If you ever left your bike stored during the winter period, or took a prolonged break from riding, you've probably found that the battery on your bike stays active when not in use. This results in a flat battery, just when you wanted to go for a ride on that first sunny day in months. Several components on the bike - electronics, tell-tale lights, memory, clock - keep working, even when the ignition is off.
To make this kind of situation a thing of the past, connect the bike to a trickle charger when not used for a while. It keeps the battery alive and kicking, even during a four-month hibernation. Did you know you can extend the life of a new battery considerably if you put it on the trickle charger before first use?
The right battery charger
It's not as difficult or complex as it seems. Select the right criteria on the left to help you choose the trickle charger that meets your specific requirements.
If you know what this is about, then you're probably good on your own. If you don't, you better read on.
A lot of modern vehicles are equipped with a 12V socket on the handlebar or under the seat. You can use it to charge accessories (GPS, smartphone, etc.) but it also works the other way around, with the trickle charger.
If the 12V socket is CAN-bus controlled, it's not enough to just connect the trickle charger to charge the battery. When the ignition key is set to 'OFF', an onboard computer will not recognize a standard trickle charger plugged into the 12V socket and will even turn it off. With CAN-bus controlled outlets you need a CAN-bus compatible trickle charger to give the onboard computer a signal enabling charging.
Is my motorcycle equipped with such a CAN-bus?
If it's a BMW from 2005 or later: yes. If it is a 2005 or later BMW GS 1200: yes. If it is a 2005 GS 1150: no.
Can you check this at home? Yes, and we recommend doing so before ordering a trickle charger. Just connect a device to the 12V outlet you want to use to connect the trickle charger later. Gps or smartphone, it doesn't matter. Turn the ignition key to 'OFF' and see if the gps or smartphone works or charges.
If that is not the case, then the 12V socket is CAN-bus controlled and the onboard computer has not recognized the device. And then it won't recognize a standard trickle charger either. So in this case you need a CAN-bus compatible trickle charger.
To summarize: is the ignition 'OFF' and does the 12V socket not work? You need a CAN-bus compatible device.
Correct trickle charger
Having said that: you can never go wrong. Any trickle charger (CAN-bus compatible or not) can always charge a battery, as long as you connect it directly to the battery. It will only be an issue when you want to use the 12V socket.
Moreover, a CAN-bus compatible charger will also work fine on any non-CAN-bus system equipped vehicle.
Universal trickle chargers
All trickle chargers in our product range can be used to charge batteries from motorcycles, ATVs, scooters and lawn mowers. Some chargers are also suitable for charging car batteries. If you want to use the charger for your car, keep this in mind when making your selection.
Lithium batteries are becoming more and more common in motorcycles. When charging a lithium battery with a standard trickle charger, the battery will be damaged by the specific charging pattern of the standard trickle charger. If your vehicle is equipped with a lithium battery, select 'lithium (LiFePO4)' in the selection to eliminate the trickle chargers that could cause damage.
Output voltage 6 or 12
Most contemporary and even less contemporary vehicles are equipped with a 12V battery. Oldtimers can be equipped with a 6V battery. If you buy a trickle charger for a vintage car, check the voltage of the battery before buying.