What is a Motorcycle Battery?
A motorcycle battery is basically an electrical storage devices that stores electrical energy by using a reversible chemical reaction between the lead and the acid in a battery.
Battery Electrolyte (also known as Battery Acid) is a mixture of sulfuric acid and distilled water which is added to motorcycle batteries and is used as a conductor between the lead in the battery and the battery acid to create an electrical charge.
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In the motorcycle battery world, there are basically 3 types of motorcycle batteries:
- Type 1) Wet cell batteries (also known as lead acid batteries, conventional batteries and flooded cell batteries)
- Type 2) Dry cell batteries (also known as maintenance free batteries and sealed type batteries)
- Type 3) Gel motorcycle batteries (also known as gel filled batteries and gel acid batteries)
The differences between the batteries…
Type 1) Lead Acid Motorcycle Batteries (aka Wet cell, flooded cell and conventional batteries)…
Lead acid or conventional motorcycle batteries can usually be distinguished by a row of plastic stoppers in the top (3 stoppers in a 6 volt battery & 6 stoppers in a 12 volt battery).
Lead acid batteries usually have higher & lower battery acid levels on the front & have a white/opaque plastic lower casing.
Conventional motorcycle batteries reference numbers usually start with the letters YB, CB or GB (e.g YB14L-A2), Y, C or G (e.g Y60-N24L-A) or 12N (e.g 12N24-3).
Conventional/lead acid batteries hold the battery cell’s electrolytes in a liquid acid and give off Hydrogen gas when charging or discharging (Hydrogen gas is NOT nice stuff! It is highly explosive and toxic!!).
These batteries need to be periodically checked and topped up to the upper level mark with Distilled Water (NOT battery acid!!) as the water portion of the battery acid get’s used up over time.
Type 2) Maintenance Free Batteries (aka sealed batteries and dry cell)…
Maintenance Free or Sealed motorcycle batteries are usually supplied with the acid separately then once the battery is filled & the cap is placed in the top no further monitoring or topping up of the acid is required.
Maintenance Free or Sealed motorcycle batteries reference numbers usually start with the letters YTX, CTX or GTX (e.g YTX9-BS).
Maintenance free batteries usually have a black case (sometimes blue or grey) and have a stopper sunk into the top. Once filled, these batteries (which are Hermetically sealed and not refillable) DO NOT need to have the top removed or the acid level checked.
Sealed motorcycle batteries store the electrolytes in a low moisture paste and operate under pressure to recombine the oxygen and hydrogen that is produced during charging back into water.
Type 3) Gel Motorcycle Batteries (aka gel filled batteries or gel acid batteries)…
In gel acid or gel filled type batteries the battery number usually starts with the prefix YT, CT, GT or YTZ, CTZ or GTZ (e.g. YT9B-4 or YTZ10-S).
These batteries normally have a black, blue or grey casing and a black, blue or grey top.
These type of batteries are filled with a gel state acid and sealed when they are made and don’t require any topping up.
Gel acid batteries are often used in bikes where the battery has to lie at an angle or on it’s side (due to the gel acid not moving around).
Gel battery electrolytes are encased in a gelling agent (e.g. fumed silica) which keeps the acid in a ‘gel state’.
Gel filled batteries are Hermetically sealed and not refillable so the top DOES NOT need to be removed or the acid level checked.
Gel batteries operate under pressure to recombine the oxygen and hydrogen that is produced during charging back into water.
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