Most modern motorcycles cannot run without a fully functional battery in them. If the battery is drained of charge, you won’t be able to start your motorcycle at all.
So, it is important for the battery to be charged for your bike to run.
And how long does a motorcycle battery take to charge?
A motorcycle battery will get charged anywhere between 4 to 24 hours depending on the battery type, charger type, battery specifications, age and its condition.
While lead acid battery, AGM battery and Lithium-ion battery can charge quickly, gel batteries take much more time to charge.
A trickle charger will take much more time to charge whereas a float or a smart charger will charge the battery much more quickly.
Let us deep dive into the time taken to charge a motorcycle battery and the factor that influence the charging time.
How Long Does It Take To Charge A Bike Battery
Typically, a 12V motorcycle battery can take anywhere between 4 hours to 24 hours to get charged completely.
The charging time entirely depends on:
- The type of battery
- Charger type
- Battery specifications (capacity, voltage etc.)
- Battery age and condition
A lithium-ion battery and an AGM battery will charge at a much faster rate. A lead acid battery will charge at a medium pace, whereas a gel battery will charge at a much slower pace and takes more time to charge.
Similarly, the type of battery charger (or battery tender) and the current at which you are charging matters as well.
A trickle charger will take too many hours to charge the battery. On the other hand, a float or a smart charger, or a battery tender will charge a battery much more quickly and takes far less time.
Charging a battery at a higher current will charge faster and takes less time, whereas charging at a lower ampere will take more time.
However, you can’t charge at a very high ampere as it can damage the battery.
Lastly, the battery age and condition matter too.
A new battery will charge much faster when compared to an old and poorly maintained battery – which can take long hours to get charged completely.
So, on an average, a motorcycle battery can take anywhere between 4 to 24 hours to charge completely denuding on these discussed parameters.
Relationship Between Charging Time And Charging Current
The charging time of the battery is dependent on two factors – i) Battery Capacity; and ii) Charging Current.
The relationship is best defined as:
Charging time of the battery = Battery Capacity / Charging Current
The units corresponding to each unit are:
Charging time in Hours (Hrs)
Battery Capacity in Ampere-hour rating of the battery (Ah)
Charging Current expressed in Amperes (A)
Ideal Charging Time
Let us take an example to calculate the time taken for charging the battery.
Suppose the battery capacity has an ampere-hour rating of 14 Ah. And let the charging be happening at 2 amps.
Charging Time = 14 Ah / 2 A = 7 Hrs.
It will take the charger 7 Hrs to completely charge the battery. However, this is an ideal scenario where we are assuming there will be no losses occurring.
Actual Charging Time
Usually, it will take much more time to completely charge when accounted for the losses.
Not to mention, the battery will be self discharging during the entire period as well.
If we factor in the losses while charging the battery, the hours will be higher than the ideal case for completely charging.
Suppose, if the losses occur at the rate of 40% while charging the battery, the time taken for charging is calculated as below.
Charging Time = 14 * 1.4 / 2 = 9.8 Hrs =~10 Hrs
As you can observe, losses in charging results in a higher time required to completely charge your battery.
Factors Affecting The Battery Charging Time
As discussed in the previous sections, the charging time of a motorcycle battery depends on various factors.
- type of battery
- type of charger
- battery specifications
- battery age and condition
Let’s discuss each of these factors and their influence on the battery charging time in a bike.
Type Of Battery
The battery charging time is most sensitive to the type of battery in the motorcycle.
The main types of batteries used in motorcycles are:
- Lead acid battery
- Gel battery
- AGM battery
- Lithium-ion battery
Lead acid battery is the widely used and old type battery found in most motorcycles.
However, they require additional maintenance since you need to top the battery off with distilled water – every once in a while, when the cell is low on fluid.
Gel and AGM batteries are the popular battery types in the recent years since they are maintenance free. They do not require any filling up of distilled water.
Lithium-ion battery is the new technology battery with low weight and requires less maintenance.
Of these four types of batteries, a lithium-ion battery and an AGM battery will charge at a much faster rate and takes less time to completely charge.
A lead acid battery will charge at a medium pace, whereas a gel battery will charge at a much slower pace and takes more time to charge.
Type Of Charger
There are mainly two types of chargers –
- Trickle chargers
- Float chargers
We also have smart chargers which is an improved version of float chargers.
A trickle charger charges the battery continuously but at lower current supply. As a result, it takes longer for trickle charger to charge a battery, typically around 24 hours.
The float charger on the other hand, charges at a much faster rate and takes less time to charge completely. In addition, it has smart features to recognize the battery charge levels and charges accordingly.
The current levels at which the charges is charging the battery matters as well in deciding how long it takes for the battery to charge.
Higher ampere current will charge the battery at a much faster rate than the lower ampere current.
A charger charging at 2 amperes will take less time than the one charging at 1 ampere to charge the battery completely.
Another major factor that impacts how long will it take for the motorcycle battery to charge completely is the battery capacity and voltage.
Typically, motorcycle batteries have a specified voltage of 12V. But their capacities vary from one model to another.
Higher the battery capacity, longer the time it will to charge.
Since higher capacity batteries will be storing higher amounts of charge, charging them will take ore time as opposed to low capacity batteries which will get charged faster since they have low charge storage.
As a result, a battery with 40Ah capacity will take longer time to charge than a battery with 20Ah capacity.
Battery Age And Condition
Another factor that influences the time taken to charge the battery is the battery age and its condition.
A new and well-maintained battery will charge faster than an old and poorly maintained battery.
You can even observe with your own motorcycle battery. As years pass the time taken to charge will slowly increase overtime.
Initially, when the battery is new it charges faster and takes less time.
Once it ages and becomes old, the charging time increases. The battery takes longer time now to charge fully.
As can be seen, the battery charging time varies depending on the battery type, charger type, capacity, charging current, and the battery age and condition.
On an average, a motorcycle battery should take anywhere between 4 to 24 hours to charge completely.
Can Your Motorcycle Run Without A Battery?
Most modern motorcycles cannot run without a battery. If the battery is at marginal health and some life still left in it, motorcycle can be started with a push/bump start.
The only exception where battery is not needed to run are motorcycles with magneto ignition, which can be seen in old motorcycles, small dirt bikes and scooters.
Why Is A Motorcycle Battery Not Charging?
The main reasons why a motorcycle battery is not charging are:
- Battery is dead
- Alternator is not working
- Regulator – rectifier is damaged
- Blown fuse in the motorcycle
- Loose or broken wires in the charging circuit
Check out our post which details out on these reasons why the battery is not charging.
Will A Motorcycle Charger Charge A Car Battery?
Usually, you can use a motorcycle charger to charge a car battery since both the charger and the car battery’s voltage specification will be around 12V. Exceptions are when you are using an old motorcycle or a low volt battery of 6V.
However, it is better to check whether your car battery amp-hour rating falls within the specified capacity range of the charger before you start charging.