Common Motorbike Battery Facts

A few slightly interesting motorbike battery facts relating to gel acid, maintenance free and conventional motorcycle batteries…..

  • Although most automotive batteries are referred to as either 6 volt or 12 volt, these numbers are only assigned to batteries to make it easier to distinguish between the 2 types of electrical systems & don’t represent the true voltage of a motorbike battery (the actual voltage is higher due to the battery cells producing around 2.2 volts each).

  • A healthy 12 volt motorbike battery should be between 12.5 & 13.5 volts & a healthy 6 volt battery should be between 6.5 & 7.2 volts if tested on a motorbike whilst resting (ignition switched off)
  • Once a 12 volt battery drops below 12.4 volts (while resting) it will start to struggle to start most motorcycles.
  • Brand new motorcycle batteries are only charged to about 80% of their full capacity (around 12.5 volts) which is why they need a top off charge before they are initially used
  • Even a motorbike battery that isn’t connected to a motorcycle will gradually lose it’s charge. Once a battery is filled with electrolyte (battery acid), the chemical reaction that produces electricity starts to work & the process of ‘self-discharge’ begins.
    Batteries not connected to a vehicle will discharge slower than connected batteries
  • A motorcycle battery charger specially designed for the purpose should always be used to charge a motorbike battery.
    Car & general automotive chargers use a higher rate of charge which forces a higher current into the battery very quickly.
    This can lead to overheating & plate damage as motorbike batteries are not built to take this kind of charge. A motorbike battery should be charged at about one tenth it’s amp/hour rating (for most motorbike batteries this means no more then 1-2 amp’s per hour).
  • Distilled or de-ionized water only should be used to top up a conventional or lead acid battery. Other kinds of water (like tap water) contain elements which will permanently damage the plates in a battery
  • The white residue that collects around the plates in older batteries is caused by ‘sulphation’ and is a sign that the battery has been deeply discharged at least once during it’s life

Disclaimers:
The information provided on this page is ‘to the best of our knowledge’ and should not be taken as 100% accurate!!

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