Six months and 6,500 miles ago, I carved nearly six pounds off of my F800GS simply by replacing the lead-acid battery with a 2.3-pound Shorai unit. This new-tech battery is so light I could easily throw it across the room. Is there anything inside the carbon composite case? No liquid and no lead, for sure. Referring to the battery’s lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry, Shorai’s Kevin Riley told me the case holds just four foil pouches filled with lithium compound.
They may as well call it magic dust, because it creates a battery like I’ve never seen: light, small and able to stay on the shelf for a year without any attention. The Shorai LFX18A1-BS12 in my GS is 52 percent the size (volume) of the stock Absorbed Glass Mat unit. It arrived fully charged in a small box packed with sheets and chunks of foam padding. Don’t throw this stuff away! You’ll need it to pad out the battery compartment when you replace a larger lead-acid cell. After getting a snug fit, I had to fiddle with the wiring a bit to make everything reach the smaller battery, but it didn’t take long to create good, solid install.
I dropped the Shorai into my 800 a couple weeks before setting off for a good shake ‘n’ bake test through the southwest. The GS and I rattled and danced across the notorious Death Valley washboard, slammed into Capitol Reef cut banks, and hammered over Arizona rock gardens for nine days. The Shorai never missed a beat, and still hasn’t. My bike fires immediately every time, even if I crank up my electric vest and gloves before thumbing the starter button. Sorry I can’t report on cold weather operations, but the record low for starting the bike in my Southern California driveway is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like many modern motorcycles, my 800 has a clock and other electron-sucking gizmos that will eventually drain a battery if the bike sits too long. Riley told me that a Battery Tender®, or equivalent, without an automatic desulfation mode is safe for charging or maintaining a Shorai battery. A manual desulfation mode that you can shut off is fine. Shorai also offers a charger that’s designed to charge and optimize its batteries for $79.95.
The closest Shorai replacement for my stock 12 amp-hour battery is a 14 amp-hour equivalent, the LFX14A1-BS12, which retails for $159.95. I opted for a little more reserve with the 18 amp-hour cell, which goes for $189.95 That’s a premium price for sure, but it nets you a two-year warranty while simplifying maintenance and shaving pounds off your bike.
Find out more at www.shoraipower.com.