Join Date: Sep 2011
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It depends on the conditions and especially how long you ride.
Starting and riding for a short distance requires more frequent oil changes than extended trips. The main thing you are fighting is contaminants and the degradation of the additive package in the oil. When you start-up an engine you are adding moisture, acids, and unburned fuel to the oil. Most of it burns-off when the oil reaches a high enough temp for a long enough period. Water temp (aka engine temp) and oil temp are not the same thing. It takes significantly more time for the oil to come up to its operating temp than it does for the coolant to come up to its operating temp. It's when you don't allow the oil to get up to that temp (short trips) that the contaminants build-up. Cold temps make it worse.
I'm a believer that synthetic oil is a really good idea, especially when the engine only holds a couple of quarts or so. Some people feel they can run synthetic for an extended period compared to conventional oil, but I feel the real factor is build-up of contaminants, not miles. A taxi or over-the-road truck can safely run oil many times longer than someone that just runs to the store and back.
I change the oil before storage on all of my cycles, no matter if it only ran 1000 mi. Dirty oil during storage is worse than dirty oil during regular riding IMO.
So it really depends, but I personally never go as long as the Owner's Manual recommends unless I've done a large amount of extended highway cruising.
Last edited by jkv357; 02-03-2012 at 09:24 PM.