You have your gear on, your Harley is clean and ready to go, you are excited to get going and crunch some miles, you turn the key, and instead of the typical Harley roar, you are met with silence.
It is one of the most annoying experiences a rider can have, getting ready for a ride only to find you have a dead battery. Sometimes, a few hours of charging will get it right back up to scratch, and then other times, the bike will continue to have intermittent starting issues meaning that you need a new battery.
Before you fork out for a new battery on the back of some ill-informed advice you heard at a bike night, take a read through this guide to make sure you get the right battery for your Harley Davidson motorcycle.
First off, let’s take a look at some important questions about your Harley battery, and then we’ll share the top batteries for your ride.
What Does CCA Mean and Why is it Important?
CCA stands for Cold Cranking Amps. The CCA rating is how much power the battery can produce when you start the motor.
If you live in a colder part of the country where your bike struggles to get going in the mornings, going for a battery with a higher CCA rating will give your bike that extra juice to start up and get you rolling.
It is also a great choice for heavily customized bikes or those with lots of accessories like radios, lighting kits, winches, etc., that might need that extra kick to get started.
Check out some of our Harley accessory reviews:
Older Harley’s will also benefit from a battery with a higher CCA rating as, over time, the electrical components wear with the age of the bike, so having a battery that can power a little extra through an ageing starter and alternator is super beneficial.
Going for a battery with a higher CCA rating than stock isn’t essential, but don’t go for one with less as there won’t be enough juice in there to crank your bike and the battery won’t last long.
What are the Different Types of Battery?
There are several types of motorcycle batteries available on the market today, and they all have different qualities.
Are Lithium Batteries Good for Harley Davidson’s?
Harley Davidson themselves have started selling their own line of Lithium batteries as they have seen the merit in a lighter weight battery that has a higher cranking ability, especially for their big displacement motorcycles like the Road King.
A typical lithium battery used in a Road King is around 7kg lighter than the stock AGM lead-acid battery. On such a big heavy bike that extra weight saved can be hugely noticeable and a relief for riders, particularly on slow maneuvers.
How Long Do Harley Batteries Last?
Harley Davidson states that their stock batteries that come with your motorcycle should last up to 5 years with the right care and maintenance. Some reports have suggested a lithium battery can last up to 10 years.
Will a Harley Run With a Dead Battery?
It is not recommended to ever run your Harley with a dead battery as it can damage the electric charging system.
It is possible to push start your motorcycle if the bike is in second gear and you can get it up to speed, but bikes with big displacement engines (most Harleys) will struggle with this and are unlikely to be able to sustain power.
If the bike runs under a certain rpm, it is likely your indicators, lights, horn, etc, won’t work anyway, and so it isn’t the safest option to run your motorcycle under these conditions.
Harley Davidson Battery Sizes and Specs
Another key factor is the size of the battery that you are replacing. You need to make sure the replacement battery is not too big, so it will fit in the mount, and be sure it is not too small that it rattles around.
Providing the battery still has the right cranking capacity for your bike, it is possible to go down a size and pad the casing out to keep the battery in place.
In terms of Specs, you will want to compare your current battery against the new one. For details about your stock battery, speaking to your dealer directly is your best port of call to get the information you need. Getting this information will ensure you won’t buy a battery of lower spec that doesn’t have the power to get your motorcycle going.
Best Harley Davidson Batteries
The top choice of battery for Harley riders are:
This BikeMaster Gel battery is a great compact battery.
Being more compact than a traditional AGM battery it lends itself to smaller framed bikes or custom bikes that want the battery tucked out the way.
It is a gel battery so can be mounted any way you like.
Sportsters are renowned for being used as a basis for a modern chopper project or at least are usually modified in some way by their owners.
So a small battery would be perfect for this use, especially one that can be mounted in any direction, it means you can really keep the bare bones mechanical look of the bike without a bulky battery disturbing the clean lines. That is why I have also nominated the BikeMaster TruGel Battery as the Best Battery for Harley Davidson Iron 883 and other models of the Sportster line up.
The Anti-Gravity Lithium Ion battery is an incredibly powerful battery set up.
It comes in various sizes so be sure to check the battery against your necessary specs and sizing.
It is the World’s First Battery with built in jumpstarting to get your bike going and is the first battery to have a full management control system. This includes picking up on Over-Discharge, Over-Charge, Thermal Protections and Cell Balancing.
It has a longer life expectancy than traditional batteries and also double the CCA rating than most AGM batteries.
It has a four terminal design and can be mounted in any way you wish without having to worry about the leakage. The only downside is the price, being a lithium ion battery packed with innovative tech it is a pricey investment.
Yuasa pioneered the first maintenance free AGM batteries in 1983. They are a tried and tested manufacturer that produces reliable batteries for all motorcycles of all displacements.
They have a 500CCA rating with a high capacity of 32Ah.
They are maintenance free except an occasional top up charge when not using the bike.
They come in a Polypropylene cover and container which offers superior resistance in extreme condition of cold or heat.
They are engineered to crank out power enough for the biggest of displacement engines which make them the best choice for Harley Touring models, which is why I have awarded this Yuasa battery as the best for the following:
- Harley Davidson Street Glide
- Harley Davidson Road King
- Harley Davidson Ultra Classic
- Harley Davidson Electra Glide
- Harley Davidson Road Glide
The batteries are also an exact replacement fit for your stock battery, so there is no need to worry about it being the wrong size. Just check your model against the battery fitment specs and you will be good to go.
The Renegade Wicked Start Battery, is an AGM factory sealed battery, made as a direct replacement for your Harley stock battery.
It offers some of the highest CCA ratings on the market for an AGM battery with a rating of 500 CCA.
There are a variety of sizes to choose from to match your exact model.
It has an impact resistant case and cover.
Each battery comes with an analysis report from the factory to ensure you it is ready to go.
AGM construction means the battery is completely sealed and will not leak or corrode.
The battery is great value for money, it’s CCA rating is why I think it is great for high compression Harley’s and also makes it the best battery for Harley Davidson Dyna models.
Dyna’s historically have been the Harley models that owners tune up, to take on the drag strip and you are going to want a high performing battery to make sure your bike is flawless every time.
This Power Source – Lightning Start battery is a great factory sealed AGM battery which uses nano-gel technology.
The 500 CCA gives you more than enough power to start your Harley in any weather condition.
The batteries are made to fit specifically to each Harley model so make sure you check your battery size before ordering to make sure you get the correct fit.
The battery terminal offers a front or top mount option which makes it easy to keep the wires in the orientation that they were already in.
These batteries are particularly great for the Harley Softail models thanks to their high CCA rating; however, Power Source supply batteries for a lot of Harley models, so worth checking out even if your model isn’t from the Softail line up.
One final thing to consider is the expiration date, this is particularly important for lead-acid batteries. As a general rule, avoid buying a battery that is more than 6 months old.
So there you have it! A comprehensive guide on how to select the best battery for your Harley Davidson and a review of some of the best options. Hopefully, it will help you with your decision and go some way in making sure you can have fewer days of heading out for a ride only to be tripped up by a dead battery.