What TBR7 Motorcycle Oil Type Do I Need?

This question is simple to answer; just read the manual, and it recommends SF 15W40 oil. However, when you read any Chinese motorcycle forums, and see a post with “What TBR7 Oil Type?”, these oil discussions quickly get heated since the oil type needed quickly expands into several questions and opinions. So let’s cover what I learned about the oil type and oil needs of my TBR7.

Is the TBR7 Oil Type Needs Unique?

No. I read over several manuals and digested several opinions of long-time Chinese bike owners. I can confidently say, the TBR7, Hawk 250, and TT250 are similar enough in engine design to use the same oil type. Similar in design to have the same capacity and flow paths.  

If The Motorcycles Are So Similar, Why The Forum Oil Feuds?

I call them the “Oil Wars.” If you read Chinese motorcycle forums, watch videos, and read their comments, you’ve seen the “Oil Wars.” A simple question like, “what oil does a Hawk 250 take?” results in long responses and personal attacks. Brand loyalties are tested, and opinions are dissected. I, too, want to add my content to the Oil Wars. 

Lets Cover The Questions That Dominate The Oil Wars On The Web:

Recap this post’s title: “What TBR7 Oil Type Do I Need?”

Let’s rephrase this. and ask, 

“What Hawk 250 Oil Type Do I Need?”

And let’s rephrase this again and ask, 

“What [Insert Motorcycle] Oil Type Do I Need?”

I asked the same thing three times. And just reading this, I’m sure as a reader, you are wondering seriously, why are you just repeating? That is the point. There is one answer for what oil type your motorcycle needs?  


Yes, “Read The Full Manual.”

I have a TBR7 motorcycle, and I believe this is where the confusion comes from. TT250 is like the Hawk 250, like the TBR7, all these dual-sport motorcycles have the same engine base designed, designed after the CG-125 engine.   

When you read the CG-125 motorcycle engine service manual, you get a chart of ambient temperatures the engine will be operating in with many oil weights to choose from.

When you look at the Hawk 250 motorcycle manual, you again get a chart with many oil weights to choose from based on the ambient temperatures that the engine is expected to operate in.

When you look at the TT250 manual, an excellent motorcycle manual, it flatly says 10w40 motorcycle type engine oil. Very cut and try, and direct.

And last but not least, when I read my TBR7 motorcycle manual, the manual says to use Type SF 15w40. 

See The Oil Type Confusion?  

One engine manual, three motorcycle manuals, and the only motorcycle manual that closely matches the original engine manual are the Hawk 250. The more detailed, colorful TT250 manual claims one weight of oil, and the TBR7 picks a weight not commonly known as car oil weights, such as 0w20, 5w30, or 10w40.  

Now we have enough background information to understand the confusing information, or just information overload, I will move on to my motorcycle, the TBR7. The only motorcycle I have experience with and can share hindsight knowledge.

Again, What TBR7 Oil Type Do I Need?

Per the manual: SF 15w40.  

First, what is SF?

From what I read, an obsolete version of motor oil.

The newer motorcycle oil type ratings will exceed type SF. A quick search for today’s engine oils has moved through the alphabet from SF to SN. So, SF is ‘dated’ information, and modern oils have advanced to the point they meet the needs of my TBR7.  

Second, what is 15w40 oil?

It’s weight, or a viscosity rating, saying the oil has multiple properties.

It has the viscosity of lighter oil at cold temperatures, 15w(weight), while offering high-temperature viscosity of a heavier oil, a 40w(weight) oil. Put, it’s a designation of oil that can cover a wide range of operating temperatures.  

Third, what should I know?

Get right motorcycle oil type, the weight that matches the motorcycle owner’s manual. Tah-Dah! (Where To Buy Good Motorcycle Engine Oil?)

Mistakes I Made With My TBR7’s Oil.

1- I didn’t change the shipping oil as soon as I assembled the TBR7. I ran the motorcycle, even rode it, with the original shipping oil in it. It was for a very short distance, but I feel it was a big mistake.

2-I chased after oil weights. I couldn’t find 15w40 motorcycle oil, so I just grabbed what I could find. I tried 10w40, and when I thought the engine was running too hot, I tried 20w50. All the oils I bought were name brand, so I figured I couldn’t hurt my engine, but I wasn’t genuinely meeting the TBR7’s manual’s recommendation.

Now My Hindsight TBR7 Motorcycle Oil Type Tips:

  • Basing this on the TT250 manual, use conventional motorcycle oil when < 1000 miles.
  • Based on the TBR7 Clutch system, use oil for wet clutches.
  • After 1000 miles, TT250 information uses synthetic for better protection.

How Do Apply This TBR7 Oil Information In Real Life?

1- I Buy Shell Rotello 15w40 Oil. <<<==== Notice the weight matches the TaoTao TBR7 Manual Oil Type.

Shell Rotella T4 Oil, my TBR7 break in oil
My TaoTao TBR7 Break In Oil, conventional motorcycle oil.
Shell Rotella T6, my regular TBR7 synthetic motorcycle oil.
After the TBR7’s break in, my preferred synthetic motorcycle Oil.

2- When less than 1000 miles, buy a 1-gallon jug of Shell’s Rotello T4 version; it’s conventional oil. One gallon will allow for three complete oil changes( What Is The TaoTao TBR7’s Oil Capacity? – FAQ )

Shell Rotella T4 Conventional Oil - TBR7 Oil Type For Me, Less than 1000 miles.
Shell’s Rotello T4 Oil is JASO MA/MA2(for wet clutches) which is perfect for the TBR7.

3-When the engine has more than 1000 miles of use, buy Shell’s Rotello T6 Synthetic motor oil jugs and use this oil type/brand for oil all changes.

Shell Rotella T6 Synthetic Oil - TBR7 Oil Type for me, greater than 1000 miles.
Like the T4, Rotella T6 is rated for the TBR7’s wet-clutch. JASO MA/MA2

3- An oil change takes 1 liter (1000cc’s) of oil. The sump capacity is 1.1 liters in the TBR7 but found 1000cc’s is enough for an oil change.

Let’s do the oil changes math per the TBR7’s Manual.

The first oil change is at zero miles (when you first get the TBR7.) Read how I failed: TBR7’s Shipping Oil Break-in?).  

The second oil change is at 1000 km(600 miles).

The third oil change is at 3000km(1800mile).

By the time you get to the Fourth oil change, you will use the remaining Rotello T4(should be insufficient to fill the motorcycle sump) and supplement with Shell’s Rotello T6 115w40 (Synthetic version) oil. Then for simplicity, continue using T6 for a full synthetic oil change from thereon.  

BTW: How Often Do You Need To Change Your Motorcycle Oil?

By only buying one oil brand, sticking to the TBR7’s owner’s manual recommendation of oil type, and oil suitable for motorcycles(wet clutches), you can focus on one of the best steps to keeping the motorcycle running well, doing the recommended oil changes as scheduled.

Tips For For Easier TBR7 Oil Changes.

  1. Get a 1-liter measuring cup. This cup will be the TBR7’s dedicated motorcycle oil measuring tool.
  2. Get a long funnel for filling the sump with oil. It makes oil refilling less messy. 
  3. Get an oil drain pan to catch the old oil and allow the cup and funnel excess oil to drain.  
Motorcycle Oil Change Pan, Funnel and Measuring Cup.
My TBR7 Oil Change Pan, Funnel and Measuring Cup.

You make oil changes more effortless and less messy; you are more likely to do those needed oil changes and maximize the life of your motorcycle.

Author’s Notice: This page contains affiliate links, for which I may earn a commission by their use. Also, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying Amazon purchases.

Check for Amazon’s Current Prices For: Shell Rotella T4 Conventional 15W-40 Engine Oil

Check for Amazon’s Current Prices For: Shell Rotella T6 Full Synthetic 5W-40 Diesel Engine Oil

Again, a new motorcyclist and newer TBR7 owner. I had to piece together a plan to change the oil in the motorcycle without making it complicated but meeting the manufacturer’s needs. I used the Hawk 250, TBR7, and TT250 owner’s manual to find the best solution for me. All while confirming with the CG-125, any oil types I chose had to match the original engine specifications. This post is me sharing with you how I am taking care of my motorcycle, and if it’s wrong, please share your feedback in the comments below.

In the meantime, Thank you, and Ride Safe!

My Suggested TBR7, Hawk 250, Raven Oil Change Shopping List

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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