Battery Trickle Chargers?

Full diclosure: I have no idea what I’m taking about when it comes to batteries and so on :slight_smile:

This morning my BikeTrac sent me a warning notification to say my battery was low.

I only ride my bike on weekends every two weeks or so. I’ve seen “Trickle Chargers” on various motorcycle stores and wondered what people thought of them?

Would it be wise to get one, especially as I won’t ride my bike much in the winter?

I keep my bike at my parents, 100 miles away in the West Country, and can’t always rely on them to turn it over and keep it running to charge the battery.

I trickle charge my battery every weekend. I’ve bought them from Motoden, Ebay and Amazon and never had s problem.

If you have a tracker or an after market alarm/immobilizer and don’t ride frequently most people would recommend one.

The goto brand is Optimate.

A tricke charger’s not going to hurt, and is a better idea than occasionally briefly running the bike in any case.

Optimates and their ilk will attempt to actively care-for and maintain the battery, but just a standard trickle charger will keep an already healthy battery in good shape.

I put one on my bike a few years ago (Optimate) and it killed the new battery. When expressing my surprise to my regular mechanic, they claim to be designed to optimise your battery in full health, he told me he sees this all the time. They dry out batteries.

I suggest using a 7 day timer on the power socket and setting it to power up only once a week.

I have a tracker and use an optimate all the time - might be an idea to check you battery notification threshold on the tracking app that it is set correctly, took me several attempts to get mine right


I’ve had Optimate (4 I believe) for a few years and it’s been amazing. I hadn’t ridden my bike for 5 or 6 months during this winter and Optimate managed to revive the battery to full health even though it was beyond dead when I pulled it out. The battery is still alive and kicking and holding charge like new.

Top tip - Check the battery standby current drain against the motorcycle and alarm specifications to be sure there is nothing more sinister going on than the alarm draining the battery.


So as far as I know, my options are:

  1. Find a trickle charger that I can leave on permanently (although @Michael748 suggests this isn’t wise?)
  2. Get a trickle charger and put it on a timer (not sure I know what frequency to put the timer on)
  3. Unplug the bike’s battery when it’s not going to be used for a prolonged period?
  4. Leave the battery to drain, if it does just fix it with one of the Optimate chargers

I would love to do option 1. since it seems the least faff.
@Michael748 was your Optimate designed to trickle charge and simply maintain a battery over long periods of time?

Though, on second thought, I’m not surprised that a trickle charger may kill a battery if it does not let it go through charge cycles of draining a bit and then being charged. Are bike batteries anything like Li-Ion batteries in this way? Li-Ion batters should be allowed to be emptied every now and then to make sure the whole span of the battery is “exercised”. I suppose a good trickle charger would let a battery go through cycles.

Yes. I don’t have the original brochure for it but I remember it being advertised that way. It is an Optimate 3 - doubtless technology has moved on and maybe I should look at replacing it with a more recent model.

My mechanic told me he has seen many cases like mine. It was a new battery and the Optimate killed it over a year or so. He claims they are drying out the cells.

Optimate shouldn’t ruin a battery, they designed to be left on permanently and only charge when necessary.
There’s plenty of different ones to choose from

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Use Optimate all the time. Best way to look after your battery. All my bikes get hooked up to one where possible when parked. No issues with how long you leave it on there. Longer the better IMO!