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Thread: Replacement battery for R1200GS?

  1. #1
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Replacement battery for R1200GS?

    I'm not very happy with the OEM Exide battery- it's a total candy-ass when it gets cold outisde: if it gets down to around 40F, the bike starts very hesitantly, and this morning in about 23F it only clicked. And it was like that since the bike's first winter, when it was only a few months old.
    So anybody know a good non-wet battery that will fit in an R1200GS and won't chicken out when it gets cold?
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  2. #2
    Motorradfahrer
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    Get a Odyssey PC535 for your 1200 GS. Indestructible and starts everytime

  3. #3
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    The Odyssey is popular, but requires some mods to fit, no?

    I preferred a plug and play solution so went with the Yuasa YTX14-BS. Next time I'll go with the updated YTX14H-BS as it is the same form factor but rated at 240 CCA instead of the 200 CCA of the YTX14-BS (and the PC 535).

    My dealer gave me the choice between the Yuasa and the Exide.

    // marc

  4. #4
    Bob
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    I switched to Powersports AGM batteries in both of our bikes after the factory Exides went Tango Uniform. Drops right in without modification, warranteed, and made in the USA. They cost around $60-70 retail.
    My bike is an R1200ST and the wife's is an F800ST but both use the same battery as the GS.

  5. #5
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Veg View Post
    I'm not very happy with the OEM Exide battery- it's a total candy-ass when it gets cold outisde: if it gets down to around 40F, the bike starts very hesitantly, and this morning in about 23F it only clicked. And it was like that since the bike's first winter, when it was only a few months old.
    So anybody know a good non-wet battery that will fit in an R1200GS and won't chicken out when it gets cold?
    There have been a lot of those batteries which have lost capacity...the ability to deliver cold cranking amps. Chances are a new of the same battery will fix it. I would be tempted though to try a different brand of the same physical size.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  6. #6
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjack View Post
    There have been a lot of those batteries which have lost capacity...the ability to deliver cold cranking amps. Chances are a new of the same battery will fix it. I would be tempted though to try a different brand of the same physical size.
    But how soon do they lose it? My battery showed definite weakness the very first time it was confronted with a cold morning parked outdoors, when the bike was less than six months old (closer to *TWO* months old!). If that kind of capacity loss is expectable from a nearly-new battery, then I am definitely not sticking with the OEM unit.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  7. #7
    K Bikes Complex by Choice cjack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Veg View Post
    But how soon do they lose it? My battery showed definite weakness the very first time it was confronted with a cold morning parked outdoors, when the bike was less than six months old (closer to *TWO* months old!). If that kind of capacity loss is expectable from a nearly-new battery, then I am definitely not sticking with the OEM unit.
    I don't say they are all that way, but Viki's GS with less than a few months and 600 miles on it had that same issue. It seemed to charge fully but also seemed to get to full charge much too quickly. I replaced the battery with a same new one and it is fine now.
    BMWMotorcycles, fun when they're running...
    My other bike is a BMW.
    Jack Hawley MOA and RA #224, KE9UW ("Chuck")

  8. #8
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    I'm still not sure that we're talking about the same thing here. I'll tell you some more detail about what happened with mine yesterday. It was very cold outside, below 30F. The bike had been parked all night in a toolshed. It refused to do more than click when I tried to start it.
    I removed the battery and brought it into the house to warm up for a few hours (note: I did NOT connect a charger at any point in this story). Once warm, it went back into the bike which started as readily as ever. So it seems to be not so much a matter of charging but of willingness to discharge in the prescribed and expected manner when cold. I dunno, maybe the electrons got frozen?

    In any case, this battery sucks and I see no reason to take a chance on another one like it. How do I know that another OEM battery will or won't be any different? And if there is a very good reason to believe that new-of-same will fix the problem, do I have a valid warranty claim on the battery I have now? If not, then at BMW prices (about *$130!*), is it worth the heartache? The Yuasa and Odyssey both sound pretty damn good.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

  9. #9
    Motorradfahrer
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    YES, some minor mods are required for the above mentioned Odyssey battery, but you will install a battle Tank battery that'll last you a long time.

    The minor mods can be seen on JVB website:
    http://www.jimvonbaden.com/page6.aspx

  10. #10
    riding the bike(s) grasslander's Avatar
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    I was just charged $175 for a BMW exide gel for my R12ST. I'm told that it is "special" and won't be an issue for those crazy ABS and canbus thingies. A $65-70 aftermarket is just as good? Say it ain't so BMW.

    I hear to get more than two years out of one I need to trickle daily with an "approved" BMW branded charger as well. At least they seem to last past the 1 year warranty if you only charge it once a month.

    I can't believe I let them leave it in the bike.
    Jim Doyle
    Expert M/C road racer and crew chief
    Owner G-Baby Racing endurance team
    2013 ASRA/AMA Team Challenge GTL National Champions

  11. #11
    Bob
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    Quote Originally Posted by grasslander View Post
    I was just charged $175 for a BMW exide gel for my R12ST. I'm told that it is "special" and won't be an issue for those crazy ABS and canbus thingies. A $65-70 aftermarket is just as good? Say it ain't so BMW.

    I hear to get more than two years out of one I need to trickle daily with an "approved" BMW branded charger as well. At least they seem to last past the 1 year warranty if you only charge it once a month.

    I can't believe I let them leave it in the bike.

    Our $65-70 aftermarkets have been doing great, in my R1200ST and my wife's F800ST, canbus, abs, and all. The fancy BMW trickle charger has for the most part been unused all winter, if they sit for more than a few weeeks I'll plug it in to each one for a couple days in turn to make up what little is lost to clock/memory functions. The same brand aftermaket AGM in my airhead has no parasitic losses when parked and still indicated 12.8 volts after sitting for over a month.

  12. #12
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grasslander View Post
    I was just charged $175 for a BMW exide gel for my R12ST. I'm told that it is "special" and won't be an issue for those crazy ABS and canbus thingies. A $65-70 aftermarket is just as good? Say it ain't so BMW.
    Ouch! I paid less than that for a new 100A battery for my car and they came out to my house to deliver and install it!

    The bike battery was $84.95 plus tax purchased from my dealer... but the Yuasa or Interstate, not an Exide. Works fine in my GS.

    Quote Originally Posted by grasslander View Post
    I hear to get more than two years out of one I need to trickle daily with an "approved" BMW branded charger as well. At least they seem to last past the 1 year warranty if you only charge it once a month.
    How often do you ride the bike? If you let it sit for more than about 3 weeks I'd put it on a charger (but it doesn't have to be the "approved" charger as long as you don't insist on connecting it through the accessory socket). Otherwise just ride the thing. I put my bike on the charger when I service the bike, about once/6 months. As long as I don't do stupid stuff and let the battery drain to nothing I get OK use. The original battery that came with my '05 GS is still providing service as a bench battery. I only replaced it because I'd stupidly fully discharged it 3 times.

    // marc

  13. #13
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    The Odyssey is popular, but requires some mods to fit, no?

    I preferred a plug and play solution so went with the Yuasa YTX14-BS. Next time I'll go with the updated YTX14H-BS as it is the same form factor but rated at 240 CCA instead of the 200 CCA of the YTX14-BS (and the PC 535).

    My dealer gave me the choice between the Yuasa and the Exide.

    // marc
    The dealer actually gave you little choice. Yuasa owns and manufactures the Exide (and MANY other motorcycle brand) battery. Yuasa had a series of batteries a number of years ago that exhibited sudden failures - good one moment, bad the next. The Exides used in hexheads are increasingly seeing the same failure mode. Motorcycle Consumer News had several short columns about the issue a few years back.

    FWIW - there are only a few battery manufacturers in the US, and it isn't economical to ship batteries from abroad - the weight kills the profit so most batteries used here are also made here. "Made in the USA" means it's made by one of the few manufacturers. The brand name on the battery means very little since companies such as Sears, Interstate and others have batteries manufactured by different manufacturer's depending on the cost, design and needs of the battery in question.

    BTW - the original parent company of BMW was "Varta" - a battery company owned by Herbert Quandt at the time he took ownership of BMW (useless trivia.)

    The money Quandt used to buy the controlling interest in BMW was made manufacturing and selling Varta batteries. Varta battery has since been sold by the Quandts - and you no longer see the genuine German Varta battery in BMW bikes or cars. (more useless trivia..) They were excellent batteries. The company made it's money making batteries for U boats in WW-I and then again in WW-II. (End of useless trivia..)
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

  14. #14
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by deilenberger View Post
    The dealer actually gave you little choice. Yuasa owns and manufactures the Exide (and MANY other motorcycle brand) battery.
    There was lots of choice, Don. The choice between one labeled interstate or yuasa or whatever at $85 vs the one with the BMW logo painted on the case that went for $130-something.

    Given that the batteries are made in the same place I figure the choice of not paying $45 for a painted bmw logo was a good thing.

    Edit: Note that some batteries available in the US are made China. I could have purchased a battery labeled YTX-14BS for as little as $29.

    // marc

  15. #15
    Has the GS-Lust The_Veg's Avatar
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    Follow-up

    I installed the Odyssey PC 535 about a week ago (BTW it's now $135- OUCH!). After a short test-ride I plugged in the charger (the 'special' BMW one) and parked the bike overnight. The next morning it was about 17F and I started the bike for a personal-best cold ride, but when I say started I mean just barely. The new battery had just enough oomph to get the fire lit. I guess that there are thermal limits to the R1200 engine's startability. But if the new battery doesn't mind merely chilly mornings, then I'll be happy.
    I still think though the BMW underestimated the amount of battery the R1200 needs.
    2012 R1200GS

    "If you can't fix it with a hammer, it's electrical." -somebody's dad

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