Building a better Battery

I love my 2012 G650 GS Sertao. Many of you know I traded my GS Adventure to downsize a bit, and was unexpectedly suprised how close the ergonomics are to my old 1200 GSA.

One issue reared it’s ugly head however. Several times in the last 20,000 miles I had battery trouble. Usually the Sertao started without problems, but it’s those not so usual times, which seemed to be getting less rare, that had me worried. I took the battery in twice to be tested, and both times the result returned saying “Battery Good”. No complaint here about the service department, their hands are tied by BMW Corporate when it comes to how to test things and what the results indicate, but I still didn’t trust the battery. In my thinking, how can it be good if it won’t start the bike? Not wanting to continue to take chances, as a non-start deep in the boonies would be trouble, I figured it was time to replace the lead lined little sucker.

LiFe vs. Pb

LiFe vs. Pb

I re-read the informative article in October’s BMW ON about a test of Lithium vs old school batteries,(  see page 159)  I discussed details with Keith at the Indy dealer then bought a Ballistic EV02 LiFeP04 Battery.  ( )

This is a Lithium Ferris battery, and the technology on these have changed considerably. The battery is completely dry and it can be mounted in any direction including upside down, not that anyone but maybe Nate would be in that orientation on purpose. It requires no special chargers, and not only is it considerably smaller, but it’s unbelievably lighter. The EV02 12 cell weighs a mere 2 lbs 5 oz while the OEM BMW / Exide lead/acid battery it replaced weighs 12 lbs. Battery in Place

Other benefits include 410 cold cranking amps vs. the OEM’s 200 which make starting the bike a no strainer. It is 3″ shorter than the lead/acid, but still fits in the same slot and connection takes no alterations, so there’s a neat spot to hide something if you so desire.

The LiFeP04 requires no regular maintenance charging and will loose less than 10% of it’s total charge over a 12 month static period and therefore has no need for a trickle charger plugged in constantly. Any charger can be used if for some reason you manage to run it down a bit, as long as you don’t use the de-sulfating mode designed for lead/acid versions. There is a manufacturer built charger you can buy that has some neat abilities, but you’ll have to discuss that with Keith. It also comes with a 3 year warranty. Cost with the club discount was $182.92 including tax, a small price to pay for insurance.

Here’s to no more battery worries. Pleasant rides.

Pre-register for the 2013 MOA Rally July 18-21  in Salem OR online starting March 1st.

Get there and Volunteer !

2013RallyLogo_CMYKfinalRick Nelson, 2013 BMW MOA Rally Co-Chair


3 thoughts on “Building a better Battery

  1. Dallas Peak

    Rick, did they say you have to warm up this battery by running current (headlight on hi-beam) in order to get it to start in the cold?

    Nice article.



    1. Rick Nelson Post author

      You are correct Dallas, in cold weather they recommend turning the key on and let it wake up the battery so to speak. You can even give the starter a short burst, then wait a bit with the key still on. Very different technology.

  2. Bob Conley

    Great article, keep us posted if any issues with lithium battery. Does a cold motor turn over quicker with the new battery?

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