Motorcycle Battery Basics – Different Kinds of Motorbike Battery

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.

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 Motorcycle Battery

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)…

Sealed Motorcycle Batteries

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)…

Gel Motorcycle 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.

Need a battery charger? Buy motorbike battery chargers on Amazon…

If you have any questions about the different types of batteries please post them below ๐Ÿ™‚


23 responses to “Motorcycle Battery Basics – Different Kinds of Motorbike Battery”

  1. Thanks for the knowledge now I understood what dry cell and wet cell battery is all abt t

  2. Joey Abrigo Avatar
    Joey Abrigo

    Then which of the 3 types of batteries last longer and of good performance?

    1. Maintenance free and lead acid batteries probably last the longest.

  3. Raghav Sharma Avatar
    Raghav Sharma


    I have yamaha fz-16 bike which have Exide 5ah wet cell battery and i replace it with Exide black panther dry gel battery.should I take the right step or not.Is this battery works fine or not.please reply as soon as possible


    1. What’s the power output of the Panther gel battery?

  4. Binny Sabharwal Avatar
    Binny Sabharwal

    I would like to know the meaning of LB used ahead of numbers in the batteries eg 2.5 LB

    1. The 1st letters (e.g. LB, CB, YB, GB etc) are a manufacturers mark, different manufacturers use different letters.

      More info is available on the site below:

  5. hi! I’m curious about the meaning of 3L, 4L, 5L, and so on. A honda TMX motorcycle has 3L battery. What does that mean?

    1. Never seen a 3L on a bike battery so not sure. Is the number on it’s own or part of a longer number?
      If part of a longer number (e.g. 12N7-3B) the last number and letter would mean the type of battery terminal.

  6. HOW often should the dry cell be charged?? Mine is tata green exide battery in a scooty pep

    1. How often do you use the scooter and has the battery been going flat (if so how long does it last)?

    2. No need to replace until it no longer holds a charge. Depending on use and environment a battery can last anything from 1 to 10 years, provided you never fully discharge it and keep it on a trickle charger during prolonged periods of little or no use. A word of warning though: when putting lead acid batteries on trickle charge for extended periods, they can dry out and therefore need frequent attention and checking.

  7. gordon martin Avatar
    gordon martin

    which of the 3 types gives the best starting power.

    1. Lead acid batteries give the most starting power, but do require occasional maintenance and are larger then gel and maintenance free batteries?

  8. Emmanuel Gumapac Avatar
    Emmanuel Gumapac

    Hi there. Good day!

    I just want to ask what is the difference between a 2.5L or a 4L? Battery? Im planning to buy a battery.

    Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. If you mean the difference between a YB2.5L-C and a YB4L-B battery, a YB2.5L-C provides around 2.5 amp/hour (and 25 cold cranking amps) and a YB4L-B provides around 4 amps/hour (and 56 cold cranking amps).

      The 4L is more powerful then the 2.5L

      More info…..

      1. So this technically means that when I see a 3L 4L 5L 6L would mean 3Amps, 4Amps and so on… I have been searching for batteries and f you don’t know what those 3L up to 12L mean then you have to study them. Because people like me who doesn’t know about those figures and codes will always someone like you with the knowledge.. Try searching online and you’ll see 3L up to 12L as a variety of these batteries for motocycles..

  9. Question. Im not sure which battery my old honda 250 cb uses. According to user manual I found online, says Vacuum sealed dry battery. When looking online for batteries to buy I keep seeing gel ones suggested… Can they be swapped the batteries? If I buy the gel one can it still be used if there was a Dry sealed one currently?

  10. James P Connors III Avatar
    James P Connors III

    Hydrogen gas is not toxic.
    In high concentrations it can act as an asphyxiant but that is not the same thing.

  11. Does anyone know the difference between a ytx and a ptx battery please?

    1. Normally a different 1st letter means a different manufacturer (so YTX9-BS, GTX9-BS, CTX9-BS etc batteries are all the same just from different manufacturers/brands)

  12. This is interesting, thanks White Dog.

    My bike, a 2002 R1 which I ride intermittently, uses a Yuasa YT12B-BS. I bought a new battery recently.

    I want to maintain it with a solar panel, though I’m not very knowledgeable about the considerations. As far understand, I need a panel (the higher the W the better), a controller matches to (?) the battery’s Ah limit, a lead(probably extended), a connector to the battery. I’ve already got an Oxford
    I found something, a 200W panel and with a choice of A limited controller, from 10-100A, in 10A increments.

    Would I be right in selecting the 10A controller? My prime interest is in having a battery which starts well every time (its now mainly in city stop start riding as well as some rides between cities less frequently) and and lasts for ages. The Yuasa is reputed to be one of or the best durability +reliability battery but its too expensive to take the chance.

    (Years ago batteries seem to last for ever. Now its seems batteries need replacing every year or 2. These “improvements” e.g. size/weight reduxn serve race track/ CO2 figures, but for every day use transfer cost or tedium to the rider e.g. AGM batteries, smaller lighter, better CO2 and race track performance but poor durability, poor capacity ie starting reliability. Or small petrol tanks good for MotoGP laps but for everyday use you end with a bed in the petrol station. Its a real PITA.)



  13. David Leach Avatar
    David Leach

    Hi, could you please tell me the difference between a Yuasa YT19BL-BS MF battery and a Yuasa YT19BL -BS WC battery.
    Thanks….Dave Leach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *