Odyssey Maintenance-Free Batteries

Sep 01, 2010 View Comments by

Despite proper care, when the stock battery on my KLR™ 650 was just over a year old and the warranty had just expired, start-up became an issue. The battery began having trouble with cranking over the engine fast enough, and it ran down quickly. After a few sessions with jumper cables, I knew it was replacement time.

The KLR’s battery location and mounting make refilling with water a real chore, so I was determined to find a maintenance-free battery. My quest for a superior replacement brought me to Odyssey batteries, which are designed to provide a service life of three to ten years, with a storage life of up to two years. What’s more, motorcycle models are warranted for an unheard of two years. According to Odyssey, typical service life at 77°F, under medium- to heavy-duty usage is three-plus years; under light-duty use, it’s typically five-plus years. I had an Odyssey in a 750cc Ninja for nearly seven years and it was still working flawlessly when I sold the bike.

Odysseys use rugged absorbed glass mat (AGM) construction, with densely packed flat plates, that provide about 15 percent more surface area than both conventional batteries and spiral-wound AGM designs. This construction allows them to store significantly more energy, with true deep-cycle capability. Cranking power is rated at double to triple that of equal-sized conventional batteries.

Without sacrificing any performance, Odyssey batteries can be installed in any position except inverted – note that re-routing of cables may be necessary for some models. Terminals are threaded copper alloy with stainless-steel bolts. The sealed dry cell design eliminates the need for vent tubes; in fact, the US Department of Transportation classifies Odysseys as dry batteries for shipping purposes. No routine maintenance is required, the terminals don’t corrode, and there’s no danger of acid burns, or damage to chrome or paint from spillage or tip-over.

AGM batteries like large amounts of charging current, so when charging is needed Odyssey recommends using its Ultimizer charger, which is available in a six-amp version for its motorcycle batteries. Batteries in storage should be disconnected so there are no parasitic draws, and Odysseys can be stored that way for more than a year in most conditions.

Odyssey batteries offer six different models for touring, sport touring, dual sport, and sportbikes. We chose model PC545, which has a list price of $143.89 and is the same set-up that powers US Marine Corps diesel Kawasaki KLR650s. Longer life, better performance, and no maintenance offset the higher initial price. The PC545 weighs 11 pounds and 7 ounces (one pound heavier than the stock battery on my KLR) and is rated at 13 amp-hours (20-hr. rate), 230 cold-cranking amps (CCA at 0 degrees, F); 300 hot-cranking amps (HCA) at 80 degrees and an 18-minute reserve capacity at 25 amps draw. The bike now cranks faster and starts quicker than when new, and no more adding water!

EnerSys Energy Products Inc.
617 North Ridgeview Dr
Warrensburg, MO 64093
(660) 429-2165


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