Batteries

I define "Hiking" not as a healthful exercise to visit nature's beauty, but as something you do when your Motorcycle stops running. Probably one of the most overlooked items on our Motorcycles and one that will definitely send you 'Hiking' is a battery failure. After all, if it works- it works right? At least right up until it fails, then it leaves you stranded. We all do the same thing too, we rarely if ever properly maintain the battery, we expect it to work when we want to ride, and then we are shocked when we go to ride and only get a click from the starter. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've heard 'the battery was brand new last year'. Most things only wear out when they are used so it is difficult to understand why the opposite is true for a battery. Let's dispel some myths.
First off, motorcycle batteries are of two different types of construction, Maintenance Free and Wet Cell types that require refilling. When we say "Maintenance Free" we are only referring to the fact that they do not require refilling. A battery is defined as a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Batteries have two electrodes, an anode (the negative end) and a cathode (the positive end). Collectively the anode and the cathode are called the electrodes. Which one is the positive and which is the negative terminal? It would be great to simply say that the anode is negative and the cathode is positive, however, that is not always the case. Sometimes the opposite is true depending on battery technology. In between the batteries two electrodes runs an electrical current caused primarily from a voltage differential between the anode and cathode. The voltage runs through a chemical called an electrolyte (which can be either liquid, gel or solid). This battery consisting of two electrodes is called a voltaic cell. It is not uncommon to have 6 or more cells in the typical Motorcycle battery.
The single most important thing you can do for your battery is to CHARGE IT. This does not necessarily mean just starting the engine once in a while. The charging systems on our motorcycles are commonly referred to as 'break even' charging systems. What this means is that there is not an excessive amount of charge rate available in our systems as a result of design compromise. We cannot charge a dead battery with our motorcycles by simply running the engine. There is only enough charge rate above 2000 rpm to 'break even' with all the STOCK components that require voltage, like ignition systems and lighting systems. If you added electrical devices, there is even less. The design compromise is POWER. In the high performance motorcycle world, the Power is used to turn the rear wheel, so we do not use any more than necessary to turn the generator.
Fact: You would have to ride your motorcycle for 20 minutes to replace the charge used by one-5 second push of the starter button. So you can see that if you start your bike and ride it for 10 minutes, you have not replaced the lost capacity. If you were to do this over and over, your battery will soon be dead.
Fact: Since you cannot recharge the battery by riding, it does not make any sense to "Jump Start" the motorcycle. Besides the potential damage you can do to your electrical system, as soon as you shut off the engine, you will be right back where you were- looking for another jump-start.
Fact: Motorcycle Batteries rarely last more than about 1 year. If your battery was new last year, it could be bad, especially if you didn't use it and didn't maintain it. If your battery is over 1 year old, you are doing good! Most of the newer batteries are getting better life expectancies, but if the battery in my bike was over 2 years old and I was headed for a 2-week roadtrip to Wyoming, I wouldn't trust it. The biggest factor to the short life expectancy besides improper storage is the combination of vibration and charge rate. Most batteries that were "ok yesterday and stone dead today" have failed because of a broken internal connection caused by excessive vibration. Other battery problems can come from the Motorcycles charging system either overcharging or undercharging the battery

So here are the tips:

1. NEVER jump-start a dead battery with your car.
2. ALWAYS charge the battery once a month if you're not riding it daily- Carefully follow the manufacturers charging recommendations.
3. Whenever replacing your battery, have the charging system on your motorcycle checked for proper operation
4. AVOID starting the engine and riding only short distances.
5. If your battery is over 3 years old- REPLACE IT before it lets you down

We have Batteries HERE and Chargers HERE
 
Ride Safe!
Dr. Jay