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Best Motorcycle Battery: Lithium or Lead Acid



Let's talk about motorcycle parts. Well, one specific motorcycle part--the battery. There's a wide array of different manufacturers and cell types, each with different strengths, weaknesses and specific applications. Today, we're going to jump into a few of the particulars on lithium and standard lead-acid batteries, so you'll be well informed before heading to the motorcycle parts store to pick out what you'll need.

Lithium Batteries

The common points you'll hear about lithium batteries is that they are smaller, lighter, more "energy dense" and don't contain the same harmful substances found in lead-acid batteries. You'll get more cranking amps from a lithium battery (comparative to their size), but on the flip side, you might find yourself spending extra time on a colder day trying to get them to crank properly. Lithium batteries have a higher initial cost than lead-acid batteries and aren't quite as resilient either.

In general, you'll find that lithium batteries will:
- Last longer on the shelf
- Provide more charge cycles
- Incredibly lightweight
- Provide greater cost value over time
- Stay cooler when in use

Because of these factors, lithium batteries provide an advantage in high-performance situations like racing. Aftermarket motorcycle parts dealers will supply a range of manufacturers, but two of the most in-demand brands are Shorai (the LFX) and Ballistic (the EVO 2 & 3).

Lead-Acid Batteries

Lead-acid batteries are cheaper to purchase at the onset and more durable than their lithium counterparts. You can bring a lead-acid battery back from near-death in situations where a lithium battery would be done for, so what are the drawbacks? For starters, they're heavier, so they aren't as suitable for high-performance situations. Most notably, though, the discharge from lead-acid batteries can reduce their capacity. Leave a lead-acid battery too long without charging, and the build-up of lead sulfate crystals -- a process called sulfation -- can render it useless.

Still, you'll find that a lead-acid battery might be preferable if you're planning on doing any distance or adventure riding. They don't suffer from the cold-start problem that lithium batteries do, among other things. Among the lead-acid brands, Yuasa is an old standby. The company has decades of experience producing conventional motorcycle batteries, and in recent years have taken steps to improve their lead-acid batteries by increasing their safety, environmental friendliness and reliability (particularly in low-temperature conditions).

Conclusion

You'll find that lithium batteries may last longer and the reduced size and weight more suitable for your bike. Lead-acid batteries present a lower initial cost and are more rugged. No matter which you feel is best for you, procuring your battery aftermarket from an online motorcycle parts store is a great way to maximize the safety and performance of your gear. Good luck!
By Daniel Relich

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