It is very common to hear about motorcycle batteries dying these days. Most batteries die prematurely because of improper care or misuse. Motorcycle batteries as not by any means designed to have additional LED lights and accessories drawing power from them. Adding a ton of lights might look awesome at night but will most likely cause you to buy a new battery every year.
Motorcycle batteries are designed for one main purpose…starting your motorcycle. Unlike car batteries which in addition to cranking over the engine, they are also used for many accessories such as windshield wipers, dome lights, running lights, radio, and power windows.
Following these 5 tips will help you save money in the long run if you plan on having LED lights or other accessories on your bike.
1) Buying a New Battery
If you plan on doing any LED lighting or extra accessories to your motorcycle beyond stock then you will need to invest in a better battery.
I got a high end battery from batterystuff.com. Its called the SSTZ14S-FP Scorpion Stinger 12v 387 CCA LiFePo4 Extreme High Output Battery. It has been the best battery I've had yet, with more than enough power to turn on my HID headlights and crank over the engine with ease. This battery beats out Bikemaster, Yuasa, and Shorai easily. I've went through all those different brands and the high end Stinger has been the best by far. Being able to press on the battery to see the power level is also quite a cool feature.
I also bought the CTEK 12v Multi US 7002 7 Amp Smart Charger. Yes these are very expensive and I realize it might be out of some peoples budget. It is worth getting especially if you are already investing money into a new battery. With a generic charger you will be just throwing your money down the drain. That is because without the specific charger designed to go with the battery you will most likely need a new one within 1-2 years. Batteries are quite complex and are not like the old days where you could charge a battery up with any type of charger.
2) Find an Alternative to Power LEDs
If a new battery is out of the question the best alternative is purchasing a small battery pack to power your LEDs. These little guys can power up LEDs for a very long time and you will not have to worry about your main battery going dead. You can easily store this underneath your seat with ease. These are just rechargeable AA batteries wired together to make 12v. Since the packaging is very nice and is very inexpensive this is what I recommend to those who purchase led kits from me.
You will need another specialized charger if you are going to purchase one. (Yes I know it sucks buying so many different chargers.) You might get away with using a regular charger but who knows for how long, and for a little extra money it isn't worth the risk.
3) Pay Attention to Your Wiring
One of the most important things for the longevity of your LEDs and your battery depends on how good of a wiring job you do. If you cut corners and make crappy connections your possibility of shorting something out is greatly increased. If the short is bad enough you could create a small fire and you will have problems a lot worse than just a dead battery.
Spend extra time to get some good connectors and solder connections if you can. It is not very hard to learn and it is a good skill to have. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there that will show you how to properly solder wires together. AVOID WIRE-TAP CONNECTORS LIKE THE PLAGUE! Bare-ass choppers wrote a good article going in-depth on just why these are not an ideal solution for your wiring needs.
Zip tie your wires together, and label your wires so you know which wire is what. Cut your wires to length, extra long wires only build clutter and produce extra weight. (Copper isn't exactly light)
4) LEDs are Superior to Neons
Neons are a thing of the past and LEDs have taken their spot for a good reason. They usually come in a big and bulky glass tube that can easily break. Neons also require a lot more juice than LEDs which can be very taxing on a small motorcycle battery. Neons are much more common on Harley's where there is more room to place them.
LED strips can easily be hidden on a bike and fit in small areas that neon lights simply can't. Creating a clean look with hidden LED strips will always provide the best look if done correctly.
5) Battery Tenders
If you know you will not be riding for awhile put a battery tender on your bike and pay attention to your voltage. Once the voltage drops too far the battery will slowly lose its effectiveness and before you know it you will be push starting your bike. Battery tenders can be very appealing but you need the RIGHT ONE FOR YOUR BATTERY. Just any battery tender can actually do more harm than good. Specialized chargers are worth the money especially if you invested in a new battery.
If at all possible keep your battery in a warm location and take it out of your bike for the cold winter months. Make sure you are not drawing a current when the bike is turned off, bad wiring or corroded wires can cause an unwanted draw which will cause you to go through batteries left and right. Having an ohm meter can help you determine if there is a parasitic draw on your battery. EricTheCarGuy made an excellent video showing all the steps needed to find a parasitic draw on your ride.
I hope you guys found my article helpful in some way. I sell LEDs but they are not limited to just sport bikes! Please contact me if you would like a special order or have something special in mind that you would like to do. I respond very quickly and I will try my best to help you out.