When it comes to choosing the right air filter for your motorcycle, the most common question is whether a dry media (paper air filter) or an oiled version is the better choice. This has been a hotly debated subject to determine which filter actually performs better. While considering performance results in categories such as filtration, airflow, longevity and overall ranking, the results are neck and neck. Although the debate has been fought from both sides, and both sides may be able to argue pros and cons for each filter type, K and G Cycles continues to offer you both styles depending on your preference.
When deciding which type of air filter should be used with your situation, many things need to be considered, researched and tested when choosing between an oiled and dry media (paper) filter. The 3 main requirements that were important to us are the same characteristics that are important to all consumers when choosing an air filter; those 3 items are filtration, air flow and longevity.
Filtration and Airflow: Oiled filters are constructed of multiple layers of oiled cotton or gauze fabric which captures dirt and debris more effectively. The debris entering the filter will actually stick to the oiled fibers of the filter, and actually become part of the filtering media. This process, sometimes referred to as depth loading by some filter manufacturers, allows the filter to retain more dirt per square inch than a paper filter. On many oiled filters, the cotton or gauze fabric is then meshed between pleated aluminum screens. Pleating the layers of filter media increases the surface area which allows the filter to be in use longer, and capture more debris than a standard non oiled and/or non-pleated filter media.
As dust particles enter the filter, they are stopped by the interwoven layers and are then captured in place with the oil. Dirt and debris that are retained on the surface of an oiled filter media have little effect on air flow because there are no small holes to clog like there would be on a paper filter media due to the interwoven layers. So when a paper filter starts to clog, an oiled filter media is still filtering debris just as effectively as when you purchased it, as well as retaining a higher level of airflow. This is due largely to the oiled filter media as well as the method that is used to hold the layers together.
When tested, it has been found that an oiled media air filter will have less restricted flow when compared to it’s dry media counterpart on a flow bench test. Although an oiled media filter may have between 4 and 8 layers of filtration, it still flows faster and less restricted than a paper filter that is densely bound together. So while filtration is increased, the flow is also increased because of the manner in which the filter layers are constructed.
Longevity: Another great reason to choose an oiled air filter over a dry paper air filter is for the longevity and cost savings it will provide you. (One manufacturer actually has a 1,000,000 mile warranty on their filters.) On average, a paper filter should be replaced between 4,000 to 5,000 miles or every oil change. Typically the average cost of a paper filter is about $10 to $20. After one year of driving 15,000 miles, at least 3 paper air filters are needed, this totals $30 to $35. An oiled filter will generally run from $40 to $50, but will never need to be replaced! Therefore an oiled filter will “pay itself off” if you will in 1-2 years. As long as you plan on driving for more than another 2 years, your costs saving over the life of the vehicle will greatly add up, especially if you are paying for the labor to replace the filter at your dealer. Considering the fact that you may only need to “recharge” your oiled filter (clean and re-oil) a few times during the course of its service life, and that it will never need to be replaced, it makes vehicle maintenance simpler and more affordable.
Overall switching to an oiled air filter is less expensive in the long run, a green choice, and will ultimately lead to a better running engine through cleaner air intake. K and G Cycles wants you to be as informed as possible when making decisions like this, so if you have any questions or concerns, call us @ 1-888-50K-ANDG (888-505-6234) or you can e-mail us… firstname.lastname@example.org and we can assist you in selecting the right air filter for your needs.