For many motorcycle owners, the battery is simply something that gets your engine started. However, it does a bit more than that. Besides providing power to the engine, it also powers your lights, accessories and ignition. There are two basic batteries motorcycles employ: Standard lead-acid batteries and lithium. More and more of today's riders are switching up from lead-acid batteries to the more efficient and light weight lithium battery. Lithium batteries for motorcycles offer the rider a high performance ride with little in the way of disadvantages. If you're one of the riders considering switching up to a lithium battery, we've got some basic information to help you make your decision.
Would Lithium Motorcycle Batteries Benefit You?
Whether you're aware of it or not, you've been using lithium batteries to power much of your life already. For instance, lithium batteries power your cell phones and laptops. They proved so effective, that they can now power your electric transport devices such as electric scooters, and yes, even your motorcycle. However, would a lithium motorcycle battery benefit your motorcycle? After all, they are considered a state-of-the-art high tech upgrade for your bike, so won't be cheap.
To give you an overview, there are quite a few reasons to choose a lithium battery over a standard, lead-acid battery for your bike. Lithium batteries are perfect for those who are into motorsports and seek to squeeze as much performance out of their bikes as they possible can. After all, the lithium motorcycle battery is the cream of the crop, and considered one of the best upgrades you can give your bike. They're also perfect for casual riders. For instance, if your climate only allows you to ride your bike part of the year, and the rest of the year you only take it out occasionally, then they're perfect.
A More Eco-Friendly Choice
Right from the start the lithium motorcycle battery is the greener choice. It all begins with the initial harvesting of the lithium. Instead of battering up the environment with a violent harvesting process, lithium comes from underground briny water. Workers remove the water via a pump and let it dry in the sun. What's left is lithium. Simple as that. When it comes to leaving a carbon footprint, the lithium battery gives off less emissions than the standard battery, as no combustion process is involved.
However, while lithium batteries are considered a more eco-friendly choice, you need to consider where you live. In other words, a rider in California will obtain better performance from a lithium battery rather than one in Alaska. This is because lithium batteries don't perform as well in cold weather. Cold climates cause the lithium motorcycle battery to provide your bike power at a slower rate. Your battery may seem like it's dying, but it's not, it's just not giving you high output due to the cold.
Lithium is the lightest known metal. As weight is an issue in motorsports, lithium batteries are on the way of replacing lead-acid batteries, as they are much lighter than traditional lead-acid batteries. The importance of weight actually depends on the type of biker you are. Those who ride the large cruisers might not think of battery weight the same as casual sport bike enthusiasts or those into competitive motorsports where every pound matters. In fact, there are those into competitive racing who work hard to lose body fat in order to lighten the load, so to speak. That with the addition of a lithium battery can do much to reduce poundage, which improves overall performance.
Hold onto Their Charge Longer
If you're a casual rider, one who only takes your bike out for occasional pleasure rides, then the lithium battery is for you. This is because it holds it charge longer than the old-fashioned, lead-acid battery, which eliminates money spent replacing batteries on a bike that only gets occasional usage. This is known as having a low self-charge rate. In contrast, if you store your bike for most of the year, and have a standard lead-acid battery, you'll need a battery tender to keep the charge when it's not in use, as they lose an average of 10 percent charge per year. As for charging time, lithium motorcycle batteries charge faster than the lead-acid. However, keep in mind that lithium batteries need their own special charger. If you don't use a charger specifically designed for lithium batteries, then you risk overheating and ruining your lithium battery
Standard motorcycle batteries have always required maintenance (https://www.totalmotorcycle.com/maintenance/battery). This is necessary to keep them in running order, to prevent leaks, and so on. Terminals needed to be inspected at least once per month, with some requiring distilled water on their electrolyte cells. With lithium batteries, you can kiss all the worrisome maintenance good-bye, as they don't require much if any, maintenance. However, that being said, lithium batteries are much more expensive, and can cost up to 40 percent more than the standard lead-acid battery, depending on the brand. So, if you're on a budget then it may be a good idea just to stay with the standard battery for now.
Whether you should purchase a lithium battery for your bike will depend on you, the bike and how you use your bike. While lithium batteries are the top of the line batteries, technologically speaking, it still doesn't make them the best choice for everyone. As we've seen, lithium batteries are great for sport bikes, but not so good with bikes in cold climates. There's also the cost consideration, as lithium are more expensive. If you don't want to give up your standard lead-acid battery, yet wish for better performance, then look into Absorbed Glass Mat batteries or AGM batteries. AGM's are lead-acid batteries but higher on the tech, so may give you the performance you wish at a good price point.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith