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Finding the right motorcycle battery
Choosing the right motorcycle battery
Welcome to your motorcycle battery guide! We've filled it with lots of handy information to help you on your quest to find the right motorcycle battery! You can use the links below to help navigate to the sections that interest you the most.
A motorcycle battery is a smaller version of a starter battery. It is designed to deliver a powerful burst of energy to start the engine. Once the vehicle has started, the battery is then recharged while the vehicle runs.
Types of motorcycle batteries
At AllBatteries, we supply a few types of motorcycle batteries.
Standard “wet” batteries (conventional) – These batteries are shipped dry and must be filled with acid. They are spillable as they are not sealed units and must only be installed in an upright position. These are usually the least expensive range of motorcycle batteries as they require care and regular maintenance. When the electrolyte levels of these batteries drop, they need to be topped up with distilled water to prevent damage to the battery. These batteries are also referred to as open lead batteries on our website. Here's where you can find this info on our site.
Maintenance free batteries – These batteries must be filled with acid upon receipt but require no further maintenance. These batteries are usually more expensive to buy but they will save you a lot of hassle in the long run as they do not require any further maintenance. It is recommended that these batteries be fitted in an upright position. Here's where you find out if one of our batteries is maintenance free.
Sealed maintenance free batteries – These batteries are sealed and do not need to be filled with acid upon receipt. As they are sealed, they can therefore be installed in different orientations without the danger of spillage. It is not recommended that these batteries be installed in an inverted position. Here's here you find out if one of our batteries is sealed and maintenance free.
Gel motorcycle batteries – These batteries are sealed maintenance free units in which there is no free flowing electrolyte as it is jellified. These batteries are virtually spill proof and may be fitted in different positions. It is not recommended to fit these batteries in an inverted position. Here's where you find out if our battery is a gel battery.
Lithium motorcycle batteries – These Lithium Iron phosphate batteries are completely spill-proof as there is no liquid electrolyte inside. They offer bigger performance from a smaller battery which is one of the advantages of choosing the lithium technology. They are a lot more lightweight than their lead acid counterparts, which is a huge plus for motorcycles. They offer greater chemical and thermal stability and a better cycle, storage and service life. They may be mounted in different positions but is not recommended to install them in an inverted position. Here's where you find out if you're looking at a Lithium battery.
Charging and self discharge
Charging: When selecting a charger for your motorbike battery, it is important to choose the correct charger for your battery’s chemistry. If you have a lithium battery, select a charger which is compatible with that technology etc.
Please ensure that the charger you select has the right current output. As a rule, the rated current of the charger you select should equal 1/10th of the capacity of your battery.
Self discharge: It is important to note that batteries will discharge naturally over time even if they are not being used. If your motorcycle is not being used over an extended period of time, it is advisable to disconnect it from the motorcycle and to give it a monthly charge to ensure that the battery doesn’t become deeply discharged. Alternatively, if you have a smart charger, you may keep the battery on a tickle/maintenance charge until you are ready to use it. This will keep the battery topped up and prevent it from entering a deeply discharged state. Please note that leaving a battery in a discharged state for an extended period of time will lead to irreparable damage to the battery.
During normal usage of a battery, lead sulfate crystals form. These crystals are not harmful under normal conditions however, when a lead acid battery is consistently deprived of a fully saturated charge, these crystals convert into a stable substance which deposits on the negative plates inside the battery. This increases the battery’s internal resistance and in turn affects the battery’s ability to accept and retain a charge. Thus the battery’s service life is shortened.
Lead acid batteries need to receive a full charge for 14-16 hours periodically to remain in good health. Consequently, starter batteries in city-bound vehicles with accessories requiring large amounts of power are common victims of sulfation. Batteries which are left unused for an extended period of time (1 month or more) without being charged will also fall prey to sulfation.
In short, sulfation is bad news for batteries. However, there is still some hope of restoration. There are two types of sulfation: reversible or soft sulfation, and permanent or hard sulfation. If your battery has not been left in a low state-of-charge for an extended period of time and the sulfation is only a few weeks old (soft sulfation), it can be restored by applying an overcharge to the battery when fully charged. This will help to dissolve the crystals and restore the battery. Permanent sulfation takes place once the battery is kept in a low state-state-of-charge for a prolonged period of weeks or months. When the battery reaches this stage, it is no longer possible to restore it.
Decoding motorcycle battery part numbers
Motorcycle battery manufacturers use special part numbers to identify their batteries. Decoding these part numbers opens up a world of information which can be really helpful when choosing a replacement battery. The following information will help to decode these sometimes mystifying part numbers. Here goes!
Motorcycle battery part numbers are really helpful when trying figure out what sort of battery you have. The first few digits and numbers (YTX/GTX; 6N/12N; YTZ/GTZ; YT/GT; YB/CB) help to identify the manufacturer and the type of battery.
YTX/GTX/CTX – Part numbers beginning with these prefixes are usually user activated maintenance free batteries more commonly referred to as maintenance free. The first letter usually helps to identify the manufacturer e.g. Y = Yuasa. So for example, the part number YTX15L-BS gives the following information:
YT – Manufacturer’s reference
X- high performance battery
15 – indication of battery’s performance (not always exact capacity)
L – Polarity
BS – indication of the type of terminals and vents
6N/12N – Part numbers with these prefixes are usually conventional batteries (electrolyte flooded or wet). So for example, the part number 6N12A-2D gives the following information:
6 – battery voltage (6V)
12 – battery capacity in Ah (12Ah)
-2D – all the numbers/letters following the capacity give information about the battery’s polarity/vents.
YB/CB – Part numbers with these prefixes are usually YuMicron batteries. So for example, the part number YB9-B gives the following information:
YB – manufacturer’s reference
9 – indication of battery’s capacity e.g 9Ah (not always exact capacity)
B – indication of the type of terminals and vents
YTZ/GTZ; YT/GT – Part numbers with these prefixes are usually AGM or Gel batteries. So for example, the part number YTZ12S gives the following information:
YT – manufacturer’s reference
Z – high performance battery
12 – indication of battery’s capacity.
S – terminals and vents
Here's where you can find these part numbers on our product listings.
We hope this page has been helpful. Happy shopping!