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Oil Change

Please don't skimp on this area! These V-twin engines are really reliable, but they are air-cooled and are subject to high operating temperatures that breaks down motor oil quickly. Change your oil and filter regularly, and use a high-quality oil. Yamaha recommends changing the filter with every other oil change, I suspect because the filter is so poorly designed and is a real pain to change. I prefer to change both at the same time, every 6 months or 3,000 miles. There are many oils available, and the Yamalube semi-synthetic is a fine product; I prefer Amsoil 20w-50 synthetic formulated for motorcycle engines. Be wary of using oils formulated for automobiles that may have friction reducers that raise havoc with your wet clutch.

Oil changes are an ordeal with this bike; if you do your own, work carefully and be careful to torque the exhaust bolts and filter cover bolts to factory specs so as to avoid stripping them out.

Why not make life much easier for yourself? I heartily recommend that any VStar 1100 owner buy and install a remote oil filter kit--oil changes are reduced to a 10 minute process, and there is less chance of damage from regular replacement and removal of your exhaust system. I am familiar with kits produced by Jardine and Motorcycle Enhancements; they are similar in design, and both are available for around $235. I chose the M/E kit, but both are fine quality products. For an evaluation and further information see my page here.