Do I Need A Trickle Battery Charger/Tender For My Motorcycle?

As a new Chonda Owner, in this case, a TaoTao TBR7 Dual-sport Motorcycle owner, I have researched some of the pros and cons of the TBR7 motorcycle.

A weak link in these Chinese motorcycles is their stock batteries.

Both the Hawk 250 and TBR7 are known to have weak batteries with very short lifespans. I wanted to see if I could extend the life span of the stock battery and asked myself, do I need a trickle battery charger/tender for my motorcycle?

Stock Chonda Motorcycle Battery’s Background.

I am still in the mists of getting used to my new TaoTao TBR7 motorcycle. My motorcycle came with a different stock battery than anticipated.

When I checked YT videos for information about TBR7 and Hawk 250 motorcycle assembly instructions, I found that most of these motorcycles came shipped with an empty battery. Which included a bottle pack containing battery acid. The motorcycle owner must fill each cell of the stock battery with this battery acid and then somehow charge the battery afterwards.

My TBR7’s arrived with a sealed motorcycle battery. I thought ‘jackpot’; maybe I will not have the same problems other Chonda owners have with their motorcycle battery. However, when I searched for stories about the stock sealed motorcycle battery, I found out the sealed battery also had a very short lifespan and lost its charge quickly. Which I asked myself, Do i need a trickle charger for my motorcycle? Will this help?

Motorcycle 12 volt battery charger & tender.

How To Install A Trickle Charger On A Motorcycle.

Is The Stock Battery Losing Its Charge From Storage Or Hard Cranking?  

This is a good question I went searching to find the answer to. Most people find out the battery is dead when they try to start the motorcycle, which is expected. However, I could not determine if there was a pattern of the battery dying after the motorcycle was in storage or long periods of sitting around. Again, I asked myself: do I need a trickle charger for my motorcycle? Will this help?

It seems the TaoTao TBR7/Hawk 250 stock batteries die at random times. However, one thing was for sure; they do die. I think a trickle battery charger might be the solution, but I feel I’m being overly optimistic.

So I tried not to limit my research to just TaoTao TBR7 or Hawk 250 motorcycle reasons for trickle battery chargers, and these are the questions that I ran through my head and the information I was able to put together. I hope this helps you too.  

The information I found wasn’t limited to just Chinese dual-sport bikes like my TBR7, and the data seems to apply to all motorcycles with lead-acid batteries.

Also, found when searching for trickle battery chargers, they are also called battery tenders. Sounds gentile. 😀

Why Use A Battery Trickle Charger On My TBR7 Motorcycle?

Here I was rationalizing the reasoning behind trickle battery chargers/tenders.

Motorcycle Battery Charge Levels.

Do Motorcycles Need Battery Tenders Or Trickle Chargers?

Getting a battery trickle charger/tender is an excellent step to keep a motorcycle’s battery healthy during periods of non-use. The lead-acid battery tends to lose its charge during periods of motorcycle shutdown. To ensure the motorcycle starts right up for your next ride, get a trickle charger/tender.

Should I Use A Battery Trickle Charger On My Motorcycle?

Yes, I found good motorcycle batteries lose charge when the motorcycle isn’t being used, and it seems to be a characteristic of lead-acid batteries.  

Two ways I found that might prevent a dead lead-acid battery:  

  1. Replace the lead-acid battery with a lithium motorcycle battery. I am not interested in spending that amount of money on my motorcycle. The TaoTao TBR7 is a cheap Chinese motorcycle. I bought it because it was cheap, so I am looking for an inexpensive solution for preventing a dead motorcycle battery.
  2. Buy a motorcycle battery trickle charger (or tender). The price of these battery tenders is low enough to justify their purchase and the benefits of having the motorcycle crank up every time I want to ride is fantastic.

So How Long Does A Motorcycle Battery Last Without Starting?

I got the information that a good motorcycle battery can last from 2-4 months to 6 months in a shutdown motorcycle. During this time, the motorcycle battery has enough power to restart the motorcycle, and then when you are riding the motorcycle, the battery is recharged by the bike’s charging system.  

TBR7 stock batteries? There are more online posts by Hawk 250 owners, and the information is scattered. Some people say out of the box; the stock battery is poor. Others brag about the battery lasting six months with regular use.   

I would assume the battery I receive with my TBR7 will not hold a charge very long and take steps to ensure I get the most life out of the battery.

Are Battery Trickle Chargers / Battery Tenders Safe To Use?

The TBR7 is my first motorcycle, and I have no experience in motorcycle repair and maintenance, so I wanted to be sure that battery trickle chargers are safe for my new motorcycle.

Generic Automatic Battery Charger For A Motorcycle.

Can I Use A Trickle Battery Charger On My Motorcycle Battery?

I was afraid trickle battery chargers and tenders were specific to only cars, and I found differences between some motorcycle batteries and automotive batteries.

Some motorcycle batteries are 6 volts versus the normally expected 12 volts, and I only have experience on 12-volt batteries doing my own car repairs in the past. So I had to check; my TBR7 stock battery is a 12-volt battery. 

Being a 12-volt battery, I can use a regular car battery trickle charger. However, since I plan to buy more motorcycles in the future, I plan to get a battery tender that can handle 6-volt batteries.

Can A Trickle Battery Charger / Tender Ruin Motorcycle Battery?

A faulty product’s potential for damage can be infinite with any product. Therefore I would research any trickle battery charger/tender before buying. Find out if the product can be left on the motorcycle battery and if it has safety features?

With the trickle battery chargers/tenders, I found, they charge the battery very slowly, the ‘trickle,’ and many have an auto shut off when the battery is fully charged. Then the trickle charger/tender monitors the battery voltage and restarts recharging when the battery is below fully charged.

So the trickle charger tends to the battery, ensuring the battery is only charged to a full charge and recharges when the battery is below a full charge. The battery ‘floats’ at the full charge state.

Yes, battery floats are often names given to battery tenders or battery trickle chargers. The trickle charger label seems to be defined as the rate at which the charger recharges the battery.

Can I Overcharge My Motorcycle Battery With A Trickle Charger/Tender? 

Regular battery chargers can overcharge your motorcycle battery, and this is why many have instructions to disconnect the battery once the battery is fully charged. These trickle chargers/tenders have features to stop charging when the battery is full and restart charging after the battery loses a certain amount of power.

So there is a danger with some regular battery chargers. Be sure you read the instructions and the product features before leaving your motorcycle battery on the charger unsupervised. Smart chargers seem to be the trend, but research before buying and using any battery charger.

Is Trickle Charging A Battery Good For The Battery?

When lead-acid batteries, there is a chemical process that generates voltage. Then to recharge the lead-acid battery, you reverse this chemical process.

With many chemical processes, heat is generated, which can accumulate and damage lead-acid batteries. Slowly (i.e., trickle) charging a battery minimizes heat build-up.

Also, there are inefficiencies with lead-acid batteries. If they are discharged too fast, too low, or recharged too quickly, the battery becomes more inefficient over time. Meaning the battery will generat4e less power during their highest draw of current when you are cranking your motorcycle trying to get it to start.

Once a battery starts failing, pushing that battery will accelerate its failure. :/

Trickle chargers are designed to slowly recharge the motorcycle battery allowing slow heat build-up and the most efficient chemical change in the battery to extend the life of that battery. Also, to stop charging when the battery is full (prevent overcharging the battery – very bad), many of the trickle battery chargers are ‘tenders.’ Meaning they will tend to the battery’s condition ensuring the battery is fully charged when needed.

I read these lead-acid batteries are old technology and have a long history of problems. Whey we don’t see too many lead-acid electric vehicles. Mostly only golf carts I found.

Boom Vader Motorcycle Trickle Battery charger port under seat.

Will I Leave My Motorcycle Battery On The Trickle Charger/Tender Overnight?

Yes. I plan to get a trickle battery charger/ tender with all the safety features to protect the battery while tending to its voltage to ensure safe complete charging and maintenance.

So, When Do I Use A Trickle Battery Charger/Tender?

Now that I have covered the importance of using trickle battery chargers/tenders, when do I use them? 

24/7? Only on long storage days? When?

When I park my motorcycle, I imagine I will not be sure when I will ride next. I am a new motorcyclist, so I might be more affected by riding conditions and imagine the motorcycle sitting idle for days.

Maybe even weeks since it’s wintertime.

Therefore I plan to put my motorcycle battery on a trickle charger/tender anytime I’m not riding.

The TBR7, and Hawk 250, the stock battery, isn’t known for reliability; maybe constantly using the battery tender will help extend their lives.

OK, Can I Leave My Trickle Charger/Tender On All Winter?

Let’s imagine we have another rough winter; even now, it’s really cold. I can figure out why I decided to buy a motorcycle during winter—such a Newb.

I found most battery trickle chargers/tenders have protective circuits to prevent overcharging and monitoring circuits to ensure they start recharging when the conditions of the battery require it.

So, read the charger’s directions. I plan on getting a trickle battery charger/tender that can stay on the motorcycle 24/7, especially during winter. I suspect this is a good idea.

Can You Leave A Trickle Battery Charger/Tender On In The Summer?

I was told dead batteries are not standard in the summer due to the ambient heat helping the chemical process inside the lead-acid battery generate electrical energy. Not sure how true this is, but regardless, I plan to buy a good trickle charger/tender that will monitor motorcycle battery voltage and tend to the battery’s condition. 

So I plan to use a trickle battery charger/tender during the summer months.

How I Plan To Use The Trickle Battery Charger/Tender?

Can I Use A Trickle Charger/Tender Without Removing The Battery?

Yes, you can. Some trickle chargers/tender have the hardware to connect on the motorcycle battery that allows charging without removing the battery. It’s a quick connector that allows the charger to have electrical access to the motorcycle battery.

How Do You Setup A Trickle Battery Charger/Tender On A Motorcycle?

I haven’t done it yet, but from YT videos and reading manufacturer website material:

Connect the poles(red and black posts) of the battery to the appropriately colored quick-connect wiring. Then leave the quick connect plug accessible to charge the motorcycle battery without removing it.  

So after the motorcycle shuts down, I plan to connect the trickle battery charger/tender to the quick connect every time. Sounds easy.

Will I Start My Motorcycle While Charging?

I hope not. If I use the motorcycle trickle battery charger/tender, the battery should have enough power to start up the motorcycle.

If the battery needs help cranking the engine on startup, either my trickle charger/tender isn’t working, wasn’t connected, or the battery is beyond it’s usable life.  

Cranking up the motorcycle engine and listening should be good to test the battery’s condition.  

I don’t believe a battery trickle charger charges fast enough to help crank over a motorcycle. Wonder if doing so would overload the trickle charger. I am not planning on finding out.

In summary: I will not be jump-starting my motorcycle with my trickle battery charger/tender; it doesn’t sound safe for the motorcycle or the charger.

Battery Trickle Charger/Tender Tips?

Some miscellaneous information collected in my research might help with picking out a motorcycle trickle battery charger/tender:

TBR7 Motorcycle Trickle Charger Port.
Battery charger port accessible.

What Size Trickle Battery Charger/Tender Do I Get?

Battery chargers are designed for different batteries, 6-volt, and 12-volt. Match up the voltage design of the battery charger to the battery you plan to charge.

For my TBR7 stock battery, the 12-volt charger is what I need.

Now battery chargers are rated by the rate of charging they can perform. Being a trickle charger, the pace is very slow by design. The recommendation I keep finding is to choose a trickle charger/tender that adjusts voltages based on the battery condition, maximizing the rate of charging while being gentile enough to maximize the battery’s life.

I am finding the recommendations are about a 1 amp/hour charging rate should be fast enough and safe enough as a trickle charger/tender for a motorcycle battery.

Can I Charge A Dead Motorcycle Battery With A Trickle Charger/Tender?

First, if the battery is dead, I would find out why it’s dead. What caused it?

Also, I learned that fully exhausted regular lead-acid batteries do NOT like being fully discharged and might not be serviceable.  

For a mental practice, the battery can be fully discharged and recharged, like a deep-cycle battery. I checked the Walmart website and found standard deep cycle batteries rated for 80amp/hr discharges.

If discharge and charging can be done at the same rate simultaneously, I am guessing an 80amp/hr rated battery would require about 80hours to be charged at 1 amp(rating of trickle charger I am looking for). So if there are no inefficiencies, the trickle charger theoretically recharges the battery in just over three days?

Do I recommend this recharging a dead battery with a trickle charger? No, I wouldn’t. There is something wrong, get a professional to look over why the battery is fully discharged and find a faster/safer way to recharge the battery if the battery can be restored.

How Do I Plan To Keep My Motorcycle Charged In The Winter?

Every time I stop the motorcycle, I plan to use the trickle battery charger/tender. This way, If the riding season ends faster than expected and winter is upon us, the motorcycle battery will remain fully charged over the winter season. 

I will be waiting for a change in the weather to go out and start riding again. And my motorcycle battery better be ready.  

How To Use A Trickle Charger On A Motorcycle

Whenever I park my motorcycle and know I’m not going out riding for the rest of the day, I plug in my motorcycle battery trickle charger.

This way, the next time I get onto my motorcycle, I know my battery will be fully charged and ready to ride.

So the important part about how to use a trickle charger on a motorcycle is to use it. I thought I would plug charger in later, only to find out I forgot, and I could have lost a little battery life by not using the charger.


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TBR7 Upgrades

Picture of me, as a New Motorcyclist.
Just Me…Newly Licensed.

Hi I’m Tom, A New Motorcycle Rider and Blog Author.

I am a new rider(Pa Learners Permit at the end of 2020, and I received a Pa Motorcycle License in 2021 after passing a Motorcycle Safety Course).

I bought my first motorcycle, a TaoTao TBR7, at the beginning of 2021 and have been doing upgrades on that motorcycle since.

I added to my motorcycle collection by buying a Boom Vader Gen 2 in 2022, and that Grom-Clone motorcycle has been upgraded by me as well.

I continue to ride my Boom Vader Gen 2 motorcycle as well as my TaoTao TBR7 dual-sport bike.

Read more on my About Me page.

Fun Fact: I’ve only been on one group ride.

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