~ Auto Buzz ~: Ask MO: What Kind of Battery do I Want?

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Ask MO: What Kind of Battery do I Want?




Dear MOby,

Could you tell which is the best battery type for my S1000RR?            

Many thanks, Ray


Dear Ray,

Hmmm, looks like most BMW S1000RRs have AGM batteries as original equipment – Absorbent Glass Mat. That’s a step above the old lead-acid filled battery for sure, and you can read all about AGM tech here if you’re interested. Your BMW dealer will sell you a new one for $158. Some people just feel more comfortable with original equipment, and we can all be happy that original for most of us is no longer the 6-volt antique in the rubber box in the lead photo.

Browsing over to a place like BikeBandit.com, of course, opens up your options. There, you’ll find the same AGM unit (probably made by Yuasa) for the same $158.52. But alongside that one, you’ll see a plethora of battery options including lithium, lithium ion and gel types, in a range of prices from $63.95 to $208.99. (Also a Parts Unlimited AGM with the same specs as your original for $79.95, or even your local Wal Mart for similar AGM battery pricing.)

All I can tell you from personal experience is I’m a huge fan of lithium batteries. I stuck a Shorai battery in my R1 in early 2010, and when I walked out to my hot garage right now to give the starter a poke, it spun the engine up quickly and the bike fired almost instantly. I do start the bike every couple of weeks, but that’s really only to keep the carb jets clean; the battery doesn’t even need a trickle charger unless your bike has a clock or an alarm that draws a little power. Even then, you can just disconnect the battery if you don’t want to buy a charger. Lithium batteries also weigh a lot less than other types.

The Shorai to fit your bike is model number LFX19A4-BS12, with a claimed weight of 3.2 pounds and a price tag of $199.95 (though they’re having a 20% off sale right now).

We also hear good things about WPS Featherweight batteries, also available at BikeBandit – another lithium ion unit, with a claimed weight of 2 pounds and a $158.95 bottom line.

With any “new” technology of course, there will be naysayers with tales of explosions and fires, and the Samsung Note 7 and hoverboard meltdowns didn’t do lithium ion’s reputation any good. But those were caused by corner-cutting manufacturing techniques. Lithium ion is a mature technology that’s been around for more than 25 years. Pick a reputable manufacturer and you should enjoy years of truly maintenance-free instant starts.

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