Dear MOby,

Could you tell which is the best battery type for my S1000RR?

Many thanks, Ray


Dear Ray,

Hmmm, looks like most BMW S1000RRs have AGM batteries as original equipment – Absorbent Glass Mat. That’s a step above the old lead-acid filled battery for sure, and you can read all about AGM tech here if you’re interested. Your BMW dealer will sell you a new one for $158. Some people just feel more comfortable with original equipment, and we can all be happy that original for most of us is no longer the 6-volt antique in the rubber box in the lead photo.

Browsing over to a place like BikeBandit.com, of course, opens up your options. There, you’ll find the same AGM unit (probably made by Yuasa) for the same $158.52. But alongside that one, you’ll see a plethora of battery options including lithium, lithium ion and gel types, in a range of prices from $63.95 to $208.99. (Also a Parts Unlimited AGM with the same specs as your original for $79.95, or even your local Wal Mart for similar AGM battery pricing.)

All I can tell you from personal experience is I’m a huge fan of lithium batteries. I stuck a Shorai battery in my R1 in early 2010, and when I walked out to my hot garage right now to give the starter a poke, it spun the engine up quickly and the bike fired almost instantly. I do start the bike every couple of weeks, but that’s really only to keep the carb jets clean; the battery doesn’t even need a trickle charger unless your bike has a clock or an alarm that draws a little power. Even then, you can just disconnect the battery if you don’t want to buy a charger. Lithium batteries also weigh a lot less than other types.

The Shorai to fit your bike is model number LFX19A4-BS12, with a claimed weight of 3.2 pounds and a price tag of $199.95 (though they’re having a 20% off sale right now).

We also hear good things about WPS Featherweight batteries, also available at BikeBandit – another lithium ion unit, with a claimed weight of 2 pounds and a $158.95 bottom line.

With any “new” technology of course, there will be naysayers with tales of explosions and fires, and the Samsung Note 7 and hoverboard meltdowns didn’t do lithium ion’s reputation any good. But those were caused by corner-cutting manufacturing techniques. Lithium ion is a mature technology that’s been around for more than 25 years. Pick a reputable manufacturer and you should enjoy years of truly maintenance-free instant starts.


Send your moto-related questions to AskMOAnything@motorcycle.com. If we can’t answer them, we’ll at least make you feel temporarily better by thinking you’re talking to somebody who knows what they’re talking about even if we don’t. And if we’re wrong, some smart aleck like Dick Ruble will let us all know immediately.

Recent Ask MOs:
How are Mass Dampers Used on a Motorcycle?
Is There A Law Against Holding Up Traffic In The Left Lane?
Which is it: Lb-ft or Ft-lbs?

  • Bob Dragich

    Full Spectrum Power is the only lightweight motorcycle battery made in the US. Your current battery weighs 4.6 lbs. The Full Spectrum Power battery weighs 1.7 lbs. More information is below, along with some other cool stuff for your S1000RR. Enjoy!
    http://conta.cc/2goM8Bo

    • john burns

      Bob u might be onto the ideal business model for the 21st century advertising agency.

    • DickRuble

      2.9lbs difference. So if you eat half your lunch and take a leak and a dump before riding, you can skip the lithium battery and save $200. Repeat every day and you’ll save on your cardiologist bills too.

      • Brian Clasby

        I leak and dump most every day.

        • DickRuble

          I hope it makes you feel special.

  • Starmag

    That’s a positively polarizing battery of options.

  • Gruf Rude

    I have LiFePo (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries in my KLR and R100RS and they have performed without fault for over six years (and are incredibly lightweight). As JB points out, they can be killed if drawn down too deeply and since the Beemer has a clock, I disconnect the battery when it sits over the winter.
    Lithium Ion batteries such as used in pyrotechnic Samsungs and incendiary laptops are a different breed than the LiFePo powersport batteries; the LiFePo s are extremely stable. The only worry is if they are charged with an over-sized charger – best to use the specialty chargers that monitor and equalize the individual cells and their embedded software.

  • Kenneth

    I’ve used a Shorai lithium-ion in my ’11 Bonneville for 4 years with no problems. Besides being much lighter than stock, it has, to date, never needed to be charged; even when the bike has remained parked outside for 3 months, it always starts.

  • Buzz

    My K1600 is six years old and I’m still using the stock battery. It’s ridden frequently and still spins the starter easily but I feel like I’m living on borrowed time.

    A lithium is 10 pounds lighter but $120 more.

  • Gruf Rude

    These powersport batteries are Lithium IRON phosphate, not Lithium ION.

    • DickRuble

      They are both.. Lithium iron phosphate (FeLiPO4) is a salt and is comprised of Lithium ions (Li^+), iron ions (Fe^2+), and phosphate ions (PO4^3-). It is Lithium ion technology

  • Walter

    I had a 1st gen Shorai in my 950 SuperEnduro for 6 years. The weight difference was amazing: and important when you had to pick it up as often as I did lol. Never had it on a charger and the SE was probably my least ridden bike (still managed 45,000 miles before selling it) with sometimes long in-between ride times.

    My only criticism was it’s cold weather performance- below 40 degrees. On the first start of the day the battery had to be “warmed up” chemically. That meant turning the key on and letting the draw of the lights put a demand on the battery for a while. And/or letting it crank for a while, giving it a 30 second rest and trying again. The first few were pretty slow going, but (and this is the part that was opposite of a regular battery) the cranking would get stronger on subsequent tries as it chemically warmed up. It always started though, and was it’s usual fast spinner the rest of the day.

    Not a problem in LotusLand or other warm climes, of course. And maybe improvements in this area may have been made, The point is, other than the cold weather issue, the technology is solid, reliable, and offers some advantages over conventional batteries.

  • Brian A.

    I have used the Battery Tender Lithium batteries in my Bandit1200 and Ducati Monster for several years, no problems. They are a little more expensive but it is the cheapest way to save 8 lbs. Way cheaper than Carbon Fiber

  • Apprentice Boss

    I just bought an Interstate for my 1996 GL1500se Wing $109 made by Yuasa … awesome battery, I am sure they make one for your bike. good luck.

  • michael folk

    the battery mart has a jell filled battery for 49.95 with delivery and a i year warrenty .i have benn running one sense 2015 .and i live on the west side of death valley where a battery was an anal event –but no more that comes with in 3 days too .plus it can be installed any way you want –it doesnt leak either -i have mine in a v- rod and it lays on its side up in front of the air box