MO Testing: WPS Firepower Featherweight Lithium Battery

John Burns
by John Burns

Well, the old Shorai LFX battery lasted nine years in my carbureted 2000 Yamaha R1, so if this one does that well, I’ll be happy. When we got the Shorai in 2010, lightweight lithium batteries were a new and exciting technology to fear and loathe, and Shorai was one of the only players. Today, there are many more lithiums on the field, so I did what most people do: I looked for the cheapest lithium battery that didn’t have terrible reviews.

mo testing wps firepower featherweight lithium battery

That wound up being the WPS Firepower Featherweight HJT12B-FPP. According to the specs, it’s got a bit more firepower than the old Shorai – 310 cold cranking amps versus 270. Instead of about $180 for the Shorai, I found this one on Amazon for $116.

The Shorai was a lithium iron battery; the WPS Featherweight claims to use Lithium Ion Polymer technology. The spec chart says it weighs 3.5 pounds, which feels just about the same as the Shorai it’s replacing. A main benefit of both batteries, of course, is they’re way lighter than old-fashioned lead acid batteries. The Featherweight is larger than the Shorai though; it fills up the old R1’s battery box just like the stocker used to.

mo testing wps firepower featherweight lithium battery

Right out of the box, the Featherweight was showing fully charged on its built-in meter, which my multimeter backed up by registering 13.2 volts of charge.

Hooking up the terminals and hitting the starter button had the 998cc four spinning merrily along and firing up within three seconds, and actually firing on all four cylinders after a couple minutes. (Maybe that half can of old Seafoam I poured in there a couple months ago actually did something?) I badly wanted to blast over to the gas station ten miles away that pumps 100 octane race fuel at the pump, to keep my jets happy and unclogged – but the R1 license tag expired in March, and somebody was too cheap to pay the $110 renewal.

By now, everybody knows lithium batteries can sit for up to a year, without benefit of a charger of any kind, and will still start your bike. I never left my R1 unstarted on the Shorai for more than two months, and that battery always started her up instantly, without fail, for nine years.

Anyway, I post this to start the clock running on the WPS Featherweight. The R1 will be a tougher test mule than most, since all it’s doing lately is being started up once every week or two. Maybe we’ll get her legal and back on the road soon; I kind of want to experiment with one or two of the bike-sharing apps. Godspeed, WPS Firepower Featherweight HJT12B-FPPP; may we both make it another nine years.

Shop for the WPS Firepower Featherweight Lithium Battery here

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9 of 30 comments
  • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Aug 23, 2019

    Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) batteries (like the Shorai) are safe. Lithium Ion Polymer batteries can catch on fire for no apparent reason. Remember the Boeing Dreamliner, Samsung phones, and earlier Teslas without the titanium bottom plate? I would feel safer with a Lithium Iron Phosphate battery in my garage so my house doesn't burn down for no apparent reason.

    • See 3 previous
    • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Aug 23, 2019

      Remember a few months ago the entire fleet of Energica Evo MotoE race bikes in Jerez burned down the evening before the race? Since then another MotoE bike also caught on fire recently. LiPo is lighter than LiFePO4 but more dangerous and volatile. It is like using hydrogen in the Hindenburg. I wouldn't feel safe having one of those bikes in my garage.

      Garage containing entire MotoE grid burns down


  • Joe Gresh Joe Gresh on Aug 23, 2019

    I've had a Western Power sports Li-Poly in the Husqvarna for a couple years now. After burning through 3 AGM's (cheap brands and Yuasa both lasted about a year each) the WP has already earned it's slightly higher price.

    Before LPB I had to charge the Husky after a week or two else the battery was too weak to spin the motor. After LPB the bike can sit 6-months and it fires right up.

    I haven't changed the charging system on the bike, it seems to be ok.

    Li-Poly for the win.

    • See 2 previous
    • Sayyed Bashir Sayyed Bashir on Aug 24, 2019

      I am afraid I have a lithium polymer battery in my 2018 KTM 500 EXC-F similar to the one in the article. Good thing my bike is parked out in the parking lot.

      WPS FirePower Featherweight Lithium Battery HJTZ5S-FP-IL
      $69.40 on Amazon