3. Battery Maintenance

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Way down near the bottom of the long list of unsexy maintenance duties, you’ll find battery maintenance. Yeah, it’s about as thankless as it gets, but what could be worse than having the first day of the riding season thwarted by the dreaded click-click-click of a dead battery? Remember, batteries don’t store electricity. Instead, batteries store the chemicals necessary to produce electricity. Over time, if left unused, batteries naturally discharge. Both high and low temperatures accelerate this loss of charge, and if it’s allowed to continue, the battery will reach a deeply discharged state that can dramatically shorten its life. Nobody wants to miss their first ride of the season and have to drop $80 for a new battery at the same time.

Before you store your bike for the winter, you’ll want to make sure the electrolytes are topped off if you’re still running an old-school battery. Then just plug it into a smart charger which will constantly monitor the state of a battery, and when the voltage drops, the charging feature kicks in. Once the voltage rises up to the proper level, the charger enters “float” mode, where a neutral charge keeps the voltage from dropping. Buying a smart charger can pay for itself in a year or two of ownership. You don’t even need to remove the battery from your bike. Just plug it in and forget about it. A fused cable tucked safely out of sight will work fine. However, if your bike will be stored in an extended sub-freezing environment, you should let the battery spend the winter indoors – but still hooked to a smart charger.

  • Alexander Pityuk

    I try extremely hard to not think and forget about my bikes during the winter. So no maintenance mid-season for me.

  • Born to Ride

    I thought winterizing your ride meant putting on a layer of thermal underpants? Oh wait, this article must be for the poor miserable souls that don’t have a 365 and 1/4 day riding season. God, how I pity them…

  • Old MOron

    Well, I’d been avoiding this article because I hate maintenance, and because I live in SoCal, anyway. But this is good advice and well-written. Just the other day, I was lamenting that my wear bars are nearing prominence. Aw shucks, I’ll have to get off my ass soon.