Best Motorcycle Batteries: Boost Your Bike’s Performance
Enjoy traveling long distances with these replacement motorcycle batteries
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PUBLISHED ON September 25, 2019
A great motorcycle battery provides your engine with the power needed to start your bike regardless of the weather conditions. It's the backbone of your bike’s performance. However, not all batteries are the same. You need the right battery that's built for your bike and provides the best performance. Our buying guide offers a rundown of some of the best motorcycle batteries on the market today.
- Best OverallShorai Lithium BatterySummarySummaryA non-spillable OEM replacement battery that requires no maintenance and doesn’t suffer from corrosion.ProsProsUltra-light design. Low self-discharge rate. Contains no dangerous chemicals and messy acids. Long battery life. Fits many motorcycles makes and models. Compatible with lead-acid chargers. Includes foam spacers for easy installation.ConsConsExpensive. May discharge faster with frequent charging. Not as powerful as premium lead-acid batteries.
- Best ValueYuasa YUAMSummarySummaryAn affordable lead-acid battery that provides great starting power for a frozen or inactive engine.ProsProsHolds in place. Easy to refill. Great performance in extreme heat and cold temperatures. Lasts long with proper maintenance. High-temperature tolerance. Stable discharge voltage. Backed by a one-year warranty.ConsConsElectrolyte sold separately. Difficult to install. Heavy. Not a universal fit.
- Honorable MentionBattery Tender SupersmartSummarySummaryAn innovative and water-resistant battery that solves most of your energy problems while you are on the road.ProsProsProtected from overcharging and discharging. Safe. Lightweight and spill-proof design. Maintenance-free. Heat-sealed cover. High melting and freezing point. Fits most motorcycle models. Heavy-duty construction.ConsConsShorter battery life than its competitors. Power output reduces with frequent charging. Expensive.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy A Motorcycle Battery?
- Optimal performance. With a great battery, you will be sure that your bike is operating at its optimal performance in terms of starting power, speed, and acceleration. You won’t have to worry about getting stranded in the middle of the road with a bike that won’t start because of a misfired engine.
- Replace your dead battery. If all you get is a clicking sound every time you try to turn the key to start your motorcycle, then you may have a dead battery. Every motorcycle owner will experience this at least once. Consider getting one of the best aftermarket replacements to keep all of your accessories running.
- All-weather capabilities. Do you have trouble starting your bike during the winter? That’s because most stock batteries freeze during the cold season. To solve the problem, you can purchase a premium-quality aftermarket option that will give you enough starting power during winter and any other season.
Types of Motorcycle Batteries
A wet cell or flooded lead-acid (FLA) battery is the oldest type used in motorcycles. It’s made up of lead (negative) and lead oxide (positive) plates with 35 percent sulfuric acid and 65 percent water. Wet lead-acid batteries aren’t completely sealed, and water tends to evaporate from the lids. Therefore, they need to be topped up regularly with distilled water.
Gel Cell batteries are sealed, maintenance-free, and can be installed at any angle. The electrolyte is made up of sulfuric acid mixed with fumed silica that makes the mass gel-like and immobile. These batteries do not experience any gel electrolyte evaporation, spillage, or corrosion issues. They are also resistant to vibration, shock, and extreme temperatures. However, high amperage situations can scar the gel inside and create a “pocket,” which exposes the plates to corrosion and consequently leads to premature battery failure.
Absorbed Glass Mat (AGM)
Most motorcycles use AGM batteries. They have a similar exterior design to a sealed gel battery but have a glass fiber (sponge) between the lead plate. The sponge ensures that the plates can be close to each other while controlling acid movement between them. For that reason, you can have a smaller AGM battery that performs just as well as the larger standard batteries. These batteries are less prone to failure since they are resistant to heat and vibration.
Since its inception in 1965, Battery Tender has graced the industry with high-quality batteries, chargers, jump starters, and other automotive accessories. The company is headquartered in Deland, Fla., and its products feature the most innovative designs and technologies that offer fast charging and quick-connect convenience. One of its top-quality batteries for motorcycles is the Battery Tender Supersmart.
Yuasa is an American battery manufacturer, which was founded in 1979. It’s a subsidiary company of GS Yuasa, an international manufacturer of lead-acid batteries. Yuasa manufactures batteries for motorcycles, ATVs, UTVs, scooters, snowmobiles, and personal watercraft. One of its cheapest lead-acid batteries is the Yuasa YUAM.
Shorai was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. It’s an international manufacturer of lithium-ion power sports batteries, which are more efficient than traditional lead-acid batteries. One of its high-performance lithium batteries is the Shorai Lithium Battery.
Motorcycle Battery Pricing
- Under $100: Most of the cheap batteries are designed with thinner lead plates that are cost-efficient. They will discharge faster and need more charging cycles than the more expensive options. They also have shorter battery life in comparison.
- Over $100: Select a quality brand if you are budgeting this much for a battery. That’s the only way to guarantee that you are paying for quality components that will last longer and require minimal maintenance than cheaper alternatives.
Take note of the battery’s technical details and, most importantly, the power rating or voltage. Most batteries are 12 volts, but you can find low-voltage batteries for smaller motorbikes. Choosing a battery with a higher power rating won’t damage your motorbike as long as it’s a compatible model. However, you may pay more for the extra volts and performance boost.
Look into the promised service life of the battery. Battery life is typically measured in cycles, and most motorcycle batteries offer a service life ranging from 500 to 1,200 cycles. Obviously, finding one with a long battery life means that you won’t have to spend more on replacements, but it also means that the battery is powerful enough to last through whatever conditions you may subject it to.
Cold Cranking Amps (CCA)
Cold-cranking amps is the power supplied by the battery to bring (crank) an engine to life. The term is mostly used for starter batteries that need to produce short bursts of power to start an engine that has been inactive for a long time. It’s determined by the amps a 12-volt battery can produce in 30 seconds at zero degrees Fahrenheit. A battery with a high CCA (400 and above) is sure to start a motorbike that has been left sitting idle in the cold winter.
- Compatibility: Not all motorcycle batteries are universal fits for your bike. You need to get one that’s designed for your bike; otherwise, you may experience fitting and electrical system issues. Note the manufacturer’s specifications when it comes to what type of bike the battery is designed for.
- Maintenance: Look for a battery that doesn’t require too much maintenance. The new battery should maintain its qualities throughout its service life, and you should only have to worry about charging it after a reasonable period. Sealed batteries require less maintenance because they are protected from leakages.
Best Motorcycle Battery Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Shorai Lithium Battery
Shorai is a low-maintenance, 12-volt, lead-acid battery that only weighs one pound. It’s one of the lightest motorcycle batteries on the market and won’t make a significant weight difference on your bike. The outer casing is made of a damage-resistant military carbon composite case, and the battery cells are protected from sulfation, which is when the battery degrades from being inactive and eventually fails.
Shorai is a safe and eco-friendly battery that doesn’t contain lead or poisonous acids, and it doesn’t emit poisonous gases when being maintained. The unit can hold an unloaded charge for a year without maintenance. It’s designed to be an OEM fit, and the battery comes with high-density adhesive foam sheets that can be applied on a large battery box to make it a perfect fit.
However, one of the downsides of this product is that it may discharge fast when in use, and you may have to recharge it in less than a week. Also, it’s efficient as a lithium-ion battery but not as powerful as most lead-acid batteries. It’s also expensive. Despite that, the battery can power extra accessories on your bike, such as anti-theft alarms, and is recommended for off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.
Best Value: Yuasa YUAM
Yuasa is a 12-volt, lead-acid battery that offers a 30 percent improvement in your bike’s cranking performance. It comes as a dry cell with no acid included, and the unit includes convenient seal caps with a rubber lining to prevent acid seepage. It’s also designed with Sulfate stop technology to prolong the battery life.
The battery weighs 4.6 pounds, and the housing is made of polypropylene material, which is extremely resistant to corrosion and extreme weather conditions. Its eight amps per hour dry charged plates can retain about 70 percent of charge when initially filled with acid. There are thin-plate separators within its structure that allow you to install two extra plates per cell.
A major drawback of this product is that you have to purchase the electrolyte separately. That’s an inconvenience since there are no instructions on the right amount of electrolyte to use. You may also have a hard time installing the battery due to its weight and size. Despite that, the battery is an affordable product recommended for dirt bikes.
Honorable Mention: Battery Tender Supersmart
The Battery Tender Supersmart battery is built with innovative technology designed to promote safety and prolong the life of the battery. It features a battery activation wire that activates the smart Battery Management System (BMS), which protects the battery from electrical damage. The BMS keeps the battery from being over drained, overcharged, and over-discharged. The unit is also protected from corrosion by a water-resistant casing with a high melting point.
It’s a safe battery, since it doesn’t have any liquid inside, and you won’t have to worry about maintenance issues, such as checking for leaks. The battery only weighs 1.35 pounds, and you can safely transport it without worrying about explosions, fire, and damage. The unit has flexible accessory blocks that allow for a secure fit on most motorcycle models.
However, a major downside of this Battery Tender model is that the energy reduces the longer you use the battery, and it offers a shorter service life than the high-end motorcycle batteries. It’s also expensive. The battery is recommended for off-road motorcycles, street sport motorcycles, street touring motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles.
- Make sure that you wear protective gear, like gloves and safety glasses, when handling lead-acid batteries. They are extremely corrosive. Check the battery for any possible leaks, and clean acid spills with baking soda and water to neutralize the acid. Be sure to seal all leak points thereafter.
- Maintain the battery in a clean and aerated area that is free of pets and children. The gases emitted from some motorcycle batteries are flammable and explosive. Remember to inspect the terminals to ensure that the connectors are tight. Your motorcycle may not start if there’s a loose connector. Also, lubricate the connectors to prevent corrosion and discharge.
- op off the electrolyte cells of wet cell batteries with distilled water at least once a week. Adding water to these cells maintains the battery for a longer time. Distilled water is pure and won’t react with the chemicals in the acid.
- Remove the battery from the bike when charging it. That’s the only way to get a full charge. It may only charge up to 80 percent if charged on the bike, and by doing that, you risk damaging the lead plates by not giving them sufficient power.
Q: When should motorcycle batteries be changed?
A: Most rechargeable batteries can offer about 48 months of service life with the right maintenance. Consider getting a new battery for your bike when your current battery starts to overheat, discharge fast, or if you have problems starting it. If you never charge your battery or leave your bike sitting idle for a long time, the battery may die in less than six months.
Q: Can overcharging a battery damage it?
A: Yes. Overcharging the battery may cause the electrolyte to boil and heat up or melt the plates. If excess hydrogen is released from the reaction, the battery may blow up to release the gas pressure. Be sure to get the right charger for your battery and charge as per the manufacturer’s recommendation. For instance, if you have a 20-amp battery, you need a charger that delivers only two amps over 10 hours.
Q: Can a car charger charge a motorcycle battery?
A: A car charger can damage your motorcycle battery since they have different power ratings. Car chargers deliver high currents, typically ranging from two to five Amps, whereas a motorcycle needs a 0.8 to 1.2 Amps battery charger. It may not instantly damage the battery the first time you use the car charger, but your battery may die if you make it a habit.
Q: How do I know if the battery is full?
A: You need a high-quality battery charger that indicates when the battery is full. You can use a trickle charger that you can leave constantly hooked to the battery when you are not using the motorcycle. It will stop charging when the battery is full and switch to float mode to top off the battery whenever the power goes down.
Our top pick for the best battery is the Shorai Lithium Battery. It’s a maintenance-free battery that’s immune to all the problems experienced with lead-acid batteries, including corrosion and leaks. It’s also a safe battery that won’t produce any poisonous gases when being charged.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a replacement battery, then the Yuasa YUAM is the right battery for you. It comes in a well-built casing that’s resistant to shocks and vibrations to prolong the battery life.