Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States
I think its great to offer experience based opinion of any product. Obviously I believe strongly in lithium batteries, but I have a different view on a few of your points.
1. Lithium batteries used in the powersports industry are all LFP chemistry. They tend to act "sleepy" below 45f. That is easily remedied by turning on the headlights for a few minutes, or cycling the fuel pump. By loading the battery, you are waking it up slowly and safely. After a few minutes of headlights on, it will be ready to crank.
The only time you would need to remove your battery from the bike to prevent it from getting cold...it would probably be too cold to ride. OTOH, we have a lot of customers on adventure bikes and snow machines, and they have no issue using these things in cold temps, provided they allow them to warm up as described.
1b. With the battery removed from the bike- or even simply disconnected- there is no need for a charger. Really. If nothing is pulling power from the battery, it will remain charged for years. I have a test pack in a freezer here that has lost about 25% capacity since...2010.
2. Standard trickle chargers dont work fine. In fact, a lead acid based charger will not have the right algorithm to know when a lithium battery is charged, so, while it may be capable of charging a lithium battery, as a trickle charger it will reduce its lifespan at best, and kill it at worst.
On the other hand, a lithium specific trickle charger will be a good thing- but it wont work on a lead acid battery for the same reasons.
2b. Many people dont understand the above, and wonder why the charging system works fine with lithium, while a lead acid charger does not. The answer is simple- a charging system's job is to power the motorcycle's accessories, and provide a small amount of current to the battery. It does not "sense" state of charge; it does not have a special charge pattern based on a complicated algorithm; it does not "read" any of the batteries parameters. Lastly, it isnt in use for days, weeks, or months on end. On the other hand, product specific chargers are computer controlled, with firmware written to accomplish specific things with the battery; they work only when needed; they read all of the batteries parameters.
3. Your need for a trickle charger depends on how much parasitic drain you have on your bike. Got an alarm? Youll likely need a charger for anything longer than a few days. Got a Demsosedici? Itll drain your battery in a few days as well. Some bikes are better than others in this regard, and Ive found over the last decade that its best to measure the parasitic draw, rather than make assumptions which might leave you with a dead battery.
4. While you may be able to salvage a lithium battery that has gone to 0v, that isnt the norm. Anything under 13v is considered completely drained, and anything under 12v voids Shorai's warranty. This is by far the number one killer of lithium batteries, so do whatever you can to avoid this from happening. Further, while it is possible to bring them back to working order, they will have dramatically reduced capacity. Again, Ive seen this hundreds of times over the years, and have measured this loss of capacity. This is true of all lithium (LFP) batteries, not just Shorai, Ballistic, FSP, etc.
5. Im not sure I understand this, so I dont have a comment on it.
6. Agreed. Big HP gains here.
7. If you are not going to ride your bike for an extended period of time, you should disconnect the battery from the bike. As I pointed out in 1b, you could leave it disconnected for the entire winter and it will maybe lose 5-10% of its capacity- not enough to notice when you are ready to ride in spring.