For most people, 2012 was the year that gave rise to a slew of light weight, dry, lithium powered motorcycle batteries. These batteries touted long service life and the ability to hold a charge for a very, very long time. Many manufacturers even offered a 3 year warranty on their batteries. If you haven’t already realized, the lead acid battery you’re lugging around in your motorcycle is using technology that’s nearly a hundred years old. There’s a long list of downsides and limitations but the most well known is the excessive weight.
Lithium batteries will shave, in some instances, almost 9 lbs off your motorcycle. In a race or performance application this is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge. For the rest of us, they’re great because they don’t leak and often do not require any charging even if left sitting plugged in for the winter. The “cool factor” also can’t be ignored as they are often very, very tiny.
There are 3 makers of lithium motorcycle batteries that I’m going to compare today; the first being Ballistic Performance Components. Ballistic batteries are positioned more towards the performance & gadget oriented motorcycle rider because they are not sized to OEM spec and often can fit in the palm on your hand. You can purchase a quick disconnect kit for your ballistic battery as well as a Ballistic branded BMS balance charger. A balance charger is best for lithium batteries as it charges each individual cell rather than stop when the first cell reaches full capacity (as is the case with a standard battery charger).
Shorai has been on the scene for a while as well but they offer an OEM-spec sized lithium battery that will fit comfortably into your stock battery box. A shorai battery, in my opinion, is perfect for the plug-n-play guy that just wants some new technology without much hassle. Another feature of the shorai battery line is that they offer a ‘duration’ battery which gives you an little extra oomph if you have additional electrical items on your motorcycle like extra lights, GPS, etc.
A relatively new comer to the world of lithium motorcycle batteries is Mirai. A Mirai battery shares the same basic concept as Shorai but Mirai goes a step further to include heavy duty terminals on all 4 sides of the battery.