Buying a motorcycle battery.
Dark science? Maybe not.
Motorcycle batteries operate on the same principle as their car counterparts. There are the conventional ones that have cells that hold metal plates in an acidic electrolyte solution and require periodic maintenance (always maintain the correct level on the electrolyte solution to prolong the life on the unit).
The second type are Gel or Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM) technology. These are also known as “maintenance free”, because they eliminate water evaporation and will maintain the proper level. They still should be checked for corrosion and loose bolts which will prevent them from charging properly.
The third type are lithium ion batteries which are new for motorcycles but have been in the car market for some time. One of the main advantages of this type of battery is the lack of weight, (they could be up to 10lbs lighter) and in some cases about 80% smaller also. These batteries are expensive thou and require special chargers in some cases. Which brings us to the next chapter.
So, how long is a battery supposed to last? This is a question that we hear a lot here at Central Florida PowerSports and, a very good one. It largely depends on what kind of care you give your battery and the quality of the product. It is not unheard of for a high end battery to last around 3 to 4 years (some customers have seen as much as 5, but that is extraordinary). The old saying of “You get what paid for” applies here. Known brands like “Yuasa” usually have better materials and craftsmanship that will ensure a longer and trouble free life.
Bear in mind that even temperature changes will affect the life cycle of a battery. Extreme heat and cold are variables that will definitely have an effect on how long you will be able to enjoy it.
Most customers don't understand a new bike charging system is designed for minimum weight and specific outputs. Which means that if they install any extras, like lights (even LEDs), MP3s and GPS units, they might not be able to cope with the extra drain and the battery will not last as long as it could. Also if the unit is going to be stored for an extended period of time (more than 2 weeks) it is recommended that a battery tender(not to be confused with a trickle charger) is used to keep the battery ready for the next time you want to enjoy your motorcycle. There are some very good ones on the market such as the Deltan Battery Tender Junior and at a very reasonable price. So, follow some simple rules and common sense and you won't have to worry if your bike will start the next time.
Keep your tires on the ground and enjoy the ride!
Carlos A Mendoza
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