Every Wednesday I will do an article about working on our motorcycle. Maintenance tips that hopefully will bust your confidence to enjoy riding more and save some money so we can do more miles for the Female Riders UK Miles Quest.
As a lot of motorcycles are in winter mode- parked so let's save the battery!
Even when not in use, motorbike batteries will slowly self discharge and if the bike has an alarm, tracker or other electronical devices fitted, this will happen even faster. If the bike has been left throughout winter, the battery will most likely have lost all its charge by the time spring comes around.
Unfortunately leaving the battery in a discharged state will ruin the battery. This is one of the main reasons why you will find yourselves buying a new battery every year.
If you store your motorbike for winter or not riding it for a long period of time, you can either chose to totally remove the battery from the bike.
If you remove the battery from the motorcycle NEVER place the disconnected battery on concrete, metal or another heat-conductive surface, because it will increase discharging. Instead, put it on a non-heat conducting surface, such as plastic, cardboard or wood, to keep it cool and ventilated. Simply install a connector to the terminals and a trickle charger/smart charger to keep it topped up. I recommend keeping your motorbike battery attached to a maintenance battery charger when the motorbike is not in use.
There are various methods to keep the battery charged and note that tender is different from a trickle charger.
*A battery tender/float
is a device you can hook up to your motorcycle battery indefinitely throughout the winter. It has a sensor on it that will notify the system that the battery is starting to lose it’s charge and will automatically start charging it. Once it senses the battery is up to a full charge, it will automatically stop charging to prevent an overcharge. You essentially can let it do all the work without a worry.
*If you use a trickle charger, you’ll need to supervise the charge to ensure it does not overcharge the battery. It is completely possible to overcharge a battery and is evident if the motorcycle battery itself starts swelling and it becomes hot to the touch. You can use the trickle charger method occasionally and it will prolong the health of your motorcycle battery just fine. Hook the trickle charger up to the battery every few weeks or every other month and check in on the battery while it’s charging so it doesn’t get overcharged. ( I don’t recommend this option)
You can easily prevent this by using a smart maintenance charger. These chargers are very simple and easy to use. You can just connect them up to a battery (ALWAYS RED CLIP ON THE PLUS AND BLACK ON THE MINUS and always use a smart charger for your battery type), plug them to a safe power supply and leave them all through winter or if the bike is not in use. This will not cause any damage to your battery, it will just monitor and keep the battery in top condition until you will spin that wheels again!!!
I highly recommend OptiMate https://www.optimate.co.uk/ range as they have a lot of options that really save your battery.
Is a small and compact motorcycle battery charger.
Is an automatic maintenance charger that you can leave plugged into your bike indefinitely, ensuring the battery’s always at its peak. It’ll also recover a deep-discharge battery, something that’s very useful if a lead-acid cell has become sulphated. Has the ability to de-sulfate batteries in addition to its normal battery maintenance charging duties.
The device first tests the battery (and ensures it’s connected the right way around); the pack must have at least 2V in it to activate the Optimate, but from there it’ll go into a ‘desulphation and recovery’ stage, which can pump a relatively high voltage (but small current) into the pack.
Next is the ‘bulk charge stage’, which delivers about 800mA .
From there, the device alternates between testing that the battery can hold a charge, and running a maintenance, or ‘float’ charge.
Other tips to maintain your battery in a good state, all the time:
*Try an buy a good quality battery, make sure you check the production year, not.to be old- I highly recommend Yuasa batteries
*Visually inspect your bike’s battery at least once every month.
*Keep the battery clean(wipe it a bit if is dusty) so you can spot corrosion and leaks
*Clean all the terminals to prevent corrosion
*Check the terminals to make sure the connectors aren’t loose
*Inspect the battery for leaks and see if it is wet
*Top off the electrolyte cells with distilled water(depends of the type of the battery)
*Charge your battery if you have long periods of time between rides.
Come on spring!