The Shorai LFX lithium-iron battery in my trusty R1 (trusty mostly because of the battery) first took up residence there in early 2010, when I toiled at a competing publication. At the time, Shorai was a new player in the battery business, had some teething problems, and walked back its claim that its batteries could last ten years (mostly because they were so new, there was no way to back that up).

Well, we’re halfway to ten years now, and the Shorai seems to have just as much cranking power as ever. I’m in the habit now of starting the R1 up for a minute or two once a week or so to keep its pilot jets from clogging up, but in the first few years of the Shorai, the bike and I lived in different places and it would sit for months without being touched. Even then, the Shorai never failed to crank the R1 easily to life, even if it was misfiring on a cylinder or two after it started.

The Shorai lopped six pounds off my old R1 instantly without pills, dieting or exercise, and has never failed to fire it up in five years, no charger required. (Evans Brasfield photo)

The Shorai lopped six pounds off my old R1 instantly without pills, dieting or exercise, and has never failed to fire it up in five years, no charger required. (Evans Brasfield photo)

Out of habit from years of lead-acid battery necessity, I used to hook the Shorai up to my small Battery Tender Junior now and then, but it never took more than five minutes for the light on the charger to go from red to green, indicating a fully charged battery. So, I stopped bothering to charge it after a while. I plugged it in again just now to write this update (I rode the bike a couple of hours the day before); the light turned green in under a minute. Yes, you can use a Battery Tender to charge your Shorai, but you shouldn’t leave it plugged into one.

On an older bike like mine, without a clock or alarm system, Shorai says its battery should still fire the engine even if it sits for up to a year. Modern bikes that do have those always-on accessories will draw enough power to drain the battery if they don’t get ridden once or twice a month. For them, you can either A) continue to juice the battery with your Battery Tender as needed and unplug it when the battery is charged, B) buy one of Shorai’s dedicated SHO-BMS01 chargers for $84.95 and forget about it, or C) unplug the negative battery terminal when the bike’s going to sit for a while. Problem solved.

In 2000, we didn’t need no steenkin’ clock or alarm system or six-axis IMU or ABS. We fell off and were always late and our bikes got stolen, and we liked it that way. The Shorai comes with a bunch of stick-on foam cushions so you can make it cozy in a battery box that’s suddenly way bigger than it needs to be.

In 2000, we didn’t need no steenkin’ clock or alarm system or six-axis IMU or ABS. We fell off and were always late and our bikes got stolen, and we liked it that way. The Shorai comes with a bunch of stick-on foam cushions so you can make it cozy in a battery box that’s suddenly way bigger than it needs to be.

My old R1 might be 15 years old, but with this battery and Evan Steel’s carburetion, it fires up and runs every bit as easily and dependably as any of the brand-new fuel-injected bikes I usually have parked in my garage — even with the little bit more compression ESP also gave it. In fact, the Shorai spins the cold engine a bit faster, making it light off easier. I’m going to guess that’s down to the CCA (cold cranking amps) rating of 270 for my battery, compared to the 215 or so of the typical old-style lead/acid battery. EiC Duke reported the same thing when he put a Shorai in his Ducati here back in 2011 (when Shorai won MO’s Honorable Mention for Best New Product).

The downside of the Shorai remains the same as before. In fact, it’s even a little worse, since the LFX18A1-BS12 that fits my bike sells for $189.95, which is $30 more than five years ago. On the other hand, you’d have to spend a lot more than $189.95 on carbon fiber and titanium to take six pounds off your bike; this Shorai weighs a wispy 2.3 pounds. And if you can afford it, it seems worth every penny to know that your old bike’s going to start when you want it to, without worrying about whether you remembered to plug it in last time, or wait, was that the coffee maker? Let’s hope we’ll all be around and able to file another positive Shorai report in 2020!

ShoraiPower.com

  • Jeremy Diebert

    I had a Shorai in my Harley Forty-Eight. I originally bought the wrong model (my own fault, because I wanted a smaller form factor). I trashed the battery inside a month. Shorai gave me MSRP on a trade-in straight from the factory up to the recommended size for my bike. Worked like a charm for the 2 years I had that bike. Cranked hard even in winter. When my stock batteries die in my current bikes, I will definitely be replacing them with Shorai.

  • Gee Bee

    Lithium-ION…. not Lithium-IRON….

    My work here is done.

    Sincerely,
    Grammar and Spelling Nazi

    • denchung

      No, lithium iron is correct. Lithium iron phosphate to be exact.

      • DickRuble

        The technology is a lithium ion technology. In fact, lithium and iron ions.

        • denchung

          True, but it’s still not wrong that it’s called lithium-iron in the story.

  • Born to Ride

    My S2R1000 loves its shorai battery. 3 years and it still cranks it over every time, not to mention it took 6 and a half pounds off the top of the bike.

  • Warprints

    I have a three year old Shorai that has lived in two different bikes. Never any problems, and I never put it on a charger. Bike with the Shorai battery gets ridden once or twice every two weeks.

  • DickRuble

    ok.. so it runs great in CA.. How about ME, NH, NY and MA? What happens when the temps dip to -20F for several days in a row? Do I need to get it in the house and treat it to a warm tisane?

    • fredshah

      Shorai recommends refrigerating when not in use. But best to just unplug entirely esp if you have a parasitic draw like an alarm. In NY for my Ducati, instead of a recommended 18 size, I use a 14 that’s relocated under the seat. When it gets a cooler, turn the power on for at least 2 mins to let the lights warm the electrical. Then start your bike…

    • priap1sm

      Lithium batts need heat to work. Oddly, they generate their own heat while cranking. When it’s SoCal-chilly (i.e. not nearly that cold) it will crank slowly at first and speed up as the battery warms up.

      As far as storage, I have no idea.

  • Craig Hoffman

    I have one of these in my Husaberg FE 450 enduro. Never on a charger, takes an off road pounding, substantially lighter weight makes a very noticeable difference in handling on the dirt bike, worth the money.

    Stark Power makes an interesting battery though. Their selling feature is they have internal load balancing circuitry that helps the battery last longer. I don’t think the Shorai has that. Mine continues to serve well though.

  • Patriot159

    I put one in my ’99 SV650 track bike 7 years ago, leave it in my trailer that gets 100 deg. in summer, 0 deg. in winter, have killed it trying to start the bike before, used a regular charger to bring it back up and the last time I used the bike was Aug. of ’14, went out to my trailer this past July to see if the bike would start in hopes of doing a track day, volts @ 12.7 after sitting for almost a year and it started the bike!

    I would not use one in cold weather but for milder climates, I’m sold!

  • Chris Kallfelz

    ///Eggheaded observation: On///

    You know, if you amortize this over the battery’s expected lifetime AND
    you are the kind of person that hangs onto a bike for awhile, this is
    not a bad deal at all. And you do get the weight savings.

    ///Eggheaded observation: Off///

  • priap1sm

    I put a Li-ion battery in my dirt bike and noticed the same thing–it never seems to lose a charge. Wonder why that’s the case? It’s super convenient for a dirt bike that doesn’t get ridden more than once or twice a month at best, and sometimes goes months without starting at worst. The 5 or 6 lbs it lopped off the top of my KTM is really nice, too.