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View Full Version : riding a couple miles to work. bad 4 battery?



samuelh
04-03-2010, 02:05 AM
I work about 2 miles from my house, and it takes about 10 minutes (downtown) to get there. Is doing this twice a day 5 days a week and only doing long rides on the weekend bad for the battery?

35634
04-03-2010, 02:52 AM
I had a similar commute for years. No battery issues, but it bugged me never really getting the engine up to operating temp. Unless you're riding an old airhead I wouldn't worry about the battery.

marchyman
04-03-2010, 03:11 AM
Is there some rule that says you have to take the direct route home? :ear

25 years ago my commute was about 20 freeway miles or 35 wonderful twisty miles. The twisty miles were sometimes faster. They certainly put me in a better mood.

motorradmike
04-03-2010, 11:31 AM
Bad for battery.
Bad for exhaust.
Bad for whole bike.
Might be bad for road too.

If you really want it to last forever you should take the battery out and never start it. :lol

PGlaves
04-03-2010, 01:47 PM
I work about 2 miles from my house, and it takes about 10 minutes (downtown) to get there. Is doing this twice a day 5 days a week and only doing long rides on the weekend bad for the battery?

Too many variables to tell. What model bike? Do you keep the engine speed reasonably "up", or do you just putt to work? Is the battery staying 80% charged or dropping lower by the end of the week?

On a /5 you might be walking by Thursday. On an R1100RTP with dual batteries you would be fine. Most other models it becomes a maybe, maybe not situation.

greenwald
04-03-2010, 01:49 PM
Is there some rule that says you have to take the direct route home? :ear

25 years ago my commute was about 20 freeway miles or 35 wonderful twisty miles. The twisty miles were sometimes faster. They certainly put me in a better mood.

I agree with marchyman - leave earlier, or arrive home later, but add some flavor to your commute.

Below 5,000 RPM, not a lot of battery charging is going on. Do yourself and your bike a favor, and make that commute somewhere in the 15 - 20 minute range, with some sustained higher speeds involved.

Better for the battery.
Better for the exhaust.
Better for the bike.
Better for you.

Better for the roads? Don't know about that! Check with MotorradMike.

Enjoy. :german

wezul
04-03-2010, 01:59 PM
I have to agree with the previous posters, my main concern would be exhaust system as it is possible depending on temps/relative humidity that the pipes might not get warm enough to dry out.

Yeah, take that extra time and enjoy the ride!

jforgo
04-03-2010, 05:36 PM
Just get a battery tender and use it daily, as far as the battery is concerned. No more worries there.

But, as others have intimated, this sort of use is hard on the mechanical aspects of the bike. I would accelerate the oil change schedule, as specified for what is considered hard use. A synthetic or semi synthetic motorcycle oil will flow better while the motor is not so warmed up; kinder to all those parts. Run Marvel in the fuel to keep the crud in the combustion chamber down. And on the weekends give it a good run; don't just putt it everywhere. If you have a steep hill somewhere on your ride, give it an Italian tune up; wind the motor under load going up that hill. The bike will love you for it.

cycleman2
04-03-2010, 11:29 PM
I agree with more frequent oil change etc but with respect to the battery, if your electrical system is in good shape and charging properly you shouldn't have any issues. If your battery is pushing the 4 or 5 year mark I would replace it.


The battery is just a storage reservoir and resistor for the electrical system. To my knowledge most alternators are putting out their max at around 2500 rpm or so. You can check this with a volt meter to see if & at what rpm your alternator is charging properly. Should be around 14 volts. Resting voltage on the battery should be 12.5 or better. If you are always getting a low voltage reading say around 12.2 or so I would replace the battery. Low reading means that it's not holding a charge.

You don't want to lug these engines so keep the revs up, 3000 or better. This also gives you some get up & go should you need it in a traffic situation.

greenwald
04-04-2010, 12:24 AM
BMW rates the alternator on the R1200RT as "720 watts @ 5,000 RPM."

I have seen articles about recharging the battery that "begin" at 3,000 and go higher.

Recommend getting above at least 3,000 to presume charging is taking place.

Safe Riding! :german

marchyman
04-04-2010, 03:48 AM
I think those articles go back to the airhead days. 3K is about where the gen light stopped flickering. :laugh

The (older) reprom that I have states that the the RT output is 660 W (probably the value for earlier RTs) and gives 55A at 4000 RPM for max output. But note that it also gives 27A (1/2 available power) at 1000 RPM. I don't know the actual output curve. If it were a straight line I'd expect somewhere around 40 amps available at 2500 RPM. If 40 amps can't keep your battery charged you've got a lot more lights on your bike than you likely need. :bolt

themayer
04-06-2010, 11:35 PM
I'm not very good at electrical stuff, but I would ask, "40 amps for how long?" I have had a similar commute for the past six years (5.2 miles round-trip) and my battery clearly wasn't keeping up on my RT. My dealership assured me that I was draining more from the battery by starting it, than the bike could re-charge in 2.6 miles. I keep it on a battery tender now. Problem gone.
The more serious problem for me was when I was unable to get out on the highway for any given month or so. The spark plugs became seriously fouled. The rest of the stuff...I don't know. Personally, I just ride the bike how and for what I need it, and if problems come up - I deal with them.

Trickster
04-07-2010, 02:23 PM
Bad for the battery? Not good for longevity. No consistent charging being done.

Yes you need to get above 3000 rpm or so to "charge",
BUT, it is "time" that charges the battery, not just reaching that level of rpm's.

As previously mentioned, buy a Battery Tender ( a decent one with overload protection/auto-off) and hard wire the quick dis-connect, and your battery should last close to 5 years, mine do.

I hope you take your machine out for a good "hot" run regularily to dry out the exhaust condensation, and heat up all the mechanicals.

The bike wants it, and needs it for optimum performance and reliability.

Good Luck:thumb

samuelh
04-08-2010, 03:57 AM
Thanks for all the feedback. I live in a high rise, so there is no good access to electricity in the garage period.

I liked the comment ' I just use it how I need it, and deal with the issues that come up.' That is what I am going to do!

SH

jforgo
04-08-2010, 04:10 AM
Not sure which bike you have. But you can likely get Euro switchgear right out of the parts catalog, and keep your lights off for startup and warmup.

ANDYVH
04-08-2010, 03:57 PM
Definitely need to exercise that bike at least twice a week, with a solid 1/2 hour of highway speeds. As much for the battery as for the engine itself. All that short putt-putt riding is condusive to moisture buildup in the crankcase and oil.

I used to live at least a 1/2 hour from everything I did when I lived in a small rural town in east central Wisconsin. I would ride daily from April 1st to December 1st, so at least 45 miles a day, all highway. I had no Battery Tender then, and the original Mareg battery lasted eight seasons and was still useable when I replaced it with a Westco. At that time I relocated to Green Bay, and worked from my home. My daily 45 mile ride reduced to a weekly 100 miles at best.

That Westco battery suddenly died after less than two full seasons. Right after a long 800 mile weekend.

I replaced it with a Toyo battery, and use a Battery Tender now. Going on season four of the Toyo battery this year.

greenwald
04-08-2010, 10:29 PM
Thanks for all the feedback. I live in a high rise, so there is no good access to electricity in the garage period.

I liked the comment ' I just use it how I need it, and deal with the issues that come up.' That is what I am going to do!

SH

Hope that logic doesn't apply to the oil as well. :violin

samuelh
04-08-2010, 11:06 PM
Just checked it today.

amiles
04-09-2010, 11:37 AM
Just checked it today.

I don't think that is what Greenwald was getting at.

Forgive me if I err Greenwald

Continual short trips place you into the "severe duty" classification on vehicle maintenance schedules. due to the engine never getting fully warmed up and running for a goodly period of time. Dilution by moisture that never boils out and other factors cause this rapid deterioration of your oil and it's additive package.

Checking the level of the oil will not reveal this.

greenwald
04-09-2010, 11:59 AM
i don't think that is what greenwald was getting at.

Forgive me if i err greenwald

continual short trips place you into the "severe duty" classification on vehicle maintenance schedules. Due to the engine never getting fully warmed up and running for a goodly period of time. Dilution by moisture that never boils out and other factors cause this rapid deterioration of your oil and it's additive package.

Checking the level of the oil will not reveal this.

+1

samuelh
04-10-2010, 12:49 AM
How many miles would you go between changes in this situation?

greenwald
04-10-2010, 01:51 PM
How many miles would you go between changes in this situation?

That's the kind of question that's going to garner multiple answers, but if this was my bike, under these conditions,.............

.......I would be changing out my dino oil (don't waste money on synthetic if you have a frequent-changing interval due to circumstances) every 2,000 miles or 3 months, whichever comes first.

Keep in mind that under your scenario, the amount of time that your low temp, high moisture oil sits in the sump is as much a factor as miles.

Ride safe, but arguably, ride longer. :thumb

Zygmund
04-10-2010, 10:50 PM
Leave early and get to work with a smile :type
Take the long way home and end the day with a job well done! :brad

bikerfish1100
04-22-2010, 01:02 PM
Ride a bicycle to work, and take the m/c out for long rides on the weekend. 2 miles x 2 times/day is doing nothing good for your bike; nothing good at all.

themayer
04-22-2010, 10:11 PM
Ride a bicycle to work, and take the m/c out for long rides on the weekend. 2 miles x 2 times/day is doing nothing good for your bike; nothing good at all.:stick

Maybe not, but it makes ME happy.

jimabmw
04-23-2010, 11:45 AM
Just ride it don't worry about and fix it when it breaks

Firenailer
04-23-2010, 01:44 PM
Before I retired I used to ride to the Firehouse quite often, a ride of less than 5 miles. I just started up the bike and let it warm up while I geared up. I did plug it in more often than not to a BMW charger overnight. I only just changed the battery (after 6 years) more for my peace of mind than any other reason as it still cranked fine and never gave me trouble even when travelling for a few days. I did change my oil 3 times a year and so far so good.
This is just MHO, I'm no mechanic but it has worked for me.

I'd say just ride and enjoy your commute.

Bob

ANDYVH
04-28-2010, 02:54 PM
"I did plug it in more often than not to a BMW charger overnight."

That itself is probably the main reason your battery lasted six seasons if you did a lot of short commutes on your bike in town. I'd bet if you didn't keep it on the charger regularly the battery may have lasted three seasons tops.

When I lived in a small town, at least 1/2 hour of highway riding to work, friends, family, fiance', no matter where I rode I had a 1/2 of highway riding minimum, the original Mareg battery lasted eight seasons. Back then I rarely put it on a charger. Now I work from my home in a much larger city. I keep the bike plugged in to a Battery Tender when I am not ridinr, even in the summer.

GlobalRider
05-09-2010, 04:19 PM
I work about 2 miles from my house, and it takes about 10 minutes (downtown) to get there. Is doing this twice a day 5 days a week and only doing long rides on the weekend bad for the battery?

Install a voltmeter that reads directly off the battery.

Then you'll know what is really going on.

http://edelweiss.smugmug.com/Motorcycles/Technical-Stuff/Surface-Mount-Datel-LCD/015-Datel-Meter-Mounted-2/510948616_8xNox-M.jpg