Some -need to know- facts about powersport batteries.
Broadly speaking there are 3 types of batteries. Conventional lead acid, AGM and lithium batteries.
- Conventional (wet) lead acid batteries have been around for a very long time. They consist of a series of cells with electrically charged lead plates. A sulfuric acid solution is added to each cell. The electrolyte reacts with the lead plates and generates an electric charge.
Conventional lead acid batteries cost less but usually require maintenance, are less efficient under cold temperatures and have a relative high rate of self-discharge.
- AGM (absorbed glass mat) have glass fiber mats between the lead plates to absorb and store the electrolyte solution. Most AGM batteries are factory filled and sealed but some will come with an acid pack and need to be filled before use (and sealed). Slightly more expensive, a slower self-discharge rate, they do not require any maintenance (topping off) and handle cold temperatures much better.
- Lithium batteries are extremely lightweight, way more expensive but they outperform AGM batteries in many ways. With a very slow self-discharge rate they mostly have no need to be kept on a trickle charger* as one would have to with lead-acid batteries. They can be mounted anywhere and in any position, they handle temperature changes well and have higher cold cranking rates.
* IMPORTANT on charging. A specialty lithium charger is best but not required. Lithium batteries cannot be re-charged with low amp trickle chargers and should NEVER be connected to de-sulfating mode chargers. A steady 4 to 5 amp charger is needed to recharge a powersport lithium battery.