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You might already be using a great engine oil if you are getting this e-mail, but you still may have a few questions, or maybe you heard something that has you thinking.  Let me share with you some very important issues I have learned in 20+ years of racing Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and what they really need oil.

A multi-weight oil is extremely important, the magic is an oil formulation (like 20w/50) that acts as if it has two different viscosities or thickness, depending on the temperature. At the lower test temperature (100F), it flows as the first number would indicate (20), and at the higher test temperature (210F), it flows as the second number would indicate (50). This multi-weight nature is made possible by the addition of long-chain polymers to the oil, which are coiled up when cold, but straighten out when hot, and thus change the flow characteristics of the oil. Thus a 20w50 oil will flow like a 20 weight oil when at 100F (fairly thin), but will not thin out more than a 50 weight oil would when hot (210F).

Synthetic oil definitely has the advantage over petroleum based oils when it comes to protection and temperature control.  The old myths about synthetic making your bike leak or the rollers skip have officially been proved to be false.  If you want the best protection for your engine choose a high quality Air Cooled specific V-Twin Motor oil not just any 20/50 oil from your local auto parts store, make sure it says V-Twin on the label!

The Dealer you bought your bike from will tell you that you have to use the official factory (Harley-Davidson) motor oil to keep your warranty.  This is not true. All you need to do to fulfill your warranty requirements is to use a lubricant that meets or exceeds the OEM specifications. Royal Purple, S&S Cycle, Mobile 1, Drag Specialties, Spectro, Amsoil, products all meet or exceed all manufacturers performance requirements.
Two of our favorite oil recommendations...

S&S Syn Oil.jpg                  Royal Purple.jpg

02/18/2013   If you own a 1999 – 2006 Harley-Davidson motorcycle with the Twin Cam engine you have probably at least herd rumors of the Cam Chain Tensioners failing.  Unfortunately the truth is the stock cam chain tensioners will fail in your engine somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 miles.  There doesn’t seem to be any common thread that determines whether yours will fail at 20 or 40 or somewhere in between.  The higher grade synthetic motor oils such as Royal purple or Mobile 1 will definitely stretch out the life span a few thousand miles farther than the Syn 3 oil that is sold at the dealers. 

There is a couple of “Fixes” to the issue installed at the factory. 

#1   S&S Gear Drive Cams…  (The only issue here is that your flywheels need to be perfect to qualify for gear drive.)  In our experience maybe about 5% of the flywheels meet those criteria.

Below is our most recommended option which is to upgrade your chain tensioners to the 2007 and later style hydraulic tensioner system known to last up to 5 times longer.

#2   Feuling Oil System Pack…  (High quality parts a bit pricey)

#3   Screamin Eagle Oil Pump Upgrade… (Priced right, good quality, “best bang for the buck”)

We recommend when your 1999 – 2006 bike gets close to 20,000 miles come in for a consultation and free written quote at Chris Rivas V-Twin and as always check us out online at

02/13/2012     Lately it seems like we have seen more than the usual amount of people coming in with a cam installed in their bike by a friend or another shop that is completely the wrong selection for their application. Typically the customer comes in complaining that since their “performance” cam install there has been a noticeable decrease in performance overall.  The first thing I would like to say is that there is a definite difference between a mechanic that knows how to put an engine together and a “Motor Builder”. A Motor Builder would know by the cam timing numbers and compression ratio if a certain cam would be a benefit or a deficit to the performance of any given engine combination.  The most common mistake is putting a cam into a motor that has too much duration on the intake which makes the performance come on too late in the RPM range, therefore “performance” is actually decreased.  When the intake valve closes late some of the engine’s compression is actually leaked out instead of being captured so the compression ratio inside the working engine becomes less than it was before the install.  Before any cam is installed we believe in an interview with the person that will be riding the bike in order to find out their particular riding style (RPM range) as well as their expectations for the performance of their motor.  For 90% of the riders out there the smaller cam would be the best choice instead of the largest in the catalog.  The best place to start would be to read the description in the catalog, there is generally a very good description of the prerequisites for the install and/or the performance level of the cams.  If all else fails call a real “Motor Builder” at 559-441-7922.


01/18/2012    One of the first and most common questions we seem to get is, "do I really need to get my bike Dyno tuned because I have had a dealer say that it is not necessary." Well the real answer is that usually the dealer making that statement doesn't have the fuel injection knowledge nor do they have a Dyno, so of course they will tell you it is not necessary because they cannot perform that service.  Since 2007 (2006 on the Dyna Bikes) Harleys have come with Oxygen sensors in the exhaust and the common misconception is that those sensors are magic and tune the bike no matter what modifications you do to the air cleaner or exhaust system.

The truth is that the sensors in your exhaust is what is known as a "narrow band sensor", so the operating range is "narrow" there is a very small window of correction that the sensors can do on their own.  Maybe you can get away with just changing the mufflers if you just want more noise and the fuel delivery is close enough.  However; if you are looking for an increase in performance and put together a package with a hi flow intake and full performance exhaust system you will definitely need to correct the fuel delivery as well as the timing tables in order to prevent any engine damage from a lean condition.  This is where the Dyno comes into play.  The Dynamometer is simply a tool that can be used to imitate the normal driving conditions in a controlled environment while monitoring and recording the fuel delivery or Air/Fuel Ratio (AFR) of a particular bike. When the AFR is out of range it can then be tuned by the operator through a tuning product such as Direct Link, TTS, Screamin Eagle Super Tuner, Power Vision, or even a Power Commander in some cases.  So if you plan on changing your Air Cleaner and Exhaust do your engine a favor and get it tuned properly on a Dyno by a trained Dyno technician.


01/11/2012    There really is too much bad information within the Harley performance industry so hopefully with some short lines written here maybe we can help our fellow riders with some very simple ideas on tuning and performance upgrades for your late model Twin Cam Bikes.

Chris Rivas


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