Best Oil For Harley Davidson Motorcycles

I. Introduction

Oil is a vital and important factor for the smooth functioning of your Harley Davidson motorcycle and you must be very sure of the oil you are using for your bike. Apart from keeping your Harley Davidson running at its best, the pollutants of your motorcycle exhaust vary depending on the oil you choose.

In this article, we have included different topics, including types of motorcycle oils, reviews of the best oils for Harley Davidson motorcycles on Amazon, buying tips, and frequently asked questions that may help and assist you in making your decision.

II. Types Of Motorcycle Oils

There are three types of motorcycle oils:

Mineral oil– Mineral oil is made by refining crude oil and this is the oil normally used in old Harley Davidson motorcycles. Mineral oils break down faster and is normally not suitable for modern motorcycles like Harley Davidson since the engine reaches a very high temperature.

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Semisynthetic oil– Semisynthetic oil is a combination of mineral oil and synthetic chemicals, and thus partially retains the goodness of both. This oil is superior in performance when compared to mineral oil.

Synthetic oil– Full synthetic oils are produced by mixing different chemical compounds to meet the required quality parameters, and they can be produced for specific requirements or a range of requirements. Synthetic oils are costlier than mineral oil and semisynthetic oil. Synthetic oil keeps your Harley Davidson cool and smoothes running. Synthetic oils are mixed with additives to withstand the containments (like sludge formation) which happens during the running of Harley Davidson. Modern Harley Davidson bike normally runs on synthetic oil.

III. Review Of The Best Oils For Harley Davidson Motorcycles On Amazon.

Oil is very vital for the running of your Harley Davidson bike, hence be doubly sure what oil you’re using. If you are having any doubt about the selected oil, consult your Harley authorized mechanic or a Harley users forum, before taking your decision. Using the wrong oil may damage your motorcycle.

Note: Many oil manufacturers recommend one oil for the engine, primary, and transmission. Some Harley owners are not comfortable with this, and such users can choose specific oils for engine, primary, and transmission.


1. Mobil 1 96936 20W 50, V-Twin Synthetic motorcycle motor oil- 1 Quart (Pack of 6) Oil viscosity 20w 50. Manufacturer- Mobil 1

Mobil 1 V-Twin 20w-50 is recommended for four-stroke motorcycles where the owner’s manual specifies 20w-50 engine oil. This is good for motorcycle engines that have a design with a common lubrication system for engine and transmission or a separate lubrication system for engine and transmission. For the latter case, use the manufacturer’s recommended grade of oil for the transmission.

Fully synthetic Mobil 1 motorcycle oils are typically engineered for motorcycles and the formulations withstand the extreme heat produced by the motorcycles and under the toughest riding conditions.

The label on the bottle says ‘for use in the engine, primary chaincase, and transmission’.

SAE 20w-50 means the oil has a viscosity of SAE 20 at cold (ambient) temperatures and SAE 50 at the operating temperature of the motorcycle.

User reviews are positive and encouraging. Users have used this oil for their 2005 Road King engine, 2015 Dyna Fat Bob & 2015 Ultra Limited (primary, engine, and transmission), and one customers tells that this oil is good for air-cooled engines.

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2. AMSOIL V-Twin oil change kit. 20W-50 full Synthetic motorcycle oil 5 Quarts + one oil filter. Manufacturer-AMSOIL

This oil kit offers everything you need to do the complete oil change for most of 2016 to present Harley Davidson motorcycles. The kit includes five quarts of AMSOIL 20w-50 fully synthetic V-Twin motorcycle oil, one AMSOIL chrome oil filter, and one drain-plug O-ring.

The manufacturer recommends this oil for all three places.

Customer reviews are positive. Users have used this oil for their 2011 Street Glide, 4 Harley Davidson motorcycles (primary, engine, and transmission), and one user reported that the oil filter number is not mentioned.

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3. AMSOIL full synthetic motorcycle oil 20w-50 one gallon

This AMSOIL full synthetic V-Twin oil 20w-50 is the same as above in a one-gallon container.

User reviews are good.

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4. AMSOIL (MVP) V-Twin primary fluid (synthetic primary lubricant)-1 quart. Manufacturer-AMSOIL

User reviews are good. One user has used this oil on his 2001 Road King (primary) and experienced better engagement of the clutch and smoother gear shifts and the other user using this oil for primary and he does not like using engine oil in the primary.


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5. AMSOIL MVTQT-EA Synthetic V-Twin transmission fluid, 1 quart. Manufacturer-AMSOIL

AMSOIL V-Twin Synthetic transmission oil is specially designed for bikers who want a dedicated transmission oil and do not want to use the same lubricant in all three places. This product helps the smooth running of the transmission with quietness and efficiency. This can be a high-performance alternative to the manufacturer’s recommended and supplied oil.

User reviews are good. One user has used this oil on his HD Road King Screaming Eagle.

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6. MaximaHiflofiltro VTTOCK21 complete engine oil change kit for V-Twin Synthetic blend Harley Davidson Twin Cam, 6 quarts. Manufacturer- MaximaHiflofiltro.

Oil manufacturer’s recommendation- for Harley Davidson all Twin Cam Motorcycles (Electra Glide/Ultra, Street Glide, Road King, Softail, Dyna) 2000 to 2015.

This oil kit includes 4 quarts of Maxima V-Twin Synthetic blend 20w-50 engine oil, 1 quart Maxima V-Twin primary oil, 1 quart Maxima V-Twin 85w 140 transmission oil, and a black HiFloFiltro HF171B premium oil filter.

Maxima V-Twin Synthetic Blend is a special high-temperature formula featuring a blend of ester-based synthetic and petroleum base stocks for the protection of critical engine components, reduce wear, friction, temperature, and oil consumption

Maxima V-Twin Heavy-Duty Transmission & Gear Oil is a high-quality, mineral-based motorcycle transmission oil, and the primary oil is a high-quality, mineral-based motorcycle gear oil formulated for high-performance.

User reviews are generally positive. Users have used this kit for their 2005 Electra Glide,  2010 Fatboy, 2003 Dyna Wide Glide, 2016 Road Glide, and one user complained that the oil he had received was semisynthetic (instead of synthetic), the transmission oil was not heavy enough, and the filter was of cheap quality.

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7. Red Line 42804 V-Twin Transmission oil with shockproof (2 pack). Manufacturer –Red Line.

Red Line 42804 V-Twin Transmission oil dampens transmission noise, reduce temperature, and ensure thicker films of oil between gear teeth. The manufacturer says that this product can be used for Harley Davidson motorcycles (transmission) including Evolution engines, Twin Cam engines, and 6-speed cruise drive, and this is the same as the unique Heavy Shock Proof gear oil. Transmission oils are normally not specific to any model.

User reviews are good. Users have used this oil for their 2011 Ultra, 2017 Harley SGS with 6-speed transmission (user felt that this oil quieted the ‘clunk sound’ while shifting to first gear at 10 MPH speed), and Harley Big Twin 6-speed.

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8. Red Line (42904) V-Twin Full Synthetic Primary Case Oil- (1-quart bottle). Manufacturer-Red Line oil.

Primary case oil on your Harley motorcycle is as important as engine and transmission oil. V-Twin primary oil can work over a wide range of temperatures and improves clutch operation, and reduces wear and temperature, and operates smoothly. Red Line V-Twin primary case oil is designed and engineered especially for 1984 to the present American V-Twin motorcycle engines.

User reviews are positive and encouraging.

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9. Red Line 42524 20w-50 Full synthetic Motorcycle oil -12/ 1 quart. Manufacturer-Red Line oil.

This Red Line oil is designed for the latest Big Twin motorcycle engines that specify 20w-50 grade oil, including Evolution, Twin Cam, etc. This oil is packed with anti-wear chemistry like zinc and phosphorous, and special friction modifiers for better wet-clutch operation.

User reviews are good and positive. One user said that he is using this oil in his FLT Harley for touring and it is working. Another user said that he is using the complete range of Red Line oils.

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10. Red Line 90226 V-Twin 20w-50 Power Pack oil package (7 quarts) Full synthetic. Manufacturer-Red Line oil.

This Red Line oil package includes 5 quarts of 20w-50 motorcycle oil, 1 quart of V-Twin transmission oil with shockproof, 1 quart of the primary chaincase oil, 1 bottle of fuel injection cleaner, a sticker kit, a Red Line oil hat, and a versatile funnel.

This is a complete kit for motorcycles with Evolution, Milwaukee-Eight, and Twin-Cam engines, and each kit is checked for compatibility and sufficient quantity for a complete oil change.

User reviews are good. Users have used this oil in their 2017 Harley Lowrider (air-cooled), 2014 Ultra Limited, Dyna, and a Road Glide, and one user commented that he would have preferred to get more oil and O-rings in place of stickers, hat, and funnel’.

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11. Castrol 159AE1 06080 Power RS V-Twin 20w-50 4-stroke full synthetic motorcycle oil-1 quart (pack of 6). Manufacturer-Castrol.

Formulated with Trizone technology and protects the engine, clutch, and gearbox, this oil is engineered and tested to ensure performance in Harley Davidson motorcycles. Castrol POWER1 V-TWIN 4T 20w-50 is fully synthetic oil and is specifically designed for giving the best performance in modern V-Twin engines, primary and transmission. Castrol oil protects the three areas of your bike- engine, clutch, and gearbox.

User reviews are good and positive.

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12. Motul 104104 7100 20w-50 Synthetic motor oil. Manufacturer-Motul.

The manufacturer recommends this oil for motorcycle categories like all-terrain, street, sport, off-road, cruiser, and touring.

Important features- (i) low engine wear due to maximum oil film resistance even at high temperatures (ii) maximum power input and decreased operating temperature due to the presence of friction modifier (iii) reduced oil consumption and (iv) stable oil pressure at all operating conditions.

User reviews are good and encouraging. One user used this oil in his Harley Davidson M8 engine and the engine quietened down after using this oil. Another user felt quieter engine noise and more harmonious vibration.

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IV. Buying Tips

You need the oil for your Harley Davidson at three places: (i) primary transmission (ii) engine and (iii) transmission (gearbox). Check your owner’s manual, the manual normally recommends different oils for each one of the above.

However, some oil manufacturers may recommend the same oil for the engine, primary, and transmission.

What is the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) grade oil– SAE has made several standards for oil, example, SAE 10w40 oil has a viscosity of 10 at the starting (ambient) temperature and a viscosity of 40 at the operating temperature and this is suitable for cold weather conditions. You may find many grades for a motorcycle like SAE 5w40, SAE 10w50, etc.

Normally engine oil is specified in SAE grades and grades may differ for different Harley models.

1 Before researching for a good motorcycle oil for your Harley Davidson, read the warranty clause if your Harley is under warranty. If you find a clause that mandates you to use oil from Harley authorized outlets only (during warranty), then it is wise to follow it.
2 Refer to your owner’s manual and make a list of the recommended oil for primary, engine, and transmission of your Harley along with the volume required for each (only engine oil may have a specified SAE grade).

Verify Harley’s recommendation about synthetic oil for your motorcycle.

Primary and Transmission oil are normally not specific to any Harley model and hence can be used for all Harley models.

3 When you are doing research on the internet for oils for your Harley motorcycle, ensure that (i) the oil conforms to the SAE grade recommended by Harley (ii) the brand is reputed and proven (iii) the oil company stands by its quality (iv) synthetic oil can be used for your Harley model and (v) the label on the oil bottle mentions ‘V-Twin’.

If you have a doubt about synthetic oil for your Harley or which brand of oil is better, make a query on manufacturer’s website, have a frank discussion with an authorized Harley mechanic, or make use of a Harley user’s forum to clear all your doubts.

4 Many oil manufacturers recommend one grade oil for the engine, primary, and transmission. However, many experienced Harley bikers prefer independent and dedicated oil for primary, engine, and transmission. You need to make a decision here. Refer to your owner’s manual, and if Harley has recommended dedicated oil for each of them, it may be wise to do so.
5 When you do your research for a good oil for your Harley, check out its additives and their benefits.
6 Before placing your order for the oil ensure that the grade and brand of the oil are proven for your Harley model and the quantity of the oil you are ordering is sufficient. It may be wise to buy a kit containing oils for all three holes and it comes cheaper.


V. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I use automotive (car) oil in my Harley Davidson motorcycle?

No, do not use it. Automotive oils have additives and friction modifiers required to keep the engines running smoothly during idling and running and also to check the emission level within regulations. Many additives inside car oil are not good for Harley Davidson bike and may damage engine and transmission parts.

If you have used it by mistake or in an emergency, replace it with the correct grade motorcycle oil at the earliest opportunity.

 2. Can I use old filtered or reconditioned oil in my Harley Davidson?

A strict NO is the answer, old oil may come very cheap but due to bad quality, it may spoil your Harley Davidson within no time.

 3. How long can I store the motorcycle oil in my garage?

When the oil container is stored in a cool and dry place, and the seal of the oil can have not tampered with, the shelf life of the synthetic motorcycle oil can be up to 2-4 years. However, please go through the manufacturer’s advice before using it.

4. Can I use synthetic oil in my Harley Davidson?

Check your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendation. If you have an old Harley model, the recommendation may be mineral oil and you may have to choose a reputed mineral oil brand of the correct grade.

If you are using the latest model of Harley Davidson, check your owner’s manual for the recommended grade, and select a fully synthetic oil of a reputed and proven brand. Synthetic oils are expensive when compared to mineral or semisynthetic oil, however, it does not breakdown at high temperature, keeps the engine cool and minimizes wear and friction, and protects your Harley engine from corrosion.

Be sure about the right oil for your Harley before using.

5. What is the recommended oil of Harley Davidson?

Please refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended oil for your Harley. Harley normally recommends different oils considering the minimum ambient temperature (SAE 10w40 for cold weather, SAE50 for warm weather, etc.) and also synthetic or mineral oil. If Harley has recommended synthetic oil, you may go for it and it works well even at high engine temperatures (if your Harley engine is air-cooled it reaches very high temperature) in warm weather.

6. Why synthetic oil is better than mineral oil?

Mineral oils are refined from naturally available crude oil and do not contain additives to protect your Harley engine at high temperatures. On the other hand, synthetic oil is made by humans and contain additives required to keep your Harley engine cool even under continuous running, and also it does not break down at high temperature and protects your engine from wear, friction, and corrosion.

7. I use my Harley for a city ride with multiple stops, is synthetic oil good for me?

Synthetic oil works well at both low and high engine temperature, hence it retains its flowability even at ambient conditions when you start your Harley and protect it against wear, friction, and corrosion.

8. I use my Harley for long-distance riding, is synthetic oil good for me?

When you are doing long-distance rides on your Harley, the engine heats up faster(specifically if your Harley is air-cooled), however, the synthetic oil does not break up at high temperatures and offers the same protection against wear, friction, and corrosion, and helps keep the engine cool.

9. Is it worth paying a premium price for synthetic oil?

Yes, it is worth it, since the motorcycle synthetic oil has additives to keep your Harley engine cool, healthy, and this may increase its performance.

10. What quantity of oil should I buy for my Harley Davidson motorcycle?

Refer to your Harley owner’s manual, which specifies the oil quantity for each of the three holes (engine, primary, and transmission).

 11. What should be the frequency of oil change for my Harley Davidson motorcycle?

Refer to your Harley owner’s manual, it clearly specifies the miles after which the oil should be completely replaced. Drain off completely before filling the new oil of proper grade. Never top-up old oil with new oil and never mix two different grades of oil (or same grade oil of two different manufacturers).

 12. What is the opinion of Harley Davidson regarding oil for Harley motorcycles?

Like every manufacturer, Harley’s recommendation is to buy the oil from an authorized Harley dealer. Hence, the choice between a Harley oil and a good alternative is left to your wisdom. An internet search may show you that oils as good as Harley oils may be available on the market at a better price.

VI. Conclusion

By selecting a good quality oil for your Harley Davidson motorcycle, you can keep your precious Harley healthy and running smoothly for many years.

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