Many people are confused by what voltages the batteries of motorcycles run on. It is not every day that a person starts to wonder about his motorcycle’s battery voltage. Well, for those of you reading this article, that day has come.
So moving on, if you are looking for an answer to “are motorcycle batteries 12v” the answer is simple and is one you will never forget. Thanks to the same battery voltage specifications throughout the globe, there is no difference in battery voltages, regardless of the motorcycle you choose.
All of them run on 12v, which is fixed. You may find some odd ones that run on 6-volts, but that is only for extremely old bikes, which can also be classified as vintage.
Now, you can leave this article because the question you came for has been answered. If you continue reading, you will find more information related to this article which will help answer some other questions.
So, without any further ado, let’s get straight into it.
Motorcycle Battery Rating Explained
When you buy a new battery for a motorcycle, many numbers are written on them. From Amp Hour to voltage and current output, many things are mentioned.
Well, this section of the article will clear up the difference between the most important ones:
1. Amp Hour
The meaning of the term is the term itself. The Amp Hour rating tells users how a battery in an hour can supply much current.
Now, this number changes from battery to battery. Higher quality batteries tend to have a larger number for the Amp Hour rating.
Although this may get a bit technical, I will try my best to keep explaining this in simple words.
Voltage is the electric potential present in a battery. One may think that a higher potential means a better battery, but that is wrong.
A higher voltage will not be able to be sustained by the system, which means it will result in it getting fried. Most batteries on the market are 12v ones. Higher voltage ones exist, but they are for special use scenarios only.
One of the most important things to look out for in a motorcycle battery is CCA. It is short for cold-cranking amps, and it means how much amperage can be provided by the battery in a short period.
The higher the CCA, the more reliable the start-up of the motorcycle will be. If you are looking for a motorcycle battery with high CCA, make sure to buy one with at least 300 CCA.
Now that we have covered the basics of a motorcycle battery, we can now move on to other information related to this topic.
Which Motorcycles Use 6V Batteries
This was covered in the introduction section of the article. 6v for a battery is quite less to power an entire motorcycle circuit. From CCA to AH, everything about it is inferior compared to a 12v battery.
So, now the question arises, where are they used? Well, they are not. 6v batteries powered vintage motorcycles which simply cannot be found now.
Even if some are in use, their circuits may have been modified to support 12v ones because getting your hands on one is nearly impossible.
Vintage motorcycles did not have heavy electrical circuits, so they could get by with low electrical potential.
That is not the case with the current ones. From sensors to high-powered headlights, 6v batteries are simply not enough for modern motorcycles.
That is why 12v ones are used. 6v ones can be used, but they will not be enough.
One problem you will experience when hooking up one is flickering headlights. That alone should tell you why 12v ones are recommended for use.
How To Tell If A Motorcycle Battery Is A 6V Or A 12V
Although this is a good question, someone can’t sell you a 6v battery like a 12v one. This is because it is rarely used, but it will also not work with your motorcycle at all.
But if you are one to check everything before you buy, this section of the article is dedicated to you.
If you want to check this rating on a new battery, it will be mentioned on the box or on the battery itself. If not, you can simply research the model number online to find out its details.
But what if you want to check the rating of the battery that is already installed on your motorcycle?
Let me list down the steps you need to follow to perform this check:
- The first thing you need to do is switch the ignition off. You don’t want to get shocked while performing this procedure.
- The next thing to do is to remove the bike seat. It can be removed by unscrewing the bolts and then pulling them up.
- Now that it is done, you will see the battery sitting right there. The process is simple and should not take more than a minute.
If you are lucky, you will be able to see the specifications as is without removing the battery at all. If not, then it needs to be removed.
Trust me when I say it is not worth the hassle. Instead, you should look at your motorcycle’s owner’s manual. The number will be stated there in the specifications section.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A 12V Battery?
Now that we have established a clear difference between the two sorts of batteries, I will now solely be focusing on 12-volts ones.
One common question that people ask is about the time taken for a 12V battery to reach a 100% charge. In the case of a motorcycle, the time taken can be anywhere from 4 to 24 hours.
Now, I understand that you may be confused due to this gap. Well, it is dependent on many factors, which I am going to list now:
- Battery Type: Battery type is important because charging times are greatly affected by the type of battery used. If you compare a traditional lead battery with an AGM one, there will be a great difference in the charging time.
- Charger Type: Although people normally don’t take their motorcycle batteries out to charge them, even if they do, the type of charger that is being used greatly affects the speed.
It is preferred to buy smart chargers as they can regulate the voltage and the temperature, which ensures that the battery can reach 100% as fast as possible and with little risk.
- Battery Specifications: Now, this next factor is very important too. Some batteries have been designed to charge slower. This is important to know because company’s usually reserve the best features for their more premium options.
So, if you are getting one from the same company that has the same specifications but is cheaper, then there is a good chance that the charging time will be less.
- Condition: The final thing I will be talking to you about is the condition of the battery. There is no denying that batteries degrade over time. Well, that also affects their charging speed.
If you charge a battery that has been in use for a long period of time, it can definitely not be compared with one that has just come out of the box.
Charging A Brand New Motorcycle Battery
If you have just purchased a brand new motorcycle battery, you should not jump at the chance to install it.
The first thing you should do is to test it. And that can only be done by charging it. You should have a battery charger handy.
It should be used to charge the battery to 100%. This will allow you to know if the battery can hold a charge or not.
Although testing is advised before installing a new battery, it is not necessary. The reason for this is that all batteries have a certain charge in them before they are shipped from factories.
They may lose that charge if they have been on the shelf for too long but receiving one that is too old has a low chance of happening.
So, if you buy one, you can install it and continue riding your motorcycle without any issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that all important information has been covered, this article will now focus on some questions that I found being asked by people on online forums. Even if you don’t have any confusion, it is still recommended to read through it.
Q1. Is A Harley Davidson Battery 6V Or 12V?
The whole point of the article was to explain that all motorcycles on the market have 12v batteries only.
Unless you are asking for a classical one, there is no current model produced by Harley that is powered by a weak 6v battery.
The last motorcycle that was produced by the company with a 6v battery was back in 1964. None were produced afterward.
So, you should not make the mistake of putting a 6v battery in a 12v Harley and vice versa. The next question will help you understand what will happen if you do so.
Q2. Can I Put A 12V Battery In A 6V Motorcycle?
NO! Unless you want the electrical system of the motorcycle to slowly die out, you should never try to do this.
The first thing you will notice is the bulbs burning out. As 6v bulbs don’t work with 12v batteries at all, they will become useless pretty soon.
The battery itself will not be able to be charged. The reason for this is that the generator can only output 6v, which is not enough for the battery. So, it will take a few hours, but your motorcycle will not turn on at all.
Q3. What Kind Of Battery Does A Motorcycle Use?
Just like cars, there are different motorcycle battery options. The first one is a conventional wet cell battery. This is the same one that needs its water replaced every few months. The next one is an AGM battery.
This is the best battery type out there and does not require any maintenance. The final one is a gel cell battery.
This one has a gel paste, which is used for suspending the electrolyte. If you are willing to get a new one, it is always recommended to buy an AGM battery.
Q4. Do All Motorcycles Use The Same Battery?
No, they do not. Although they are all 12v, the amp hour rating will be different. That is not all.
There are different sizes for batteries too. As manufacturers construct slots of different sizes for batteries, they use the appropriate ones only.
There is no universal one if that is what you are asking. So, if you are buying a new motorcycle battery, you should make sure that the one you are purchasing has not only the correct specifications but also the correct size.
There you have it, guys, all the information you need related to the question, are motorcycle batteries 12V?
Now, I know that there was a lot of technical information in this article, but I can assure you that this information represents only the basics of what one must know.
Just to sum up, current motorcycle batteries use 12V batteries only. 6V ones have been out of commission for at least three decades.
So, you should never try to hook up a 6V battery in a 12V motorcycle. I hope this article helped in clearing up some confusion regarding this topic.