Gimme the Dirty Truth on batteries

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by selkins, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. selkins

    selkins No hay banda!

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    I'm trying to figure out if the "new hotness" of lithium-based motorcycle batteries is based on geek-tech-fetish, or something real. So, input and reflections about the practicalities are welcome. Here is my current situation and battery assessment based on a modicum of research.

    Situation: Bought my first fancy battery about two years ago, upgrading from a traditional, $60 flooded lead acid battery to an Odyssey AGM ("starved electrolyte") battery. I noticed immediately that the "oomph" on starting was a bit weaker, but it otherwise handled well until a near non-start situation on a 28 degree morning in Wall, SD several weeks ago - due I presume to the cold + generally lower starting power. I'm planning a trek to Inuvik in the late summer, and I anticipate mornings in the 20s. I want a battery that will reliably start my bike, and it seems to me the current Odyssey ain't it.

    Options, as I see them:

    1) A decent sealed flooded lead acid battery. - $67

    2) Another AGM battery - $75

    3) A Shorai lithium battery - $230

    It seems to me that unless I have a total fetish for shedding pounds (give me a break, I'm riding a 1200gs) or a total aversion to using a trickle charger, I'm best off with #1. It's got stronger cranking power than #2, and better than 1/3 the cost of #3.

    I know many of you have more knowledge and experience than me on these matters. So - what do you think?
    #1
  2. OldPete

    OldPete Be aware

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    These are as tiresome as what oil do i use threads.

    For street AGM \thread. :1drink
    #2
  3. Railbender

    Railbender Long timer

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    Take a look at this long thread;

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=765630

    Pay particular attention to Joel Wisman's comments. I think he knows more about batteries than most of us can ever hope to. I am using East Penn batteries (Big Crank) in two of my F650s and have no complaints.

    :freaky
    #3
  4. Wuwei

    Wuwei Long timer

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    I bought a cheap AGM battery on eBay and it has worked perfectly for about four years now. I pretty much just leave it in the bike over the winter with a trickle charge added every month or so for a day. I think a lot of people kill their batteries, whatever type, by leaving them on a charger all winter long. Trickle charging can be OK if properly regulated, but a lot of cheap chargers do not do so and you overcharge. The other thing that will kill regular wet cells is letting them discharge all winter long. They need regular charging. AGMs have a very low self-discharge rate so they only require a touch up charge once in awhile if there is no drain. I don't know much about lithiums.
    #4
  5. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    Battery Maintainers are NOT "trickle chargers". They charge the battery to the proper voltage level, and then quit charging, but continue to monitor the battery voltage. When it drops beyond a predetermined voltage, charging begins again until the battery is at full charge. The #1 killer of batteries is deep cycling, because it causes sulfation of the plates, and the battery loses more capacity every time this happens. This applies to AGMs as well as flooded electrolyte batteries. The best preventative measure is to use a maintainer whenever the bike is parked longer than a day. I have separate maintainers on the four bikes I currently ride, and they all have AGM batteries. I buy Battery Tender Jr. units, and they cost about $22 each. They work fine. The Odyssey in the KLR is over 5 years old and going strong. I have a big group 31 truck battery in my generator that's over 10 years old that has had a tender since new, and it's also in good shape.
    #5
  6. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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  7. Wuwei

    Wuwei Long timer

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    No argument with that, but a lot of folks don't have a maintainer--they have some sort of cheap charger that they hook up and leave and it overcharges. AGM batteries have their own charging parameters and you'd better use a charger that has a setting for your specific type of battery. AGMs have a very low self-discharge rate, so if there is no load on them they will sit fine for months without any negative effect.
    #7
  8. ttpete

    ttpete Rectum Non Bustibus

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    I've never had a problem using a regular Battery Tender on AGMs. I don't use them to charge batteries, they're used to avoid cycling them, something that shortens battery life. It's interesting that AGMs work fine in my 1967 Triumph without any modifications to the charging system that was designed to charge flooded electrolyte batteries. Same goes for the KLR. I suspect that most of the tale about charging is designed to sell new battery chargers and tenders. Now, LiFePO4 batteries absolutely require dedicated charging equipment that has a higher charge rate, and I don't argue with that.
    #8
  9. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    +1 I've got an AGM in my old Norton Commando (which, miraculously didn't have a corroded battery box!) and the old single
    phase Lucas alternator keeps it topped up nicely. My old Battery tenders are working fine on all my stuff with AGM's.
    #9
  10. henrymartin

    henrymartin Mr. Tourguide

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    Extreme Magna AGM in my 650GS for the past two years, without any trickle charge in the winter. Cold starts are much stronger than with stock battery, and I have no acid spills when the bike naps :deal

    Look at Scorpion as well. They seem to be decent.
    #10
  11. GabeRmrz

    GabeRmrz Adventurer

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    I have one of these 8 Cells, but their 12 Cell for $159 has 400 Pulse amps which is the same as the Shorai for $289

    http://shop.testsycl.com/Motorcycle-Batteries_c2.htm

    Yes they are friends, but just sayin'
    #11