Best TBR7 and Hawk 250 Break-in Oil.

The Best TBR7 Break In Oil and Hawk 250 Break-in Oil Recommendations I can offer in hindsight.

Looking back, I bought several types of motor oil for my TBR7 and tried different viscosity and brands. This indecisive oil selection process made breaking in my TBR7 more complicated than it should have been. Since this topic applies to the Hawk 250 and the TBR7, I figure I would write up a short post about my recommendation for the best TBR7 and Hawk 250 break-in oil.

My recommended TBR7 break-in oil, that can be also your Hawk 250 break-in oil, Rotella Shell Oil.

The best break-in oil for the TBR7 and Hawk 250 is Shell Rotella T4 15w40 motor oil. It’s simple, but the reasoning is more complicated. Let me build my case for Rotella T4.

The Break-in period for TBR7’s and Hawk 250’s Important?

First, Why Is The Break-in Period Important For Any New Motorcycle?

The break-in period is a time frame (usually measured in miles or kilometers) where the motorcycle is brand new. The bearing surfaces and the cylinder walls have machine finishes. These machined surfaces are typically made with very close tolerances. 

These close tolerances allow for moving surfaces to wear away, polishing them. This process of wearing away material is where high friction levels are being created, and each ride is putting extra stress on moving parts. High levels of wear and temperature can lead to premature failure.

The good news about the break-in period!! It polishes those sliding surfaces. It is allowing for mirror finishes and reduced friction in the long run. This process is the “What does not kill me, makes me stronger” to get a better running motorcycle engine.

Second, The Break-In Period Is Different For The TBR7 and Hawk 250?

Engine Design Changes:  Both motorcycles share a common engine design. From what I read, the engine is based on the Honda CG-125, a very well-known reliable engine. The engine had one significant modification, the engine displacement was increased, which increased the engine’s power. This power doesn’t seem to be a part of the original design, which could impact the longevity of the motorcycle’s engine. We’ll see, just glad parts are cheap. 😀

Engine Build Quality:  First, I love my TBR7. It’s my first motorcycle and will always hold a special place in my heart, if not in my garage. However, it’s poorly built—both in assembly and material. I have seen parts fail on the motorcycle and wonder about the internal components of the engine.

So, having design and build quality concerns, and during increased stresses on the engine during the break-in period, you can see the importance of taking steps to protect the motorcycle.  

The TBR7 and Hawk 250 deserve the best break-in period they can get. So follow the standard steps for riding the motorcycle during the break-in period and, of course, the reason for this post, give the engine the best break-in oil I feel.

What Was My TaoTao TBR7 Break-in Period?

To add to my experience, the motorcycle didn’t shift well till about 3000 kilometers. I couldn’t find neutral from 1st till after this period. I had to put the TBR7 into neutral, shifting down from 2nd. So based on my experience, these motorcycles have an extended break-in period compared to what the other sources state.  

Best TBR7 and Hawk 250 Break-in Oil? Why T4?

After reading the TBR7 and Hawk 250 operating manuals and referencing the CG-125 service manual, a new owner should use the T4 version of Shell’s Rotella oil for their break-in period. I even referenced the TT250 manual for help in my selection. Simple list here and will break down as I go.

  1.  Viscosity: TBR7 and Hawk 250 both can use the 15w40 rating.
  2. Cost: Although Rotella is name-brand, it’s a low-priced option.
  3. Availability: I’ve found Rotella in Walmart and Auto Zone stores.
  4. Convenience: a 1-gallon jug covers the entire break-in period.
  5. Oil Type: T4 is conventional oil (recommended for this period).
  6. Certified: T4 is certified for wet clutches.

Viscosity? Simply put, viscosity is the measurement of fluid to ‘moving.’ (Read Wikipedia Viscosity Article) Sometimes, this property refers to how thin or thick oil is? More resistance to movement, higher viscosity means it’s called ‘thicker.’ Less resistance to movement, lower viscosity means it’s called ‘thinner.  

Rotella T4 has two numbers in its label 15 and 40 (15w40).

The lower number, the 15, refers to how the engine oil behaves at a lower temperature. Since temperature can affect oil’s viscosity and its ability to flow to critical surfaces during colder temp(even an engine just sitting for a while). So the oil flows like a thinner oil protecting the motor during start-up.

The higher number, the 40, refers to how the engine oil behaves at a higher temperature. In this case, the oil flows like a thicker oil at higher temperatures (even average running temperatures), providing a fluid protection layer over the engine’s moving parts.

So, Why Is This Engine Oil Viscosity So Important?

Simply put, it meets the needs of the TBR7 and the Hawk 250. The TBR7 is simple when it recommends an oil viscosity type, 15w40.  

The Hawk 250’s manual is less direct. The manual lists the environmental temperatures that your Hawk 250 will be operating in and gives a chart of various recommended viscosity. I looked at them and picked 15w40 should meet all the average operating temperatures of the Hawk. Now, if you live in extreme climates, you might want to look at the manual yourself. Might want an oil with lower viscosity, severe colds, and a higher viscosity in scorching environments. However, for the general case, 15w40 remains my recommendation.

Cost?  During the break-in period of the motorcycle, there are frequent oil changes for any Chinese-made motorcycle engine, immediately at accepting the new bike. IMHO: Get rid of that shipping oil. (Previous Post Of TBR7 Shipping Oil Opinion). Then follow up oil changes that are more frequent than after the break-in period. I feel it wouldn’t hurt if you did a couple even more frequently with Chinese motors’ reputation. A lower-priced oil will remove the hesitation of oil changes and allow for a less stressful break-in period.

Availability?  I have found Walmart shelves filled with Shell Rotella oil when other brands are gone. Rotella has the image. It’s only for diesel engines. The supply of automotive oil seems to be hit or miss, but diesel engine supplies were stable in my area. Also, I found Rotella at Autozone, and sometimes, it’s on sale. A real win!

Convenience?  Yes, a 1-gallon jug of Rotella T4 will cover the first three oil changes of the TBR7 and Hawk 250. So how much oil does the Hawk 250 and TBR7 take? Manual says 1.1 litters, but I found refilling with one litter (about 1.06 quarts) during oil changes tops off the sump well(please verify this for yourself when you do oil changes). So first three oil changes during the break-in period(First oil change recommendations: zero kilometers, 1000 kilometers, and 3000 kilometers) will be covered by the 1-gallon jug of oil. Some will be leftover, but the remainder can be used for the regular oil change intervals.

Oil Type?  This step is where I go to the TT250 manual. The TT250 is an upgraded version of the Hawk 250 where the importer(CSC Motorcycles Website ) does quality checks and upgrades some of the Hawk 250’s components and calls the outcome their TT250. The TT250 manual recommends conventional oil during the break-in period of the tt250. Rotella T4 is a conventional oil. 

Certified?  Yes, although the Rotella T4 oil has pictures of trucks on the front of their oil jug, the oil is rate JAMA MA/MA2 for wet-clutch transmissions. Transmissions found motorcycles like the TBR7 and the Hawk 250.

My Conclusion:

So what is the best 15W40 oil to use for the break-in period?

Based on my experience, Shell’s Rotella T4 15w40 Motor Oil.

Shell Rotella t4 Oil jug for TaoTao TBR7 break-in period.
My favorite TaoTao TBR7 break-in oil.

If you read this far, I am so happy. I hope to settled the motorcycle oil arguments you see in many forums today, and you seem very interested in the care of the TBR7 and Hawk 250. I would appreciate your feedback in the comments below. Thank you!!!

Ride Safe, Ride Fun.

Why I Immediately Change The Shipping Oil.

FortNine says it best:

Click To See My Recommended
TBR7 Upgrades

Picture of me, as a New Motorcyclist.
Just Me…Newly Licensed.

Hi I’m Tom, A New Motorcycle Rider and Blog Author.

I am a new rider(Pa Learners Permit at the end of 2020, and I received a Pa Motorcycle License in 2021 after passing a Motorcycle Safety Course).

I bought my first motorcycle, a TaoTao TBR7, at the beginning of 2021 and have been doing upgrades on that motorcycle since.

I added to my motorcycle collection by buying a Boom Vader Gen 2 in 2022, and that Grom-Clone motorcycle has been upgraded by me as well.

I continue to ride my Boom Vader Gen 2 motorcycle as well as my TaoTao TBR7 dual-sport bike.

Read more on my About Me page.

Fun Fact: I’ve only been on one group ride.

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