How to Identify your motorcycle battery
Firstly, the easiest way is the part number printed on the battery. Job done. But it's not always that simple, sometimes the wrong battery is fitted, the battery is missing, or there just is no part number on the existing spent battery. There are several steps that can be taken so you can be assured to have the right battery for the right application.
Every application where a battery is used is a compromise of the requirements of the electrical system and the available space to package the battery. It is for this reason there are many different sizes, types, and shapes for all the different applications. Choosing the right one is not always the simplest task.
To measure out a battery the simplest method is the length, width, and height. The terminals are typically considered the top of the battery. Sometimes where a battery has terminals that are taller than the top plate of the battery the height is measured including the terminals, this is referred to as terminal height. Measurements should also be made as accurate as possible to the millimetre as often there is little clearance for errors.
We can identify the location of the terminals on the battery with a few simple steps. Firstly, imagine the battery sitting on a workbench with the terminals on the top. Now with the terminals closest side towards you, which side is the positive on? Left, or right? This is referred to as a left hand positive or a right hand positive. It is always wise to take note of the battery polarity as having them the wrong way around when purchasing a new battery can cause fitment issues if the cabling is not long enough to reach. It is also dangerous to cross the power cables or stretching them to try and make the wrong battery fit.
There are also different styles of terminals, predominantly on motorcycle batteries a bolt in type is often used. This is style of connecter is often an eyelet connector on the motorbike's electrical harness and is screwed directly to the terminal. It is very important to make sure all connections are tightened to avoid vibration and still maintain a strong clean connection.
Sure, as I said earlier this is the easiest and best way to identify a battery. But what do all those letters and numbers mean? Yes, they are actually useful and not just a knocked over scrabble board. Most part numbers will refer to the Amp hour capacity, the shape and/or and the polarity of the battery. But as time goes by and manufacturers get more specific to their needs these numbers and letter are updated and changed.
We are always happy to cross-reference any motorcycle battery part number to give you piece of mind that what you are purchasing is guaranteed to fit correctly.
For any cross references or part number queries just contact us.
Bigger is not always better
Finding the right size replacement is always the better alternative than trying to force an oversized battery where it just is not going to fit. Often there is a misconception that going bigger is an "upgrade", but several factors need to be addressed. Is the charging system up to task of the larger battery? Does it physically fit securely and without rubbing? Does the electrical harness connect safely without stretch? If going for a smaller batter will it have the capacity to do the job?
CCA vs AMP Hours
These are the two most common ways to measure a motorcycle battery for capacity and performance, they are not mutually exclusive of each other. There is always a compromise between these two ratings to get the maximum from the battery. To simplify, the Amp hours is how much power the battery can store, and the Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) is how much power the battery can output all at once. Trying to swap out and "upgrade" to a different battery chasing one of these ratings over the other can inherently create issues that were not there before. More Ah and less CCA, can make the motorcycle engine harder to start as less power will be going to the starter, conversely more CCA and less Ah can reduce how long the battery will last as it will be working much harder with the charging system.
The OEM manufacturer has already set out the balanced requirements for all aspects around the battery for the best performance available.
If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.