Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Rancho Cordova, CA USA
We've used lightweight batteries on allof our project bikes for years. Starting with the YTZ7S, Odyssey 310 to the Speedcell ( and many other A123 batteries) and now the Shorai.
Since I've made the switch, I have never been stranded with a dead battery.
We've sold and used thousands of lightweight batteries over the years and have found the Shorai prismatic Lithium Ferrous (LiFe) battery to be the most durable, safe and dependable so far. Shorai also has a fantastic warranty.
Lightweight bikes are a lot of fun to ride on the street or track--and you have to start somewhere. Most of our own project bikes are 70-80 lbs lighter than stock - and they are completely different to ride than a stock bike.
But if the only thing you are doing is installing a lightweight battery, it might not be the most important choice as it will hardly be noticeable on its own. However if you have bigger plans for your bike, the small premium you pay for a light battery is worthwhile as you can not get that type of weight savings by buying carbon, titanium or magnesium.
The Shorai like other LiFe batteries will give you more starting power but less reserve capacity for those times that you forget to turn off the key and leave the bikes lights on. If you have voltage regulator issues, you will know right away.
We found the Shorai to be more reliable and safer than the cylindrical based A123 batteries that we have used in the past. The Shorai is light years better than the small drycell YTZ7S or the Odyessy 310 that we used before on our projects. The Lithium Iron batteries are all less maintenace than conventional batteries and don't require a tender unless you have a draw on the battery when parked.
But that said, you have to treat all LiFe batteries different.
You need to be aware of the smaller reserve capacity. You also can't crank on the LiFe batteries until they die completely because they will overheat and sometimes vent hot fluid. The A123 based batteries had problems with this. The Shorai has a fused link that will sacrifice the battery rather than your bike. For this reason, it is very important to choose the correct battery for your application when using LiFe batteries.
We always recomend the biggest battery that will fit.
For bikes that have ANY draw on it at all, I would get a Shorai Dedicated Battery Management System . Little 1.5 amp Battery Tenders do little or nothing at all and may actually damage the batteries. If the batteries are run down complately, use a Shorai charger or any 6amp or greater charger to bring it back.
The lightweight batteries are not for everyone. I have 8 bikes outfitted with LiFe batteries and have had no problems - but I know how to take care of them. If you are the type that wants to install the battery and forget about it, if you're concerned about the cost or don't care about light weight or better starting performance- get a conventional battery.
The Life batteries are not the final answer for everyone. Just like a your decision to buy a Ducati, you need to know going into it that the LiFe batteries are different than a traditional lead acid.
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