Most modern motorcycles require a motorcycle battery to power its electrical systems. Currently, there are two main types available in the market: the conventional type and the maintenance-free type. Although they are an often overlooked component, knowing the differences between the two types of batteries can help one better understand their specific maintenance needs and cost.
The conventional type of battery consists of flooded electrolyte and cell accessible construction. Although these are less expensive than maintenance-free batteries, they require more attention. Because of the process of electrolysis and evaporation, water loss is normal and therefore, the periodic addition of distilled water is required. If the battery’s water level falls below the minimum fill line, permanent damage to the battery can occur as the lead plates become exposed to the air. For this reason, it’s important to maintain the water levels above the minimum fill lines.
With a maintenance-free battery, on the other hand, water loss is eliminated since the unit is designed to remain permanently sealed once it is filled with acid. Although slightly more expensive than conventional batteries, it is currently popular among many motorcycle enthusiasts. Because the battery unit is completely sealed, all of the acid is absorbed in the special plates and separators – there is no need to worry about acid leaks, or refilling the battery with distilled water. Even after months of normal use, there would be enough electrolytes to keep the plates covered because of the amount of free-standing electrolytes that are above the plates.
Knowing the difference between the two types of batteries can help a rider make a better decision as to what type of motorcycle battery to use for his bike and maintenance habits. Either way, properly maintaining battery will help ensure its long-term use, and can save money in the long run.