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Thread: Battery life

  1. #1

    Battery life

    I know there is no real answer to my question but I am hoping for "an order of magnitude" result. I have operated with many "rules of thumb" such as change your oil every 3000 miles. Now my Toyota needs changed at 10,000 miles. As such I realize many of my old rules are outdated.

    So, here goes. How long should/could my motorcycle battery last. I am riding a 2015 R1200RT with 40,000 miles on it. The battery is original and as such is 40 months old to me. If there is a date stamp on it I don't know as I haven't pulled it out to look. Would it be foolish to keep the original battery and go on a long ride in the back country of Mexico in October?

    I would appreciate input and advice.

    Thanks
    Dale

    ps I ride the bike at least once a week year around and often everyday. I just now, "finally", was able to search for a thread answering this question, sort of, but decided to let this one float anyway.
    Last edited by dbutterfield; 08-21-2018 at 02:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by dbutterfield View Post
    I know there is no real answer to my question but I am hoping for "an order of magnitude" result. I have operated with many "rules of thumb" such as change your oil every 3000 miles. Now my Toyota needs changed at 10,000 miles. As such I realize many of my old rules are outdated.

    So, here goes. How long should/could my motorcycle battery last. I am riding a 2015 R1200RT with 40,000 miles on it. The battery is original and as such is 40 months old to me. If there is a date stamp on it I don't know as I haven't pulled it out to look. Would it be foolish to keep the original battery and go on a long ride in the back country of Mexico in October?

    I would appreciate input and advice.

    Thanks
    Dale
    Hello:

    Not that I am an expert, but in your situation I would think I have three options:

    1. Take the bike to a shop. They should be able to check both the voltage and the strength (forgot the specific units of measurement used) of the battery. Based on its strength, you should have a good idea how much life is left on the battery.

    2. These days they sell very compact, light weight lithium based jump start batteries for about $100 - $120. A good quality jump starter should be able to jump start your motorcycle a multitude of times (if you believe the literature). Took one on a recent trip to Minnesota, and although I did not have to use it, it gave me peace of mind.

    3. Buy a new battery.

    Good luck with your search.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbutterfield View Post
    If there is a date stamp on it I don't know as I haven't pulled it out to look. Would it be foolish to keep the original battery and go on a long ride in the back country of Mexico in October?

    I would appreciate input and advice.

    Thanks
    Dale

    ps I ride the bike at least once a week year around and often everyday.
    Hi Dale,

    If you have had the bike since day 1 and ride once a week or more the battery probably will go for at least 4y, but since the replacement cost really is not bad I'd be replacing it for any trips away from a quick and convenient replacement were I going into the back country anywhere. I got this advice from the two BMW techs where I obtain service when I discussed the issue prior to a trip up into the Canadian Rockies earlier this summer. My '16 RT had 30K miles prior to the trip and I had them do a proper test on it and it was fine then, but as I say I will replace it right at 3y, that is my personal strategy for this issue.

  4. #4
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Depends on many factors in my experience-
    Location/climate
    Frequency of use
    Quality of battery
    Luck
    Complete discharge cycles
    Battery Tender
    IMO, anything past three years is a bonus.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  5. #5
    The big thing is to be looking for signs of failure. Usually hard starting, flaky electronics, etc.
    Have the battery load tested.
    This is a simple process but typically needs to be removed.

    I have had experience in some batteries literally lasting 20 years and other gone in two.

    The best thing is to have it checked with the load test. once you see that the load is going low or the above mentioned aspects, time for a new one.


    here is a simple guide.

    https://www.revzilla.com/common-trea...rcycle-battery

  6. #6
    I have my own load tester, but when I travel beyond the comfort zone, I take an Antigravity Microstart lithium jumper with me.

    Photo196-M.jpg

    It bailed my fat out of the fire on a trip to Labrador a couple of years ago. Woke up and found the battery dead after a long day of riding the day before. There would have been no way to predict this particular battery failure. I'd have taken the jumper even with a brand new battery.

    bibler-M.jpg
    Last edited by beemerphile; 08-21-2018 at 08:59 PM.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  7. #7
    bored, bored ... dlowry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
    I have my own load tester, but when I travel beyond the comfort zone, I take a Antigravity Microstart lithium jumper with me.
    +1 on the Antigravity. I bought one years ago and use it around the house regularly, and it goes on the road with me. From starting the lawn mower, charging phones, it's good insurance on the road... The charge LASTS with these units as well. It's not something you have to worry about discharging when not in use.

    To your battery question, my 2005 RT went 7 years on the battery before a load test showed it was weakening. The bike was still starting fine with it, but I replaced it just because. I always tendered it over the winters. The service intervals are so much longer nowadays on most items related to our newer bikes and cars.
    Dave...
    ----------------
    15 R1200 RT, 12 G650GS
    83 Suzuki XN85 D Turbo

  8. #8
    How much for a new battery?
    vs
    How much to get bailed out in Mexico?

  9. #9
    wanderer
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbutterfield View Post

    So, here goes. How long should/could my motorcycle battery last. I am riding a 2015 R1200RT with 40,000 miles on it. The battery is original and as such is 40 months old to me. If there is a date stamp on it I don't know as I haven't pulled it out to look. Would it be foolish to keep the original battery and go on a long ride in the back country of Mexico in October?

    .
    My RS is of the same age. Currently the battery is fine. I will likely change it next spring when the riding season starts. No hard logic to do this than it is easier/cheaper to change the battery on my terms than some where on the road or having a weak battery screw up a last minute trip.

  10. #10
    ABC,AMA(LIFE),MOA,RA,IBMW MANICMECHANIC's Avatar
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    Any battery, no matter how new, old, cheap or expensive, can fail at any time without warning. For the most part, when properly cared for, they last an amazingly long time. Keeping it on a maintenance device when the bike isn't being ridden is probably the best thing you can do to prolong its life. If the battery is not maintenance-free, then do check the fluid levels occasionally. Also occasionally, check the condition of the terminals and connections for tightness and corrosion. Give the battery a fighting chance.
    F.O.G.Rider, Rounder #6,
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  11. #11
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    A digression, but where in the "back country of Mexico" do you have in mind' Stop in and say hello if you get near Guadalajara.
    Will
    MOA #2607 - 2015 R1200R Cordoba Blue
    Previous: 1999 R1100RT Tundra Green • 1987 R100RT Grey • 1970 R60/5 Black • 196? Honda 305 Super Hawk • 195? Sears Allstate 50 cc Moped

  12. #12
    Registered User easy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stebe View Post
    How much for a new battery?
    vs
    How much to get bailed out in Mexico?

    Good advice.

    E.


    "He that lives upon hope will die fasting."
    Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

  13. #13
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    It's been my experience that there is no set time for a battery to fail. I have had the last one year and up to seven years on my truck.
    As a general rule of thumb I replace the bike battery every three years, specially when it looks like my LD trip will take me in very remote areas. YMMV
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2018 R1200 GSA Triple Black
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA, ‘17 R1200RT

  14. #14
    In the good old days of rather heavy wet cell lead acid batteries you could detect the decline of the battery by observing the no load standing voltage decline over time. This was a chemical deterioration that could be observed with a volt meter or a hygrometer.

    With sealed VRLA (AGM, Gel, etc) they cram more thinner plates in to get performance but that makes the battery internals fragile. So the failure mode is often sudden breakage of a connector inside the battery. No warning! One and done.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 08-22-2018 at 09:57 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
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  15. #15
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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