Motorcycle Batteries

I remember that the battery on my Sportster was reasonably accessible without the need for a masters degree in dismantling. It’s a pity that the current bikes aren’t quite as straightforward.

The Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail and the Yamaha YBR 125 have both been standing in the garage for quite a while now while:

  • The weather has been Too cold
  • Too icy
  • Too much salt on the road
  • I have had easy availability of a car

So, predictably enough, the batteries on both machines had started to suffer a little. Recognising this as a potential problem when biking conditions finally improve,  we set out on a quest that involved a trip to Ikea to take advantage of their generous money back guarantee on unopened items.

We had bought some furniture, as well as reaching a medical breakthrough and we had to take back the two chests of drawers for which we had failed to measure the space available. This part of the expedition went well, with money being refunded. This was to the great astonishment of my credit card which has become used to the slurping sound of money going out. The balance of the universe was, however, restored when the bill for our subsequent wander around the Ikea store resulted in just one, but taller chest of drawers and and few other bits and pieces. The total, of course, came to rather more than the refund.

As we left Ikea, I’m sure that I heard a sigh of relief from my pocket as your master Visa thought that the pressure was off.

However, rather than our normal route away from Ikea along the A610 towards Nottingham, we took the exit from the Ikea exit roundabout towards the picturesque villages of Eastwood and Kimberley. This was because there is a good motorbike accessory and clothes shop in Kimberley, J & S Accessories. We parked up and went inside this Aladdin’s cave of helmets, jackets, boots trousers, waterproofs, leathers and so much more.

I am sure that the Visa card groaned, but we strongly resisted several hundred pounds worth of temptation and only bought a Dr Bike battery optimiser.

Yesterday evening was spent avoiding the Ikea boxes because I decided to get the Harley battery on charge. In fact, the Sportster used to have a useful little socket for a battery charger, although I never made any use of it. So I dug the socket and its two crimped battery terminals out of the charger box and approached the Harley to fit it.

This is where the fun really started.

I searched the interweb for some advice about how to get to the battery and found a great deal of smart-assed comment on the discussion groups and websites but precious little useful information. I had worked out for myself that the seat had to come off, but I couldn’t work out how to do it. Eventually Sue casually said, why not look in the handbook. Of course this explained, set by step, exactly what I had to do.

Actually doing it wasn’t quite as easy, and judging from the condition of one of the screw heads, the bikes previous owner(s) must have fought the same battles I now have.

Essentially, all you have to do is undo three screws, one on the rear fender behind the pillion seat and one each side of the rider’s seat, then slip the pillion grab strap over the head of the screw on the left side of the bike before pulling the seat backwards and up to release it.

If only the doing was as easy as the telling.

Eventually I did succeed and fitted the rings on the socket cable to the battery. This is when I made another discovery. Removing the battery cable from a Heritage Softail sets off the alarm. Loudly.

By this point, I just put it down to being part of life’s rich pattern and plodded on as the shrieking continued. Once finished, the alarm silent and the battery on charge, putting the seat back on was the work of but a moment in comparison to the voyage of discovery to get it off.

But I gave up on getting at the Yamaha battery for that evening.

Fast forward to today and with the Hog’s battery full, I had to bite the bullet and go for the YBR 125’s battery compartment. Once again, the handbook came to the rescue and saved me several hours of potential swearing. To get at a YBR battery, unlock the left hand side panel using the bikes’ ignition key. pull HARD on the front edge of the panel and a pin will disengage from (I think) a rubber mount. the back end of the panel also comes away and there is the battery in its full glory. Using the supplied pair of croc clips, the charger was plugged in and the kettle was on in just a few minutes.

Every day there seem to be more and more bikers on the road. It can’t be long now before I join them, although my commute to work is now quite a bit longer and I’m not sure that the M1 in rush hour is the place for a 125cc bike, but that’s a story that going to have to wait until I’ve tried it.

I’ve just realised that this the first bike post on here in ages. It’s good to be back.

Ride Safe


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