Motorcycle battery and motorcycle battery charger reviews with information on maintaining a motorcycle battery and more.
► Motorcycle Battery and Battery Charger Reviews
It's easy to install a semi-permanent SAE harness to a motorcycle battery and it makes it very easy to connect a Battery Tender or other type of maintenance charger. The SAE type connector can also be used to attach other accessories.
Super lightweight and powerful, the new crop of LiFePo batteries are awesome! We compare the popular Shorai with the Ballistic batteries in the Suzuki DR650, which needs a lot of grunt to get started.
"Maintenance free" usually isn't, but this glass mat type battery works well. Have these types of batteries been superseded by LiFePo technology though?
The Shorai charger isn't quite ready for prime time. It uses a strange connector and the instructions are confusing. And, you may not need one for your Shorai battery. Read more in this report.
More specialty battery chargers that work well.
The power of the sun to charge a motorcycle battery? Crude (in this case) but somewhat effective.
Yet another popular battery charger. But who lets their battery become so bad that it needs desulfating?
One more battery charger, this time with plenty of warning lights to let you know what's up.
The OptiMate 3 is a modern battery charger with plenty of features.
The Battery Doc is simple but effective.
Yet another battery charger that may have more features than you need. Good for worrying types?
The Acumen charger has a heavy-duty case and does the job.
► Motorcycle Battery and Electrical Accessory Reviews
Jump start your bike or car and power your accessories with this rechargeable power pack that even includes an LED flashlight!
Simple device let's you know the state of charge of the battery and your bike's electrical system, using almost no power.
Inexpensive on-board add-on to keep tabs on Voltage and other information, like temperature. Installs easily but there are a few tricks to making it waterproof.
You may never need battery cables, but here's a set designed for carrying, just in case.
We've been using these products to help protect battery terminals. Simple, cheap and effective.
Gel or "Gel Cell" use a thickener in the liquid electrolyte rather than water in the cells. They're similar to AGM, or absorbed glass mat batteries. Gel batteries must be charged on a trickle charger rather than a fast automotive charger.
In our experience, the trickle chargers like the Battery Tender work fine for gel or AGM batteries.
Both gel and AGM batteries work much better in a motorcycle application because they can withstand vibration better than water filled batteries. It's my understanding that they also hold up better under a deep discharge.
Make sure you check with your battery manufacturer before you use a Battery Tender or other charger; certain types of trickle chargers are not recommended for use in some gel batteries, although we've been using three separate Battery Tender Plus units continuously for over 7 years and have never experienced a problem, either with the battery or the Battery Tender.
Apex Battery has Westco sealed motorcycle batteries; free shipping on orders over $50.00 | Motorcycle Batteries USA carries sealed batteries for many brands; also battery chargers and accessories | The Battery Mart carries Hawker Odyssey batteries for motorcycles; also various models of Deltran Battery Tenders and many other types of batteries and battery related products | The Battery Web sells all types of batteries for many applications, including motorcycles; they also sell battery chargers | Westco Batteries sealed batteries by Westco | eBatteries to Go has several different brands of motorcycle sealed batteries, including Panasonic, Universal, Westco and others for many different makes and models of motorcycles | SVR makes sealed batteries, mostly for cruisers | Batteries Galore has motorcycle batteries, but no cross-reference listing their part numbers by bike make/model | Odyssey dry cell batteries for several makes of motorcycles
Speedline Moto carries SVR batteries and they also claim to be Europe's largest supplier of pin grips for attaching badges to motorcycle jackets and clothing
The Yuasa Technical Manual (.pdf) is a comprehensive document describing motorcycle batteries and how they work, with drawings and illustrations, charts and more | The Battery University is an online resource with technical papers and information about batteries | Everything you never wanted to know about batteries | All sorts of tips in the "Car and Deep Cycle Battery FAQ" by Bill Darden, including usage, storage, testing and more | Activating a new motorcycle battery from the Battery Web | Here's a pretty exhaustive listing of battery numbers/types with battery numbers and info like amp hours, volts, cold cranking amps (CCA) and length, width, height by BCI Battery Group Numbers | A Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) list with lots of information about batteries | Westco battery observations and product review by master BMW Airhead and expert mechanic "Snowbum" | U.S.A. and Canadian shipping information and regulations covering batteries | Care and Feeding of Your Pet Battery (motorcycle) by David Searle at Motorcycle Consumer News | Sealed Lead-Acid Batteries Handbook (a .pdf file) has some good information on sealed batteries (Thanks to Murray R.!) | Charging sealed lead acid batteries | How Batteries Work is a good basic description in the BBC "Rough Science" guide | The Lead-Acid Battery: Its Voltage in Theory and in Practice; by Richard S. Treptow is a more detailed scientific discussion | Battery tutorial at Battery Stuff | "Charging or Not" is an article about troubleshooting motorcycle charging problems | "Understanding Motorcycle Batteries" article by Stu Oltman, Technical Editor, Wing World Magazine | Cutaway drawings of Yuasa batteries
This chart shows equivalent maintenance free and lead-acid motorcycle batteries
Yuasa 1.5A, Yuasa 900mA Chargers | Superior Accu-Charger 21-1450, Superior Accu-Charger 21-1440 by Superior Motorcycle Products | Battery Doc by Operating Technical Electronics | Battery Minder by VDC Electronics | Cliplight battery chargers for 6, 12, 24, 36 and 48 Volt batteries by Cliplight Manufacturing Company (click on "OEM Products" then "Battery Chargers" | Battery Cellmate by Voltage Control Industries is "a precision electronic device which "Tops Off" your battery and maintains nearly optimum charge under a wide range of conditions" | Odyssey Drycell Batteries | The Optimate III battery charger has a "6-Step" process for automatically charging your motorcycle battery | Ctek makes several types of battery chargers with four to six step charging rates
The Battery Man is the website of the Independent Battery Manufacturers Association; it has info on battery manufacturers | The Battery Council International website has information on batteries, battery recycling, environmental regulations, jump starting batteries and more
From "H.J." (August 2012): (On using a Battery Tender to gauge the health of a battery) "A thought occurred while reading your battery review. wBW mentions use of the Battery Tender all the time (well, not while riding...) and there's a benefit to this besides being great for your battery.
A while back I got caught unawares when my CBR929 went dead during a ride. Luckily I wasn't too far into it and was able to ride back in tandem and get my truck. (I have great Angels. FYI a fully charged 10 year old Yuasa YTZ10S, with zero charging input, will take you about 5 miles in a CBR929 running with the lo-beam!).
I found later the stator was fried, and not charging. I should have declined that ride in the first place, because I had noticed that the bike was having some issues -- the battery had died earlier in the month. The Honda had been so bullet proof up until that point (10 years, 40K mi) that I fooled myself into thinking the dead battery was because of ... (duh, some stupid rationale) and I thought a long stint on the Battery Tender followed by a nice long ride was all it needed.
Had I been smart, I would have remembered that during the weeks that preceded me getting stranded, it was taking awhile for the Battery Tender to stop flashing "Charging" and show a full charge. I have complained in the past about sportbikes not having a voltage display.
Even back in 2001, the 929 could have easily offered a toggle function to switch to voltage readout on its dash. I think it's an egregious blunder that Honda doesn't allow riders to read system voltage, even if we have to press a few times to see it. But regular use of a Battery Tender is the next best thing.
Currently, when I hook up my '09 CBR1000 to the Batter Tender, there is no flashing light. The battery shows a full charge - either immediately or in well under a half minute.
Now I always look for the telltale signs that either the charging system or the battery is below par, and that sign is the Battery Tender displaying a charging light for too long. Almost every ride I do is easily long enough to charge the bike's battery, 25 miles minimum. If it blinks now, I know I have a problem.
Editor's Note: You can also install a Clearwater Voltage Sentry (review), a small LED and controller which can be added to any motorcycle and which will tell you the state of the battery condition.
From "A" (04/11): "I disagree with the slag on Yuasa batteries, I've had nothing but good results from this brand on both the older conventional style water/acid filled, the gel, and the Maintenance free VRLA or AGM batteries, however I had very poor results from the budget or other cheap ... no name brands and I've had them in cruisers, sport bikes, standards in both modern and "retro" bikes as well.
One thing people have to keep in mind with batteries (at least Yuasa) is to follow the bloody instructions!!! I've seen people fry their Yuasa batteries because they did not (read the ... manual).
It says once the electrolyte is added you have to wait at least 30 mins... I personally wait an hour or more then I fully charge it at the correct rate as specified by the battery manufacturer...
Say no to car chargers! Anything over 2 amps is overkill for a bike battery... my charger runs at 1 to 1.5 amps... it takes a little longer to fully charge but I let it do it's thing and my charger shuts off when it reaches max capacity for the type of battery being charged.
If you skimp and say it is good enough or quick charge at high amp rates the battery may work but has poor capacity or dies before it should... also you must maintain the battery.. if it is ever deeply discharged, fully charge it again at the right rate before riding on it again and leaving a bike battery sit below a 12V charge for any length of time is never a good thing.
Freezing and Over-Charging is another reason why batteries die early. Over winter I keep my batteries in a good climate and charge them every month or two to keep them over 12V at all times.
If you can, on some batteries you can run a hydrometer on them to see if the electrolyte level is good... that can be another reason why a battery is bad. and... I always choose Made in Japan or made in USA... or really made anywhere other than (comment removed).
I've never had poor results from Yuasa brand batteries in my bikes when installed, charged, and maintained to the correct method, however cheap-o ... no name products die early even when following the correct protocol."
From "A.C.C.": "I was just browsing over some links in the "How a Motorcycle Battery Works - How to Maintain a Motorcycle Battery" section (above) and came across the one by David Searle of MCN.
He states: "Motorcycle batteries are normally rated by their amp/hour (AH) capacity, or cold-cranking amps. The AH figure is used in the advertising of car batteries as a months-of-life number, as in a 48-month or 60-month battery."
The Ah rating has nothing to do with the number of months a battery is expected to last."