Shorai’s new product line of lightweight, high-performance batteries is designed to replace the heavy, corrosive and high-maintenance lead-acid batteries used in motorcycles. Shorai employs lithium iron phosphate cell technology with eXtreme-Rate LiFePO4 as a cathode material, dubbed LFX, which offers a number of advantages.
Compared with traditional lead-acid batteries there is a major weight reduction (one-fourth to one-fifth of standard lead-acid battery weight), typically two times the average service life, and the ability to hold a charge for up to one year. Shorai batteries have a self-discharge rate that is only one-seventh that of a lead-acid battery, which allows for significantly longer periods without a charger being used. However, if there are current draws when the bike is off, such as clocks and alarms, the battery should be disconnected during storage or a small charger without a desulfation mode should be used. Shorai is coming out with a special charger soon, too. There’s also no water refilling, no acid venting or spills, and the terminals don’t corrode like lead-acid batteries. For more information on the technology, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery.
We tried a Shorai battery in a Suzuki GSX750F Katana, which could stand to lose a few pounds and is tough on stock batteries. It seemed to always need water and it had a hard time cranking after sitting for a while. Shorai specifies an LFX12A1-BS12 ($129.95), which is rated 155 cold cranking amps (CCA), replaced a Yuasa YTX9-BS rated 135 CCA, and saved almost 5 pounds. Shorai also offers an LFX14A1-B512 ($153.95), rated 210 CCA, as a more powerful alternative. Since the Shorai batteries are much smaller than conventional ones they come with padded spacers to take up space in the battery box. The Shorai LFX12A1-BS12 battery cranks the Suzuki’s engine over well, saves weight, and never needs water. Overall we’re very pleased with the results.
Shorai presently sells 14 models in two case sizes. A typical Shorai battery weighs about 1.6 pounds, a fraction of a comparable lead-acid battery. Less weight aids acceleration, handling and braking, especially for sportbikes and on track days. Retail prices range from $99.95 to $186.95, depending on size and capacity, and are backed by a two-year prorated warranty. That’s only slightly higher than some premium lead-acid batteries, and many owners spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on titanium and carbon-fiber parts to shave as much weight as a Shorai eliminates. Shorai batteries are sold online at www.shoraipower.com, or call (888) 477-4848.