Join Date: May 2016
Year/Make/Model: 2010/Vulcan/900 Classic LT
Yes, change every year, but more often? maybe
A good reason to change your oil every year is because combustion byproducts find their way into the oil, and it is not good to have oil with contaminants running through your engine and sitting in it over the winter. The mileage recommended by manufacturers includes a consideration for how "loosely" built an engine is, heat the oil will experience and how much oil the pan holds relative to the size of the engine, among other things. An engine built to higher tolerances does not contaminate the oil as quickly, hence it can be used longer.
Here's a comparison story: In the late '80s I had a Chevy 2.8L V6 that from new, would start using oil within 1,500 miles after an oil change. I checked with GM and they said it was still considered within specification. Oil capacity was 5 quarts. The recommended oil changes interval was 3,000 miles. In contrast, I've owned a 1986 Porsche for 17 years and have driven it an average of 8,000 miles per year. The factory recommended oil change interval is 15,000 miles. The oil capacity is 6 quarts for a 2.5L engine, and the engine has a dedicated oil cooler. I have not babied this engine and always change the oil just once a year before storing it for winter. It has about 180k miles on the clock, runs like new, and doesn't even need to be topped off between oil changes.
Motorcycle engines, especially if not water cooled, can be tough on oil. Also, don't forget your engine oil is also lubricating your transmission. My advice: Use top quality oil. Follow the manufacturer recommendation on mileage and time. Change the oil and filter at least once a year if you don't reach manufacturer limits. Change the oil before you store for the winter.