Sure, many of you don’t mind how your bike rides, considering the way it is dripping in pounds of heavy chrome with scads of bags filled with every piece of gear conceivable. But there is also a large percentage of folks reading this magazine who want to wring out every bit of power their bike can give. Doing motor work or adding forced induction is a path to greatness, but getting rid of dead weight is also a good (and usually cheaper) way to increase power. Yes, a reduction in poundage is never really equivalent to increasing real-deal horsepower, but as the racers say, “Every ounce counts when you have the need for speed.”
A rule of thumb for the kind of bikes we ride is that the loss of 7 pounds is equal to gaining one unit of horsepower. One of the easiest ways is to ditch the stock exhaust setup for something lighter. This action can get rid of 25 pounds or more on some bikes.
One of the other ways we have found recently is to ditch the 15-pound stock lead-acid battery and go with one of the new crop of direct-fit lithium-ion batteries. These types of batteries are lighter because they have no corrosive liquids and no toxic heavy metals inside them. They are also engineered to be smarter with built-in charge and equalizing protection, which prevents the battery from being over-charged. Also, by their nature these types of batteries have a low self-discharge, so they can be stored for extended periods of time even in low-temperature environments with the ability to start right up. No trickle charger needed! Lithium-ion batteries also have superior vibration resistance so you can mount them in a myriad of directions without damaging the battery or bike. And that’s a good thing, right?
We have been testing this latest crop of lithium-ion batteries for a while now, and although they are only a portion the weight of a lead-acid battery, we have been seeing more than twice the service life of the conventional batteries. And that is a win-win situation right there if we have ever seen one. HB