for protection against transmission and gear wear.
- Reduces wear and deposits: It has oxidation inhibitor additives to reduce wear for maximum engine power.
- Improved pressure protection: The oil is shear stable and protects gears and chains.
- It offers high-performance lubrication.
- It is great for clutch smoothness.
- It enhances the efficiency and smooth operation of the clutch.
- The oil rust protection prolongs the life of your engine.
- It does not function well when mixed with other oils.
- Not ideal for the regions having temperatures of 40- Fahrenheit or less.
As you can see, AMSOIL Full Synthetic Motorcycle Oil contains a highly capable anti-wear additive. The oil keeps the engine stable despite the operating condition. Not only that, but it plays a significant role in smooth shifting due to its friction modifiers.
Motul 7100 4T Synthetic 20W-50 Motor Oil – Best Heat Protection
Motul 7100 4T is a 100% synthetic technology engine oil ideal for all 4-stroke bikes having catalytic converters. The oil is based on ester technology and meets the standard requirements of API SL/SH/SG and JASO MA.
The Motul 7100 4T has a low phosphorus and sulfur formula, engineered to withstand the engine’s extreme heat. It also protects the gearbox and offers a longer engine life using anti-wear additives.
Although other users complain that the oil is a little expensive, you shouldn’t consider the price but the quality of your bike’s intake.
- High transparent stability: The oil is very stable even at high pressures due to the optimized balance of sulfur and phosphorus.
- Low volatility: It has low volatility, thus reducing the consumption of your motorcycle.
- Improved performance: Motul 7100 4T has a friction modifier that increases power output.
- High resistance to oil films: The oil has a maximum resistance at very high temperatures, reducing engine wear.
- Smooth gear operation: It promotes efficient gear movement even during extreme operating conditions.
- It enhances the engine response.
- Guarantees a smooth engine and gear operation.
- Optimizes friction control and reduces engine vibration and noise.
- It requires an oil change after a long time.
- It may have issues during a cold start.
Motul 7100 4T Oil has a modern Ester-Technology to improve engine performance. You can use this oil for the engine, transmission, and primary drive in Harley Davidson bikes.
Castrol 06080 Power Rs V-Twin Motorcycle Oil – Best Race-Derived Technology
Castrol motorcycle oils are well known for their proven racing additives that protect the bike’s components. This Castrol 06080 Power Rs V-Twin oil has a race-derived technology that promotes engine acceleration. It also prevents viscosity breakdown with its excellent shear stability.
Castrol 06080 Power Rs is a synthetic oil specially designed for V-Twin and 4-stroke motorcycles. Its selling point is its premium quality, making it the priority for many users.
The product has a perfectly balanced lubricant formula that protects three areas of your bike; the gearbox, clutch, and engine. There is only a wear scar of 0.55 mm. All in all, it surpasses industry specifications JASO MA-2 and API SL standards.
- synthetic oil formulation: Its performance is due to exquisite oil flow over various temperatures.
- TriZone technology: Castrol Power RS TriZone technology protects the gearbox, clutch, and engine.
- Excellent clutch performance: This oil delivers wet-clutch lubrication, clutch engagement, and smooth operation.
- Power-release technology: This maintains a smooth transition phase when your vehicle suddenly accelerates.
- Excellent protection: It protects against thermal and viscosity breakdown during high temperatures.
- It maintains the engine temperature with prolonged use.
- The oil protects the hard-working components of your motorcycle.
- It keeps the engine in top condition.
- Castrol 06080 delivers ultimate V-Twin engine performance.
- Old engines may face noise problems with this oil.
Castrol 06080 Power Rs V-Twin oil suits most modern V-TWIN bikes and is specially blended to Harley Davidson specs.
Red Line 42504 20W-50 Motorcycle Oil – Best Anti-Wear Chemistry
Red Line 42504 is a full synthetic oil formula with anti-wear chemistry like phosphorus and Zinc packed into them. This oil reduces the thinning effect that high temperatures cause in the engine. It also provides stronger film strength over various temperatures and seal piston rings for more power.
Most people prefer Red Line 42504 due to its extended drain intervals over other brands. Its bottle also has an efficient design with a spout that makes pouring oil into the engine easy.
- Thermal stability: This oil contains polyol ester base stocks to help the engine withstand high heat levels.
- Improved pressure protection: The oil is shear stable, protecting wet spring clutches and chains.
- Wear protection: Its synthetic oil lubricant stocks reduce friction and protect against wear.
- Superior clutch operation: The oil features lower friction modifiers compatible with wet clutches.
- Superior film strength: It uses solid ester base stocks for ring protection and sealing.
- The oil ensures a longer clutch lifespan.
- It has an efficient bottle design.
- Users enjoy extended drain intervals.
- It is ideal for use in high-revving engines.
- The cost may be higher for some people.
Redline Motor and gear oils specialize in high-quality oil and anti-wear properties. They are specially designed for the latest high-revving 4-stroke V-twins.
Red Line 90226 Power Pack 20W-50 – Best Oil Kit for Harley Davidson Twin Cam
Red Line 90226 Power Pack offers a complete oil kit for bikes with Twin Cam, Milwaukee-Eight, and Evolution engines. This includes bikes from 1984 to the present and aftermarket engines of similar models.
Usually, Red Line 90226 Power Pack comes with enough fluids for a complete oil change. The kit has a versatile funnel, Red Line Oil embroidered hat, sticker kit, and bottle Fuel Injection Cleaner for Motorcycles. There is also a quart of shockproof V-Twin transmission oil, a quart of regular chain box oil, and 5 quarts of synthetic motorcycle oil 20W50.
- Excellent protection: This product is protective as it applies to the main chain box with the wet diaphragm spring clutches.
- Increased bike performance: The oil improves the clutch efficiency while reducing friction.
- Smooth operation: It reduces slip, provides more power, and promotes smoother operation.
- Superior film strength: It uses solid ester base stocks for ring protection and sealing.
- It comes with a complete oil change kit.
- It greatly improves engine performance.
- Each kit has enough oil for a complete oil change.
- It increases the clutch life cycle.
- Users have to check for bike specifications for capacity to ensure no overfilling.
The Red Line 90226 Power Pack oil is mainly applied on a main chain box with wet diaphragm spring clutches. It undergoes compatibility testing and has enough fluids for a complete oil refill.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Oil for Harley Davidson Twin Cam
Using the wrong or low-quality oil could result in increased engine wear, reduced performance, and even failure. This is why it is essential to use the correct oil to ensure the smooth running of your engine. The oil should be specifically designed for use in Harley Davidson Twin Cam engines.
I‘ve researched and created a detailed list of what you should consider before buying your Harley Davidson twin cam oil.
Viscosity measures how thin or thick the oil is, which is important for your engine’s performance and longevity. The right viscosity provides the right amount of cooling while keeping the engine lubricated and protected.
Usually, the twin air-cooled engines in Harley Davidson require the oil to shear correctly at all temperatures. If the oil is too thin, it will flow quickly and won’t give enough protection. If it is too thick, the oil won’t flow decently, and the engine will not efficiently cool itself.
Harley Davidson Twin Cam generally needs a higher viscosity oil as they get too hot. The ideal oil viscosity would be 20W-50. This weight is capable of shearing to a thinner weight even in cold temperatures.
- Synthetic vs. Conventional Oils
You can use various oils on your Harley Davidson Twin Cam, including synthetic and conventional oils. Conventional oils are the most common type of oils made from crude oil. They are also the cheapest, though they would not offer the best protection and performance.
On the other hand, synthetic oils are artificial oils created using chemicals to give your engine the best protection. They won’t burn out faster, leaving the metal engine parts clanking.
Although quite costly, Harley Davidson recommends using synthetic engine oils. They offer reduced emissions, improved fuel efficiency, and increased performance.
The Harley Davidson Twin Cam engine requires the right lubrication to keep it running more efficiently. It is better to use an oil designed for use, especially on these bikes or in high-performance motorbikes.
Remember that the oil should meet or exceed the specifications stated in the manufacturer’s manual. If the oil is incompatible with your bike, it could increase emissions and reduce fuel efficiency.
Also, ensure you look into the base stock, which will greatly impact the oil’s shelf-life and performance. Synthetic oil base stock works well in modern engines, can handle higher engine temperatures, and last longer. While mineral oil bases are best on traditional engines running at lower temperatures, they break down faster.
- Anti-Wear Additives
Additives are always mixed to enhance an oil’s execution to reduce wear or harmful build-up for maximum engine power. You should, therefore, go for an oil containing the correct additives. Pick oils with antifoam agents, anti-corrosion agents, dispersants, and detergents.
Antifoam agents maintain the oil’s lubrication ability, while anti-corrosion agents protect against rust and corrosion. Dispersants prevent oil from settling on the bottom of the engine, and detergents keep contaminants from building up.
- Wear Scar Diameter
This is an excellent indicator of how well the oil protects the engine components from wear and tear. It will effectively quantify how much material the oil can eliminate from the engine’s metal surfaces over time.
If the wear scar diameter gets too low, this implies the oil is offering too much protection. It could result in sludge build-up and other problems. On the contrary, the oil is not efficiently protecting your Twin Cam from elements if the diameter is too high. This may lead to a costly repair.
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.
In this article, we walked you through a list of the best oils for the Harley Davidson Twin Cam and concluded that the best engine oil is the Mobil 1 96936 20W-50 V-Twin Synthetic Motorcycle Motor Oil. It uses synthetic base stock technology to prevent the engine from overheating and helps your Twin Cam run smoothly.