AGM Motorcycle Batteries. Everything you need to know
AGM. You’ve heard the term but are not sure what it means. You might be wondering, “Are AGM batteries good for motorcycles?” I’ll take a guess and assume that this might be a question you have been scouring the interwebs looking for the answer to. And, good news, you’ve come to the right place!
An AGM battery is a lead-based battery from the same family of batteries that includes flooded, maintenance-free, and Gel. It is a bit different than those other types in that it contains acid, but that acid is Absorbed into a fiber Glass Matt, sandwiched between the lead plates inside the battery. Think “sponge.” What this manufacturing process allows for is a battery that does not dry out, does not spill, and yet can be charged and maintained just like the old acid and lead batteries we have used for 100 years.
So, what are the advantages of AGM motorcycle batteries, specifically in a motorcycle? Well, as previously mentioned, they cannot spill and don’t dry out. They are very tolerant to adverse conditions and are vibration resistant. An AGM battery is well suited for a motorcycle’s harsh environment with all the twisting, turning, excessive heat, and vibration it will endure on a motorcycle chassis. Great, but what are the disadvantages of an AGM motorcycle battery, you ask? There really are none. Put simply, they performed the task needed, but in a better manner than the flooded batteries that were previously used by the OEMs. Just like lithium is now starting to supplant some AGM applications because it is better, AGM supplanted flooded batteries.
All right then, what about lithium? In the battle of AGM vs. Lithium motorcycle batteries: Which is better? This one is not quite as simple as flooded vs. AGM. While battery technology is marching on, with Lithium vs. AGM, there are a few situations where AGM still might be better. For instance, a high-heat environment might be found on a Harley Davidson (where the oil tank surrounds the battery) or when operated in extreme cold, such as a snowmobile.
Lithium will become heat saturated more quickly than AGM, which can lead to premature battery failure. Also, AGM batteries will generally do better in extreme cold because of lithium’s higher internal resistance in colder weather. The higher the internal resistance is in a lithium, the lower its cranking capabilities, all because of the way electrons must move through lithium membrane construction. A properly charged AGM battery will not freeze down to -40 degrees and is CCA tested at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, so they are the best options for those using ATVs or Snowmobiles in harsh winter months!
Getting to the point, can I replace my AGM motorcycle battery with lithium? If you have not altered your motorcycle’s charging system and stay within the design limitations we discussed above, lithium is a viable replacement for AGM. Lithium will generally offer more starting power and lighter weight, so that’s a win for sure.
Either way, AGM batteries are an excellent option for motorcycles and ATV machines. They do a stellar job replacing the vented, spill-prone flooded batteries that many older motorcycles and ATVs came with and will reliably do the one thing you want your battery to do. Start your engines!