Selecting lubricating oils for our machines can often seem like a leap into the dark.
  • Do I trust this supplier and will he / she be there if I have a problem?
  • Are those high priced products just sales hype or will my engine suffer if I go for the cheapest?
  • Should I stick with what the bikes original oil recommendations or should I take advantage of all the advancements in modern day lubricants?
  • What do those specifications on the back of the pack really mean?
To help answer these questions and source a dependable trust-worthy blender / supplier, the VMCC Marketing team appointed VMCC member Martin Marmoy (who spent 24 years at Castrol, including 5 years in their Engine Test Labs) to initially compile a simple uncomplicated list of lubricants to suit most machines in our club.

After months of discussions with various interested parties using the criteria of quality, experience and speed of response, a very large British OEM lubricant blender has been appointed to supply us blends they agreed with.

You will find when you enter our shop web site a clear pathway to help guide you to where you want to be before selecting the oil for you and your machine. This pathway starts with -
  1. How we went about selecting a supplier.
  2. An explanation of oil viscosities
  3. What the codes used to measure them mean.
  4. The ordering page.
  5. Safety details for each oil

Safety Sheets

Click the link below to download PDF file.

By going through these methodical steps we have allowed you to choose with complete confidence the right oils at the right prices for you and your type of machine and its application. What we can say categorically is the oil you’ve chosen from the VMCC has been sourced by your club, been blended and managed from plant to your doorstep and all within the UK using an OEM approved manufacturer with impeccable credentials.
The final decision as to what lube you should put in your particular machine is ultimately yours. We can only present you with the information to help you make up your mind. The VMCC cannot accept any responsibility for the selection you decide upon.



All oils are intended for a particular application and in general are not interchangeable. You would not for example put an Automatic Transmission Oil or a Gear Oil in your engine! It's important to know what the oil's intended purpose is.

Multigrades verses Monogrades

Early oils (Monogrades) were only able to tell you what their viscosity would be at a midpoint temperature. However this didn’t tell you how thin they were getting when the temperature of the engine rose or visa versa. The way people overcame this was to have a thinner monograde for winter use and back to a thicker oil for the summer.
In 1969 Esso gave us the first opportunity to purchase a multigrade off the shelf engine oil. For the first time, members of the public could afford to buy an oil that could guarantee to retain a certain viscosity at zero degrees Fahrenheit and at 100c (the boiling point of water) Scientists had finally discovered ways of restricting and measuring the amount of viscosity change that took place from very cold to very hot temperatures in lubricating oils; known as the viscosity index.
The first multigrade engine oils tended to be 20W/50 which indicated that at zero Fahrenheit the viscosity index would be 20 and at 100c it would be 50. This enabled for the first time the paying public to differentiate between lesser oils that “fell away” in lubrication functionality at high and low temperatures compared to their mid temperature measurement monograde predecessors.
It’s often misconstrued that those numbers in multigrades are actually the viscosity of the oil itself. This is not so; they are the Viscosity Index ratings, or put another way, how much they’ve stayed in grade compared with a bog standard base oil.


Having managed to measure and rate viscosity at different temperatures there needed to be other questions answered in relation to the effectiveness of the oils.
To do this there are two main specifications that you should look for on any oil bottle and these are API (American Petroleum Institute) and ACEA (Association des Constructeurs Europeens d'Automobiles) all good oils should contain both of these, and an understanding of what they mean is important. JASO is another newer specification introduced by the Japanese Automotive Standards Organization


This is the more basic as it is split (for passenger cars) into two catagories. S = Petrol (Spark ignition) and C = Diesel (Compression ignition) most oils carry both petrol (S) and diesel (C) specifications.
The following table shows the progress made in formulating oils and how to date the specifications of the oils.

Petrol Engines

SG - Introduced 1989 - has much more active dispersant to combat black sludge.
SH - Introduced 1993 - has same engine tests as SG, but includes phosphorus limit 0.12%, together with control of foam, volatility and shear stability.
SJ - Introduced 1996 - has the same engine tests as SG/SH, but phosphorus limit 0.10% together with variation on volatility limits
SL - Introduced 2001 - all new engine tests reflective of modern engine designs meeting current emissions standards
SM - Introduced November 2004 - improved oxidation resistance, deposit protection and wear protection, also better low temperature performance over the life of the oil compared to previous categories.
SN - In 2010 the American Petroleum Institute introduced a new engine oil category under the name API SN and a new supplemental category called Resource Conserving.
The API SN category is an improvement over the API SM category in the following areas:
  • High temperature deposit protection for pistons
  • Better sludge control
  • Better seal compatibility
  • After-treatment compatibility

All specifications prior to SL are now superseded and, although suitable for some older vehicles, are more than 10 years old, and do not provide the same level of performance or protection as the more up to date SL and SM specifications.


This is the European equivalent of API (US) and is more specific in what the performance of the oil actually is. A = Petrol, B = Diesel and C = Catalyst compatible or low SAPS (Sulphated Ash, Phosphorus and Sulphur).
Unlike API the ACEA specs are split into performance/application categories as follows:

A1  Fuel economy petrol

A2  Standard performance level (now superseded)
A3  High performance and/or extended drain
A4  Reserved for future use in certain direct injection engines
A5  Combines A1 fuel economy with A3 performance
B1  Fuel economy diesel
B2  Standard performance level (now obsolete)
B3  High performance and/or extended drain
B4  For direct injection car diesel engines
B5  Combines B1 fuel economy with B3/B4 performance
C1-04  Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 low SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.
C2-04  Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible.
C3-04  Petrol and light duty Diesel engines, based on A5/B5-04 mid SAPS, two way catalyst compatible, higher performance levels due to higher HTHS
CH-4 was introduced for use in high speed four-stroke diesel & petrol engines and meets 1998 exhaust emission limits, using fuel with sulphur levels of up to 0.5%. These oils offer several additional performance attributes including:
  • Oxidation control
  • Dispersancy
  • Soot handling
  • Cylinder and valve train wear protection

Note: SAPS = Sulphated Ash, Phosphorous and Sulphur.

Put simply, A3/B3, A5/B5 and C3 oils are the better quality, stay in grade performance oils.

JASO & Four Stroke Oils (Japanese Automotive Standards Organization)

Modern passenger car engine oils contain more and more friction modifiers. While this is a good thing for those segments (reduces wear and fuel consumption) it's bad for motorcycle engines. At least for those motorcycles which use engine oil to lubricate their transmission and wet clutch. JASO introduced the MA and MB specification to distinguish between friction modified and non friction modified engine oils. Most four-stroke motorcycles with wet clutches need a JASO MA oil.
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.
MB grade oils are classified as the lowest friction oils among motorcycle four-cycle oils. Not to be used where a JASO MA grade oil is required unless MA is already assigned.

The classification is based on the results of the JASO T 904:2006 clutch system friction test.

In order for a motor oil to meet any of the above mentioned JASO standards it must be at least one of the following quality levels:
  • API SG, SH, SJ, SL, SM
  • ACEA A1/B1, A3/B3, A3/B4, A5/B5, C2, C3

JASO & Two Stroke Oils

Japanese motorcycle manufacturers found the limits demanded by the API TC specifications too loose. Oils meeting the API TC standard still produced excessive smoke and could not prevent exhaust blocking. Therefore the Japanese Engine Oil Standards Implementation Panel (JASO) introduced the following specifications
  • FA was the original spec established regulating lubricity, detergency, initial torque, exhaust smoke and exhaust system blocking.
  • FB corresponds to high lubricity performance but without any low-smoke technology.
  • FC meets the FB lubricity standards but also is a low-smoke lubricant.
  • FD corresponds to higher detergency properties than the other two grades, meets the lubricity requirements and has low smoke requirements.


The two most common grades of gear oils are SAE and ISO grades, with SAE for automotive and ISO for industrial applications.

SAE-grade gear oils 

SAE grades are used to label all sorts of lubricants, but for gear oils, only SAE numbers of 60 or above are used.
Like monograde engine oil SAE grades, monograde SAE gear oil grades use a single number, with gear oils for cold seasons (Winter) using the identifier ‘W’ and oils for hotter, summer conditions using just a number. The higher the number, the more viscous the oil.
Multigrade SAE gearbox oil grades include two numbers separated by a ‘W’ (75W140, for instance), with the initial number before the ‘W’ indicating performance at 0°C and the number after showing the lube’s performance at 100°C. As with monograde oils, the higher the number, the greater (stiffer) its viscosity.


Lower and higher viscosity oils are suited to different applications.
  • Lower-viscosity (thinner) gear oils offer better protection and lubrication for high-speed gearboxes that are under relatively low loads thanks to their improved cooling abilities and thinner films which better coat fast-moving components.
  • Higher-viscosity (thicker) gear oils offer thick films, better wear resistance and protection from corrosion, making them suited to slower gearboxes that operate under more intense pressures and loads. They also seal components better, affording longer change intervals.


The base grade of a gear oil shows its underlying properties and is determined by a GL number:
  • GL-1 to GL-3 – Basic and outdated oils for manual transmissions and axles that lack particular additives to cope with extreme pressures, friction and heat.
  • GL-4 – The world’s most common base oil grade, the oils of which contain good volumes of extreme pressure additives.
  • GL-5 – Containing many more additives than GL-4 oils, GL-5s are used to create gear oils with extreme load resistance, protecting systems such as hypoid gears.



Base oil represents the foundation of every lubricant and it’s worth mentioning that its type determines the overall performance of the grease in question. Three main types of base oils are mineral, synthetic, and vegetable oils. Synthetic oils are considered to offer the best results in terms of protection, performance, temperature and weather resistance, followed by good shear stability.


Additives are used to enhance the features and qualities of each grease and boost its performance. The most common additives are extreme pressure additives, oxidation, rust, and corrosion inhibitors, polymers used to increase adhesiveness, insoluble solids, and additives that provide increased wear and tear protection. Also, certain dyes and pigments are added to each grease.


Thickeners are used to enable all grease components to bond better, which increases the overall efficiency of every grease. Types of thickeners that are commonly used are simple and complex soaps, which are based on lithium, calcium, aluminium, sodium, and barium compounds. In addition, certain non-soap thickeners, such as those based on clay and polyurea, can be used to give the grease its consistency.


Consistency is a property defined by the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) used to determine the level of softness or hardness of every grease. Every grease is assigned a specific NLGI number that goes from 000 to 6. These NLGI grades are then used to express the level of consistency each grease has. So, for instance, NLGI grade 000 grease is completely fluid, NLGI grade 0 grease is described as very soft, NLGI 1 grease is soft, NLGI 2 grease is considered normal, NLGI 3 grease is firm, while NLGI 6 grease is defined as very hard.


Grease viscosity determines its ability to remain stable and offer effective protection against friction. Higher viscosity provides greater stability when grease is exposed to heavy, slow loads, while lower viscosity is ideal for high-speed applications. 


Lithium grease is a multipurpose grease known for its durability, high viscosity, and stability. It is designed to provide long-lasting protection against oxidation, corrosion, extreme temperatures, and wear and tear. Lithium and lithium complex greases are also characterised by their excellent lubrication, good water resistance, and the ability to withstand high pressure and shock loads. They are suitable for a variety of applications, including automotive, gardening, industrial, household, and demanding metal-to-metal applications


As you can see, the type of grease you decide to use matters a lot.
Each lubricant has a different set of characteristics that determine its consistency, viscosity, ability to prevent friction, reduce wear and tear, protect against rust, corrosion, and oxidation, maintain mobility, and stop water and other contaminants from coming into contact with the equipment.


The VMCC has adopted the 80/20 rule when selecting its initial grades of engine oils. During our research of members and their oil preferences there were many who still put in the grades the original manufacturer recommended which means many are looking for monograde engine oils, whilst others have decided to take advantage of developments in oil technology and select multigrades for their pre 1970 machines. So this is our selection and information about them.


Monograde 40. Brooklands A 4 stroke engine oil

  • A mineral based oil with API SE specification. SE specification has been superseded in modern engines but is suitable for model year 1979 and older engines.
  • Clearly the tolerances, power outputs and engine speed revolutions in many pre-79 engines as well as the emissions allowable at that time means this low specification oil manages these more basic engines ( where the manufacturer recommends it) perfectly adequately.
  • Click here for detailed Safety Sheet

Monograde 50. Banbury A 4 stroke engine oil

Multigrade 10w/40 Burton A 4 stroke motorcycle engine oil

  • A semi synthetic multigrade engine and gearbox oil.
  • The specification is JASO MA2-MA API SL
  • Blended especially for motorcycles where the same oil is lubricating the gears and clutch.
  • This is a carefully blended oil, ideal for your mid 1970’s onwards motorcycle where 10w/40 was stipulated by the manufacturer.
  • 10w/40 BurtonOil can withstand the harshest treatment you give your machine whilst riding on the road and easily keeps all those moving parts sliding over each other and in the finest condition.
  • Click here for detailed Safety Sheet

Multigrade 20w/50 Goodwood A 4 stroke motorcycle engine oil

  • A mineral based oil suitable for engine and gear boxes where stipulated.
  • API CC/SE specification for model year 1979 and older engines.
  • It has excellent high temperature stability for those stop / start traffic conditions
  • Reduced oil consumption is achieved by high anti-sheer content which minimises bore polishing
  • Click here for detailed Safety Sheet


Wakefield A 2 stroke motorcycle engine oil

  • Blended using mineral base oils
  • Increased lubricity, detergency, initial torque, exhaust smoke and exhaust system blocking over previous blends.
  • Suitable for lower performance less stressed engines
  • Can be used in pre-mix and pumped systems.
  • A good bog standard 2 stroke oil.
  • Click here for detailed Safety Sheet

Wessex 2 Stroke Oil

2 Stroke Oil Fully Synthetic JASO FD, ISO EGD, API TC

  • This red, premium, fully synthetic lubricant is the best for high performance 2 stroke engines
  • Synthetic content means greatly reduced exhaust smoke
  • Highly durable formulation over a wide range of conditions
  • Eases friction between piston and cylinder walls thereby reducing cylinder and piston skirt skuffing
  • Prevents pre-ignition and power loss by reducing unwanted combustion chamber deposits including spark plug whiskering
  • Reduces exhaust blockage contaminants
  • High film strength enables leaner fuel/oil ratio (where the engine manufacturer permits it)


Chain Oil 1l

  • Excellent non filming characteristics
  • Good oxidation stability
  • Good low temperature stability
  • Works well with auto chain lube pumps


EP2 Lithium Grease

  • Manufactured from lithium soaps with extreme pressure additives. Ideal for all anti-friction surfaces subjected to high load conditions such as wheel bearings.
  • Click here for detailed Safety Sheet


Degreaser 1L

VMCC Degreaser is blue in colour with mighty degreasing properties via its low viscosity solvents.

  • Degreaser may be applied by brushing, wiping, low-pressure spray or by soaking in a tank
  • Afterwards either wipe down, allow to drip dry or rinse away with clean water (recommended)
  • It is suitable for use on metal, concrete, tiled paint or painted surfaces
  • Detrimental to asphalt or bitumen/tarmac surfaces
  • Can be diluted up to 5 times its volume if used sparingly

Shop Now for Oils and Greases​


Contact Us

Opening Hours:

VMCC Allen House

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club

Allen House
Wetmore Road
Burton Upon Trent
Staffordshire DE14 1TR, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1283 495100

Membership +44 (0) 1283 495100

Shop Phone: +44 (0)1283 495101

Library Phone: +44 (0)1283 495111

VMCC Motorcycle Insurance: +44(0)121 274 5355

Email: general@vmcc.net

Monday - 9:00am - 5:00pm

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Wednesday - 11:00am - 5:00pm

Thursday - 9:00am - 5:00pm

Friday - 9:00am - 3:00pm

Saturday & Sunday - CLOSED
Membership: membership@vmcc.net

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