Sportster Primary Oil Type [Update 2023] ❤️


Sportster’s default kind of oil What kind of oil is required for a Harley Sportster? Wet clutches and primary drives are features of the Evolution Sportsters.

After the first 1,000 miles, the oil should be changed every 10,000 miles. 20w50 oil is what the manufacturer advises using. Be sure the oil you use is deemed suitable for wet clutches.

sportster primary oil type
sportster primary

FAQ Sportster primary oil type

What gear oil for Sportster primary?

I would have been happy to go with Redline 75w90 gear oil in the primary but I don’t want to cause grief with the stator / yellow metals. From searching the forums it seems the only guaranteed safe oil for the Sportster primary is HD’s Formula +.


Why is my Sportster’s oil so dark?

If you use a TC oil filter on a Sportster motor, it will burn up.) As for the color of the Sportster’s primary, transmission, and clutch lube, it could be because of the type of oil used. OR needs to be changed. Check the free play of the primary chain, because the color of the oil could be caused by the chain rubbing against the aluminum housing if it is too loose.

What type of oil do you use in Your Sport R?

I DO use HD’s Formula + in my 06 Sport R for lubing my primary chain/clutch/tranny. ALL in one location, Filling thru primary behind the derby cover. For the engine, 20/50 Redline and an HD Sportster oil filter. (make sure the filter is for a Sportster. Using a TC oil filter will burn up the Sportster motor)

How often should I change the oil in my Evolution Sportster?

Primary drives and wet clutches are hallmarks of Evolution Sportsters. The oil should be changed every 10,000 miles after the initial 1,000 miles.


How much free play should my primary chain have?

If the bike is cold, adjust the top strand 5/8-7/8″. When the bike’s hot, move 3/8-5/8″. The following steps should be followed when you adjust the chain to the low end of the spec. Set the transmission to high gear. 

Take out the spark plugs. The rear wheel should be slightly elevated from the ground. You can have a drunk friend, squaw, or circus freak turn the rear wheel and observe the rise/fall of the top strand. 

Some sprockets are runnier than others, so it is possible that some bikes have a higher or lower top strand of the chain. When the chain is at its highest point (most taught), have your trusted assistant stop turning the rear wheel. This is when the chain free play can adjust to the lowest limit.

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