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Old 12-10-2012, 05:41 AM   #1
team ftb OP
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Is my hairbrained idea possible?

I've been enjoying all kinds of motorcycle racing and riding for a few decades now and have had a marvelous time doing. The last 6 years I've been enjoying riding motorcycles throughout rural Southeast Asia with an emphasis on as much off road as possible. Trips range from a few days up to a month long.

I want light weight on my next bike. Th new KTM 500 is a nice package but its still 265 pounds ready to ride. I did some two and three day trips on my Yamaha YZF 250 and enjoyed it so much better riding technical off road. Primarily due to the weight only really missing the 525 on longer tarmac sections.




I now have a KTM 250 XCF-W (w/300 cylinder) and I'm toying with the idea of running this on multi week trips. Here's my question: I can run synthetic oil in the crankcase when I leave on the trip but most places I'm heading only have conventional oil. Sooo all my oil changes will be done with conventional oil. The bike holding a hair over a quart will mean I'll be dropping oil every few days which is easy enough. My question is will a motor designed for synthetic be able to survive a few hundred hours running conventional oil for 70% of the time?????

My thinking is my old 525 handled regular oil when forceed to with not much problem, however it only used it probably 20% of the time.



How about some insight from the brethren?
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Old 12-10-2012, 07:37 AM   #2
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Is this another oil thread?



Personally, I don't think it would be a problem at all. I basically do the same thing with my LC4e. Synthetic at the beginning of the season. If an oil change is needed mid-season, I use regular dino oil because I know I'll be dumping it before it's due again.
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Old 12-10-2012, 08:41 AM   #3
strongbad
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You could do oil analysis on your synthetic when it's done--as a baseline--then run the same interval, under the same conditions, with the oil you anticipate using on the road and test again. No need to guess.

BTW, beautiful pic.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:12 AM   #4
fullmonte
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Is the majority of your riding just plonking along or banging off the rev limiter? Do you ride lots of first gear single track in sweltering temps? An understressed motor may not need synth oil. Looks like you can ride anything there without worrying about tag/title issues, so maybe your options are wide open compared to the states.
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Old 12-10-2012, 09:16 AM   #5
Davidc83
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In my own opinion, I believe people worry too much about oil. Oil is basically oil, no matter what type. The only thing I worry about is to make sure it is NOT energy conserving oil for a wet clutch.
There was a study performed a few years ago by Consumer Reports, who took hundreds of taxi-cabs and studied them for 100,000 miles each. Some they put in the cheapest Dino oil and some they put in the most expensive synthetic and anywhere between these two, they put in the taxi cabs. After each cab reached 100,000 miles, the motor was disassembled and measurements taken of all the internal parts. Guess what, there was no statistical difference between any of the oils. If the bike only holds about one quart of synthetic oil, just take a few quarts of your synthetic oil with you on your journey-I know, at the beginning you may have a small weight problem; however, this weight problem will lessen after each oil change.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:33 AM   #6
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The only reason I run synthetic oils in all my bikes is because I can stretch out the oil changes, synthetics hold up way longer than conventionals. With 4 bikes to maintain, and minimal riding/wrenching time, cutting down on maintainence gives me more riding time
If you change your oil often stick with conventional and save your money.
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Old 12-10-2012, 11:59 AM   #7
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It'll be fine. The only important thing about oil is that you have some.
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Old 12-10-2012, 01:05 PM   #8
JerryH
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Just my opinion, but I think clean oil is better than dirty oil no matter what the type. I often change the oil in my XT225 after just one days riding in the dusty AZ desert, and it never goes past 1000 miles, even when riding only on pavement. I use Walmart Supertech 20w50. It had 1800 miles on it when I bought it, it now has over 35,000. Compression is still within spec for a new engine. The only known benefit to synthetic oil is that it retains it's viscosity longer, but to me that is a moot point because it gets dirty just as fast.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:12 AM   #9
team ftb OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strongbad View Post
You could do oil analysis on your synthetic when it's done--as a baseline--then run the same interval, under the same conditions, with the oil you anticipate using on the road and test again. No need to guess.

BTW, beautiful pic.

An excellent idea, but sadly my arm is currently in six pieces due to coming up short on an 8 foot ditch that caught me out. This means no test batches anytime soon and need to make a decision on this within the next month as it affects a buying decision on the next bike.

BTW I enjoy your knowledgeable posts on running SCORE and Baja.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:57 AM   #10
team ftb OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fullmonte View Post
Is the majority of your riding just plonking along or banging off the rev limiter? Do you ride lots of first gear single track in sweltering temps? An understressed motor may not need synth oil. Looks like you can ride anything there without worrying about tag/title issues, so maybe your options are wide open compared to the states.

Being in Thailand, Lao and Cambodia its always hot and sweltering.'' and a fair amount of singletrack.






However my multi week trips will be 50% fireroads with as much singletrack as we can uncover.

The main reason for me moving over here is exactly that.....I can ride whatever i want anywhere and nobody bitches. Really sad how my home state of California has turned into a nanny state.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:01 AM   #11
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Some interesting opinions here please keep them coming as I'm all ears.

A concern I have is the racebred motors of the KTM any more susceptible to failure using standard oil than say an XR 250? if both have clean and correct amounts of oil?
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:44 PM   #12
tshelver
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My question would be, why bother with the KTM if you have oil questions? What about parts and support if something breaks?

In the Philippines the archaic XR200 is still a strong seller, in part because parts, tires and support are available almost anywhere, and they can be worked on by any shade-tree mechanic.

I'd rather be riding (if a bit slower) than sitting around waiting for parts or whatever.

Just a different way of looking at it.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:54 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tshelver View Post
My question would be, why bother with the KTM if you have oil questions? What about parts and support if something breaks?

In the Philippines the archaic XR200 is still a strong seller, in part because parts, tires and support are available almost anywhere, and they can be worked on by any shade-tree mechanic.

I'd rather be riding (if a bit slower) than sitting around waiting for parts or whatever.

Just a different way of looking at it.

Tshelver - You make an absolute valid point, and for the first 3 years over here I did exactly that. Rode XR250's and KLX 250's for their reliability, though back then they were not even available here and so like the KTM parts would have to be imported.

I ride motorcycles for fun, and bottom line I enjoy twisting the grip of a modern bike and after 5 years of running KTM's over here in the backwoods have discovered that I have really not had any downsides in comparison to the Honda XR's (once the bike is set-up and spares carried) except for more frequent oil changes and valve adjustments. I'm OK with that trade off, others may not be.

Thanks for your post.
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