Hands-on Review: Breathe Life Into Your Engine With The Best Motorcycle Batteries
Get the jump on battery problems by fitting one of the best on the market.
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.
About Our Motorcycle Battery Review and Guide
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.Learn more
The first thing to figure out before you order a new battery is why your old battery died. Inadequate maintenance, deep discharge, a malfunctioning charging system, the passage of time, wiring shorts, bad grounds, and nine times out of ten - loose or corroded battery terminals can kill a battery before its time. Start with the simple fixes and test the charging system before ordering a new battery.
In this case, the motorcycle batteries shown in this buyer’s guide are application-specific, in this case, a mostly stock original 1982 Honda CB900F Super Sport. Since we’re not sure what you’re riding, we linked through to all the batteries made by each company available through our trusted retail partners. Choose stock replacement or upgrade by year, make, model, or grab a universal for a chopper or custom.
In the interest of transparency and gratitude, we would like to thank Shorai and Mighty Max for providing us with batteries for this buyer’s guide and review. We purchased and installed our best overall choice over five years ago, so we would first like to sincerely thank Yuasa for making such an awesome battery and sending us a shiny new flooded wet cell battery for original equipment comparison purposes.
Best Motorcycle Batteries Reviews & Recommendations 2022
Best OverallYuasa High-Performance AGM
Time-proven performance, a wide selection of applications, and maintenance-free construction make the Yuasa High-Performance AGM battery an excellent overall choice for replacement motorcycle batteries. This Yuasa YTX14AHL-BS has endured five years of seasonal use and over-winter storage, and it still passes the test. The battery case is tough yet flexible enough to withstand cracks or damage, and the absorbed glass mat internals delivers maximum efficiency.
The Yuasa High-Performance AGM battery has everything that makes their standard AGM version a popular choice, but with more power on tap. Charging during the off-season is the only maintenance required. Absorbed glass mat separators keep the electrolyte in close contact with the plates for optimal charging and output efficiency. This Yuasa battery stood up to boiling hot summers, a haywire charging system, and brutally cold winter storage without complaint. Follow the charging guidelines, and the Yuasa will be there when you need it.
Best Gel BatteryMighty Max Gel
The Mighty Max features a maintenance-free gel electrolyte for improved charging stability and high-rate performance at an attractive price. The battery does not require the addition of any electrolyte or water and, in theory, never will. Gases created during charging and discharge are absorbed back into the gel electrolyte. The closed system does not vent corrosive fumes like a conventional VRLA (vent-regulated lead-acid battery).
We charged up the Mighty Max in low amperage mode and installed it in the Honda. Rugged steel terminals allowed for more bolt torque than the softer lead post types, and the blue bruiser kicked over the DOHC Honda 4-banger with authority. Gel electrolyte technology has its advantages. The battery can be mounted in any position, withstand repeated deep cycle discharging, and endure more extended storage periods than conventional flooded or vented batteries.
Best ValueYuasa Yumicron
Yuasa packs its conventional lead-acid batteries with quality internals, and the rugged translucent case and threaded O-ring electrolyte caps are miles ahead of the brand-X competition. If you don’t mind a little care and maintenance, flooded wet cell lead-acid batteries offer proven performance at a reasonable price point. Keep an eye on electrolyte levels and top off low cells with distilled water, and the traditional lead-acid battery will back you up as long as you keep the rubber side down and the battery right side up.
Battery terminal hardware and a clear vinyl vent hose were included in the box, but his particular YB14L-A2 did not come with electrolyte, so I rolled down to the local parts store and picked up some battery acid. Proper vent hose routing prevents corrosive gases from gumming up the battery box and terminals. Our 1982 Honda CB900F Super Sport came with a Yuasa wet-cell battery as original equipment and already had a vent hose and mount built into the battery box door.
Our Verdict on Motorcycle Batteries
We've chosen the Yuasa High-Performance AGM battery as the best overall motorcycle battery. This model is maintenance-free, has plenty of power, stands up to extreme weather conditions, and has a life expectancy of at least five years. If you're on a semi-tight budget but still want a battery that's going to last, check out our value pick, the Yuasa Yumicron.
What to Consider When Buying A Motorcycle Battery
There's a battery on the market for every motorcycle. To ensure that you get the best battery for the kind of riding you do, I've put together a buying guide that outlines the main types and features to consider before buying a motorcycle battery. You'll also find some information on what you can expect to receive at various price points. Check out the buying guide below, and if you still have some questions, take a look at the FAQs section or leave a comment below.
Types of Motorcycle Batteries
Flooded Lead Acid or Wet Cell
The flooded or wet cell lead-acid battery was invented in 1859 and is still the most common type of rechargeable battery today. Lead plates swim around in a soaking bath of liquid sulfuric acid electrolyte so the electrons can work their magic. Flooded lead-acid batteries have the low-cost advantage but require topping off with distilled water to replenish the electrolyte and prevent internal damage to the lead plates.
Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM
The AGM battery is a durable, efficient, and maintenance-free version of a sealed lead-acid battery with absorbent mats between the lead plates for improved performance. The mats capture liquid electrolyte and bring it into close contact with the lead plates for reduced electrical resistance and greater impact protection. The sealed case design recombines gases created during charging back into the electrolyte and eliminates the need to add water.
Mixing silica into the electrolyte and turning it into gel results in a highly stable, maintenance-free, sealed lead-acid battery. The viscous electrolyte recombines gases and vapors back into itself and maintains its jelly grip on the electrons without adding water. Gel batteries can be mounted upside down or any orientation and endure more deep discharge cycles than their liquid electrolyte lead-acid cousins.
Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFePO4
The latest generation of motorcycle batteries relegates lead-acid batteries to history with ultra-lightweight dry cells that punch out power above their weight. LiFePO4 motorcycle batteries can weigh 80-percent less than their lead-acid equivalents. Lithium Iron Phosphate cells are far safer and more thermally stable than their Li-Ion relatives that power cell phones and other low current devices.
Size matters when it comes to replacement motorcycle batteries. If the case is too small, the battery will rattle around in the box. Too big and it won’t fit. Order a battery by year, make and model and pay close attention to the alpha-numeric naming. The number 14 in our Yuasa YB14L-A2 conventional battery designates case size.
Cold Cranking Amps and Amp Hours
CCA and Ah are two different measures of battery power. Cold Cranking Amps, or CCA, is the maximum starter-spinning current output a fully charged battery can deliver for 30 seconds at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Amp Hours measures battery capacity over longer periods, for example, a 14.7ah battery can deliver 0.73A for 20 hours.
Polarity, battery terminal orientation, and vent exhaust location are a few more pieces in the motorcycle battery selection puzzle. This battery is a direct replacement for the Yuasa battery that came with the CB900F in 1982. The L and A2 mean the positive terminal is on the left front side with the battery installed. The vent hose connects to a clip on the right side battery box door.
Motorcycle Battery Pricing
You can get a motorcycle battery for under $90 that'll do a decent job, but you'll mostly be restricted to lead-acid batteries. So, batteries at this price point might not last as long, could need some maintenance, and won't be well suited to adventure-style riding. Once you venture above $90, you'll find maintenance-free AGM, gel, and lithium iron phosphate batteries, which should last longer than lead-acid batteries and be safer if you like off-roading.
Q: What kind of battery is best for my motorcycle?
A direct replacement in the same size, type, and amp hour rating as the original equipment battery is the best in most cases. An upgrade can deliver improved performance but can also overtax the charging system. Lithium Iron Phosphate or LiFePO4 batteries are a lightweight choice for high-performance riding.
Q: Can I use a car charger on a motorcycle battery?
It depends on its charging modes and amperage output. Anything over 2A can overcharge and ruin some lead-acid batteries, and automatic desulfation and pulse repair modes can permanently damage lithium batteries. Go with the manufacturer’s recommendations or a charger that has a dedicated low amperage motorcycle battery mode.
Q: How long does a motorcycle battery last?
Industry insiders generally point to an average lifespan of 3-5 years, depending on the type, maintenance, and use. Our best overall Yuasa High-Performance AGM sealed battery is soldiering on past the five-year mark. We’ve had economy-grade batteries expire after a single season and mild winter.
Q: Do I have to charge up a new motorcycle battery?
Yes. Some batteries ship dry and require you to add electrolyte followed by a full charge and test before use. Factory sealed AGM, gel, or Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries might be ready for action right out of the box, but it’s cheap insurance to check and charge a battery before installation.
Q: What kind of electrolyte do I need?
Check with the manufacturer, but motorcycle batteries generally use the same stuff as car batteries. Battery electrolyte is available from auto parts stores—just walk into your local parts house and ask for battery acid. Always wear eye and skin protection while working with corrosive liquids like battery acid.