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A Motorcycle Battery

Basic Care and Maintenance Her-Motorcycle, Ducati leaving motorcycle dealer

Basic to the workings of any bike - a Motorcycle Battery. Quite simply the engine will not crank without a healthy jolt of electricity from the battery.

BUT, as with all things in life, there are certain tasks that need to be done - routinely - to keep the battery in good working order.

First, keep in mind that a battery will not last forever, even with the best of care. Check your manual to make sure that you know what type of battery is recommended for your bike - when the time comes to replace it, you're set. (My less-than-scientific research revealed that a typical 12V battery, if properly maintained, should last 7 - 8 years).

If you need to replace your battery, you need to make sure that you get the right one for your bike. Do your research before you buy - check your owner's manual, or ask your dealer.

Relatively new to the market, and a bit more expensive are low maintenance or maintenance-free batteries. All newer mode BMW motorcycles are equipped with these gel batteries - they require different chargers than the older, more conventional, electrolyte cell batteries.

Important Note: If you bike came with a newer gel, no or low-maintenance battery, you cannot replace it with an electrolyte cell battery. You can, however, replace an electrolyte cell battery with a new gel cell battery. But, ask first.

Her-motorcycle - my BMW Know where your battery is located.

Unfortunately, on most motorcycles - especially those with bodywork, the battery may be difficult to access.

On my BMW, the battery is located inside the bodywork, directly in front of the seat. In order to get to it, I need to take off both side panels, the tank cover and the SEAT. Not exactly an easy feat.

The inaccessibility of the battery is powerful motivation to keep it in good working order. I really don't want to spend some time on the side of a mountain road, removing body parts from my bike.

Basic Battery Safety Tips

  • Have a mechanic show you how to access your battery, and how to check the cells;

  • ALWAYS use distilled water to fill the cells in a battery;

  • Remove the battery if storing your motorcycle outside in cold weather;

  • Learn how to use a battery charger;

  • Wear protective eyewear and preferably head protection when handling a battery (think acid);

  • Only jump start a motorcycle battery with another motorcycle - not a car.

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