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barlow53's picture
VBMWMO #9125
Joined: 07/08/2016
Posts: 27

I live in the Northeast and only drive my 1963 BMW R60/2 and R69S from April/May to mid November due to the weather up here (snow, salty roads, etc.). I currently use VR1 30w oil. The temperatures during my riding season can be a low of 50 degrees F and a high of 90 degrees F.

My questions are:

1) Should I be using VR1 40w instead of the 30w or does this make no difference?
2) Will the 40w slow any oil consumption?

Thanks for your opinions. ~Bob

schrader7032's picture
VBMWMO #7032
San Antonio, TX
Joined: 10/27/2006
Posts: 7077
The owners manual says for

The owners manual says for temps 32-86F, the single weight 30 is given. Above 86 and sporty riding, use 40w. So, I would think that 30w would be fine. Of course, if you chose to use a multi weight, I might consider a 10w40 as its formulation would effectively cover all ranges fairly well.

I don't think approach oil consumption by choosing the weight of oil is the right way to think. I think you choose the right oil for your temperature range and riding, and figure out why oil is being lost through the more standard areas such as rings, valves, etc.


Kurt in S.A.
'78 R100/7 '69 R69S '52 R25/2

312Icarus's picture
Joined: 07/15/2016
Posts: 437
I agree with Schrader.

I agree with Schrader. Choose the oil for the temp. Starting a cold engine with too heavy an oil is hard on the engine, producing low oil pressure, leading to wear on the oil pump, bearings, rings etc. To use a heavier oil to reduce consumption is false economy. If you are using a significant quantity of oil, consider the proximate cause...worn rings, tired pistons/cylinders/leaking valve guides etc, and budget a rebuild.


Grant R26
Grant R26's picture
VBMWMO #8145
Toronto Canada and Long Island, Nova Scotia
Joined: 03/28/2011
Posts: 213
Hi Bob I agree...choose a

Hi Bob
I agree...choose a weight that suits your driving and the ambient temp. Oil consumption is the least of your problems with an old bike

for years I used the "vintage" straight 30 weight and 40 weight oils. once temperatures got down to freezing or 2 or 3 degrees under I could not kick over the bike on 40 or 50 weight but switching to 30 weight made them surprisingly easy to kick over and start. It was a real eye opener...dropping to 30 weight gave me weeks more of use since starting the bike was the only obstacle

these days, about 28 degrees F is my cutoff point...any colder than that and I don't have the poop to get it started

more recently I switched everything over to the oil that Vech recommends: Valvoline VR1 20W-50 and I seem to be able to still start the bike in sub freezing weather ( R60 and R27 ). The the 20w component of the multi-weight oil, in theory, offers reasonable engine protection when started cold.

Back in the 50s they ran their bikes all winter on really crappy oil that was more or less straight out of the ground with minimal refining so I figure with modern, high zinc oil, as long as there is no snow on the road...it's all systems go for riding to work

Grant in Toronto

312Icarus's picture
Joined: 07/15/2016
Posts: 437
A small infrared heat lamp (

A small infrared heat lamp ( like for a chicken brooder) for an hour or so under the oil pan will warm the oil enough to kick it over when temps get much below freezing.

I ride as long as I can stay warm on the bike with no heated gloves or suit.


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