Primary Oil for Sportster- Everything You Need to Know

If you’re looking for the ultimate guide to choosing the best oil for your Sportster, then you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to walk you through all of the things you need to know about primary oil for your Sportster motorcycle.

It is very important to have reliable and effective oil in your Sportster. Whether you have a Harley Sportster 1200 or a different model, having the right knowledge will help protect your engine and keep it running smoothly. Read on to learn more about primary oils specific to the Sportster and find out which one will suit your motorcycle best.

Primary Oil for Sportster

What Is a Sportster?

The Harley Davidson Sportster is a line of motorcycles that are specifically designed for sport riding. It has earned a reputation for being both powerful and reliable, with its distinctive V-twin engine and additional features like the “XR1200X” that were designed for improved racing performance.

It also has larger gas tanks than some of the other Harley models and can at times generate over 100 horsepower. All these features make them perfect for riders who are looking to take on long-distance cross-country rides without worrying about their bike’s performance. They also look great when rolling down the open road.

Which Type of Primary Oil is Suitable for Harley Sportster?

Primary oil is the lubricant that flows through the engine’s primary chain case, clutch, and transmission. It is important to clearly understand the Sportster primary oil type to use. The recommended primary oil for Harley-Davidson Sportster is the Formula+ Primary Chaincase Lubricant.

Formula+ Primary Chaincase Lubricant is a synthetic blend oil that contains a high level of anti-wear additives. These additives help protect the transmission and clutch components from wear and tear, extending their lifespan. The oil is also resistant to oxidation and thermal breakdown, which means it can maintain its lubricating properties over an extended period.

Harley-Davidson recommends using SAE 50 or 20W50 weight motor oils for Sportsters manufactured before 1983, and SAE 40 or 10W40 weight motor oils for those produced after 1983. However, depending on environmental conditions in your region, you may need a different type or viscosity of oil to meet your motorcycle’s needs.

So, check with your owner’s manual or certified Harley-Davidson technicians for the best advice on which primary oil is right for your model.

Primary Oil for Sportster

4 Best Transmission Oil for Sportster

One of the most important parts of a Sportster is the tranny (or transmission), and it requires its type of lubrication. Here are four popular transmission oils for your Harley Sportster 1200:

Mobil 1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil

Mobil 1 Gear Oil for the Harley Davidson Sportster

When it comes to finding the best transmission oil for your Harley Sportster, Mobil 1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is a great choice. It’s a blend of high-performance base stocks and advanced additives that delivers outstanding wear protection and oil stability, even under difficult conditions.

It also helps reduce friction and heat to enhance power performance. Plus, it’s specifically formulated for use in Harley Sportsters, so you know that you’re getting the perfect oil for your particular model.

If you’re looking for a transmission oil that can withstand the toughest riding conditions, then Mobil 1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil is the way to go. Whether you’re taking your Sportster out on the open roads or hitting some off-road trails, this oil will keep your engine running smoothly and efficiently for years to come.

Red Line 75W-140 Synthetic Gear Oil

Red Line 75w140 Gear Oil To Use in the Harley Davidson Sportster

Next on the list is Red Line 75W-140 Synthetic Gear Oil. It is designed to resist heat, oxidation, and wear much better than conventional gear oils making it an excellent choice for Sportsters. The synthetic formulation also offers protection from gear wear and helps reduce noise from high-gear output shafts.

It maintains its viscosity in both warm and cold temperatures which makes it ideal for Sportster owners who ride in a variety of conditions. It has superb shear stability that can handle high gear loads and rapidly shifting temperatures, allowing it to maintain its viscosity despite changing conditions.

Compared to traditional petroleum oil blends, this oil won’t break down as easily during extended periods of use. All in all, Red Line 75W-140 Synthetic Gear Oil is a great option for Sportster owners looking for long-lasting protection against heat, wear, and oxidation. You can choose Amsoil 75W-140 for your Sportster transmission also.

Read Redline Oil Vs Amsoil

Bel-Ray Gear Saver Transmission Oil

Bel Ray Gear Saver Transmission Oil to use in the Harley Davidson Sportster

The final best transmission oil for Sportster that you should consider is Bel-Ray Gear Saver Transmission Oil. As the name suggests, it’s designed specifically for gearboxes and has all the features of top-performance motorcycle oil. It comes in both SAE 80W and SAE 85W weights, so you’ll find one that fits your Sportster’s transmission.

Bel-Ray Gear Saver Transmission Oil also includes detergents, dispersants, and anti-foaming agents to keep your engine running smoothly and prevent sludge buildup. For extra protection against wear and tear, it has added zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) antiwear protection with reduced sulfur levels too. And just like Mobil 1 Synthetic Motorcycle Oil, it comes in both quart bottles and gallon drums.

What Is the Actual Harley Sportster 1200 Oil Capacity?

Sportster 1200s come with different transmission and primary case capacities. Most models will have a transmission fluid capacity of 1 quart and a primary case capacity of 0.5 quarts. But again, it’s important to consult with your owner’s manual or trusted technicians to ensure that you’re using the correct type and amount of fluids for your specific model and needs.

A Quick Note On Engine Oil Capacity

When it comes to the oil capacity of a Sportster 1200, it depends on the model. Usually, a Sportster 1200 has an engine oil capacity of about 3 quarts. But if you have the 883 models, the engine will be slightly smaller and will have a lower oil capacity of around 2.8 quarts which means you’ll need less oil to fill it up, but the primary oil capacity will remain the same.

How to Change Transmission Oil in Harley Sportster

Changing your primary oil in a Harley Sportster is essential, but it’s important to do it correctly. So, let’s take a look at how you can change the oil in your Harley Sportster.

The first thing is, you’ll need to decide on which type of oil to use. Some transmission oils are designed specifically for bikes, so be sure to check the manual for your model.

Once you’ve chosen the oil, you can begin the process of changing it. Here are some simple steps for doing so:

  1. Start by getting everything you need together: some new primary oil and an oil drain pan are two must-haves. You’ll also want a set of metric sockets and ratchets, an Allen wrench or socket, and a flathead screwdriver.
  2. Park your bike on a level surface and let it cool down for at least 30 minutes before beginning the process of draining old oil from your primary.
  3. Remove the transmission drain plug from the bottom of your motorcycle using a ratchet and socket, being careful not to over-tighten it when replacing it later.
  4. Remove any bolts holding the primary cover in place with either a socket or Allen wrench, depending on how they’re attached. Typically this involves removing the clutch inspection cover.
  5. Carefully remove the primary cover, being mindful not to lose any of its parts – these include rubber gaskets and O-rings that could cause an expensive leak if they don’t fit snugly back into place afterward!
  6. Remove any remaining bolts or screws holding tight onto other components before finally removing everything necessary to access your engine compartment/crankcase area.
  7. Do a final check of all components before refilling and starting the bike (make sure the transmission drain plug and clutch inspection cover is tight, in particular.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is Harley’s primary oil the same as engine oil?

No, Harley’s primary oil is not the same as engine oil. Harley primary oil is a special oil designed to lubricate the clutch and primary chain drive on Harley-Davidson motorcycles. It is a semi-synthetic oil and is not suitable for use in the engine.

Q. What does the primary fluid do on a Harley?

The primary fluid on a Harley is a lubricant for transmission. It helps reduce friction and wear on the transmission’s internal components and keeps it running smoothly. The fluid also helps to keep the parts cool and prevents corrosion.

Q. Can I use 20w50 in my Harley transmission?

Usually, Amsoil suggests using 20W-50 Synthetic V-Twin motorcycle oil in the engine, transmission, and primary chain case of most Harleys.

Q. How often should I change the oil in my Evolution Sportster?

Primary drive and wet clutch are hallmarks of Evolution Sportsters. Oil should be changed every 10,000 miles after the initial 1,000 miles.

Final Thought

Primary oil is essential for Sportster models. It’s important to consider your current and future bike modifications when choosing the right oil for your bike. Different types of oil have different capabilities and are best for specific applications.

You need to pay attention to the oil capacity and use the right amount to fill your bike. And finally, changing the oil regularly is essential to ensure the longevity of the engine. With the proper knowledge and a little bit of practice, even a DIYer can become a motorcycle oil changer and help keep their Sportster in top condition.

Read Also:

Best Primary Oil for Harley

Harley’s Low Primary Oil Symptoms


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.