Motorcycle Batteries for Newbies - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 9 Old 02-25-2011, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Motorcycle Batteries for Newbies

My wife and I are very new to riding, and are picking up our bikes in a couple months. I have been reading up on motorcycle maintenance and keep coming across threads talking about trickle charging the bike batteries, or keeping the battery "plugged" in when the bike sits idle for a while.
Please forgive my ignorance, but why is this necessary? I know I can park my car and Jeep for weeks on end and nothing happens to the battery. Just wondering if there is some particular reason the bike batteries drain, or are the significantly different that car batteries?
Do I have to include a charger in the "need to buy" list?

Cheers
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-25-2011, 11:08 PM
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A car battery is rated at around 45 amp hours, or in other words it can sustain a load of one amp for 45 hours (or 2 for 22.5 hours, etc.). The V-Strom battery is only about 8 amp hours. There isn't much draw when the ignition is off but even so keeping it on a battery tender is a good idea.

Mine can sit for a couple of weeks with no problems, but any longer than that and I put it on the tender. During the winter when I don't ride as much I swap the battery tender between the two bikes each week.

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post #3 of 9 Old 02-26-2011, 12:39 AM
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You are right. There is very little parasitic drain on the motorcycle battery. Just the clock, and that is minor. (I don't know if any of the electronics are drawing anything...I don't think so.)

One thing that tends to harm our batteries is that the earlier years Stroms keep the two headlights on while starting the engine. If the battery isn't fully charged, it may be drawn down then. If the ride isn't long enough to fully recharge the battery, it'll eventually be discharged too much, and this shortens the battery life.

Sitting for a month is a prudent rule of thumb. Longer than that, and you're probably money ahead to use an automatic trickle charger.

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post #4 of 9 Old 02-26-2011, 12:59 AM
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Don't worry about it. Modern cars have idle draws that well exceed a motorcycle's, even when factoring battery size.

My VW I could only let sit for ~2 weeks without starting. This is uncommonly long for a car, but very common for a moto (since they're more often toys than DDs).

My BMWs have easily gone months without being started. Most motorcycles are the same. But if you let the bike freeze all winter, you might want a trickle charger.

Basically, if it's not a problem, don't worry. If it is, buy a $20 trickle charger. The real issue is that motorcycles are toys for most people, and as such, get used rarely.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-26-2011, 11:48 AM
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During the riding season I never worry about the battery, but the wee usually gets ridden every day or at least every other day. During the off season, it is on the Battery Tender. Winters are too long and too cold.

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-26-2011, 03:56 PM
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Basically, if it's not a problem, don't worry. If it is, buy a $20 trickle charger. The real issue is that motorcycles are toys for most people, and as such, get used rarely.
+1. Bike batteries don't have as much to spare through parasitic drains like clocks, and they tend to not be charged in operation as often as cars are.

If you ride often enough and long enough to recharge it, it's not a problem any more than with any other vehicle.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-26-2011, 04:09 PM
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Batteries self-discharge over time. Lead acid batteries self-discharge rates are listed over a wide spread, some sources listed at 1% per day, other sources list it as 6~8% per month. This is dependent on the ambient temperature and the alloy of the lead plates.

A 50% discharged lead acid battery (12.06 volts) freezes at +5F. A fully discharged battery freezes at +27F. A fully charged battery (12.6V) freezes at about -65F. Once frozen, the battery is junk.

A discharged battery produces lead sulfate at a faster rate than a charged battery in normal service. More lead sulfate results in shorter battery life.

A trickle charger doesn't improve a battery, but does slow the rate of deterioration.

"Older people who are reasonable, good-tempered, and gracious will bear aging well. Those who are mean-spirited and irritable will be unhappy at every period of their lives.

"Let each of use properly whatever strengths he has and strive to use them well. If he does this, he will never find himself lacking."

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post #8 of 9 Old 02-26-2011, 05:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helotech View Post
My wife and I are very new to riding, and are picking up our bikes in a couple months. I have been reading up on motorcycle maintenance and keep coming across threads talking about trickle charging the bike batteries, or keeping the battery "plugged" in when the bike sits idle for a while.
Please forgive my ignorance, but why is this necessary? I know I can park my car and Jeep for weeks on end and nothing happens to the battery. Just wondering if there is some particular reason the bike batteries drain, or are the significantly different that car batteries?
Do I have to include a charger in the "need to buy" list?

Cheers
Your in NL so I'm assuming you have 6 months of winter and summer is on a Wednesday . anyway this BatteryMINDer 12 V 1.3 A Plus is what you need. Our batteries are maintenance free and they are somewhat different in chemical makeup than the old lead acid were. That tender has updated technology to handle this. The good news is they can stand to sit much longer if they start out fully charged. The bad news is they probably won't stand sitting through your winter. The very least you can do is remove the battery (read your manual for the correct procedure) and store it. If it is fully charged, the colder the better, they discharge much less when cold.
Edit: The part # should be, BM 12v 118, for maintenance free, AGM, etc. which looks the same as the one in the link, but has the required technology.

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Last edited by honest bob; 02-26-2011 at 05:19 PM.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-27-2011, 07:54 AM
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...this BatteryMINDer 12 V 1.3 A Plus is what you need.

Naw, the Yuasa one is what he needs. Does the job and costs less.


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