Speed’s Spotlight ......................................... 90
The warm-weather riding season— really warm in some parts of the country—is here and it comes with a price. Sure, you can ditch the heavyweight leathers now, but all that engine heat rising up from the V-twin, on late-model bikes especially, can get pretty nasty. And if it’s that bad up in the saddle, just think what’s going on down below, inside that hard-working Harley engine. Anything you can do to help cool things down will pay big dividends—and not just in comfort. A cool-running engine is a happy engine, an engine that’s going to run better, make more power, and last longer. And believe it or not, a good part of that relief can be just an oil change away.
Granted, when you’re searching for cool, getting the engine tuned correctly would head the list. Late-model Harleys are calibrated way too lean. A richer, coolerrunning fuel mixture can go a long way toward beating the heat—not to mention what it can do for improvements in allaround performance and rideability. And, more and more, the aftermarket’s exhaustsystem manufacturers are coming up with pipes designed to beat the heat too. “And lowering exhaust-pipe temperatures is something else you’re going to feel immediately,” says Jamie Hanson at Speed’s Performance Plus.
Jamie also says that if you haven’t already made the switch to full-synthetic oil, now’s the time for that too. An air-cooled engine, he points out, is also oil-cooled and oils like the full-synthetic Spectro Performance lubricants SPP not only lubricate better and last longer, but they can drop engine temperatures as much as 15 to 25 degrees. Another big step in the right direction. Chances are, this far into the season, serious road warriors are about ready for an oil-and-filter change anyway, and anyone who hasn’t taken care of that service work at the start of the season is long overdue. So, if you’re going to perform that little bit of routine maintenance, why not make it work for you all around? Switching to synthetic oils can do exactly that.
“Synthetics have a lot to offer,” Jamie says. Besides that drop in temperatures, really important is an air-cooled Harley. “Synthetics also hold their viscosity longer,” Jamie goes on. “In all temperatures. They just do a better job of lubrication overall.”
And synthetics, especially high-quality ones like those Spectro Heavy Duty Platinums, almost always come with a great additive package. They’ll cling to the internal metal parts longer and with a higher film strength, for better protection at start-up. They’ll maintain that unbroken film under operating conditions, too, and all this happens without any of the cold-thickening or heat-thinning common to even premium petroleum-based oils. Synthetics are just a better deal all around. Granted, a quality synthetic will cost a couple bucks more per quart, but you’re only buying three or four, and how often? Speaking of, synthetics can last for thousands of miles longer than ordinary oils, so those changes are spread out longer.
“And you’ll definitely want to use a filter compatible with synthetic oils,” Jamie adds. There are plenty of good ones, notably K&N’S Wrench-off models. Another option, though, is a cleanable/ reusable metal-mesh model and the finned versions Speed’s Performance uses come with an added benefit all their own. They’ll actually function as a mini oil cooler, with temperature drops of an additional 4 to 10 degrees. Cooling attributes aside, they flow better than a disposable, and the filtering element is first rate. It’s medical-grade 304 stainless-steel micronic filter cloth, FAA approved for aircraft use. There’s even a trio of rare Earth magnets in the spin-on base to catch metallic particles. And, yes, that reusable filter will be more expensive than a disposable, but being washable it’s the last oil filter you’ll ever buy.
An oil-and-filter change is straightforward stuff, easily done by almost anyone. But the techs as Speed’s Performance do this maintenance work all the time, and even if you routinely do your own repairs and mods sometimes it’s smart to let a fresh pair of eyes look things over— especially now, mid-season after rolling up some miles. It’s an almost guaranteed prescription for a second half of Riding Season ’17 being better than the first—and with a switch to synthetics a whole lot more comfortable for both you and your bike. HB
SPEED’S PERFORMANCE PLUS
speedsperformanceplus.com (605) 695-1401 – MN (605) 695-2272 – SD