What Is Motorcycle Gear Oil

As a motorcycle user, you must know about engine oil for your motorcycle. Sometimes you may need to know about motorcycle gear oil also. Gear oil is used to lubricate the gearbox of the motorcycle. But if your motorcycle is a wet clutch base then no need to worry about gear oil. Gear oil is needed only in shaft-driven motorcycles. Let’s discuss : 

Motorcycle Gear oil

Generally Motorcycle engine transmits power by three ways:

  • By Chain
  • By Belt
  • By Shaft

Our main concern is shaft driven motorcycle, as gear oil is mainly needed in these type motorcycle.

Shaft Drive Motorcycle:

Motorcycle in which gear and shaft are used to transmit power from the engine to the rear wheel. In this motorcycle, no chain or belt is used.

In shaft driven  motorcycle power loss may higher than chain or belt  driven  motorcycle but rider get super comfort and speed . Lifetime or maintenance period of power transmission system also better in shaft driven motorcycle.

Motorcycle Gear Oil Used For : 

Motorcycle Gear Oil is used to lubricate the gear box, from where the shaft is driven power. A motorcycle having a separate gearbox or automatic transmission system requires separate gear or transmission oil. This gear oil keeps the transmission system operation smooth, and noiseless and also protects from overheating, friction, or wear. Whether the motorcycle has two strokes or four strokes you must need to use the right motorcycle gear oil. Only if you use a wet clutch transmission system motorbike then no need to worry about motorcycle gear oil. In that case, engine oil does the duties of transmission oil. Though many people use motorcycle gear oil in their motorcycle as chain oil. 

Related: Mixing Gearbox Oil: What You Need to Know

Motorcycle Gear Oil Grade

Generally, 90 viscosity grade gear oil would be best as motorcycle gear oil. Considering the low-temperature condition you need to choose multi-grade API GL-5 75W-90 Gear Oil. For better performance best option will be synthetic. If you think about cost minimization then you can go for API-GL4 Mineral oil also. In that case, motorcycle gear oil grade would be like 80W-90 or 85W-90 also. But most important thing is that you just need to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for selecting motorcycle gear oil. But most important thing is to follow the manufacturer recommendation while selecting the motorcycle gear oil grade.

Motorcycle Gear Oil Change:

Generally, Motorcycle gear oil change interval varies on some factors like the Model of the motorcycle, gear oil type or brand, and finally usage of a motorcycle. For example, if you use API GL-5 75W-90 Synthetic gear oil and ride the motorcycle in optimum conditions, then the gear oil change interval would be 5000-7000 miles. But if you use mineral-type gear oil then it can give you a maximum of a3000 miles frequency of oil change. But one you need to keep in your mind that is, at least once every year you have to change the motorcycle gear oil even if you ride below 3000 miles.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q. Can you use ATF in a motorcycle?

No, you can’t use ATF in as engine oil in your motorcycle. For a wet clutch motorcycle you have to use engine oil of Manufacturer recommended Viscosity grade. For a Shaft driving motorcycle, you have to use gear oil separately.

Q. Is gear oil and engine oil same in bike?

In a wet clutch motorcycle, engine oil also works as transmission oil but for automatic transmission or shaft-driven motorcycle, gear has to use separately. In this case gear, oil and engine oil are not same. 

Q. Is synthetic gear oil better?

Yes, Synthetic gear Oil is better than mineral oil if you choose the right oil according to your manufacturer’s recommendation.

Final Words:

Like engine oil motorcycle gear oil is also an important part of maintenance. So a motorcycle rider should be very careful about the selection of the grade & brand of motorcycle gear oil according to the recommendations and change the dirty oil in timely considering the riding conditions.


Rio is a car & motorcycle mechanic who is working with different kinds of problems relating to oil and grease. He is also a passionate technical writer.