Battery manufacturers all over the world will readily let you know that a motorcycle battery, on average, should last about 48 months.
However, the reality is a much shorter lifespan closer to 12 months. If you’re lucky.
In most cases, reduced battery life can be attributed to lack of maintenance or incorrect care, which makes it entirely possible to get more out of your battery if you understand what you’re working with. The lead/acid cell is the most common type of motorcycle battery. They’re referred to as flooded or wet cell batteries, that are basically individual cells connected in series – three for a 6-volt system, six for a 12-volt system – and grouped together in a shared container. Although these are the most common type of motorcycle battery, Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries are an alternative that offers a better maintenance experience. Let’s look at what you need to know before making your final choice…
Because of the way in which flooded cell batteries are set up (in series) you end up with a battery that produces a cumulative voltage appropriate for its intended use. However, as the battery runs down, certain chemical changes occur within the electrolyte creating the electrical charge, and the lead plates that carry the current. The sulfuric acid in the electrolyte gets used up in a way, leaving behind only water, and lead sulfate begins to coat the lead plates inside the container, greatly reducing the battery’s efficiency. After a while, what you’re left with is a dead battery. One of the biggest drawbacks of flooded cell batteries is the basic make-up – extremely corrosive liquid housed within flimsy plastic, releasing highly explosive hydrogen gas as the battery is being charged. The charge/discharge of these batteries also leads to the evaporation of water, which requires regular topping up to ensure the cells work the way they’re supposed to, and last as long as they should. If this maintenance is neglected, the battery will lose its ability to hold a charge for very long.
Valve Regulated Lead Acid batteries (VRLAs) or sealed batteries are available as either Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries or Gel batteries. Sharing some similarities with flooded cell batteries, the distinctions that sets VRLAs apart are significant and worth considering a change from the previously accepted norm. For starters, VRLAs make use of calcium alloy plates instead of lead. What this means is that no hydrogen is produced during a charging cycle and whatever oxygen is produced gets used back up the system to form water. In short, due to the intricate chemistry of VRLA batteries, you never need to add water. And like a wise man once said – the best kind of maintenance is no maintenance. AGM batteries incorporate high quality glass fiber along with calcium alloy plates, which results in far greater efficiency and higher current production than flooded cell batteries. They also hold their charge for longer.
The bottom line for extended battery life is that of maintenance. Know what to do, and don’t neglect to do it.
- Start with choosing the right battery for your bike. You can use this article as a guide if you need some help.
- Once per month, make sure you check the fluid levels of your battery. In flooded cell batteries, lost water needs to be topped up on a regular basis, so this step is especially important if this is the battery you’re using.
- Cleaning your battery is the next maintenance step. Grime, pollutants, and dust will accumulate on your battery over time. If left untended, these contaminants can lead to corrosion. Some battery cleaner and a clamp brush is all you need to eradicate build-up of dirt and preserve the housing for longer.
- Most motorcycle batteries don’t deal well with cold. During winter months, always remove your battery and store at room temperature to prevent freezing and possible cracking. Storing on metal or concrete will cause the battery to discharge, so rather opt for wood or any other warm surface.
- Use a motorcycle battery charger to keep your battery optimally charged, especially during winter months.
Our battery solutions come with a guarantee of safety and reliability, affordability, highest quality, and an outstanding customer experience from start to finish. Kickstart your motorcycle season with Motobatt – the leading manufacturer in motorcycle batteries and proud battery, battery tester, and battery charger of AMA Pro Racing, for both road and flat track circuits. Motobatt is a member of Battery Council International as well as Motorcycle Industry Council, providing adaptable and robust battery solutions for a wide range of PowerSport vehicles. Motobatt’s MBTZ7S is one of our performance-driven offerings, weighing in at 2.1kg, with a nominal voltage of 12 volts (6 cells), capacity (10HR) 6, and CCA reaching 100 amperes. Suitable to be used with Honda models including EZ90 Cub, C110, CRF450X, and CBR1000RR; Kawasaki models including KLX450R, ZX10R, KFX90, and KFX50; Suzuki models including DR-Z250, LT-Z250, and Lt80 QuadSport 80; Yamaha models including WR450F, YFZ450R, Tricker 250CC, and VOX 50CC; Aprilia’s SR50 Ditech; and BMW’s G450 to name a few. By taking time to invest in a motorcycle battery that provides superior quality and performance, you’ll be well on your way to getting more efficiency and extended lifespan.