Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Big Switch

Well, I did it.  The big switcheroo. Crossing the point of no return.  Messing with something that isn't broke. I should mention at this point I tend to lean towards the conservative side of things.  I'm not progressive by nature.  I generally don't step out of my comfort zone and maybe that's true of some.  But wait, I'm already getting off track.

I'm talking about switching from dinosaur oil to synthetic.  BMW engines have a longer break-in period so it's recommended by BMW to wait at least until 18,000 miles to make the switch. I have about 24,500 on the clock.  I told you I lean conservative.

I went to the dealer and asked one of the service guys if there's anything special that I need to do in order to make the switch.  He said no and that it sounds funny but my engine will learn to adapt to the new oil.  That does sound funny.  Pretty cool though, my engine has the capability of learning.  Man, those Germans think of everything!

So I just started pouring it in.  No fanfare, no drum roll, no thunder and lightening.  It quietly went into the crankcase and that was that.

I did that yesterday afternoon and due to various chores that had to be done I couldn't even squeak in a test ride.  I had to just count on my engine doing a little learning on it's own overnight.

On my ride early this morning the official learning began.  It felt faster, smoother, quieter, lighter, and it even looked better.  I felt smoother, quieter, lighter, and even looked better.  Come to think of it, it's the same feeling I have after I wash it, which is to say,  it's all in my head. You know that feeling after you wash your bike.

Nah, I didn't feel all those things.  I'm just kidding.  It was just another oil change but an excuse to post some photos.

The weather is suppose to be better this week so I guess we'll get in some more learning.  I hope your weather is good too!


  1. Bikes are supposed to be washed??

    I don't know anything about synthetic oil. When I got the Ninja they didn't recommend a pure synthetic oil...something to do with the clutch? It was over my head. I know some folks swear by synthetic though. At some point I'll have to learn more about it.

  2. This made me smile. I especially liked the bit "I had to just count on my engine doing a little learning on it's own overnight".

    I might go outside and see if my bike did it's homework overnight....

    Just think what it would be like if our motorbikes had souls.... and memories.... and they could recount them.... !

  3. My bike is old enough that it didn't get a 'brain' installed that would be capable of learning. I don't run a pure synthetic because of my clutch swimming in the same oil. Like bluekat though I was unaware bikes were supposed to be washed.

  4. Kari:
    LOL! They move through the air easier when they're clean! :)

    Beemers and Moto Guzzi's use dry clutches like cars do. That is, the transmission oil and engine oil are separate. It has it's pluses but the only slight negative is when I'm at a stop light I shift into neutral after I'm sure everyone behind me is going to stop. With a dry clutch you hold it in as little as possible or it wears out faster. With your wet clutch on the other hand, you can hold it in all day because it's bathed in oil. So at stop lights you have the advantage. Also, you can do slow turning maneuvers all day while holding the clutch at the friction point.

    But apparently I do have an engine that learns! ;) Thank you!

    That would be a nice feature for bikes to have memory. A little scary but nice. Thanks for stopping by!

    Because of you and Kari I'm going to have to reconsider whether I should wash my bike again. This time of year I let the rain have it's way and don't worry about it. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Funny Mike! I don't mind at all for excuses for you to take pictures of the bike! My weahter has been a very good way.

  6. Eve:
    Glad your weather has been good! It shows on your blog - thank you!

  7. Mike:

    That's german engineering for you. I wished my bike would learn something new.

    Dry clutches have a throwout bearing just like cars, I presume, as I don't know much about Beemers. So with clutch in, it is spinning and wearing out the bearing. After a while it starts to make a noise so the accepted practice is to leave it out as much as possible. You can only replace the throwout bearing when you remove the clutch so both are usually changed at the same time.


    when bikes are new they do not recommend synthetic until the rings are broken in and worn to the shape of the cylinder, which is around 5K miles or so, then you can change to synthetic

    Wet Coast Scootin

  8. Bob:
    What you say is true. That pesky throwout bearing is key to the life of the clutch system. Thank you!

  9. I'm hungry for good weather so that I can get out and ride more. But on the Oregon Coast we have to take what we are given. I made the switch to synthetic two oil changes ago. I haven't noticed any difference. Thanks for the kind comment on my blog. Stay "tooned" for more.

  10. I think for a long time I treated the bike clutch much the same as my car...didn't feather the clutch too much, etc. I've started doing that more, and low-speed maneuvering has gotten easier. I know they taught that in class, but I'd forgotten it. That reminds me...I have my 2-year motorcycle endorsement anniversary this week! Woohoo!

    I'm glad you got a "learning" engine after all! :)

  11. Rick,
    Thanks for your comment. I like your blog! Hope your weather gets consistantly better soon!

    Congratulations! Wow, 2 years and look at all the riding you've done and now a Ninja and all! May you be blessed with many more safe and enjoyable riding years and miles!

  12. "Leaning conservative" sounds like a tricky way to say "good at procratinating" methinks!

    I've been on the road in Seattle for a week. Now I'm actually in Beaverton at the Phoenix Inn. I am doing instructor training Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday night I will have a chance to remind myself what my house looks like. Not to mention the wife.

    New catalogs, eh? How about a waterproof backpack?

    Just wanted to offer greetings!