Are Gel Batteries Good for Motorcycles? Why or Why Not?
Gel cell batteries are one of the most popular types of batteries that are out there. Though not the least expensive type of battery, they are more efficient than conventional wet cell batteries in many other ways.
The battle is usually between AGM (absorbent glass mat) and gel cell batteries since they also use lead-acid but in a more contained manner than conventional wet cell batteries.
This article will be taking a look at gel cell batteries in general, and also at their merits and demerits in terms of being one of the top motorcycle batteries.
An Overview of Gel Cell Batteries for Motorcycles
As mentioned already, gel cell batteries use lead-acid as their power source. However, unlike in a wet cell battery, the acid is not flowing freely. It is instead gelled together thanks to silica.
Hence, the acid obtains a gel form, which means that the battery is spill-proof and maintenance-free. Because of this gelatinized acid, gel cell batteries can also be installed into the motorcycle in any orientation, not just upright.
Gel cell batteries also have a much higher cycle life than the average wet cell battery. Even though they are commonly put up against AGM batteries, gel cell batteries do tend to be a bit more expensive but are usually worth it due to their efficiency.
Features of Gel Cell Batteries
Now that we are familiar with the basics of a gel cell battery, let us take a look at the many features which make it such a popular type of battery for motorcycles.
Gel cell batteries do not self-discharge a lot. In fact, if left to sit out for six months, a typical gel cell battery may only drain 0.75 volts of its total voltage (12V, give or take).
These batteries also do not spill their acidic contents if knocked over sideways, hence reducing health risks for the user.
Fast Recharge Time
Gel cell batteries are known to have a high recharge speed. Given that you only need to recharge them every 2 months or so, the high speed of recharge makes these batteries even more desirable.
Unlike conventional batteries, which can only be mounted upright, gel cell batteries can be mounted in any direction due to them not being prone to spillage.
Does Not Require Refills
Gel cell batteries do not dry out, and hence, do not need to be refilled every month or so. Instead, you can just trickle-recharge them whenever needed using a battery maintainer for motorcycles.
Number of Cycles
Gel cell batteries tend to have a high cycle life, more so than AGM (absorbent glass mat) batteries.
A 9Ah gel cell battery can hold up for about 2 hours if you leave your headlights on, which is actually a much higher capacity than that of more expensive batteries such as lithium batteries.
Things to Keep in Mind about Gel Cell Batteries
As we can see, gel cell batteries have many merits which explain their popularity amongst motorcyclists. However, there are some precautions that need to be taken while using gel cell batteries.
These batteries must not be exposed to situations of high amperage. This may cause the gel inside gel cell batteries to become scarred and can create pockets within the gel. Pockets like these will give way to corrosion, which will, in turn, shorten the lifespan of the gel battery.
Gel cell batteries should also only be trickle-charged, as they are not suitable for fast charging or discharging.
There is no doubt that gel cell batteries are one of the best motorcycle batteries on the market. They have several great qualities that largely outweigh their demerits.
Gel cell batteries are good for use in motorcycles. If their steady popularity does not prove that, then the points brought up above in their favor definitely will.