Gruelling battery challenge
Get a cup of coffee, it's gonna be a long one. Adios, knifemaker.
My track record for bike repairs/lengthy maintenance procedures is pretty lousy. Fluid changes, air filter, tire pressure-no prob. Spline lube...well let's just say the final drive's gone and she's on a gurney in pre-op waiting for an OR suite (or better yet, the surgeon.)
Among the neglected tasks is the dreaded stator replacement. She's needed it for over a year now. While she was still running my solution was to turn her into a hybrid motorcycle, half-gas, half-electric bike. I would charge her and was able to do a determined combination of miles and starts off a full battery charge (after numerous trials and errors.) When I bought the bike it had a AGM battery in it which served me well until it finally went caput after 6 months of that kind of abuse. (Disclaimer: Kids, don't try this at home. No telling what other unseen damage was occuring with this modus operandi.) When researching a replacement, a warranty for the preferred AGM was pretty short, 1-2 years. Not much of a guarantee for $100.
Then I discovered what I thought was a godsend. A battery with free lifetime replacement?! How could I go wrong? The battery is the $70 Megaboost platinum CB 14L-A2 at Cycle Gear. Well I'll tell you.
First it's a thirsty wet cell battery. My first one lasted two months, and it never ran dry during that time. Got the free replacement, few questions asked. Secondly, it has a much shorter range than the AGM, and took forever to recover to full charge (8-12 hours, depending on how much I drove/started it.) Next, if battery voltage dropped below ~11.79 volts, I was push-starting it and limping straight home because it lacked sufficient amperage to turn over the engine. Using turn signals was out of the question; it SIGNIFICANTLY reduced my range. I'm excellent at hand signaling now, with the occasional finger signal tossed in to boot. Thirdly, like my previous AGM battery, it has the super-wimpy hollow-box type terminals with the thin rectangular nut and 10 mm screw just barely long enough to hook up the bike's poz & neg cables. Attaching my charger's quick-connect cable to the battery required a trip to Dome Heap'o for a set of longer screws, which had to be grinded down to avoid piercing the battery case. Tightening the screw to sufficient torque would distort the shape of the terminal out of square, and this was after the cursing, sweating and repositioning of the screw/nut to get it to catch and begin to thread properly.
Well, the second battery failed after five months. Exchanged it for a new one and have retired it from bike service and recommisioned it to run lights and accessories on my kayaks. I realize my torture test is asking things from the battery it's not designed to do, but I'm just reporting my scientific findings. You do with the information what you will.
I finally did the right thing and bought another AGM battery. This battery is super! It's the $90 X2 Power Extreme X2-15L, 14 AH from Batteries Plus with a two year guarantee. And no, I'm not a shill for BP or Extreme, at least not yet anyway. It is the Timex of cycle batteries. It takes a licking and keeps on ticking (or is that my ACCT's?).
First let me say what I immediately noticed was the big, beefy battery terminals. They are thick and internally-threaded hunks of lead. The supplied screws are long enough to attach I would guess to be a few accessories. No struggling with the elusive tiny nut to attach your one cable like with the former battery. You can torque down on that bad boy without worrying you're going to snap off the terminal.
Secondly, vastly improved starting power. Just barely blow on the starter switch and she instantly fires up for you normal Vulcan enthusiasts. For me, with the hybrid half-gas, half-electric bike, drastically increased range and quantities of starts. I was nearly tempted to resume using my blinkers again.
Then, when she's nearing the end of her range window, she still starts right up. It will start with voltages as low as 11.3 volts. What the battery lacks in voltage is easily compensated for by amperage (again kids, don't try this at home). The battery has not left me stranded yet.
Even after a long day, (8 starts, 80 miles) I have no problem getting home. Yes, we hybrid owners have to keep track of our starts and miles.
Typical recharge times are 4-8 hours, using the 1.25 amp Battery Tender Plus to get her ready for the next day (yes, I am a shill for them.)
Just had some extra time on my hands cuz school's out. Just not enough time to shut up and fix my bike. Well, actually waiting for the final drive to arrive from Kenny who's parting out his bike. They should be here soon. I just hope I'm as good at turning a wrench as I am flapping my trap. Thanks for listening those of you who stuck around long enough to see when the droning would end.
To Do List:
-T7 stator mod
-ACCT's to MCCT's
-LED brake & turns
Did I miss anything?
Last edited by Kayakrazy; 05-03-2012 at 03:20 AM.
Reason: misspelling, punctuation, grammar, syntax