How to Charge a Motorcycle Battery

man riding a motorbike

One thing that all vehicle owners will run into is a dead battery, so it’s important to know how to charge a motorcycle battery. It can be a hassle to try to start a motorcycle once the battery dies, but there are a few ways that you can get your bike up and running again.

Starting a motorcycle with a dead battery is definitely more of a challenge than starting a car with a dead battery. Luckily you can use a battery charger, jump-start the battery, or push-start your motorcycle. Any of these methods work well. The one that is best for you depends on what type of tools you have on hand and where you are when your battery dies.

Using a Battery Charger

The first method we’re going to take a look at is using a battery charger. This is an easy way to replenish your battery if you are at home or in a good spot to use a charger.

  1. Before you can decide which type of charger will work for your battery, you need to figure out what type of battery your motorcycle has. You can find this info by checking the manual for your bike. If you are not somewhere with access to your manual or you’ve lost it, you can also read the information printed on the battery to find out.
  2. Pick the correct charger based on the type of battery you have. You should be able to use a smart, float, or trickle charger on most types of batteries. If you have a lithium battery, these chargers should not be used but if you have a lead-acid, gel, or absorbed glass mat battery, any of these chargers will most likely work.
    • Trickle chargers are simple to use. They convert AC power to DC. Be sure to turn it off so it doesn’t overcharge the battery.
    • Float chargers provide a gentle and constant current to the battery. These are the most common style that you will find.
    • Smart chargers are more expensive but they work well. They monitor the progress and stop charging when the battery has finished filling up.
  3. If you have a lithium battery, you’ll need to get a charger made specifically for a lithium battery.
  4. Remove the battery carefully. If you have never removed the battery from your motorcycle, read the manual and follow the proper steps to avoid damage to the battery, bike, or both. In most cases you will remove the negative cable, then the positive. After that, you’ll detach it from any other point that it is connected to your bike.
  5. Connect the battery charger and let the battery charge. It is best to charge your battery in a well-ventilated area or outside.
  6. Keep an eye on the battery so you do not overcharge, as this can damage the battery. You can use a multimeter to read the voltage. If you are using a smart charger, it will let you know when the battery is full.
  7. Replace the battery.

Jump-Starting

Another way you can replenish the battery enough to get your bike started is by utilizing a pair of jumper cables. You can jump-start the bike with a car or another motorcycle.

  1. When using a car to jump-start, make sure the car is off. If you are using a motorcycle, it should be running.
  2. On the dead bike, connect the red clamp to the positive and the black clamp to the frame of the bike. Be sure the red clamp is not touching any metal aside from the positive terminal on the battery.
  3. On the working battery, carefully attach the red clamp to the positive terminal. Make sure it does not touch anything else that is made from metal.
  4. Put the remaining black clamp on the negative terminal on the working battery. Be very careful and ensure the black clamp does not touch the red clamp at all.
  5. Start the dead motorcycle. If there is any energy left within the battery, it should start pretty quickly. If, after a few tries, it is still not starting, then the battery is probably drained completely. Let the bike run for a few minutes in order to warm up the engine.
  6. Disconnect the black cable from the working battery, then from the dead battery. Disconnect the red from the working battery, then from the dead battery.
  7. Let the bike that was jump-started run for a while. Ideally, you would drive it home and then you can turn it off. Alternatively, you can leave it on and drive it to a mechanic or to a store to buy a replacement battery.

Push Start

This method should only be used after you determine that it is definitely the battery and not the ignition kill switch, low fuel, or a number of other issues.

  1. There are two ways to go about this. If you have friends with you, they can help by pushing you. If you are by yourself, it is best to start at the top of an incline.
  2. Shift into 2nd or 3rd gear. 1st gear is not ideal because the bike could jerk forward and stop or it can cause the back tires to lock up. Both of these things can be dangerous.
  3. Sit on the bike and pull the clutch in and start rolling the bike. Either have your friends push you or you can move it on your own.
  4. Once you are moving at about 5mph, release the clutch. 5mph is a jogging pace.
  5. After your bike starts, switch to neutral and push the brakes. You should try to rev as much as possible and pump the throttle to keep the engine running.

Conclusion

When it comes to a motorcycle having a dead battery, there are a few easy ways you can get it up and running again. If you’re new to using motorcycles and don’t know how to charge a motorcycle battery, the processes are simple. Whether you push start, use a battery charger, or jump-start the bike, you’ll be on the road again in no time!