A high percentage of motorbike problems are caused by simple battery failures, so it’s important to make sure that you always buy a high quality motorcycle battery. Cheaper batteries may save you a little cash upfront, but if you can afford it you should invest in a battery from a well established manufacturer such as Varta or Yuasa.
It’s usually best to buy an OEM part – the exact make and model of battery recommended by the manufacturer for your specific motorcycle. Alternatively, most motorcycle parts suppliers should be able to provide you with a list of aftermarket batteries which are compatible with your specific model.
Most ‘big’ motorbikes use 12 volt batteries , while 6 volt batteries are more common on scooters and smaller motorcycles. One of the most popular new types of motorcycle battery on the market is known as the ‘sealed lead acid battery’ or VRLA (valve-regulated lead acid battery) – these are also referred to as absorbent glass mat (AGM) or gel batteries, which are the two different types of this kind of battery.
What are the benefits of gel batteries?
The advantages offered by sealed lead acid motorcycle batteries is that they can be lighter and smaller than conventional batteries, and they hold their charge for a lot longer, which means there’s less chance of them running flat if you don’t use the bike for a few months over winter. They’re also more durable and able to withstand harsh conditions, and make it easier to start the motorcycle in cold weather.
These kinds of batteries are still relatively expensive to manufacture compared to conventional technologies and because of this they are still not provided as standard on cheaper motorcycles, and are generally only found in high end models. However, as prices fall with increased manufacturing volumes, they should become more widely available.