Lithium Batterys.

I can’t find anything on this topic from the search function, so I thought I’d share my experience:

I recently moved the battery from my 2013 Moto Guzzi V7 to my 2011 BMW F800ST, as the latter was getting sluggish, and fitted a Shorai lithium battery to the V7, mainly to save weight. The Yuasa battery weighed about 5 kilos, the Shorai less than 1. I can definitely notice the weight loss on the V7, It’s a light bike anyway, but doesn’t make much power, so this helps the power to weight ratio. Anyway, the Shorai has been in the bike for about 4 months. I don’t have a charger for it and it sometimes won’t start first time in the cold, although I believe that has nothing to do with whether it’s on a charger, it’s just the nature of it. Given that people will pay silly money for carbon fibre bits to save 100 grams here or there, I was happy to spend about £50 over the cost of a standard battery to save 4kg, plus it’s an easy modification to do.

I did look at another brand - Antigravity - but they were more expensive and had the terminals the wrong way round. Anyone else have any experience of this type of battery?

How much did it cost?

£120. I couldn’t remember, so had to go and dig out the receipt.

Thanks. I’d be interested in hearing how long it lasts.

type “NREL” into gooogle and search for info on Lithium batteries, there is more than you could read.
even more if you just look at batteries.

Just a note about batteries. (Without prejudice just some facts)

Lithium phosphate batteries were designed primarily to run electric cars where lots of batteries were needed and less weight. They have huge amps but the amps drop very fast in high draw applications. (IE turning over a big engine)Â

Lithium batteries discharge at HUGE rates.

one of the advantages of Lithium batteries is it’s ability to deliver HUGE amps - and can maintain voltage needed for electric motors when connected in banks of batteries. However it it does not mean it has good cold cranking power its ability to cold crank and deliver good voltage is compromised over standard batteries. So in colder weather the battery will cranks less time than a standard battery and quickly drop voltage and become flat, a major danger point with them whilst fully charged and or the bike running is the risk of a short  (damaged wire - corroded jointing terminal could cause overheating and or a short while carrying massive amps to earth - this is know to have caused fires to electrical cables and other parts in close proximity to a short. If the wiring was not designed to run this battery application - then there is a risk of overloading the wiring and or starting a fire with a short or melting the cable insulation.

Costs as compared in equal amp hour energy delivered is a difficult balance to meet as more amp hour capacity = more costÂ
this is why Lithium phosphate batteries batteries have appeared for use on motorbikes - for none cold conditions where lower cranking rates are the norm (not however with the likes of big v twins where large cranking power can be required) and this is its first non-electric vehicle application in the marketplace they are not suitable for starting diesels or cars where much higher amp hour cycles (cranking power) is required. With the present technology to create a battery with enough amp hours to support those applications costs would be prohibitive.

Absorbed mat and Gel batteries are probably the best high amp hour application for bikes if the bike is left standing around for periods of time, however they can die suddenly and without warning whereas the older fashioned standard and more economic quality lead acid battery is perfectly suitable if the machine is used regularly. and often give signs of deterioration well in advance of a complete failure. Both these battery types weigh considerably more than lithium batteries.


At least one manufacturer is providing Lithium-Ion batteries as a standard fitment. I would have hoped they had done their homework first!

I have one on one of my bikes (standard fitment) and it is indeed incredibly light. It has to cold-start a 450cc single.


I was just stating some facts - i worked in the aircraft engineering industry where they were used in limited applications - I am not an electrical engineer - however i did speak to one at British Aerospace industries (who is also a motorcyclist and understands such things as bikes and bike electrics) Â before putting in my reply.

I would not always agree that manufacturers always know best and do their research - these days its about competing against a global market not only on weight, but cost and pleasing the accountants - the engineers are often ignored or circumnavigated (also happens in the aircraft industry to a degree). For instance  - lets take - BMW they have been having many structural components made at their Chinese factory - the alloy quality was compromised and they have suffered many failings of swing arm castings (1200 series bikes) and front fork failure on GS 800 series bikes. They have had massive failing of single chain drive cams on the series 1 car engines - engineers had told them a duplex system was best suited - but cost more - not a lot but more all the same. BMW chose the cheaper option. Result was cam chain failure on numerous engines across the range. It happens in many industries - maybe was the case with the Guzzi 1200 head design - who knows? - at least Guzzi have put that right.

Just an update; had this battery nearly 3 years now and no problems at all. Still never been on a charger. Longest I haven’t ridden the bike is about 2-3 weeks.

Thanks for that.

I am now running an Aliant light weight battery in my Breva 750. Heck it’s dinky, but does pack a punch.

Got to say thats excellent news, I am surprised the battery has performed so well considering what i had been told - but its good news for you. Excellent. Cheers Jake.

All good to date. Touching Mrs C’s head at the time

Good though they are, these Li batteries provide different properties to the AGM or conventional LA types that are fitted to most bikes.

They hold their charge for an incredibly long time - I’m told at least a year :sunglasses:

They can produce the symptoms of a flat battery if you switch on the ignition and press the starter straight away. Instead, it is recommended that you give the battery a couple of seconds to ‘wake up’ after switching on the ignition, after which time it will provide full cranking amps. Weird but true to my experience!

You must use a LI-specific charger - most newer battery tenders are Li compatible.

If you let them run completely flat, there is a risk of ‘bricking’. This is an irretrievable situation and the battery becomes useless (like a brick, but much lighter :wink: ). The better batteries will have an in-built system to shut themselves down if the voltage drops to this point.

With the examples on mine and my wife’s bikes, we both experienced what appeared to be complete failure of the batteries following a 2 week stint during which we had left the controllers for our heated jackets plugged in (t’was the winter :angry: ). The controllers were switched off but must have drawn a tiny monitoring current. When we came to start the bikes, there was no life and having suspected that the batteries had ‘bricked’, we measured the no-load output from each at ~2v. I connected a specific LI battery charger and gave them 12 hours+ with no measurable improvement. Resigned to ordering two more at considerable expense, I thought; “what the hell” and connected a booster to my wife’s bike to see if it would start (wasn’t prepared to risk mine for this :laughing: ). It started fine and after 30 seconds or so I disconnected the booster and the bike ran fine, restarting on the battery and we’ve had no symptoms since. Rinse and repeat for my bike and job’s a good 'un!

This is where I discovered that our batteries must have some kind of shut-down system to prevent any further draw below a certain point. They also have a test button & LED indicator built in which was very useful when mine blew it’s 30A main fuse the other day (whilst parked in the rain outside a mate’s house, the little sod). At first, given the experience above I thought the battery had failed but it pays to go back to basics and check the simple things first.

Aside from the heated controller incident, we’ve never had to charge the batteries and run some high-draw electrical accessories in the winter. These are not fitted to a Guzzi but I can’t see why they wouldn’t suit, at the correct rating. The weight advantage with the bigger batteries must be even more impressive too.


For some of the reasons explained by rallyejake, and others elsewhere who know battery technology from their working lives, i would be careful about retro-fitting Lithium batteries to big twins. I would go with AGM batteries, rather than traditional lead acid, as a kind of ‘halfway house’ best of both worlds

My own Guzzi (a V1000 le mans) still has the lead acid battery it came to me with 4 yrs ago with no appreciable deterioration as yet (woodtouch) but on my mid-1970s Triumph Trident & a friends Norton Commando both with eleccy starts I have used AGM Motobatts for about 4 years now. They have many of the advantages of Lithium though on paper the gain might not seem as much (ie they are significantly lighter than lead acid equivalent and about 60% in size too for at least the same or more cold cranking capacity output - they can be left for long periods of at least 3 or 4 months over winter without charge and without losing charge (or needing a trickle charger), they cost more than lead acid but nowhere near as much as lithium batteries, they can be mounted in any position without leaking - and you are not sitting on top of a potentially explosive meltdown device.

But on the related issue of making batteries and starting more efficient, don’t overlook the impact of improving the quality of your starter leads. The standard factory fitted leads can be replaced relatively cheaply to flow more current just take a look at Vehicle Wiring Products catalogue, for instance, for quality copper cable.


+1 for VWP made a couple of starter leads with cable and connectors from them. The connectors needed crimping tho which needed a BIG crimping tool.

We’re gradually drifting off topic but I make battery leads without the expensive crimp tool. See here in my blog It’s toward the end of the post.

I like your method.
Up until about 10 years ago I always crimped and soldered my electrical connections for strength.
Then I was told that crimped connections pass the current better so only solder in an emergency.
Anybody got any views.
PS, in an emergency I cut back 15 mm on both ends, spread out the outer strands and cut back the centre to 5mm.
I then push the 2 centres together and wrap the outer strands around them as tight as possible, insulting tape for that professional look.

@ John I grant you that is clever. Bit of rod and a vice trick.

@ Ian I think the simple answer is if the connector is designed to be crimped, it should be crimped, if designed to be soldered, it should be soldered.