All sizes and types of motorcycles are powered by motorcycle batteries. Some are known as wet type batteries and others are known as dry type batteries. No matter if it’s a small off-road dirt bike you’re riding or a fully customized 1200 cc chopper, one of the most important parts on your motorcycle is the battery.
When regular maintenance is performed on conventional batteries, their life-span can significantly increase. Frequently, the batteries on motorcycles need more maintenance than car batteries, because motorcycles are more susceptible to bumps, uneven road and off-road surfaces and regular operation vibration. Simple maintenance includes checking clamps and cables for loose connections and cleaning the case, terminals and connection points.
An important maintenance procedure with conventional batteries is adding water to the battery to keep it from burning out. When adding water to a battery, it is best to use distilled water, not regular tap water.
As their name suggests, maintenance free batteries are just that. Also known as sealed batteries, these units do not require maintenance such as periodically adding water and they consistently maintain correct acid levels.
A very useful and important motorcycle accessory is a battery charger. Depending on the make and year of the motorcycle, electrical problems can sometimes be an issue and a battery charger may be needed to power the electrical system. When charging motorcycle batteries, a car battery charger cannot be used because the high voltage level that is produced by car battery chargers is too strong for motorcycle batteries, which operate at lower voltage levels.
As with car battery prices, the prices of motorcycle batteries can vary widely. When it is time to replace your battery, it is advised to replace it with one similar to the one that was previously used.
While most newer motorcycle batteries are 12-volt models, many older model cycles, particularly vintage Harley Davidsons are powered by 6-volt batteries. As with items such as golf cart batteries, 6-volt batteries can be difficult to find. A number of Internet web sites do stock and sell 6-volt batteries, however.