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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In short - does "exciting" the battery actually facilitate cold weather starting, or is it an old wives' tale?

Hi - now that the colder months are upon us in the northern hemisphere, I've been reading a few posts about "exciting" the battery (i.e., turning on the headlights, ignition, etc.) before starting the bike in cold weather; apparently, it wakes up all the electrons and gets things moving in the battery, facilitating cold weather starting.
I wonder if there is there a scientific explanation for this, or if this is something specific to Lithium batteries - I'll be curious to hear what our site's engineers have to say about it. Thanks!:D
 

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Copied my postings from PNW's winter storage thread,
Post#1,
Just don't expect any lithium battery to crank well when near 30F / -1C and under.

In 20F temps last week on my Gen 1 carbureted bike, with Lithium battery, had not been run in 2-3 weeks.
Key ON / lights on, wait a minute or two.
Full cold start enrichener.
Attempt to crank, relay goes buzzzzz.
Wait 2 minutes, attempt to crank, goes buzzzzz, buzzz.
Wait 2 minutes, attempt to crank, goes Buzzz, starter motor goes grr, engine goes whut! Relay goes buzzzz.
Wait a minute, attempt to crank, starter motor goes Grrr, engine goes whut, whut, whut! Relay goes buzzzz.
Wait a minute, attempt to crank, starter motor goes GRrr, engine goes whut, whut, whut, Whump, whump, whump.
Wait a minute, attempt to crank, starter motor goes GRRRrr, engine goes WHUmp, WHump, Whump.whump,whump.
Wait a minute, attempt to crank, starter motor goes GRRRRR, engine goes WHUMP, WHUMp, WHUmp, boom, boom, Boom,BOom, BOOm, BOOM. Finally!

Yeah, each attempt was stronger as the lithium battery warmed-up. But it took at least a full 10 minutes.
An AGM or conventional flooded cell would have been cranking Full Strength on first attempt & the engine probably would have started on the second attempt.
And I'd have been on the road in 5 minutes or less.


Post #2,
I started my bike last week in sub-freezing conditions for 2 reasons.

#1, This thread and to give all of us a better understanding of lithium batteries benefits & draw backs depending on our usage & climate.

#2, To load it onto the trailer to bring it out of the snow & up to my shop. Because the streets are now ice & snow packed.
Last year I had 2 great rides after Thanksgiving in near freezing start-up temps, but dry road conditions.
November 28th & December 12th.

My older lithium battery performs quite well at 35F+. Just give it that 2-5 minutes of headlight on time to warm its guts a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That makes sense - thanks!
Having always had flooded cell and AGM batteries, this is all kind of new to me so I appreciate the input. I remember my old man saying something about this, but his mechanical knowledge and advice was not always so good...
 

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While there still is no 'unicorn' battery (that I know of) I think the lithium-iron is the best compromise. With that said, it's hard to beat a good quality(Yuasa) sealed battery/AGM . I wouldn't hesitate to run either type; I'm just currently enjoying the super weight savings of the Shorai battery.

I do believe that the lithium need to be "excited" for a short time(2-5min) if temps are below 35-40degF. Colder=longer ect. However, I think 10min is likely excessive. Just .02

Best wishes
 

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However, I think 10min is likely excessive. Just .02
Some other Gen 1 or Gen 2 lithium owner needs to try it at about 25F with all oem incandescent bulbs & no attempted start until 10 minutes.

Then another lithium owner who has converted most everything to LED's needs to try it at about 25F with no attempted start until 10 minutes.

2022+ Gen 3 bikes have an LED headlight correct? That would extend the battery 'warm-up time' required, correct?
 

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If I regularly rode in sub-freezing temperatures (or at least had to start the bike when it was sub-freezing) I think I'd find a way to install a battery heater. Letting a LiFePo battery warm itself up by powering a headlight will work, but I think it would be faster to use that same energy to directly heat the battery.

The last time I started my KLR in sub-freezing weather I was using an AGM battery. It started rather quickly, but I preceded those attempts with the lighting of candles to Our Lady of Mighty Cold.

Ow, she's a brick house...
 

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If I regularly rode in sub-freezing temperatures (or at least had to start the bike when it was sub-freezing) I think I'd find a way to install a battery heater.
Create a battery warming jacket with heating elements and an automatic shutoff timer built in - hit a button, it runs for a set amount of time then lights a green dash light to let you know it's ready. All the energy it uses goes to warming the battery both internally and externally, maximizing the amount of warmth vs reserve power consumed. Make your next million $. I'm honestly surprised some LiFePO battery manufacturer hasn't already done this and offered it as an option to cold climate customers. They could jack it into the BMS to allow the charging system to continue to heat the battery while keeping the battery isolated until it reached the proper temp to accept charging input.
 

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If I regularly rode in sub-freezing temperatures (or at least had to start the bike when it was sub-freezing) I think I'd find a way to install a battery heater. Letting a LiFePo battery warm itself up by powering a headlight will work, but I think it would be faster to use that same energy to directly heat the battery.

The last time I started my KLR in sub-freezing weather I was using an AGM battery. It started rather quickly, but I preceded those attempts with the lighting of candles to Our Lady of Mighty Cold.

Ow, she's a brick house...
Another good use for some Tusk grip heaters. :)
 

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Another good use for some Tusk grip heaters. :)
You beat me to it. A pair of grip heater grids applied to the sides of a lithium battery & wrapped with exhaust tape or side panel heat pads just might do the trick. Heating the battery from inside & out.

But a properly filled, fully initially charged, high quality AGM battery is probably "Simpler, Cheaper & Easier" to be able to start & ride in colder weather. The valve train, engine compression (100+ psi) & carburetion must all be top condition also. ;)
 
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I have to correct an omission in my earlier post, though the remainder stays the same...

If I regularly rode in sub-freezing temperatures (or at least had to start the bike when it was sub-freezing) I think I'd move.
I like the idea of the grip heaters as they are small and configurable, even though motorcycle battery heaters do exist.
 
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Create a battery warming jacket with heating elements and an automatic shutoff timer built in - hit a button, it runs for a set amount of time then lights a green dash light to let you know it's ready. All the energy it uses goes to warming the battery both internally and externally, maximizing the amount of warmth vs reserve power consumed. Make your next million $. I'm honestly surprised some LiFePO battery manufacturer hasn't already done this and offered it as an option to cold climate customers. They could jack it into the BMS to allow the charging system to continue to heat the battery while keeping the battery isolated until it reached the proper temp to accept charging input.
They have.....though not in MC sized batteries AFAIK; Battleborn 100Ah 12V LiFePO4 Deep Cycle HEATED Battery
 

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I'm shocked at how many people must be riding well below freezing temperatures for this to be a concern on their radar.... At any temps below freezing, I'm taking my truck or SUV with heated seats and steering wheel! LOL
Well, some of us have to catch up on a few decades of missed riding opportunity... ;)
 

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Not exactly what you'd want and kind of pricey, but...

I'm surprised this isn't a really common thing for snow machines. I mean, I really don't know a whole lot about snow machines but Yamaha Sidewinders ain't pull start, are they?
 

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I'm shocked at how many people must be riding well below freezing temperatures for this to be a concern on their radar.... At any temps below freezing, I'm taking my truck or SUV with heated seats and steering wheel! LOL


Dave
I would rather ride in cold weather than hot. Of course…Canadian winters are much different than California’s.
Layer up, turn on the grip heaters & go!
 

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My thought also; riding the motorcycle when it's cold is analogous to going out on a skidoo. As long as it's not icy or snowy, and you dress warm enough, it's pretty invigorating!
A skidoo doesn't fall on it's side when you hit some ice! ;) I can deal with the cold; downhill skier here but it's the crashing and bleeding that I try to avoid when I limit my riding to above freezing temps! :LOL:
 
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