Replacing a shot battery can be a fairly common problem especially if your bike has been laid up over the winter but it's also a fairly straight forward process.
The step by step procedure can vary depending on your exact make and model as well as which battery you choose but hopefully this blog will give a bit of info that will be useful to anyone as well as going over the process on my bike - a 2007 Kawasaki ZX-6R. Before we go any further I'll say right now, I am not a mechanic but changing a battery is something I've had to do a few times now without issue and this is how I go about it.
First thing you will need to do is find out which battery you actually need. There’s a few ways to do this, you can open the bike up and see what's inside it currently, check your service manual and in this glorious internet age, google is your friend. Halfords have a handy feature on their website too, you can type in your reg number and it will tell you the battery you need, and you can purchase it right there.
I've gone with a maintenance free battery from Yuasa which requires a small amount of setup, but that too is pretty simple and comes with full instructions, heres a guide on setting up a maintenance free battery that you can check out on our blog. If your battery comes ready to go then you don't have to worry about it, just charge it up as per the batteries instructions (I use my Optimate with crocodile clips and leave it for around 6 hours for a full charge).
Step 1 – Locating the battery
OK now you have the new battery charged and ready to go it's time to fit it. The first thing you will need to do is locate where the battery is located in your bike. The manual should tell you this or if you don't have access to your manual, an internet search will likely reveal the answer. From there you will be able to see which tools will be needed to access it. In my case it's under the seat, which is a pretty common location and getting to it can be done with only the bare minimum tools, I'm just using the little travel toolkit I keep in the rear seat storage space, which will more than do the job - a flat head screwdriver, an Allen key set and a 12.5mm spanner (again this is what is needed for my bike) but check your own bolt sizes, battery location and ensure you have what you need for your bike.
On the Ninja I need to remove 1 piece of plastic on each side. The right side panel I've marked out in the picture is secured with 3 bolts, 2 are shown and the 3rd is located under the tail. Once the bolts are removed the panel will just pop off, I usually loosely screw the bolts back in to make sure they don't get lost.
On the other side it's even easier, a single bolt holds the panel in place and once removed it too pops right out. With those off I can now access the bolts that connect the seat, there’s one on each side, once removed the seat will slide right out and then I've found the battery compartment. Simple as that!
Step 2 - Out with the old
Now that we've reached the battery it's time to disconnect and remove it. It's best to start with the negative cable (this should be coloured black and connected to the '-' terminal), that way you break the circuit straight away and remove the chance of causing any damage should you accidentally ground the positive terminal.
Once both cables are disconnected you can pull out the battery which will likely be held in place, as in my case, by a rubber strap so first that will need to be removed. The strap clips onto a catch on the side of the battery compartment, applying some pressure will pop it loose - it can be a bit fiddly but straightforward. The battery will now come right out - but be careful of the nuts that the bolts screw into to hold the cables in place on your batteries terminals, you don't want to drop these into a shadowy area never to be seen again. The Yuasa battery comes with spare nuts and bolts so it's good to have these on hand just in case.
Step 3 - In with the new
Put the nuts into place on the terminals of the new battery, either re-use the existing ones you took out or use new ones if they came with your battery. Slot the newly charged battery into your bike - if you did your preparation and got the correct battery it should just fit straight in, if not then double check you have the correct battery. If it is all correct but for some reason the only available battery is a different shape to the one it's replacing, then you may have to get creative and find a way to securely hold it down. For me the Yuasa YTX9-BS fits into my ZX6R perfectly with no issues.
Reconnect the cables in reverse order this time with the red positive cable connecting first and then the black negative (if you have a battery tender like an Optimate now would be the time to fit the SAE charging lead, as shown in the image below. For a guide on that see this blog). The cables should bolt easily back into the nuts you placed in the terminals earlier.
With the new battery fitted, before you put any panels or seats back on, just turn the key in the ignition and make sure the lights come on, that way you will know if there’s any issues and won’t have to take everything back off to deal with it. If everything is good, then replace the panels the same way you took them off and you are ready to go!
Replacing a battery might be a bit intimidating if your new to motorcycles or not mechanically minded but really it is a straight forward task which with a bit of preparation and some help from the internet, can be done in just a few minutes.