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Thread: Experience with lithium motorbike batteries?

  1. #1
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    27th December 2006 - 07:46
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    Experience with lithium motorbike batteries?

    I need to replace the 5 year old Yuasa lead acid battery in my Aprilia Shiver and am considering getting a lithium (LiFePO4) battery.
    I read the eight year old threads on Shorai and Ultrabatt batteries and the recent brief discussion about lithium about the Super Tenere battery.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated, especially in terms of reliability, length of life, performance in cooler temperatures, fussiness with bike electrics, etc.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    I had a Shorai around that time in my GSXR. The cold start caught me out a couple times, with it taking too long for the battery to warm up leaving me stranded a couple times for 20-30mins. So I'll stick with lead acid as there were no gains to be had (that I could notice) from the Lipo.
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  3. #3
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    I have a Motobatt lifepo and had it in my Multi 1200. It certainly started the bike easier and I had no issues with it. However when my bike did have issues, which turned out to be electricl gremlins amongst other things, my Ducati guy said to get rid of the lithium battery as he suspected it was causing the problem. One new lead acid battery later, and I am stuck with an almost new LiFePo! I put it in my 996 Monster and it had issues cranking it. If it was not fully charged, it would not take much to trip it out. At that point you either need a proper charger that can wake it up or a generic lithium charger that will charge the batt if you also jump it momentarily from another batt. More hassle than it was worth when a new lead acid works perfectly. I think my starter is just worn and it's cranking load is just enough to upset the Motobatt.
    So, if it was me, again, I would prob stick with the lead acid batt, but if you want the weight savings, which is significant, I have a not very old Motobatt LifePo I no longer need. Having said that, I would put it back in my Multi as it worked perfectly in that bike, but it has a 1yr old Yuasa in there...
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  4. #4
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    I had a Shorai in my VFR400 because I am a pussy and like electric start. It went really well but is now dead. The big advantage of them is they are way lighter than a lead acid. like 4kg lighter. I was considering one for my Street Triple when I replaced the battery but there was no stock when I wanted to do it so I went with another Motobatt. The big disadvantage is the cost of course: three Motobatts to one Shorai.
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  5. #5
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    TBH I never noticed in any way the difference in weight and feel of my bike with the Shorai battery. Sure in hand you can obviously notice the difference but once in the bike I couldn't. On a small bike it would make more difference but with a bike weighing around 190kg wet it's not a huge deal (to me).
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    Quote Originally Posted by onearmedbandit View Post
    TBH I never noticed in any way the difference in weight and feel of my bike with the Shorai battery. Sure in hand you can obviously notice the difference but once in the bike I couldn't. On a small bike it would make more difference but with a bike weighing around 190kg wet it's not a huge deal (to me).
    It's like saying a center stand is heavy. The weight is low and has no effect on handling.. A lead acid battery that is 4kg replaced by a lithium battery weighing 4kg less?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonez View Post
    It's like saying a center stand is heavy. The weight is low and has no effect on handling.. A lead acid battery that is 4kg replaced by a lithium battery weighing 4kg less?
    Well people spend thousands for bragging rights (yes, my Titanium Akrapovic is 4kg lighter than the stock exhaust). Its meaningful if it has meaning for you.

    Centre stands are not only heavy they hugely impinge on ground clearance and can cause accidents. I took mine off my CB750's for that reason (not the last one, but all the ones I owned in the 80's). I knew a guy who dragged one on the ground and it dug in and jacked the rear wheel off the ground, whereafter he exited stage left. lunched his bike nearly killed him. Yes we were street racing in the Rimutakas, what of it?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonez View Post
    It's like saying a center stand is heavy. The weight is low and has no effect on handling.. A lead acid battery that is 4kg replaced by a lithium battery weighing 4kg less?
    Exactly, a battery is low and centralised. An exhaust is hanging out to one side and far from the centre. Sure on a lightweight bike it'll have an impact but not for most roadbikes above the midweight class. But as HDC says if it is meaningful to you then it has meaning for you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryDorsetCase View Post
    Well people spend thousands for bragging rights (yes, my Titanium Akrapovic is 4kg lighter than the stock exhaust).
    They are fools and Rosi wannabees. Good for the economy though. Does the exhaust improve performance or is it just louder than stock?

    How was that guys suspension set up. Probably too soft. SOHC CB500s/CB550s handle far better than SOHC CB750s anyway. I had a CB750F1 for a while. The first thing I did when getting a bike in the early 80s was fit KONI shocks before anything else. They were around $450 a pair but well worth it.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by onearmedbandit View Post
    TBH I never noticed in any way the difference in weight and feel of my bike with the Shorai battery. Sure in hand you can obviously notice the difference but once in the bike I couldn't. On a small bike it would make more difference but with a bike weighing around 190kg wet it's not a huge deal (to me).
    Yep, I never noticed it either. But on the multi where the battery is high up, saving 3.5 kg is a big difference in weight. When the manufacturers save that much in weight from a previous model for instance, they use that as a selling point.
    Again tho, I didn't notice it, I bought the LiFe Po for it's cranking power as my bike was a shit starter. All the Multi 1200s crank over like the batt is on it's last legs. Weirdly, my Monster 1200 couldn't wait to start.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonez View Post
    They are fools and Rosi wannabees. Good for the economy though. Does the exhaust improve performance or is it just louder than stock?

    How was that guys suspension set up. Probably too soft. SOHC CB500s/CB550s handle far better than SOHC CB750s anyway. I had a CB750F1 for a while. The first thing I did when getting a bike in the early 80s was fit KONI shocks before anything else. They were around $450 a pair but well worth it.
    Well, here's a thing. I was going to trade my Street Triple R on the new model. It was 6kg lighter and had 6 more horsepowers. My 09 ST-R had as stock the then fashionable very large and heavy underseat exhaust. I am not sure where the cat was I think it was under the engine. So the pipes went out the front, under the motor, thru the cat then out the back to the two cans.

    I worked out for a lot less coinage I could swap the pipe off the bike to an Arrow lowboy. The difference to the handling was obvious and immediate because the pipe alone saved me the 6kg. But the biggest difference was tipping it into a corner, particularly on a trackday. Because you weren't levering those things that were a meter off the ground and a long way behind the vehicle centre of mass into then through then back up again. I was very pleasantly surprised. It also had the added advantage of sounding mean az bro. Oh, and the supplied dyno curve showed the extra 6hp when used with the K& N airfilter and new map flash.

    So in answer to your question(s) - yes it was noticeable, and yes it did make a difference. I also take your point about suspension. My bike has an Ohlins TTX36 rear built by Robert Taylor for me, and he also fettled the fork internals for my bodyweight and riding (lack of) style.
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  12. #12
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    Golden rule is fitting the biggest battery that fits, not necessarily what the manufacturer recommends. I've had a Shorai in my R1200GSA since 2012 ish. It actually has a load reduction circuit to help the battery get the bike started, it's that brutal.

    Initially Shorai at the time said a 12 or 14 something or other. That got the weirdest issues I've ever seen. Started half the time, then in that half, lights would be swapped, so off was on etc.
    Then Shorai recommended an 18 I think, then the 21, and that's what I've been running since 2012. Yes, in the cold you have to warm the battery first, basically load it with starts that aren't. Worst I had was the bike sitting outside in Matawai, sub zero overnight, frost everywhere. 5 starts before it was running.

    I have the Shorai BMS, the GSA used to be used year round, now 6 months from October to April, so the battery gets pulled out, run through the BMS then set to store until I put it back in.

    I like how long the battery takes to discharge, and I'll probably use more of them.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryDorsetCase View Post
    Well, here's a thing. I was going to trade my Street Triple R on the new model. It was 6kg lighter and had 6 more horsepowers. My 09 ST-R had as stock the then fashionable very large and heavy underseat exhaust. I am not sure where the cat was I think it was under the engine. So the pipes went out the front, under the motor, thru the cat then out the back to the two cans.

    I worked out for a lot less coinage I could swap the pipe off the bike to an Arrow lowboy. The difference to the handling was obvious and immediate because the pipe alone saved me the 6kg. But the biggest difference was tipping it into a corner, particularly on a trackday. Because you weren't levering those things that were a meter off the ground and a long way behind the vehicle centre of mass into then through then back up again. I was very pleasantly surprised. It also had the added advantage of sounding mean az bro. Oh, and the supplied dyno curve showed the extra 6hp when used with the K& N airfilter and new map flash.

    So in answer to your question(s) - yes it was noticeable, and yes it did make a difference. I also take your point about suspension. My bike has an Ohlins TTX36 rear built by Robert Taylor for to get the extra ponies..
    If you changed the air filter and remapped on a stock pipe what was result?

    Swapping a high pipes to a low ones makes sence. It puts the weight lower so no surprises there at all.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bonez View Post
    If you changed the air filter and remapped on a stock pipe what was result?

    Swapping a high pipes to a low ones makes sence. It puts the weight lower so no surprises there at all.
    I dont know - and I am not sure I believe the dyno sheet because I didnt do it or see it done
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  15. #15
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    Thanks for the comments!
    I bought Laava's battery and will report back.
    In terms of bike weight:
    - replaced the very heavy and high standard exhaust with GPR cans
    + added a centre standard, heavy but low. Essential for touring, in my view (chain maintenance, packing luggage, wheel removal ...)

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