Ok, I’ve travelled for quite a bit with this oil now, and feel sufficiently confident to offer an opinion.
It’s been some 300km’s or so since I fed the Pulsar 200NS with this cherry-coloured liquid from Motul. In the meantime, I’ve ridden it like a city commuter in Singapore’s traffic, travelled some really short distances daily for a week (~5min trips), got stuck in a jam somewhere along the Causeway, taken it onto the Malaysian North-South Highway (NSHW) and doing speeds, well, near the limits of this humble 200cc machine. So I’ve pretty much put it through various tests.
So, what do I think about the Motul 7100 15W50 ester-based fully synthetic 4T motorcycle oil in my Pulsar 200NS?
My initial impression – I hated it. Then, as if it were attempting to redeem itself, it seem to transform and I eventually seem to like it. Quite alot.
Let me explain.
Immediately after the oil change, and when I first started the engine, everything seem to fire up well – like it should. So no surprises there. As I let the oil warm before I moved off and headed home from the motorcycle workshop, I realised that the single cylinder engine was roaring a little more than usual. It wasn’t significant. But was sufficiently noticeable.
On my approximately 2km route back home, I did notice that the gear shifted significantly smoother. Gone are the awful clunks when I had to move between gears. Instead, it was buttery smooth shifting from one gear to another. I wasn’t too surprised here, as I recall experiencing very similar feelings whenever the Pulsar gets an oil change.
Due to the short distance between the workshop and back home, and through minor roads, the Pulsar never got to get up to higher revs. And when I stopped at the first traffic lights and left the engine at idle, it actually felt a little rougher than what I had expected of new (good quality) oil in the machine. Now that it drew my attention, and so I moved around some more, taking note of how the engine felt. It felt “rough”. I really, really wanted to like it. But truthfully, I actually hated how the engine felt then. Yes, the gears felt smooth. But the Pulsar’s engine seem to not like the Motul too much.
So I left it as it was and continued to use the machine for transport.
And then, after some 20-50km or so (I wasn’t keeping track), something magical happened. The Pulsar’s triple-sparked engine seem to feel more, well, eager. Throttle response appeared to be snappier and the motorcycle seem to be a lot more ready to surge at my right wrist’s command. The Pulsar with it’s new blood appeared to constantly beckon me push it hard, to make it sprint. The machine seem to have transformed into something sportier, and It actually felt good! But I’m not sure if this was a good thing, as this new found aggressiveness, coupled with several back-to-back days of short distance travel, my last tank of fuel experienced one of the worst mileage I’ve come across – less than 20km/l. I highly suspect it’s the short-distance, stop-and-go traffic, and aggressive riding that contributed to the lowered mileage – much more so than the effect of the oil itself.
The potential of this new blood really manifested when I took the bike out onto the highway. Similarly, it felt more aggressive and was eager to surge. But the sweetness really came about when the engine was at higher revs – it felt smooth! Really, really smooth! I think I’ve change my opinion of the oil now. I actually like it!
So, in my typical curious self, I went online to research on what others’ experience was of the Motul 7100 with the Pulsar. And interestingly, I found 2 separate reviews that seem to mirror my personal experience!
Heres one on bikesindia.org. I’ll extract the relevant part:
“After my bike sipped in about 1.25 litres of this cherry coloured liquid, the initial impression of the bike’s performance was not much really. It was still behaving like it would on the initial Bajaj Mineral oil and my journey back home did not really make me feel any difference on the bike’s performance. It made me question exactly how much of a difference this oil is going to make on my engine and that was it really.
After churning the oil in the engine for over 100 kms, I could steadily feel the effects of the oil come into its own. The sound of the engine changed completely all of a sudden. One could actually feel the vibes reducing by as much as 25-30% and the sound of the engine being a clear throaty sound than the one having a sore throat. Guess this Benadryl was the one it needed after all.
The gear shifts which earlier used to be a real work with loud clicks and thuds and the tendency to stick suddenly came in its own. The shifts became so smooth that I had to actually double check if the gear really had shifted. The feedback though reduced by up to 60% due to the excessive smoothness of the gear shifts, it sometimes scared me making me think that the lever has broken off and is moving freely. Over time I got used to it and then realized that my gearbox was a really harsh one before.”
And here’s another one on nexgenbikes.com comparing the semi-synthetic Motul 5100 with the fully-synthetic 7100:
“(On the Motul 7100 oil) Engines were harsh but negligible for Honda (ZMA / CBR) and Yamaha however acceleration felt better than 5100 along with better top end figures. But with Bajaj and TVS engines, we felt, we were better to be with 5100 even if we have to compromise that acceleration benefit.
For stop and go city ride and hard ripping in signal to signal, 7100 performs better than 5100 as it does gives you benefit in acceleration and aggression as the bikes felt a lot more responsive.
Offers marginal better mileage compare to 5100.
Both this oils are extremely good when it comes to protecting engine and clutch wear, both of them keeps engine and clutch clean and smooth, both this engine oils manages heat and does lubrication job 10 times better than most of the available oils but at the end of the day it comes to riding feeling as here they offer two different feel altogether.
For Yamaha and Honda (Hero Honda too) engines, you can opt for 7100 as paying 200 extra over 5100 does give you some extra kms of engine oil life, but for Pulsar DTS-i and TVS engines, 5100 is the choice.
Where as if you are a tourer, nothing will beat the smoothness of 5100 and if you prefer aggressiveness for acceleration and top speed, chose 7100 for your self.”
I know, I know – it’s strange. But the Motul 7100 is like cheese; or brandy. It’s an “acquired taste”. You need to let it grow on you. Some people may like it, some people not. As for me, I’ve learnt to like it. It turned my 200NS into a “fun” machine once again.
JAN 2017 UPDATE: It’s strange, but I recently found another review of the Motul 7100 on twinkeltorque.com with a similar “initial hate turn love” relationship with the oil. I’ll extract it here:
“I fed the TVS Apache RTR 160 with this cherry-coloured liquid from Motul. Initially, I felt very bad that I wasted my money because it was still behaving like it would on the initial TVS TRU4 PREMIUM. My way back home was like why did I waste my money which does not make any difference in my bike core.
After burning the oil in the engine over a short ride of 150kms, I could feel the effects of the oil in my engine and gear shift too. The sound of the engine and vibration changed completely all of a sudden. The main complaint from all TVS community(In Facebook page, Facebook group & Whats App) will always talk about how to reduce vibration on TVS Apache RTR 160!!. Here one could actually feel the vibration reducing by an average of 33.5% ( 3 times tested by vibrometer and taken it as average ).”