A battery tender like an Optimate, is one of the most useful motorcycle accessories you can own. Not only can it charge up your battery when it's run low, but by attaching a permanent SAE connection lead to your bike, you can plug it in whenever you aren't using it.
The Optimate will drip-feed your battery, and as soon as it gets full, it will stop the charge so as not to risk any damage (or waste electricity!). A trickle charger like this will keep your motorcycle battery topped up and ready to go, and it can even extend your battery's lifespan!
Another thing worth mentioning when discussing the benefits of an optimate charger is that you can now get a SAE USB adapter for about £15, allowing you to charge your phone from the bike's battery when you are on the road - it is especially helpful if you are using your phone on a mount for GPS.
Setting up your trickle charger can seem a bit intimidating for a beginner but actually, it is pretty easy and cheap to do. Battery tenders come in a range of sizes and costs, so shop around for one to suit your needs and budget. I'm using the Optimate II and it cost me around £30 with all the leads and connections included. Bargain!
Lets get started!
The entire process of fitting your charging connector should require a minimum amount of tools. Everything you will need includes a flat head screwdriver, a couple of Allen keys, a 12.5mm spanner and of course, the lead itself.
How to fit the charger:
The first thing you will need to do is access your motorcycle's battery. This is something that varies a fair amount from bike to bike, so check your service manual or do a good old Google search and make sure you know how to access yours. In my case, on this 2007 Kawasaki ZX6R, the battery is located under the seat and just needs 2 plastic panels removed. On some scooters, it is as easy as lifting the seat!
Okay, you have gained access to your battery, now it is time to disconnect it. Always start with the negative cable - this should be black with a ''-'' symbol on it. With the negative cable removed, the circuit will be broken and any risk of grounding the positive terminal by accident will be removed. You don't want to risk blowing a fuse!
Simply unscrew the cable at the terminal and be careful not to drop the screw into a dark crevice in your bike, never to be seen again. It can happen!
Once both negative and positive cables are disconnected, grab your SAE lead (as shown on the right of the previous image). On one end you will have the SAE socket, and on the other, it will split into a positive and negative connection with a small loop on the end of each.
This time we are starting with the positive (this should be red with a ''+'' symbol), so take the screw you removed from the battery terminal and thread it through the loop on the SAE lead's positive connection. Next, put the positive cable in place and screw it back into the battery terminal. It should look something like the image below, with the SAE lead connected above your bike's positive cable.
Once that's done, repeat the exact same process for the negative side and you are almost there.
The last thing to do is to tuck the SAE connection somewhere out of the way. Make sure it can still be easily reached once everything is back in place and you need to charge the bike. As shown in the images, I've tucked it along the side of the frame where it will be covered by one of the plastic panels I removed earlier.
Once the panels and seat are all back in place, it should end up nice and neat with the charging connection easy to access.
And that's all there really is to it! The whole process can be done in about 10 minutes and keeps your bike ready to go whenever you need it.
The Last Stop!
So there you have it, I hope you enjoyed my step-by-step guide on how to fit a charging connection for an Optimate.
Last but not least, if you want a list of more handy beginner riders accessories, why not check out our full comprehensive guide?