When it comes to under-utilized motorcycle parked away for a long period of time, the most frustrating thing that one can encounter, is when you finally feels like taking a quick ride one day and as you happily shashay towards your ride, adjusting your hair neatly while donning on your helmet, a twist of the key revealed the horror that you realized…. The battery is flat. AGAIN.
I have my Vespa GTS300 parked most of the time, since purchasing it from September 2013. 4 years into her ownership, with just 7,700km clocked, the stock battery has died within the first 6 months due to long inactivity. After 2 replacements of standard Lead Acid batteries, I realized that my riding frequency is the main issue for the constant failure of the battery.
Now while we know that it is just pure nature that if you do not charge your battery, it drains out the juice till it dropped below a certain voltage and that battery will no longer function. For my case, once the voltage drops below 11.5v, the chances of a successful cranking of the engine is very very rare. Maybe if I am lucky, it just will crank that one tiny weak bit and the engine roars to life. But most of the time, it doesn’t. However, this is not an issue now as it is just a simple solution of getting a portable jumpstarter to crankstart your engine and just go ride along until your battery gets charged sufficiently by the alternator.
The problem now is, when I did not touch my bike for close to 2 months and the voltage of the battery actually drops till slightly above 6.0v. This is the time when even your jumpstarter is NOT going to save you from towing to bikeshop or buying back another replacement battery. When the lead-acid battery drops till this low, it basically DOES NOT store charge anymore and even after crankstart successfully with a battery jumpstarter, once the jumpstarter is plugged off, the engine went dead immediately again. Unless I kept rev-ing the rpms up but that is just not going to work for an automatic scooter. I can’t accelerate and brake at the same time.
So driving to nearest shop I can find, which happened to be Wingyap Motor at AMK Avenue 10, I was recommended to try their Skyrich Lithium battery for a change. While the cost is definitely higher than conventional lead-acid battery, the specifications read improvements over normal battery which to me, are of no importance. I do not care the cut in weight, nor the stronger CCA (Cold Cranking Ampere) because to me, as long as my engine starts, I am happy. I decided to give it a try then. 2 years later, I am still running on this battery and I am very happy with the performance. Here’s why:
Similarly, I still faced the voltage low issue after parking for more than 2 months, however I have used a very conventional (But not recommended) way to self-charge my battery. I have gotten a normal 14VDC 2AMP power adapter and I use it to connect manually using wire at home to charge up the battery when it drops below 12.0v. For safety’s sake I do monitor with a sanwa multimeter to ensure that it doesn’t “overcharge” or something but I realized it won’t charge past 12.8v even after 5 hrs of charging. Unfortunately, I do not have the CCA measuring equipment to test the CCA rating after doing this DIY-home charging method but since it can always let me crank up even after parking for 2 weeks, I believe it is holding up well.
However, I have managed to neglect the bike once last year with close to 3 months of inactivity and the Skyrich battery too, dropped till it was 4.8v. As a precaution, I brought it back to Wingyap @ AMK to have it charged back using their authorized charging equipment. They offer free charging for all their Skyrich customers so please feel free to bring back your battery if you need their assistance, it’s pretty light so you can just carry along anywhere. My Skyrich battery is brought to life again after a few hours of charging.
I have compiled a timelapse clip of my vespa parked for more than 2 weeks and another clip of me cranking it start easily at first attempt. No weak symptoms or difficulties in cranking. You be the judge to whether it is worth your investment to spend on a good quality battery for the piece of mind. I certainly am glad that I have made my choice with Skyrich Lithium battery.