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Thread: 2009 12RT Don't Buy A Shorai Battery

  1. #1
    oldpilot
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    2009 12RT Don't Buy A Shorai Battery

    Bought a new Shorai battery 1year ago and really liked the lite weight and cranking power. After 1yr. the batt
    will not always start the bike and I have started carrying jumper cables just in case.
    I ride year round with almost no short trips ( normaly 60+ miles all paved roads ).
    The warranty person at Shorai wants the batt returned for evaluation and I maybe be allowed to buy another
    Shorai for $60. The orginal cost me $240 at local BMW dealer. After I send my batt in for evaluation and if they send me another batt my bike will be out of service for 2-3 weeks.
    Never again, I'm buying an Odessey Battery this time and hoping to convince my dealer to stop selling these batteries.

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    Now you know why I prefer not to be a beta tester- but hey I own BMWs anyway...

    Not sure why anyone would mess with lithiums unless they really need to save weight for racing (and maybe if the bike has a backup kick starter)- when a very reliable AGM is available for a lot less. I'l believe they're ready for prime time after I see an OEM pick them for a road bike with similar starting requirements to the BMW boxer- which is no where near as easy to crank as any other bike motor in the garage. If a Japanese maker has issues with them, just imagine how fine all those Chinese versions must be.

  3. #3
    oldpilot
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    Pretty easy to see why anyone would mess with these batteries, they are used every where including my
    cordless tools and of course my Spot GPS locator. It has surprised me how many trips the batteries last in the
    Spot.
    I have them in my flashlites also.
    Point is--- Shorai is making a lousy product and charging a pretty penny.
    And yes, any chance I get to remove weight from a motorcycle sounds good to me, my 12RT is a heavy
    bike in my opinion.

  4. #4
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    Now you know why I prefer not to be a beta tester- but hey I own BMWs anyway...
    Ok, that comment pisses me off. I own several BMW's, both cars and motorcycles - and am offended that you imply I'm some kind of beta tester after spending the kind of money BMW cost.





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    We all know BMW has no plans to improve the crap that doesn't work.....
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    We all ride that boat and deal with it in various ways. One of mine is not to buy new models in the first couple years because the bikes behave a lot like the American cages of old. Others rely on warranty and replace regularly. A small number go back to J brands. Got tempted once to buy a first year bike (used in this case) by a good price and am still paying for it- trying to get an 06 K-GT up to proper form a year later so its fit for touring use and not just local runs (after dealing with motor issues and recall updates, it still needs chassis work I haven't gotten to yet).

    A few current model amusements for their owners
    Those great new switches- carry a bottle of ice water for a fix- this was supposed to be the answer to the much less common failures of the older style but instead makes a good (non) running joke. Who else can screw up a switch?
    Water pumps- any good reason not to make a reliable one- what the heck is simpler than a water pump?
    Unshielded radiators- even my antique Transalp has fully protected rads from the factory that operate behind 2 layers of protection and doesn't need $300 of aftermarket parts on a $20K bike to keep them intact. Be interesting to see the wethead RT.
    BMW new designs always seem to have a few failures in the latest ideas and stupid oversights that make one wonder if real engineers ever looked at what was being built (eg the fuel system design on the hexhead/camhead). Remember Germany is a country where every kid with a bachelors degree is called doctor and was once the place where a dueling scar was a status symbol.

    Re those lithiums- there is a big difference between use for a drill and the punch needed to start a bike at low temp. There are a couple versions of the basic chemistry, issues like keeping cells balanced so batteries charge completely (not as simple as it sounds- how did you maintain yours?) and others. I have used various lithiums for a long time in sizes you can't buy in stores here due to shipping restrictions (eg C and D size lithium rechargeables) but that's a long way from picking them for a starter motor. Proportionally lower or controlled current draw for longer periods at good charge density is a strength of lithium types- not a massive instant dump. With all the effort some of the sport bike folks put into weight reduction, they'd jump at the chance to dump some battery weight if they thought the technology was ready for street use on starter motors. Based on my own experiences, I strongly doubt brands other than Shorai will be better.

  6. #6
    Proud Veteran SteveAikens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    We all ride that boat and deal with it in various ways. One of mine is not to buy new models in the first couple years because the bikes behave a lot like the American cages of old.
    For me, I think it's mostly a - wait and see if I'm willing to deal with the problems kinda thing. Once I know what the problems are - I can make that decision. I can tell you for certain I'm done buying BMW bikes new. Been there enough times I learned there are some surprises that aren't worth the hassle. Maybe I'd think of that differently if there were more dealerships to help take care of these failures but as it stands now - done with that.

    As to the experiments with batteries - I don't get that. I have never gotten less than 3 or more years on any battery in a BMW motorcycle. Considering the low cost and simple maintenance, I simply can't justify experimenting with a battery for road use.
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  7. #7
    Polarbear Polarbear's Avatar
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    Shorai;

    We got one for KLR'08 a year ago. NO issues at all with this battery. Shame they don't switch batteries out real quick for ya! That's bad service, imo. BMW dealer sells the battery, WHY don't they stand by what they sell??? 2-3 weeks down is totally not acceptable. One day is more real. "Cycle Gear" sells these too and does step up with anything they sell. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    Not sure why anyone would mess with lithiums .
    Because many need to be able to say they have one in their bike. After all, it is the latest and greatest graze...

    And I always though the batteries in cell phones , computers, etc were lithium-cobalt-oxide (LiCoO2) and the motorcycle variant was lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4)

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    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    Because many need to be able to say they have one in their bike. After all, it is the latest and greatest graze...

    And I always though the batteries in cell phones , computers, etc were lithium-cobalt-oxide (LiCoO2) and the motorcycle variant was lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4)
    You are right, I think. Both types have Lithium in the name and presumably Lithium in the battery but the chemistry is different. Comparing cell phone or camera batteries to a Shorai just isn't a good comparison.

    What counts electrically in a motor vehicle battery is first of all cold cranking amps (CCA) and secondarily total amp-hours when the bike won't start without lots of cranking.

    But with most valve regulated lead acid (VRLA = AGM and Gel types) and time will tell for the Shorai, what is equally important is mechanical integrity. All of the last 5 or 6 failures I have had with VRLA batteries is a physical, not chemical failure. A connector breaks internal to the battery creating an open curcuit between the positive and negative posts. Traditional wet cell batteries seem to be mechanicaly more robust and you usually get warning signs by slow cranking. With VRLA batteries you tend to have a functioning battery one instance, hear a pop or crack like sound, and then have nothing.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    A few current model amusements for their owners
    Hey, these are the good old days!

    We could talk about the first K100s that vibrated so bad you couldn't hold on and vibrated their muffler brackets to pieces. Recycled unused fuel past the cylinder head and back to an unshielded metal tank between your legs getting it hot enough to nearly burn you and getting it hot enough to induce vapor lock in certain conditions. There was more but memory seems repressed.

    These things were 100% on BMW and way bigger deals than switch and fuel strip problems, things from suppliers.

    It's a risk buying a BMW car or bike in the USA--within the borders of just my state I can get myself farther from a BMW dealer than one can anywhere within Germany. It's "buy-in" for sure, and I'll buy all save for run-flat tires on cars.

    And, (repeating) you're way more out on a limb with a lithium battery. You can take to the bank car manufacturers want to save weight (see again run-flat tires) and there's as yet no adoption of those batteries by any.
    Kent Christensen
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    With you on those run flats. Dumped them for regulars and a plug kit. (Using Yokos on the SOs 535i)

    i've got a close dealer- only 160 miles or so. Good that its so easy to get parts delivered.

    The only systematic flaw I remember from any of my J brand bikes were a Honda that liked to eat the rectifier/reg- a common issue with them- and Kawa sending me a reinforcing bracket in the mail to keep a fender weld from breaking..But I have to admit the J brand stuff I owned were the typical utilitarian UJM stuff- reliable and OK but nothing to get excited about otherwise.

    Most of my failures with any type of lithium have been individual cells breaking down- there seems to be a fairly high rate of that for typical stuff which is mostly of Chinese manufacture.

  12. #12
    oldpilot
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    Shorai warranty requires the customer to deal with them directly for claims. This involves filling out form online and waiting for approval to return the batt at my expense to see if a valid claim.
    if in Shorai opinion the batts defective I can pay them $ 75 for another battery plus of course about 2-3 weeks downtime waiting for a battery.
    My BMW dealer has agreed to sell me a new Odyessy at a generous discount which is a much better solution To restore my faith in always having a battery that will start the bike.
    No more Shorai batteries! I suspect a valid competitor in this market would change this experience in the
    future.

  13. #13
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    The warranty is bizarre. If I were trying to introduce a new technology to a generally conservative industry I'd assume the warranty risk to get market share- and not being able to stand those costs pretty much proves its not prime time ready. They're just selling you a replacement at cost as delivered on their books in the US (its well above any manufacturing cost unless the really have a thing for unprofitable margins), not much of a warranty.

  14. #14
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racer7 View Post
    The warranty is bizarre. If I were trying to introduce a new technology to a generally conservative industry I'd assume the warranty risk to get market share- and not being able to stand those costs pretty much proves its not prime time ready. They're just selling you a replacement at cost as delivered on their books in the US (its well above any manufacturing cost unless the really have a thing for unprofitable margins), not much of a warranty.
    That in and of itself would prevent me from buying a Shorai battery unless I wanted the very light weight to go in a model airplane or something similar. I don't, so I won't.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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    I am not familiar with the Shorai Lithium battery. Approximately how much lighter is it than an Odyssey battery that would fit the R12RT?

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