Are Motorcycle Batteries Interchangeable?

Whether you recently purchased your first motorcycle or you’ve cruised on your bike for years, you know the importance of finding the right parts. The battery in particular can make or break your ride. When your battery is functioning properly, you can cruise farther with ease. However, a faulty model can leave your bike slow and sputtering.

This is why it’s essential to find the ideal battery for your bike. While motorcycle batteries may seem fairly standard, different types work best for different bikes. By understanding different models of batteries, how they function, and how to tell if they’re right for you, you can properly fit your bike and enjoy peace of mind while you ride. This simple guide will break down your battery options so you can get on the road.

What are the different types of batteries?

Before choosing the right battery for your bike, it’s important to understand the basics of battery models. There are several common types that fit most bikes. However, in addition to doing your own research, it’s always important to check with your bike manufacturer and a service specialist. Here are some examples of battery models:

  • VRLA: A Valve Regulated Lead Acid battery is also called a sealed battery. This model basically breaks down water into oxygen and hydrogen, releasing these gases. When this process happens, the water evaporates and leaves only acid. To properly maintain this battery, bikers need to fill the unit with distilled water. While these batteries can be more pricey than traditional models, they are generally low-maintenance.
  • AGM: This battery, called an Absorbent Glass Mat battery, is popular for many bikers because it’s essentially maintenance-free. Each of the battery cells is separated with glass fiber, making it highly durable. Since it is completely sealed, you can install it in nearly any position and leave it. These batteries also hold charges well. However, they are high voltage, so they may not be the best fit for all older bikes. It’s best to check with your manufacturer before choosing this model.
  • Flooded: These types of batteries were once the go-to for motorcycles, ATVs, golf carts, and other battery-started vehicles. Within the cells of this model, the liquid electrolyte substance flows freely. Once it dries out, the user refills the cells with distilled water. While these are common in older bikes, vibration and heat can easily damage them. Unless you are sticking with vintage parts, it may be best to consider newer options.

What are some signs that I’m using the wrong battery?

If your bike’s battery is unfit for your model of motorcycle or if it’s no longer working properly, it will exhibit some clear signs. You may notice a clicking sound when turning on your bike, or you may find that the lights don’t come on fully. While you’re riding, ill fitting batteries may vibrate excessively or die quickly. If you are frequently putting maintenance into your bike, the battery may also be at fault.

This is why it’s always important to test a battery before going out on the road. Your service specialist or battery provider can show you how to run a test and ensure that the battery is running well and is right for the bike. By doing so, you can keep your bike running for years to come.

While choosing the right battery can be confusing, it is certainly worth your time. Once you find a battery that works for your motorcycle and maintenance needs, you can simply enjoy the ride. And when issues arise, you will be prepared to handle them.

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