Motorcycle maintenance – in partnership with BIKE IT
Winter is coming so now’s the time to think about protecting your bike’s battery.
An often neglected part of motorcycle maintenance, here’s a brief guide to keeping your motorcycle batteries in tip top condition this winter.
A proper long-term battery care routine is vital to keep performance at its optimum throughout the cold months. As the temperature drops, the chemical reaction inside the battery slows down, reducing its capacity to accept a charge. Add to that the increased strain from more headlight use and auxiliary/ fog lighting, heated grips and you’re heading for battery failure. And, even if you don’t use your bike very often through the winter months, charge is still lost to alarms/ immobilisers, clocks and on-board computers – and of course, through self-discharge, as the battery saps a little of its own energy every day to stay alive.
Regularly charging and maintaining your battery not only keeps it working to maximum capacity, it can also double its working life, as well as significantly reducing the likelihood of failure. Thankfully, most intelligent motorcycle battery chargers come with leads which can be permanently fixed to your battery, with the battery connector neatly hidden away in the bike – making charging it up just a matter of plugging the connector in to the charger.
Trickle chargers charge the battery continually at a fixed rate. However, they require a watchful eye as they do not have a way of responding when a battery is fully charged. Leaving them to charge excessively can damage the battery.
Taper chargers decrease the amount of current delivered through the battery as the voltage rises. As with trickle chargers they do require a watchful eye to avoid overcharging. Both taper and trickle chargers are slow.
Pulse or intelligent chargers monitor and collect feedback from the battery’s voltage during the charging process and drop into a standby mode once the battery is fully charged.
When the battery naturally discharges to a certain level the charger will go into charging mode and restore the battery to its normal charge. A pulse charger can be left unattended for long periods of time, but you should still carry out periodic fluid level checks.