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Old July 4th, 2014, 11:26 AM   #1
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Anyone use the recommended Shell fork oil in Ohlins?

Although there is an abundance of threads on the getting the "best" fork oil, by default most people recommend just using Ohlins 1309 for their 1098/1198S fork.

For people like me who simply can't get Ohlins oil, have you ever used the workshop manual recommended Shell Advance 7.5 or Shell Donax TA oil for their forks? What is your opinion with Shell oil or equivalent despite their drastically different viscosity ratings from Ohlins 1309?
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Old July 4th, 2014, 11:33 AM   #2
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Comparison of Viscosity ([email protected]/[email protected]/VTC)

Ohlins 1309: 19/13/0.32
Showa SS-15: 20/13.4/0.33
BelRay HVI 5wt: 19.5/6.6/0.66 (viscosity index 345)

Shell Advance 7.5: 22/4.9/0.78 (viscosity index 153)
Shell Donax TA: 34.9/7.2/0.79 (viscosity index 141)


I am thinking of using BelRay HVI 5wt as it is available, cheap, and shares comparable numbers between Ohlins and Shell. However, I am concerned about using shock fluid for forks, as you can see the viscosity index is dramatically higher. While a higher VI simply suggest a stable viscosity over a broad range of temperature, I am worried that a shock fluid is not compatible with forks regarding fork internals, fork seals, etc.

Any pros know if using a shock fluid in forks with dramatically higher VI (albeit similar viscosities) is acceptable?
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Old July 4th, 2014, 03:28 PM   #3
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There is nothing special about the Íhlins oil, absolutely no reason to buy it. In fact, I prefer the Maxima oil over the Íhlins stuff.

I'm sure the shell stuff is fine.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 05:59 PM   #4
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From what I've been told Ohlins only have one oil for the forks and that suits the valving for their forks.
So from that, if you go a different weight fluid that's not what the fork were made for.
But then again with dirt bikes part of tuning the suspension to suit "you" can be playing around with the fork oil weight.
I was told by one bloke to use the Ohlins fluid, which I did and by others don't worry, one suggestion was Motul.
The correct weight would be the most important I suppose.
If you can't get the Ohlins why not just go the Ducati recommended Shell stuff, easy to get and not expensive.

Last edited by bstar360; July 4th, 2014 at 06:03 PM.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 06:49 PM   #5
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It’s probably wise to let the fork manufacturer be the final arbiter of what formulation of suspension fluid should be used in their product.

Ohlins and Showa are in the best position to evaluate material compatibility issues and have extensively tested their fork seals with the suspension fluid they have specified in their product literature. This is not to say that fork fluid from another manufacturer will result in damage to the fork seals — they simply haven’t been tested by the fork manufacturers for long term compatibility with their particular seal material.

As noted above, there is are significant differences in suspension fluid hydraulic properties from different manufacturers, so you can't just buy any 7.5 or 10 weight fluid and get the same damping behavior intended by Ohlins.

Ducati has (over the years) changed the recommended fluid for Ohlins and Showa forks. AGIP was specified before Shell — of course, AGIP was the sponsor for Ducati racing activities before Shell took over, so it's no surprise to see Shell fork oil recommended in the Owners and Workshop Manuals.
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Old July 4th, 2014, 06:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ020 View Post
Comparison of Viscosity ([email protected]/[email protected]/VTC)

Ohlins 1309: 19/13/0.32
Showa SS-15: 20/13.4/0.33
BelRay HVI 5wt: 19.5/6.6/0.66 (viscosity index 345)

Shell Advance 7.5: 22/4.9/0.78 (viscosity index 153)
Shell Donax TA: 34.9/7.2/0.79 (viscosity index 141)


I am thinking of using BelRay HVI 5wt as it is available, cheap, and shares comparable numbers between Ohlins and Shell. However, I am concerned about using shock fluid for forks, as you can see the viscosity index is dramatically higher. While a higher VI simply suggest a stable viscosity over a broad range of temperature, I am worried that a shock fluid is not compatible with forks regarding fork internals, fork seals, etc.

Any pros know if using a shock fluid in forks with dramatically higher VI (albeit similar viscosities) is acceptable?
Don't worry about the shock v fork fluid issue.
It's just a name.

As far as seal compatibility goes, it's not an issue. AT ALL. So don't worry about it
Regarding seals, you will almost certainly go through OHLINS seals over time, as they can tend to leak unexpectedly.
So it's good to be able to have a consistent supply of suspension fluid what ever you choose to go with, simply so you can service your forks readily.
Try to select your fluid as close as you can to the factory stuff in accordance with the stated cold viscosity.
The higher the VI of the fluid, the more linear the performance of the fork will be at all times.
The choice of Belray is moving in the right direction regarding it's availability, but IMO it's a compromise.

The Showa fluid is far, far superior.
The OHLINS fluid is the gold standard in terms of performance.
Ideally one needs a fluid that has the most stable viscosity over the operating temperature range of the unit.

What ever you choose, you ideally need to stick to it and set your valving up to suit your application with that fluid. This makes the availability of the Belray fluid a good reason to go with it I suppose.
Also it won't be the same as what comes out of the fork as a factory fill either. So you need to consider that. The Shell stuff is not necessarily what comes out of the fork. It can be a bit of a lottery as to what you get.
The Donax is simply Dexron II spec ATF.
They put that in the manual as a backstop(good old ATF), in case one can't get something else in their market or in case of emergency. It may be fine in a clunker chook chaser on the farm, but really not all that great in your OHLINS.

I totally agree with the previously stated reasons for using the genuine OHLINS fluid.
Actually data I have floating around here somewhere, indicates that the OHLINS fluid has a much higher VI than anything else on the market. This is reflected in the data you have posted.
I don't know what it is, but it certainly can be made of unobtanium at times.
I can either get it from my dealer or another suspension specialist.

Interestingly the 1309 fluid is the only fluid OHLINS are supplying as a "standardised" item these days. They supply it to the race teams.
So on balance, I think that is an indication of how OHLINS themselves regard the 1309 fluid as an essential component in the performance of their forks and how it works with their valving
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Last edited by Dirt; July 4th, 2014 at 07:04 PM.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 12:09 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the kind and informative posts.

I have finally found the unicorn 1309 Ohlins fluid...at a Honda dealership where techs there refuse to service Ohlins suspension and change my fork seals because they said they don't have the appropriate tools!

Dirt is right, the Ohlins fluid, if you go through with the calculations, has one of the highest Viscosity Index (VI).. almost comparable to shock fluid rather than fork fluid. On the 1309 bottle, they are labelled as suspension fluid.

The Bel-Ray and Showa may be the best alternatives but thankfully, I found the 1309 fluid (albeit a steep price) @ $44 compared to Bel-Ray @ $22.
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Old July 7th, 2014, 03:07 PM   #8
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Are you in the USA? If so, get it from sportbiketrackgear at $24.95 per litre -- they'll ship it right to you!

Ohlins Fluid 01309 - 1L from SportbikeTrackGear.com
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Old July 7th, 2014, 03:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ020 View Post
Thanks for all the kind and informative posts.

I have finally found the unicorn 1309 Ohlins fluid...at a Honda dealership where techs there refuse to service Ohlins suspension and change my fork seals because they said they don't have the appropriate tools!

Dirt is right, the Ohlins fluid, if you go through with the calculations, has one of the highest Viscosity Index (VI).. almost comparable to shock fluid rather than fork fluid. On the 1309 bottle, they are labelled as suspension fluid.

The Bel-Ray and Showa may be the best alternatives but thankfully, I found the 1309 fluid (albeit a steep price) @ $44 compared to Bel-Ray @ $22.
What a crock, special tools.
I did my fork seals this past weekend with a few standard tools that any bike shop should have. By the way the whole job takes about an hour but I took longer because I removed and cleaned the cartridges. What a crap shop
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Old July 7th, 2014, 04:20 PM   #10
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For those wanting to do it right, use Ohlins Suspension Fluid in your Ohlins products. I send my forks and shock back to Ohlins USA, Hendersonville, NC every winter during the off season. They inspect and service the parts, as well as upgrade the components, if applicable. If later, you want to add some fluid, because, say, you need to change the travel of the forks then you know and have the correct fluid. In addition, if you have a question, or need some additional information concerning the functioning of the suspension, the Ohlins guys are always happy to answer your inquiries. Gr8 support and service. I am sure their are "shade tree" means and methods, but it is your ass on that bike, and I would trust the servicing to the suspension professional rather than the "forum expert".
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Old July 7th, 2014, 04:24 PM   #11
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By the way, The correct part # is 01309, Ohlins Suspension Fluid. Viscosity 19,cST at 40degC.

Just sayin....
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Old July 8th, 2014, 02:01 PM   #12
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Yes thanks! That's the unicorn fluid I finally found and purchased.

Research seems to support using centistokes (CST) instead of Wt as the standards for Wt vary greatly between companies. Although the Bel-Ray HVI 5Wt is almost identical with Ohlins 1309, it becomes a lot thinner at 100C (hence the lower overall VI).

Charles thanks for the link. I even contacted Dan Kyle about the fluid but unfortunately shipping would cost almost 50$.


In Canada, services are sparse. The one and only Ducati dealership here told me they will put 7wt Bel Ray fork fluid into the ohlins. That's equivalent to 29.00Cst @ 40C. That was enough to send me on a quest to do the job myself and do it right. I'm running out of riding season soon!
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Old July 8th, 2014, 02:02 PM   #13
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No pin spanner? Shipping is 2 weeks out? No problem


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Old July 9th, 2014, 06:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VJ020 View Post
Research seems to support using centistokes (CST) instead of Wt as the standards for Wt vary greatly between companies.
You're welcome VJ!

Regarding the wt vs. cst, I agree that cst and other viscosity measurements are the way to go. After going through similar research earlier this year when I changed my stock 848 Showa fork seals, I found this wiki that has a great spreadsheet and all of the information you'll ever need regarding fork fluid:

Suspension Fluid - Pvdwiki

Last year when I changed the fluid only I used Ohlins 01309 19cst and it felt really good. This year, I experimented and went with the Ohlins 03313 23cst, which is 1 cst higher than the stock recommended Shell Advance 7.5. With 439cc in each leg, it's a little too stiff--and I have the pre-load nearly all the way backed out. I may pop the caps and take 5-10 cc out to see what impact that has. I'll be going back to 01309 next fluid change.
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Old December 14th, 2016, 08:51 AM   #15
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does anyone know how many OZ you use in each fork?
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