I have been using Lithium Ion batteries in most of my bikes for some time now. I liked the fact that they held a charge over the winter as well as the smaller size. I have a number of bikes and I never liked having to muck about with battery tenders. Never had problems until this weekend. I was riding in the East Coast Moto Giro (met up with Gordon Grey- obligatory British Bike Content) on my 1968 Suzuki TC250 (the high pipe X6). I had installed a Lithium Ion battery in it after last year's Giro. Bike was running fine. I had taken it out the previous weekend for a 40 mile shakedown cruise and it passed with flying colors. So I am about 70 miles into the Saturday morning route, out in the middle of nowhere, bike is just humming along, when I get a couple of sputters while accelerating. Next thing I know, the bike quits in the middle of a blind curve with no shoulder. I push it a quarter mile to where there is a shoulder and shade and start to investigate. There is smoke pouring out from under the seat and it smells odd, kind of like a mixture of anti-freeze and pot-pourie (sp?). I make sure the bike hasn't seized and that I have oil. I pull off the sidecover and the smoke is coming from the battery. It is too hot to touch so I pull it out by the leads onto the road. The casing had totally melted away in a number of spots. I am done. Unfortunately for me, the chase truck had broken down and there was no backup. Ultimately, I was rescued by volunteers 9 hours later. I was prepared, however, and had a few good cigars and a flask. Shorai says the most likely cause was overcharging. This was the first lengthy ride with that battery. Have not had time to install a different battery and assess the other electrical components (fuse was still good so I am hopeful) and measure the charging voltage yet. Never had an overcharging issue on other batteries on that bike before. Some folks have opined that Lithium Ion batteries are more sensitive to charging rates and systems on vintage bikes that would have been within tolerance for a lead acid battery can be to high for a lithium battery. Interestingly, I was riding with my headlight on. Anyway, I am still investigating. Three riders ended up in the hospital, some with serious, although not life threatening injuries. One had to be airlifted, two were fathers on separate father and son teams, and one hit a bear!
Sorry to hear of your breakdown, and the long time that it took to be rescued . It is the consensus that Li-Ion batteries do not cope very well with the crude charging system of our old bikes. A small overvoltage can destoy these batteries in no time at all. I use the old fashioned lead-acid type batteries in my bikes, cheap, and last on average five years.
Peter. 1974 Commando 850 1972 Trident T150T 1961 Goldie DBD34 1969 Benelli 250 sport special
I have Shorai batteries in two off my bikes, one racer and a Ducati street bike. Shorai tech info say the battery voltage at idle should not fall below 13.2 volts or exceed 15.2 volts while riding...Smoking battery sounds like internal defects....
650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
Shorai has confirmed that lead acid batteries are more forgiving of the charging rates in old bikes. They tell me that they are working on a change that will hopefully take care of that and hope to have it available in the spring.
...many problems and dangerous race. Hope all you stay safely now.
Regarding Shorai; I do not have because there s no any distributor here, but seems that they have a great customer attention and they want to provide an enhanced product; that s a win in my book. We need more of these companies.
Hope everyone comes out ok.... A bear wow I thought hitting a deer was bad..... Sorry the bike let you sit but at least it didnt go up in flames... Although you could have lit your cigars with the heat
I was amped up to ride that one until my wife shot me down (parents weekend at daughters college) - looks like it was a good one to miss (safety wise). Excited for the spring Giro, if only I could find a Greeves I can afford so I don't have to navigate all that dirt / gravel on a Puch!
'78 T140V '74 Commando '71 A65L - Cafe in progress now almost 20 years! '69 TR6R '58 Allstate (Puch) 175