It's time to say goodbye to the cool and new technology under my seat on the Sprint. After almost exactly one year of solid performance since receiving my replacement LiFePO battery from Shorai, it has begun to let me down this week. As recent as two weeks ago the battery was working fine. It would start the big 1050 triple engine with what seemed little effort. Even down to the 30 deg mark it would fire up on the first try.
Yesterday, however, it was 35 deg outside when I went out to start the bike up, it turned over very slowly and couldn't light up the engine. After a couple of tries and letting it sit with the lights on for a few minutes (or "The Dance" as I call it) it finally fired up. This is after I had the battery tender connected all night just to be sure it would be ready for me in the morning.
I hoped this was a fluke, however, this morning I was greeted to a 27 deg outside temperature and once again I had to do "The Dance" to get the bike started, and this time it was a much longer affair to coax the bike to starting. That was the last proverbial straw for me and I will be picking up new lead based technology battery this afternoon.
Now perhaps some people might say I'm being to hasty and that I should contact Shorai and I undoubtedly will. I don't expect a replacement nor do I expect anything to directly come of my my impending complaint. My hope is that my complaint, along with those from others, will continue to drive Shorai and similar companies to improve their products until these LiFePO products are truly ready for prime time.
In fact LiFePO may never be ready for usage beyond novelty and racing bikes and it may require a new energy storage technology to reliably replace lead-acid batteries. I wanted to believe that Shorai had managed it but the unreliable nature and poor cool weather performance means riders like myself who ride throughout the winter in 40 deg temps or less need not apply.
I want to make it clear I am not slamming Shorai and their competitors in the market supplying these batteries, but rather, I want to make sure that potential buyers be aware of the technology's limitations. If you live in someplace like Southern California, it is likely one of these batteries could be trouble free for years. Here in Tennessee, however, they don't appear to be prepared for our winters and spending 10 minutes or more just to start my motorcycle is truly a non-starter (pun intended)