The performance of your motorcycle is highly dependant on the type of battery used and this can be the difference between efficiency and low performance. There are many motorcycle batteries in the market which can be distinguished according to the maintenance and composition. Before choosing any battery, it is important to understand the different types available and what to expect. This will be very helpful in maintenance and overall longevity. You will also be able to choose the right battery that suites your motorbike. Here is a brief description of the distinct classification of batteries and example types.
Motorcycle batteries can be divided into three main types which are;
• Conventional batteries – these are the least expensive types and require flexible regular maintenance due to their high temperatures of operation. The process of electrolysis, evaporation and discharge is very rapid which requires regular addition of water. They are therefore less efficient than others.
• Maintenance free – as the name suggests, these batteries are completely sealed to prevent acid from escaping. They therefore do not need regular addition of water or acid like conventional batteries. Their initial purchase cost is however relatively expensive.
• Maintenance free dry charge – the only difference between these batteries and maintenance free is that you will need to add acid before using them. Once the acid is full, there is no other maintenance required.
In the above mentioned categories, there are several motorcycle batteries made of different compositions.
Common motorbike batteries
Motorcycle batteries exist in various types from different manufacturers. Some of the commonly used batteries include AGM, Wet Gel Cell and Lithium Iron Phosphate.
• AGM Batteries – Absorbed glass mat (AGM) refers to a specially designed glass mat that wicks the battery’s electrolyte between its plates. It contains sufficient liquid that keeps the mat wet to contain electrolytes and does not leak when broken. They are the number one preferred motorcycle batteries and outsell all others. They are used where high amount of amps is required.
• Gel Cell – These batteries contain a thick gel (silica type) where the electrolytes are suspended in. The gel does not leak when broken and allows the flow of electrons between plates. It is easy to mistake a Gel cell battery for AGM since both are spill-free and have deep cycles. Gel Cells are however more expensive. The advantages of using this type of battery is a slower discharge rate, longevity and high ambient operation temperatures. You will however require a specifically designed or adjustable charger for these batteries to prevent premature failures.
• Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO) – these batteries have various advantages when compared to the lead based cells. Their superior chemical and thermal stability nullifies combustion. They are maintenance free, have a longer shelf life and provide deep life cycles (up to 2000).
Choosing the right type of motorcycle battery is very important. Some batteries will provide efficient service in summer and then disappoint in winter. You should therefore evaluate all aspects before purchasing. AGM are still the most recommended batteries due to their low maintenance, deep cycles, high amps and flexibility. They are also relatively cheap when compared against others like Gel cell.