September 26 2008.

Acumen is advising anyone considering long-term storage this winter to invest in a smart charger to avoid the expense and frustration of a deeply discharged battery next spring. Many owners lay up their motorcycles over the cold winter months and the option to avoid paying road tax using SORN has made 'hibernation' increasingly popular.

Lead-acid batteries all go through a natural process of self-discharging and once deeply discharged are often impossible to recover. Battery manufacturers suggest allowing for an average discharge rate of 1% per day; however accessories such as clocks, regulator rectifiers and alarms will accelerate this process. Most motorcycle batteries are rated at 9aH, so will be incapable of powering an electric starter motor when they reach 50% capacity, which gives an absolute maximum of 50 days if left unattended. Some modern sports bikes, like the 2008 Honda Fireblade, are equipped with 7aH batteries and these could struggle to start the bike after just one month without charging.

Ironically, while cold temperatures slow the rate of discharge, they also impede the battery's ability to supply full power, which is why older batteries often struggle to start a bike on cold mornings. Discharged batteries are more vulnerable to freezing too and in extreme cases can freeze at -1°C, causing permanent irreparable damage, whereas a fully charged battery would not freeze until approximately -59°C.

The Titanium Smart Charger from Acumen charges and maintains the battery, but with the added benefit of a backlit liquid crystal voltmeter display, which acts as a diagnostic tool for owners to monitor to condition of their battery. It is supplied complete with wall mounting bracket waterproof and a lead with a waterproof fuse for permanent connection to battery, and priced at £49.99 inc. VAT it could save money and inconvenience when it's time to 'wake up your motorcycle in spring time.

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