What Engine Oil? - Honda CBR 300 Forum
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post #1 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 10:11 AM Thread Starter
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What Engine Oil?

What sort of oil should I put inside my cbr300r?

I cant really understand the jargon inside the manual.

is Honda
GN4 20W50 Oil the correct oil?
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post #2 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Jack096 View Post
What sort of oil should I put inside my cbr300r?

I cant really understand the jargon inside the manual.

is Honda
GN4 20W50 Oil the correct oil?
Honda GN4 oil is recommended by Honda, but for the CBR300R (as well as the CBR250R) the recommended viscosity is 10W-30 (or GN4 10W-40 can be used if your Honda dealer is out of stock on the GN4 in 10W-30).

The GN4 20W-50 is intended for use in the older air cooled singles (like the XR & XL models).

You can also use other brands of 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil, as long as it is a motor oil specifically designed for motorcycles with wet clutches. You do not want to use motor oils made for cars, as they typically contain additives that can cause clutch slippage if used in a motorcycle application. Also, motorcycle specific engine oils contain additive packages designed for the transmission, whereas motor oils for cars don't.

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post #3 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 12:44 PM
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I'd say 10w40 for hotter climates, and 10w30 for milder climates
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post #4 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 12:49 PM Thread Starter
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Honda GN4 oil is recommended by Honda, but for the CBR300R (as well as the CBR250R) the recommended viscosity is 10W-30 (or GN4 10W-40 can be used if your Honda dealer is out of stock on the GN4 in 10W-30).

The GN4 20W-50 is intended for use in the older air cooled singles (like the XR & XL models).

You can also use other brands of 10W-30 or 10W-40 oil, as long as it is a motor oil specifically designed for motorcycles with wet clutches. You do not want to use motor oils made for cars, as they typically contain additives that can cause clutch slippage if used in a motorcycle application. Also, motorcycle specific engine oils contain additive packages designed for the transmission, whereas motor oils for cars don't.
massive thanks for the detailed explanation - I'm trying to increase my knowledge of the bike and how to maintain it. I feel like my safety depends on my machine operating correctly, and being completely ignorant of the mechanics is quite unwise.

just checked my local shop, they have honda GN4 10w-30 oil - I'll probably pick that up tomorrow and give the cbr a top up.

do you know the difference between HP4 and GN4?
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post #5 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 12:56 PM
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massive thanks for the detailed explanation - I'm trying to increase my knowledge of the bike and how to maintain it. I feel like my safety depends on my machine operating correctly, and being completely ignorant of the mechanics is quite unwise.

just checked my local shop, they have honda GN4 10w-30 oil - I'll probably pick that up tomorrow and give the cbr a top up.

do you know the difference between HP4 and GN4?

HP is higher performance oil apparently. Likely need to change it a little less, mind you I just change the oil at the end of the season so it's fresh for next year. I prefer a full synthetic oil on my triumph and will likely use the HP myself for the wife's cb300f


https://www.jcmotors.com/t-oil-viscosity.aspx
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post #6 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 01:06 PM
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Honda HP4 is a synthetic oil. I'd recommend not switching to a synthetic until you have at least several thousand miles on the bike. Mineral oils (aka petroleum based oil) like GN4 are generally better suited to new engine break in than a synthetic oil, the reason being that synthetics don't allow the engine & transmission internal moving parts to wear together as well as what a mineral oil will. This is evidenced by the very fine metallic particles you see suspended in the drained oil at the 600 mile oil change, which is normal and indicates that the internal moving parts are wearing in together. Honda fills the engines at the factory with same GN4 you buy from Honda dealers as their so called "break in" oil for this reason. I myself used the GN4 mineral oil at the 600 mile service/oil change, and then switched to a full synthetic oil (Valvoline 4T Synthetic 10W-40 Motorcycle Oil) at the 4000 mile oil change. IMO, the biggest benefit to using a full synthetic oil is that the gearbox seems to be a little smoother shifting. But that perceived "improved smoother shifting" could also be due to just getting more miles on the bike... my CBR250R now has about 15,000 miles on the odometer. I think the whole mineral vs. synthetic debate really comes down to personal preference. There is that old but true saying: The best oil is clean oil. With that in mind, and regardless whether one uses mineral or synthetic in these bikes, I would not go more than 5000 miles between oil & filter changes.

I should mention another thing you'll need to be aware of when you're checking the engine oil level: That the bike is on a level surface and is held upright off of the side stand, so as to get an accurate reading in the sight glass. If the oil level is in between the two marks next to the glass, the oil level is correct. Too many new owners look at the sight glass with the bike resting on the side stand, and not seeing any oil in the glass think that the engine is low on oil. Then they end up overfilling the crankcase, which is not a good thing.
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Last edited by MotoMike; 07-15-2015 at 01:44 PM.
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post #7 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 01:21 PM
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Oh no! The synthetic vs dino for break-in!! lol
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post #8 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by MotoMike View Post
Honda HP4 is a synthetic oil. I'd recommend not switching to a synthetic until you have at least several thousand miles on the bike. Mineral oils (aka petroleum based oil) like GN4 are generally better suited to new engine break in than a synthetic oil, the reason being that synthetics don't allow the engine & transmission internal moving parts to wear together as well as what a mineral oil will. This is evidenced by the very fine metallic particles you see suspended in the drained oil at the 600 mile oil change, which is normal and indicates that the internal moving parts are wearing in together. Honda fills the engines at the factory with same GN4 you buy from Honda dealers as their so called "break in" oil for this reason. I myself used the GN4 mineral oil at the 600 mile service/oil change, and then switched to a full synthetic oil (Valvoline 4T Synthetic 10W-40 Motorcycle Oil) at the 4000 mile oil change. IMO, the biggest benefit to using a full synthetic oil is that the gearbox seems to be a little smoother shifting. But that perceived "improved smoother shifting" could also be due to just getting more miles on the bike... my CBR250R now has about 15,000 miles on the odometer. I think the whole mineral vs. synthetic debate really comes down to personal preference. There is that old but true saying: The best oil is clean oil. With that in mind, and regardless whether one uses mineral or synthetic in these bikes, I would not go more than 5000 miles between oil & filter changes.

I should mention another thing you'll need to be aware of when you're checking the engine oil level: That the bike is on a level surface and is held upright off of the side stand, so as to get an accurate reading in the sight glass. If the oil level is in between the two marks next to the glass, the oil level is correct. Too many new owners look at the sight glass with the bike resting on the side stand, and not seeing any oil in the glass think that the engine is low on oil. Then they end up overfilling the crankcase, which is not a good thing.



Good call on waiting for the full synthetic, never thought about the break in benefits of the other oil. Great post.
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post #9 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 06:06 PM
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Oh dear. I'm not sure I want to wade in here, because engine oils for bikes is a very complex area and I don't want to scare newbies.

However.......

The big difference between car and bike engines, which makes this area so apparently tricky, is actually in the transmission, not the engine. Whereas cars have separate lubrication systems for engine and transmission, bike engines and trannies often share their oil. Additionally, car clutches sit in fresh air (albeit hidden inside a 'bell housing') but many bikes use 'wet clutches' which sit in the very same oil as the engine. MotoMike referred to this earlier.

Obviously, oil is designed to REDUCE friction, whereas clutches rely on friction to transmit power from the engine to the gearbox. The role of the clutch is to permit this power transfer to be interrupted while gears are changed and when stationary. Consequently, it is important to use the right grade of oil in order to maintain clutch friction within design parameters.

Why is this tricky? Well some oils provide more friction reduction than others and this can affect clutch operation. Whether this change in clutch behaviour is noticeable enough to be a problem I can't say, never having experienced the issue myself. It is easy to imagine though, that high quality synthetic oil, being a 'low friction' lubricant, could have this affect. Some car engine oils also contain additives which can actually harm wet clutch friction material.

For myself, I stick pretty rigidly to manufacturer's recommendations because (1) I don't have the knowledge required to second-guess Honda in light of the above and (2) because I change my oil frequently, thus negating many of the long-life advantages of expensive oils, I would be wasting money. There is also the matter of warranty to consider, where applicable. It might be that using an oil outside of the manufacturer's recommendations could invalidate a claim if engine lubrication was implicated in an engine failure.

I also take the view that, with low-tune, unsophisticated engines such as the CBR's, fancy oils are not necessary.

If you can confirm that a 'better' oil does no harm to the clutch and you don't mind spending the extra money, then go for it. It's a simple way to 'modify' your bike and maybe release another half horsepower!

Oh and another thing (just to complicate matters further), those of you living in extreme climates (very hot or very cold) will have to choose oil with flow characteristics (viscosity) to accommodate those conditions. All oils have 'safe operating temperature ranges' and oils that flow well at very low temps may overheat and fail at very high temps (though some expensive oils have wider operating ranges). I haven't got the manual with me but all car manuals cover this, providing alternative oil grades for such conditions. If the CBR manual does not, your local Honda dealer should be able to advise.
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post #10 of 63 Old 07-15-2015, 10:37 PM
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I'm in the camp of using an average quality semi-synthetic oil and change regularly with filter done every time. I use 10-40 cos its most common and reasonably priced. I change it every 3K miles.

I once put fully synthetic in an XR200 and made the clutch slip instantly. Even tho I drained it off the clutch plates were still impregnated with the stuff and in the end I had to fit heavier clutch springs to get it sorted. Expensive mistake I'm wary of repeating.
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