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Lithium Ion Thunderdome

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Published in: Gear

Lithium Ion Battery Roundup

It’s the post apocalypse, you have six gallons of stolen fuel in your KLR, your thumb hits the starter and you get nothing. All you can hear is the rising volume of the mob coming for you. It’s a scenario that could have been prevented if your battery had built in low-voltage protection, or at the very least ol’ faithful could be a little lighter; but instead your boots slip in the sand as you push your mule as hard as you can muster. We’ve gathered seven lithium batteries to consider IF you make it to safety.

What’s in a Battery and What’s the Difference?
All batteries rely on a chemical reaction to store and discharge electricity, the key difference between lithium and lead acid batteries (including gel and Absorbed Glass Mat or AGM batteries) is the chemistry that provides the aforementioned reaction. Lead acid requires some form of liquid acid but lithium is a dry chemistry and allows for similar cranking performance from a much smaller and lighter package than lead acid.

Lithium Ion Thunderdome

LITHIUM PROS:
Less Weight—If you’re constantly seeking performance by any means possible, lithium batteries can provide significant weight savings most noticeable on small, light motorcycles zipping across the wasteland.
Smaller Package—The smaller form factor will also be easier to fit in the custom monstrosity you’ve cobbled together from the remains of less fortunate vehicles. However, if you have a stock-sized battery box, most lithium batteries include foam pads to help keep things snug and secure.
Modern Technology—Lithium is currently some of the newest battery technology available and most batteries have built-in maintenance circuits to prevent dangerous overcharge or discharge. Some offer built-in gauges or the ability to keep enough power to start after you leave your aux lights on…again.
Low Self-Discharge—If your motorcycle hibernates for long periods of time, lithium batteries should go weeks or months and still crank strong; given you’ve appropriately wired your farkles to prevent parasitic draw.

LITHIUM CONS:
More Expensive—With new, advanced technology comes additional expense. You may also need a new charger or tender if your ol’ faithful is not lithium compatible.
Temperature Tolerances—Lithium batteries behave differently in very cold or very hot temperatures. Manufacturers recommend not charging below 0°C/32°F or above 45°C/113°F and the chemical reaction slows down as lithium batteries get colder, which can give the impression of a dead battery even when charged. A workaround is to turn on your lights for a few moments to warm up the battery before hitting the starter.
Electrical Parasites—If you have a plethora of electrical accessories wired directly to your battery or frequently power your devices with the engine off, lithium will discharge more quickly than lead acid batteries which generally have a higher amp hour capacity.
Recovery—Lithium batteries cannot be recovered in the same way as lead acid batteries, so leaving your lights on may have more expensive consequences than just having to bump start your bike.

Our Contenders

1. AntigravityAntigravity has been lightening loads since 2009. In 2018 they introduced Re-Start technology, an advanced built in battery management system that stops discharge when it senses overuse but saves just enough juice to crank the engine one more time.
antigravity atz10 rsMSRP: $119.00–$399.99
AntigravityBatteries.com

2. Shorai: Another lightweight heavy hitter in lithium batteries is Shorai; founded in 2010 Shorai makes batteries in a variety of case sizes and polarity orientations to fit your bike just right.
Shorai lfx12az bs12
MSRP: $99.95–$329.95
ShoraiPower.com

3. EarthX: EarthX emphasizes their battery management systems to keep the batteries safe and powerful for their lifetime. A notable feature is their centrally located terminals to allow for easier fitment if your bike has a southpaw terminal setup; EarthX also specializes in custom fitment and aircraft batteries.
earthx ETX12A
MSRP: $139–$899
EarthXbatteries.com

4. Fire Power/WPS (Western Power Sports): Fire Power boasts 50 years of experience in the powersports industry; their Featherweight series of lithium batteries include a handy built-in test gauge.
firepower 490 2500MSRP: $88.95–$289.95
FirePowerParts.com | WPS-Inc.com

5. BikeMaster: BikeMaster is a stalwart in the motorcycle accessory world. They offer a quality lithium battery at a reasonable price.
bikemaster dlfp14zsMSRP: $89.95–$319.95
BikeMaster.com

6. Battery Tender: They don’t just make chargers, Battery Tender also has lithium batteries with quad terminals for easier fitment.
batterytender btl24a480cw
MSRP: $119.95–$299.95
BatteryTender.com

7. Parts Unlimited: Parts Unlimited is one of the largest powersports distributors in the world; they also offer a budget friendly lithium battery with a built-in gauge.
PartsUnlimited lithium battery
MSRP: $88.95–$289.95
Parts-Unlimited.com

Did we miss anything? What do you have in your bike? Let us know in the comments below!

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