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Increase Battery Longevity So Your Bike Is Ready To Ride When You Are

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It's a beautiful day and your buddies call you up to arrange for a group ride. You are all excited to get out on the road, you go to your bike and uh oh.....it won't start.

A recent tech tip in Issue 031 of HOG Magazine's HDTLC section recommends paying attention your battery. "Today's high tech H-D motorcycles put higher demands on your battery, and draw a tiny charge even when it's not running." They recommend "hooking up a tender between rides, especially if it's going to sit for three weeks or longer". By doing so you "make sure your battery is always ready to roll and lengthen it's life".

Many batteries lives are shortened because as they lose charge they are never fully recharged. Many factors can contribute to a shortened battery life. Not riding for long periods of time leaves the battery vulnerable, add that to temperature extremes (heat in the summer and cold in the winter) and your battery will quickly lose its charge. The correct battery tender can ensure that your battery is always fully charged. It may also let you know when it's time to change the battery so you are not stranded when you're ready to ride. Nobody likes having their riding plans ruined by a dead battery!

With so many tender options out there how do you know which is right for you? The following explains your options:

Trickle Charger: This type of charger slowly recharges the battery and then shuts off. Some may turn on when the battery is down to 50-70% charge. This is called cycle charging which is not good for the battery. While this may seem like a good economic choice to maintain the battery, a trickle charger can actually damage the battery if left on too long and begins to overcharge the battery.

Smart Charger: Recharges the battery and then automatically keeps it fully charged. Some smart chargers use cycle charging during long-term maintenance and some may recharge deep discharged batteries from a low voltage that occurs in a short period of time, such as lights being left on.

Advanced Smart Charger: Capable of sensing if the battery is only deep discharged or sulfated to the point it refuses to accept a charge from a standard charger. The advanced smart charger can then recover the battery successfully, then fully recharge, test and maintain the battery at 100%.

So as you can see at the minimum you would want to maintain your battery with a Smart Charger. If you have a tendency to let your bike sit for long periods of time then you may want to choose the Advanced Smart Charger so that it can restore a decharged battery more efficiently. Prices range from around $30.00 to as high at $130.00. Any of these can be a good investment that keeps you from replacing your battery every season or taking the risk of a dead battery when you need it the most. Make sure your ride is ready when you are!

Happy riding!