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What is the best battery for the infrequent rider? Most of the time (especially in winter) my bike battery sits on the work bench next to my boat battery. Every so many days I swap the trickle charger between them.

-Robert
 

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I would use a maintenance free AGM battery (I use Westco). Get a Deltran Battery Tender Jr., and KEEP it connected to the battery at all times. It will keep the battery fully charged, and drastically extend it's life. But remember, even sitting there fully charged, a battery still eventually wears out, so if you don't use it often, you are not going to get the use out of it you otherwise would. It may last just as long, or possibly even longer than a battery in daily use, but all the time it just sits there, you are not getting anything out of it. A battery cannot be stored forever like some things, and still be in like new condition.
 

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The Shorai battery is your best move here.

You can store them in your refridgerator for years, pull it out , let it warm up and off you go:
http://www.shoraipower.com/t-faq.aspx

You need to use one of their chargers, or a simple trickle charger as "smart chargers" aren't reccomended.

Cost a bit more than an AGM, but can sit for longer periods without needing that charger, provide higher volts and CCA.

I plan on getting one when my now 5 year old AGM bites the dust ...
 

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The Shorai battery is a lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. This is pretty much the latest technology in consumer batteries, and they are commonly used in electric bicycles. A LiFePO4 battery pack for an electric bicycle typically costs over $500, but has a much higher capacity than a motorcycle starter battery. The technology may have improved, but I have read several horror stories (I belong to a motorized bicycle forum, though I lean more toward good old internal combustion engines) about LiFePO4 batteries being seriously damaged by improper charging, or running them too long before charging. All LiFePO4 battery packs for bicycles come with a charger designed specifically for them. I have no experience with them, just what I read on that forum, motoredbikes.com. I might buy one for a motorcycle, as it is only $150 instead of $500+ This is new technology to many, so there are going to be conflicting opinions on it. They seem to have a very low discharge rate, but I wonder what their overall lifespan is? I have 6 of those Battery Tender Jr.s, all with pigtails connected to the battery in the bike. I keep them plugged in whenever the bike is not being ridden. KM said his AGM battery is already 5 years old, and still working.
 

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I have a Yuasa AGM ($70) and no trickle charger. The bike has sat for months without use and the battery is still going strong after 3.5 years. I would add that the bike is stored in an underground garage where the temps never approach freezing (maybe high '30s at worst). Batteries don't like the cold.
 

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Lifepan of the Lithium Iron battery (LI now for short) is supposed to be twice as long as an AGM. Problem there no one I know has had a LI in their bike Fkr more than 4 months...so the claim remains untested.

The only issue reported with the LI is they don't like temps below freezing. If you ride in 20 degree weather this might be cause you some concern, but because of their low discharge rate and how they work, folks have found that by simply turning the ignition on to where their lights come on and waiting 20-30 seconds, then hitting the starter the bike starts fine. Seems putting a load on the LI when it's cold "wakes it up". Also getting one with a higher amp rating than stock seems to help too.

That said , yes a good AGM should be able to go 4-8 weeks without a charger on it and still start the bike. As of today they are cheaper than an LI battery.

One of the biggest advantages I like of the LI is that they are smaller....and weigh ALOT less.maybe not a big concern to cruiser owners, but a plus to sportbike riders and others with heavy bikes.

Given th OPs question here looking for a battery for "infrequent" use, the LI still would be the best choice.... simply because it can go for longer periods than an AGM without needing attention.

My 5 year old AGM by the way does still work fine, although I now see a larger drop in voltage over weeks of non use. Am not sure it can go 4 whole weeks without a charge like it used to, so come spring I plan to replace it. Not that it's really "bad" but just for piece of mind. I know many with 6 year old batteries that are still going strong...but that seems to be limit with AGMs.

Come back in 11 years and ask about the LI batteries lifespan ...I'm sure you'll get a better answer...;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9

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I went down to the Batterys Plus store and got an X2 AGM battery. It was a bit more than the other AGM but it carries a 2 year warranty.

http://www.batteriesplus.com/product/40578-X2--15L-X2Power®-AGM-Battery/558-CC/4518-Motorcycle-Batteries/640385-Kawasaki/VN750--A-Vulcan/750CC-1986-to-2006.aspx

Its spec'd at 220 CCA but it bench tests to 300. My old tested out at 140CCA.


-Robert
Just a FYI the BatterysPlus battery is actually a Deka re-branded (EastPenn Manufacturing - great battery). It's nice that you were able to pick it up instead of waiting for a shipment, so any extra bit payed seems worth it to me. I'm an instant-gratification type of guy as well.
 

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I went down to the Batterys Plus store and got an X2 AGM battery. It was a bit more than the other AGM but it carries a 2 year warranty.

http://www.batteriesplus.com/product/40578-X2--15L-X2Power®-AGM-Battery/558-CC/4518-Motorcycle-Batteries/640385-Kawasaki/VN750--A-Vulcan/750CC-1986-to-2006.aspx

Its spec'd at 220 CCA but it bench tests to 300. My old tested out at 140CCA.


-Robert
I have one of those batteries in my Yamaha XT225. It was only $49, but is a lot smaller. The first one I got was bad, I took it back, and they replaced it. That one is working fine, as in starting the bike fine, but I am having an unusual issue with it. I have a Battery Tender Jr. connected to it, and when the battery is fully charged, the little led on it is supposed to turn green. It does with all my other bikes, but not with this one. It just keeps flashing red. I have checked and double checked the connections, even connected it with the alligator clips, and it still shows red. I charged the battery 24 hours at 1 amp, hooked the Battery Tender up to it, and it is still red. When I get around to it I am going to call and ask them about it. Don't know if battery is not completely charging, or if there is something unusual about it that is preventing the Battery Tender from reading right.
 

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Just buy a $20 motorcycle battery tender from Wal Mart! I think the manufacturer is Schumaker. Seems like this would beat all the time you're taking removing the battery.
 

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I have an old Schumacher 1 amp charger from Walmart, that I got back when they were actually made of metal. Still works great. But it is well over 20 years old. I don't know if it was made in China or not, but I'd bet the newer ones are
 

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I have an old Schumacher 1 amp charger from Walmart, that I got back when they were actually made of metal. Still works great. But it is well over 20 years old. I don't know if it was made in China or not, but I'd bet the newer ones are
I have one that is only a few years old and I think it's made in the US. Not an issue as it seems to work fine. I do know they are having work done off shore, but don't know which models are effected.

Not surprising of course... Thousands of products that were once made here are now made overseas. Many already were and no one even knew BTW.

I'm really surprised when I come across ANY electronic devise that is made in the U.S. The Japanese showed they could do it better and pretty much rule here.
My old coffee maker said it's electronics were made in India and it was assembled in Mexico. Was cheap and made good coffee.

If you google Schumacher you'll find there are some complaints about their recent quality however... But seems any company is always open to attack from a few unsatisfied customers. All the reviews I read on the charger I bought...were good.
 
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