Do Motorcycle Batteries Charge While Riding?

Do Motorcycle Batteries Charge While Riding?

  • Updated: 2023-07-29

Moreover, if you are rather new to owning and riding a motorcycle, you probably have some questions on whether the battery charges while riding and on how to best preserve it throughout time. This article is here to help you with this information. After all, the battery is certainly one of those key components that can either make or break a riding day.

There is nothing fun about being stuck on the side of the road with your comfortable motorcycle riding boots on, instead of discovering rather remote areas and riding, so you want to make sure that you are not going to find yourself in this situation anytime soon. The other effect of having a battery that doesn’t work as it should is that your bike might be stuck in the garage for a while.

Charging while riding

Motorcycle batteries have a similar relationship with engine functions as car ones do, meaning that the alternator includes a regulator that is responsible for charging while riding. This is definitely a helpful feature, but there are several things you need to keep in mind as you are getting ready for a riding season.

First of all, the alternator in the bike might not be powerful enough to completely recharge the battery if it previously died. For example, if you happen to forget the headlight on during the night and the battery is completely drained, there is a chance that after you jump start it in the morning, it will not be replenished all the way through normal riding.

What you need to do in this case is to connect it to an external charger (or maintainer) to get the job done. In case you want to know for sure what the state of the battery is, the only way to do this is by using a dedicated tester. Such accessories can assess and determine the health of a battery in just a few seconds.

The good thing about them is that they also let you know if a complete charging session will restore it, or if you need to buy a new one altogether. A bit later we will also take a look at what you can do in order to protect the battery throughout time so that you can use it for as long as possible.

Another aspect when it comes to recharging batteries during riding is that even if the alternator is capable of doing the trick, you still need to run the bike on the road in order to get the right effective results. For those cases when the battery was completely drained, it’s advisable to take it out for a spin and then head back straight to the garage in case it refuses to start up again.

Even though in most cases a ride is enough to bring the battery back to life for normal use, there are always those unforeseen situations when it can refuse to work properly, so it’s better to avoid taking chances and ending up on the side of the road.

If you do notice any signs that tell you it might not be in top shape yet, you should use a charger to bring the battery back to its fully charged state.

A matter of safety

No matter what type of motorcycle you have, it does have some kind of alternator that is specially designed to keep the battery operating at normal parameters during rides. This is one of the important safety features these pieces of machinery include and that riders can rely on.

Since safety should be the top priority in any circumstance, especially when it comes to riding a motorcycle, pay attention to signs that might indicate something is wrong. If the bike has frequent issues starting up, then it might be time for a new one altogether, and the best way to determine whether this is the case is by using a tester.

One of the questions some users have, especially if they own more than one type of vehicle, is whether one can use a car charger to recharge a motorcycle battery. Normally, both types of vehicles feature 12-volt batteries, which means that you should not have any problems using the same device to get this done.

However, you want to make sure that the car charger you intend to use has adjustable current settings since if the amperage used is too high, there is no doubt the smaller motorcycle battery might end up getting fried. Of course, the recommended way is to use a charger made for motorcycle batteries and avoid taking the risk of damaging it.

Battery life

If you’ve bought a new battery for your motorcycle and you want to know how long it will last before you will need to make that investment again, the answer to this question is that it depends on how you are going to take care of it.

Normally batteries should last for about 3 years, but depending on how you decide to use it, it can go for even longer or it can last for less than a year. The most common mistake riders tend to do that ruins batteries is simply leaving them to die completely, and doing this often.

The reason why this is not a good approach is actually quite simple. Given their construction, lead-acid batteries lose part of their charging power each and every single time they are completely drained, which means they get a bit more permanently damaged with every such episode. Moreover, this only needs to happen a handful of times before the unit is ruined.

There are several ways in which batteries get drained, the most common ones including letting a bike sit in the garage for a long period of time, only riding for short distances which means that the charging system doesn’t work long enough to recharge it, a faulty installation, using the wrong type of charger, or even adding excessive electrical accessories.

How often should the battery be recharged?

If you want to make sure that your battery functions properly for as long as possible, you need to recharge it at least once every 30 days. Lead-acid batteries are known for having high self-discharge rates since they lose up to 1% of their power each day they sit. Of course, this rate is even higher if you’ve added other accessories or advanced electronics.

Another approach, if you don’t want the hassle of remembering to recharge it, is to simply keep it on a trickle charger. This applies if you don’t ride it at least once a week. On the other hand, if you do pay attention to the battery and take proper care of it, chances are you will be able to rely on it for those nice rides when you simply want to enjoy a worry-free experience.