Best Rated Motorcycle Battery For All Conditions
Back in the good old days, motorcycles came with carbide lamps and magneto ignition. Perfect, as long as you only wanted to illuminate your front mudguard and your magneto didn’t disintegrate from vibration.
By 1919, Gaston Plante’s rechargeable lead-acid battery had made it into a production car. Thanks to Delco Electronics, the coil, battery ignition and electric starters soon followed.
Today’s batteries may look like masters of understatement, but they are as technologically advanced as everything else on your motorcycle, in this post what discover which is the best motorcycle battery.
Motorcycle Battery Quick Review
|Product||Best For||Our Rating|
|1. Mighty Max YTZ12S 11AH 210CCA Gel||No Maintenance|
|2. Pirate YTX14-BS 12AH, 200CCA||Budget Replacement|
|3. Throttle X HDX14L||Big Twin Replacements|
|4. Yuasa YUAM320BS||Reliability|
|5. Antigravity AG-801 8 Cell Lithium Ion||Custom Applications|
Top Choice: Mighty Max YTZ12S 11AH 210CCA GelNo-spill gel reliability and a must if your bike shakes, rattles and rolls. You can even mount it upside down.
Big Twin Replacements
Choosing Your Motorcycle Battery – Jargon Buster
Before we launch into the comparison though, here are just a few battery basics to help you make your choice.
Most motorcycles, cars and light trucks run a 12v (volt) system. A lead acid battery achieves this number by linking a number of cells together. Each battery cell generates approximately 2 volts, so a series of 6 cells will give you the magical 12v.
Amp Hour, a number usually follows these letters and that number will tell you how long the battery can pump out current for a certain length of time. For example, 12AH means the battery can crank out 1.2 amps for 10 hours.
This is important to look out for, especially if you’re a fan of seasonal weather. Cold Cranking Amps tell you how much initial kick the battery provides under cold conditions. This fact is particularly important if you run an older bike with carbs or a tuned engine. However, today’s more finely metered EFI makes this figure less critical.
Sounds like a no-brainer, but the length, width, and height of a battery are critical, especially if you’re buying a non-OEM replacement. Generally, if you state the make, model and year of your bike, the replacement will be the correct size, but check first. A battery that rattles about is easily damaged, and one too high can arc out on the seat base or frame tubes.
Neg and Pos
As the name suggests, these are the negative and positive terminals that transfer the power via the wiring harness to the bikes electronic equipment. Positive is always marked with a cross and negative with a single horizontal line.
Fastener Type and Placement
Once again, this is important and often overlooked as the negative and positive cables have to be a secure fit and not come into contact with any other components. Look where the terminals are located on your OEM battery and make sure the neg and pos are in the same place.
At this point, I’d like to highlight something you may be overlooking. If you’re having problems getting your wheels rolling and your engine roaring, don’t be to quick to jump to the conclusion that your battery is the cause. If you haven’t already diagnosed all possible issue’s, it might be worth your while to inspect other areas that may be causing your machine to not start. If you’re sure it’s the battery -let’s take a closer look at the five best motorcycle battery contenders. Ever wondered will a motorcycle run without a battery?
Motorbike Battery Review
It may be the only battery that comes with a separate acid pack, but the Yuasa is foolproof and rock solid reliable.
Now here’s a name that needs no introduction. Yuasa churns out over 50 million batteries a year for power sports vehicles alone, and over 90% of the world’s motorcycle manufacturers supply them as original equipment.
It’s not difficult to see why either, these batteries are tough as old boots and owners regularly report getting ten years, and more, out of their factory-fitted Yuasa. This particular model has a 270 CCA rating which is ideal for land whales, such as the Honda Gold Wing GL1800 or Harley Heritage Classic.
This battery also uses absorbed glass mat separators. Once filled, its advanced lead-calcium technology keeps the specific gravity over three times longer than standard batteries.
How to Fill Your Yuasa Battery
Hang on there just a minute….”once filled”? Yup, that’s right, the Yuasa ships with its acid supplied separately. Before you go freaking out though, I’ve been through this process myself, and it’s foolproof. The exact amount comes in a row of sealed tubes. Flip off the lids, empty into the cells, pop the sealing cover on, et voila.
The Yuasa is maintenance free, and once you’ve snapped the ceiling cap on, that’s it, apart from the occasional charge. The 320BS comes with a year warranty and weighs in at a hefty 14.8lbs
- Separate acid pack
No-spill gel reliability and a must if your bike shakes, rattles and rolls. You can even mount it upside down.
The Mighty Max comes with a left side pos, which is a perfect example of always checking that the terminals are on the correct side for your application. That’s not the only difference either; the Mighty Max is a gel-cell, which means that the sulfuric acid has been mixed with silica to form a jellified gloop.
You will discover lots of advantages in using this method, but two of them are of specific benefit to custom builders. Firstly, the gel doesn’t move around or leak, making it possible to mount the Max at any angle.
Secondly, a gel cell is generally slimmer, which is great for custom applications where space is a premium. You’ll see from the spec that the Max gives a decent kick from cold. Also, the internal layout of the battery means it is maintenance free, has excellent vibration and extreme temperature resistance.
How to Charge This Battery
You will need a trickle charger that is specifically for this type of battery. The reason for this is, overcharging reduces their working life.
On the subject of shelf life, when compared to fluid-filled, they may be more robust physically, but they can’t take the number of recharges. There is some good news though, the Max is environmentally friendly.
One final comment, and that is, gel cell is traditionally more expensive than the equivalent liquid-filled, but the Mighty Max blows this myth out of the water.
- Competitive price
- Any position
- Fewer recharges
At a fraction of the weight of conventional batteries, if you’re building a ‘special’ where space or location is a premium, this is for you.
It’s now time to go slightly outside the box and look at a motorcycle battery that has been a firm favorite with custom builders for some time, and that is the Lithium battery.
Antigravity opened its doors in 2009 and was a godsend for those builders needing a power source for their minimalistic showstopper custom bikes. The Californian company’s lightweight compact lithium-ion batteries were soon available as direct replacements for stock bikes.
The AG-801 is an 8-cell sealed unit which as the name suggests, can quite literally mean you can insert it at any angle. The flush mounted terminals are unbreakable, claim Antigravity, and the whole thing is waterproof.
The manufacturers state a 240 amp cold cranking rate and 9AH for this model, which they say is ideal for everyday use in street bikes up to 600cc and 1200cc race bikes. Whether for daily use or a custom project, apart from a much smaller footprint, the most significant single advantage of this battery is the unbelievable weight saving. The AG-801 is just 1.8lbs!
What if My Motorcycle is Classic Or Vintage?
For anything older than a mid-80’s bike, Antigravity advises updating the charging system with a modern voltage regulator to prevent overcharging.
- Positioning flexibility
- Sensitive to overcharging
A value for money, sealed battery that arrives ready for the road. Add to this, great safety features plus maintenance-free and great bang for buck.
C’mon, who wouldn’t want a battery with a skull and a treasure map emblazoned on the side? I even like their ‘’extra voltage for that long voyage” slogan. Cheesy marketing aside, Pirate Battery is gaining a well-deserved reputation for robust batteries that deliver the goods at an extremely reasonable price.
This lead-acid model, in particular, appears to be a popular replacement for large displacement metric cruisers and power sports bikes, but like every battery, check the dimensions to be sure.
Pirates come filled, sealed and ready to rock so that you can plug and play. These batteries are maintenance and leak-free and feature absorbed glass mat separators, which withstand vibration and extend battery life.
Inside the battery, Pirate uses a thru-partition rather than an over partition construction, which allows shorter distance with less resistance for current flow. A built-in safety valve, complete with flame arrester, takes care of any unwanted pressure build-ups.
What Are the Charging Benefits?
The company reckons it’s possible to charge the battery over a 1000 times before it’s ready to walk the plank and purchases come with an impressive 60-day money back guarantee and an 18-month warranty.
- Competitive price
- Length of warranty and money back guarantee
- Who doesn’t like pirates?
- Pos and neg connectors look a bit flimsy
Big solid battery that will spin your big Twin for a fraction of the OEM price. Exact dimensions, factory sealed, maintenance-free. Job done.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, at least in terms of battery weight, the HDX14L by Throttle X weighs in at muscle pumping 13lb. Like everything though, its horses for courses and this meaty, sealed unit is aimed squarely at Harley-Davidsons.
The battery is a direct replacement for the OEM part, so dimensions match exactly, which you would expect as they come from the same factory. Performance is identical too with 220 cold cranking amps and 12 AH.
The HDX uses absorbed glass mat technology, and the highly porous microfiber totally embraces the suck, meaning the acid is trapped making the battery leak and spill proof.
Does the Battery Arrive Good-To-Go?
The battery helpfully arrives fully charged and ready to rock, is maintenance free and heat-sealed. Terminal fasteners are solid lead with top and side female threads and come with stainless steel bolts.
Approximately half the price of the OEM version and with a 30-day money back guarantee and 18-month free replacement warranty, it’s a no-brainer.
- Competitive price
- Power rating
- Direct replacement
What’s the Best Motorcycle Battery?
There are no losers in our best 5 motorcycle batteries as each one has their strengths and slightly different applications. However, on value for money and features, the Mighty Max gets my vote for the best motorcycle battery. The gel cell gives you more protection from spillage and vibration. At only a couple more bucks than the least expensive (the Pirate), it represents excellent bang for your buck.