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Offline Northkaibab

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Battery Reliability???
« on: July 19, 2014, 03:10:06 am »
Got a question about the wisdom of replacing what appears to be a perfectly good battery on my TTSE. Here's some background:

I'm planning a 6,000 mile ride from Ohio through several western US states during the last two weeks of September. I have decent mechanical skills and my TTSE (aside from the recalls and new fork seals) has been 100% reliable over 7,800 miles. No excess cylinder head noise, and the charging system puts out a fat 14+ volts at idle. Just a sweet running machine....so far.

A "design feature" of the western trip is that I'll be spending a lot of time riding the most remote (paved) roads I can find in Utah and southwest Colorado. If the bike breaks down, parts and service could be hard to come by.

The Trophy will have a new set of tires and the 10k mile service about two weeks before the western trip. After the 10k service, I'll probably put another 500 miles on the bike before I leave on the big ride, just to make sure the dealer did the work correctly.

So I'm doing what I can to stack the odds in favor of a trouble-free western ride. But I'm wondering about the battery. I've read that battery failures are one of the most common causes of interrupted motorcycle trips. And second, there have been a number of posts here about battery failures on the Trophy, with the plausible conclusion that Triumph got a bad batch of batteries from Yuasa.  If I remember correctly, not all of those failures were on brand-new bikes.

There's zero indication that the OEM battery in my Trophy is faulty. However, for about $130, I can replace the original battery with a new Yuasa GYZ series which has about 10% more capacity. Or, for about $105, I can just get a new OEM battery.

A new battery seems like cheap insurance against a problem that other Trophy owners have experienced. But I don't know a doggone thing about battery engineering or failure modes. So I'm interested in the advice of those with electrical / battery smarts: would a new battery indeed be cheap insurance, or probably just a waste of money?

thanks, Mike


Offline DonTom

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2014, 03:41:10 am »
*Originally Posted by Northkaibab [+]
So I'm interested in the advice of those with electrical / battery smarts: would a new battery indeed be cheap insurance, or probably just a waste of money?
If the battery is less than three years old, I wouldn't worry about it much, but anything can fail at any time, including a battery, even a new one.

It seems at least some of the battery problems in this forum were from a higher than normal current drain. Perhaps caused by a problem in the audio module.

And you should NOT have to go to a Triumph dealer to put a new 12 volt battery in there that will fit and work. A 12 volt cycle battery should not be too difficult to find that will fit, even if a bit smaller with a lower spec than recommended. Such  should start the bike fine at least when the battery is fairly new. So even a cheap  Wal*Mart battery should  keep the thing running and starting fine for the rest of the trip if you did need a battery in an emergency situation during the trip.

I just wouldn't worry about it, myself.

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Offline w8d4it

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2014, 02:52:05 pm »
Second that reply.  I had a similar decision to make when I rode to Alaska on my Sprint ST.  Though in that case the Sprint had no history of electrical problems but my battery was 5 years old and part stores of any kind could be 300-600 miles away.  Because of that I did elect to replace the battery but have always felt it a waste of money because the battery performed fine.  On a separate later trip I was in a small town of 10,000 people.  Nearest big town was 50 miles away.  I encountered an electrical problem that I briefly thought might be the battery.  A very quick search showed no difficulty whatsoever in finding a couple of batteries in stock locally.   
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Offline 1150newguy

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 03:13:57 pm »
It all boils down to peace of mind. If a new battery will ease your worry and make the trip more enjoyable then by all means buy a battery.

Offline cropbiker

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 10:54:54 am »
Yeah.... peace of mind is the thing you are after.... we each weigh up the extras we take with us on longer trips to cater for those instances where things don't go to plan....First aid kits, puncture repair kits, spare light bulbs, extra tool kits, spare batteries, spare tyres, or do a Ewan and Charlie and get a mate to follow you in a Toyota HiLux with half a garage....You have to enjoy the trip... not worry about what might go wrong....
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Offline Trophy 59

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 11:58:36 am »
Most of the battery problems spoken of on this forum have been in the first flush of a new bike. My battery is at 16000 trouble free kilometres after a year, never goes on a battery tender, and hasn't missed a beat.  Not all of them were duds, and it doesn't sound like yours is either.

Dream about the ride, don't worry about what goes wrong before it happens. (And if sh*t does happen, thats when the adventure starts and your war stories build up).
Don't grow up, it's a trap...

Offline cropbiker

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 12:52:44 pm »
Exactly... we all need fresh stories to dine out on.... "There I was, Out in the wilds, nothing on the clock but the makers name and that was in Polish....." LOL :745:
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Offline Northkaibab

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Re: Battery Reliability???
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2014, 03:08:32 pm »
Thanks, all, I really value your thoughts on this subject. Peace of mind IS important, but so is not worrying too much...and worry is the opposite of peace of mind.

I've done a little work in the past couple days to remedy my ignorance about most things lead-acid. There's a great plain-English explanation of how motorcycle batteries work - and fail - on Yuasa's web site. Here's a link for those of you who may be interested:

http://www.yuasabatteries.com/motor_battery.php

Based on your feedback and the info on Yuasa's site, it seems highly likely the OEM battery in my Trophy is fine for the trip. While random failure is certainly possible, I've taken good care of this battery since I bought the Trophy, so the overall risk of failure looks very low. And DonTom / w8d4it are correct: any 12v MC battery that fits in the Trophy battery box will work in a pinch, and there are a lot of places to find those, even in the Western US. (WalMart is EVERYWHERE over here!)

There are many aspects of preparing for this trip that need attention, and I'm happy to conclude that the replacing the battery isn't one of them.   :028:

thanks again, Mike


 



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