Most of the time, when motorcycle owners buy batteries, they probably walk into their local dealerships and just ask for the cheapest one that fits their bike model. But that’s not necessarily the best approach. You can buy so many different types of motorcycle batteries, but it’s important to know a little bit more about them. Here’s what you need to know.
Motorcycle battery sizes
To answer the primary question, no, all motorcycle batteries are not the same size. There is actually not even just one main size. Each motorcycle manufacturer builds a space for its battery based on the size it needs to work with its particular engine size. To replace your battery, it’s best to measure your current one so that you can get the right one, or you can measure the area it fits in on your motorcycle. Just be sure to get one that fits just right. One that’s too small might work, but it may have too much room to move around and get damaged.
Conventional motorcycle batteries
Conventional motorcycle batteries are what you might sometimes hear referred to as wet batteries. These batteries are filled with water, and they have to be placed upright to keep from leaking. These are usually the cheapest batteries you can buy, and some older motorcycles still operate with only them. But some can be upgraded. Most people like to upgrade these batteries, if possible, because they are easily damaged from heat and vibrations, so they don’t last as long as others.
Maintenance-free motorcycle batteries are usually the preferred batteries for motorcycle owners because they are less susceptible to damage. They come in several different types, but absorbed glass mat and gel batteries are the most popular. Harley-Davidson uses all AGM batteries when they manufacture their bikes because they are resistant to the heat and vibrations of the motorcycle. These batteries have stainless steel terminals to keep them from rusting.
The gel battery is the newest. It uses a gel instead of water to make it leak-free. Gel batteries are also heat and vibration-resistant. These are unique, however, because they can be mounted in any position. So, it is sometimes possible to fit them into a space made for a larger battery by mounting them on their side or at an angle. These batteries can be just as powerful as AGMs, even in smaller sizes.
How to choose your motorcycle battery
The first thing you should do is to check your motorcycle manual. It should tell you what type and size of battery your bike can operate with. Specifically, you’ll need to know the cold cranking amps of your bike. But if your motorcycle is too old for you to find a manual even online, you will have to get a little more creative. If you’d like to upgrade your conventional battery to a maintenance-free model, keep in mind that some older models can’t run with newer battery types. In this case, it might be best to speak to your local motorcycle shop to see what they know about it. But if you can speak to a knowledgeable individual in the company who manufactured your bike, that’s probably your safest bet.
If it turns out you can upgrade to a maintenance-free battery, you have more options. For one, because a gel battery can be installed in any position, you may be able to fit one of those into a space that’s otherwise the wrong size. You will also need to research the brand of battery you’d like to buy. Check out online reviews and talk to other motorcycle owners to gather the best information. But also read about the brands in their catalogs to get specs and power information.