I think the Westco and Yuasa sealed batteries hold a charge better than the regular batteries. But there are other important reasons to switch. The sealed battery will not have the cells get too low and short out your R/R and/or stator. And there is no drip tube to fall off and allow acid to drip on your junction box and/or R/R connector. And you don't have to take the seat off and pull the battery once a week to check the fluid levels in each cell (which is a major PITA). So whether or not you get a "tender" it is money well spent on a maintenance-free battery.
Jim "Pick" Foster
>>Is this a problem on ALL bikes, or just older ones?
This is a potential problem on all bikes not just ours. The biggest problem by far is the fact that the battery is under the seat and not easy to get to. At least not as easy as it could be. Many riders fail/forget to check the battery fluid levels regularly, let it get too low and bye-bye stator.
>>Is the problem in cold climates only?
Actually, higher temperatures create greater problems. It is just that colder temps put the battery thru the wringer and shows any faults with the battery faster.
>>Is there really a "danger" in leaving the stock battery in - IE - do they have a reputation for damaging things?
No, BUT you MUST check the fluid level frequently. It is a real pita because you have to remove the seat each time. If you let the fluid level get too low, it will burn out the stator. If the overflow tube comes loose, acid will leak on the junction box creating major problems here with corrosion. My '04 seems to start just fine here in sunny Florida. I ride it routinely - several times a week. I haven't noticed any headlight dimming or other electrical problems. What signs should I be looking for? Usually by the time you see any symptoms, it is too late. Many experience refusal to start after riding for awhile and then shutting off the engine like stopping at a store and coming out to find the bike would not start.
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Searssells the Yuasa sealed battery under the "Die Hard" label. Part# 44005.
Yuasa battery is YTX14AHL-BS