The Shell Rotella T-6 Synthetic Oil Thread


Past President DSBC 2004 -2018
Staff member
Just what we need before the riding season starts, A New Oil Thread!

After many years of Maxima Synthetic Oil purchases I have been convinced by my good friend Sylvain that I should consider Shell Rotella T-6 Synthetic.

I do a lot of oil changes so I usually buy oil by the case 12x1L , Maxima full synthetic comes in at about 275.00 cdn (23.00 per litre ouch) and that's not even their expensive stuff. Specification from their site Exceeds JASO-MA M/C 4T Specs Exceeds API SG/CC Specs

Japanese standard for special oil which can be used in 4-stroke motorcycle engine with one oil system for engine, gearbox and wet clutch system. Fluid is non-friction modified.

I know there is a lot more to the JASO MA classification but I am pretty comfortable that this is the rating I should have for my Husqvarnas.

Shell Rotella T-6 Synthetic Oil 5W40 JASO MA approval along with a host of other approvals
I know my thinking here might be a little simplistic, but if an oil can protect a $25,000.00+ engine and meet the motorcycle approval standard, it should work for my little dirt bike engine

I also can purchase T-6 in convenient 5 litre jugs for about 41.00 cdn works out to be just over 8 bucks a litre
Like to Rotella T-6 brochure

I would like to hear anyone's opinions or question, good, bad, who cares, anything?


+1, but not in the bike engines yet......however been using it in a TDI diesel with a known camshaft/lifter wear problem, good results holding the wear progression to a minimum over the last 200K km. Sadly, price has climbed quite dramatically the last 2 years, used to be dirt cheap.


Active member
Not the same was what you want, but Rekluse recommended Shell Rotella T (the dino oil) for KTM 4 strokes. So I have been using it in my KTM 4 strokes since 2010.

I buy it on sale at Cdn Tire in the 5 gallon pail.
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apparently , rotella T6 is one of the oils of choice for the DR650 . . . so that is what I have been using . don't really have anything to compare to as that is all I've used .

didn't you used to run a DR , tom ?


New member
Hmm, took a look at the brochure and no info as to the base. If not advertised it is likely a PAO base. I believe the Maxima is Ester base. These two oils are designed to excel in different areas so it depends on what you want or believe you need. The Ester based oil dissipates heat better and is preferred by many high performance engine builders. After way too much reading about oils I use an Ester based oil.


Administrator / BFF in the blue jacket
After reading that your old 310 engine was the most worn-out that Bill had ever seen (before your rebuild), I'm not sure that Maxima will have you as their spokesman.

Good move to the Rotella. Lots of guys we ride with are using this (not just Frenchie) - and it would certainly be my backup choice...

I've been using Amsoil since day-1 on my first Husky. No complaints after hundreds of hours on multiple bikes, and I'm still able to source at about $14/l.


New member
Skidmarm makes a good point!

You'd think my opinion as a mechanic and someone with experience in the oil industry would matter. The truth is even though I like to use good oil when I change it, if it's ride day and the bike is low on oil, I'll throw whatever I have on hand and giver. I don't know if that means oil choice doesn't really matter that much or if I've just been really lucky with good motors.


New member
Oh these oil threads are such fun........
The Benefit of Ester Based Synthetic Oil

Ester based synthetic oil
While some synthetic motor oil use hydrocarbon (PAO) as their base material, Organic based ester (base stock) for its motor oil inherents high quality characteristics has proven to be the highest quality base material for synthetic oil used even by aeroplanes.

One of the organic ester based synthetic oil is Chemlube. Chemlube synthetic oil remains committed to the use of organic ester although costs are about 40% more expensive than PAO or hydrocarbon synthetic oil.

Conventional 100% Synthetic super-multigrade lubricant (5W40, 5W50, 10W60...) use VII (Viscosity index improver) to boost their viscosity. These viscosity additive tend to loose efficiency and shear when submitted to extreme conditions. As motor oil use ester for its base material, it benefit from the natural viscosity of synthetic ester thus they need very little of such additives or none.

Esters are very stable at extremely high temperatures and are used almost exclusively in jet engines.

Superior benefits of organic ester are:
Natural Affinity to stay on metal surfaces providing a thin protective film to eliminate dry start-up engine wear which means easier morning starts and smoother engine operations.

Very High Viscosity Index indicate a low viscosity change. By employing Ester as the base for synthetic oil, it changes the conventional concept of synthetic oil. Ester are polar molecules that have the ability to electro-chemically bond with metals, so as to maintain a continuous lubricant film at high or low temperature (the element found in oil additive or as aditive in engine oil). This in turn provided a better resistance to thinning at high temperatures and thickening at low temperature.

Outstanding Film Strength so it takes a lot longer for the oil to drain completely off the bearings and into your oil sump. This prolongs engine life and increase engine efficiency.

Strong Detergent Characteristic - inhibits rust and corrosion but minimizes spark plug fouling and carbon, gum and sludge deposits. Ester itself is a natural detergent, it adheres naturally to motor parts which dissolves and suspending harmful sludge, varnish and carbon deposits which keep engines and lubrication ports cleaner and in top performing shape.​


Active member
summit, you have done way more research than I have, because I did not know 10% of what you just told us in your post. So tell me/us, which type of synthetic oil -ester or pao would you use, and why and when? I change my oil fairly often when I'm riding around here at home, say every 25 hr's on approx. 2 liters of oil in my 525 exc dualsport, but if I'm down in Baja for a 10 day 50 hour tour, if I can't find or have shipped down some good oil, i'll sometimes go the full pull on the original synthetic oil that I started with. I'm not a high revver, engine abuser type of rider, and I have gotten lots of hours and miles out of a well cared for and maintained engine, on numerous bikes over the years. I would really like to confirm which oils are ester based, and which are pao based, as we have some different ( tom and mark) results already? Or are both of you boy's choices ester based?


"2018 Forest Fairies"
From my experience... short but my name was on the thread :)

I used both Rotella T (White Jug, dino) and T6 (Blue Jug, synthetic)
On my street bike (Yamaha FZ-6 and Suzuki Bandit 1250)
I experienced sleeping with the FZ-6 and triple ester oil (Motul) switched back to T6 and no more problem.

I rode the Dino on the Trany of the Beta 400 RR (Bike has separate oil for trany and engine)
On the trany I had problem with the bike switching from neutral to 1st when hot with the T
Switched to T6 and never had problem again.

For my point of view, the T6 is the better choice because I never reached the shear point.
Since it so cheap I changed the oil after 15-20 hours extended to 30 only some time.
I don't remember have seen my oil very dark when I dropped it, HO :Stir that is because Beta all well designed and they don't put the clutch crap in the engine. :clap::woohoo:
My leitmotiv, Oil is cheap

Also, I'm using a Scott stainless steel oil filter, so I clean it every oil change (not every other)

That make me thing about another thread, what is the best oil filter, Permanent, which brand?
Who think the little hole in the stainless steel oil filter are too big?


"2018 Forest Fairies"

The nice things with the Rotella T6 you can find it at Walmart, if you go by the USA.

I did 10000 KM on my Bandit bike in 2 weeks 2 years ago and it didn't even lower.

Just my 2 cents. (since they are Cad money, don't worth much)


New member
I use whatever ester base I can find a deal on. Last few purchases have been Motul. I've also used Redline and Maxima. If it doesn't say ester clearly advertised on the label it is likely pao. Pao based synthetic is cheaper to produce and this is reflected in the retail price. I figure it only costs a few dollars a liter extra to use the best oil you can get your hands on so why not. Cost of a pint per change.
Truth be told I expect pao synthetic works just fine for most of us that are not racing or running highly modified power plants. If I still lived in Kamloops (I grew up there) I'd be looking for something that did the best job possible dealing with heat.
It's also possible and quite likely that I have compulsive obsessive maintenance disorder.


Anybody ever hear of excess engine wear attributed to oil base type or 'quality'?
Quantity, viscosity, incorrect type for service? Yes, perhaps.
Except for special applications I just run good brand name oils, preference given to Yamalube, Shell Rotella T and T6

Sylvain, gotta love that Bandit 1250 engine, surely one of the best ever!!


New member
I like Motorex because it has the KTM logo on the side of the bottle and its $24 a L :cool:.

All kidding aside, a super anecdotal experience me and a buddy had with our KTM 450's last year. He swears by the Rotella where as I run the rip off expensive oil. After 2 days of fun on the dunes he developed some clutch issues which later turned out be a result of warped clutch steels from heat. my 450 with the Rip off $$$$ oil kept chugging along without issue.

Hopefully this helps stir the pot! Winter oil threads are my favorite :)

Mad Max

New member
Island Hopper got me onto the rotella and you won't find a guy with more miles on a bike than him!


New member
Motorex advertise a combination of pao and ester in it's most expensive synthetic oil. Man that stuffs expensive but most things orange are.