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

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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