How Long To Charge Motorcycle Battery by Riding?

When the battery on your bike has completely discharged you should be able to jump start the bike and ride it long enough that the alternator on the engine will recharge the battery. Some motorcycles do not have alternators but have a generator or magneto that will provide a charge to the battery while you are riding.

How long do I need to ride to charge my battery?

Your bike needs to be ridden at speeds that produce at least a cruising RPM of 3K in order to charge the battery. Your battery needs to regain between 13.5 and 14.5 volts to regain its charge. You are going to need to ride the bike for an extended period of time, at least a couple of hours to produce a reliable charge in the battery.

The exact amount of time that it will take to recharge a discharged battery is dependent on the size of the battery and the speed in which you are riding. Your speed will increase the number of RPMs and the increase in RPMs can make the charge from the alternator happen in a shorter amount of time.

If you have a large battery it may take longer to recharge it. Be sure that all accessories are turned off so the battery receives the full benefit of the RPMs. You do not want headlights or a radio to be slowing down the charging process.

Aftermarket detail lights can often drain a battery and make it hard to keep a full charge.

Will my bike charge while it is idling?

The alternator on the bike will not create a charge inside the battery if the bike is simply cranked and idling. You have to be riding a bike.

When the bike is idling it does not create a large enough amount of voltage to recharge a battery. You need to have the bike operating at a cruising RPM of about 3K or higher to create enough voltage to charge the battery.

Concerns about riding your motorcycle to create a charge in the battery

The biggest concern you should have about needing to ride your bike to recharge the battery is what caused the battery to discharge?

Your battery may have discharged because you left something turned on. The radio or the headlights can operate without the bike being completely cranked. If you left the key turned on to operate one of these accessories then you may have caused your battery to discharge.

Your bike may have been sitting in storage long enough for the battery to completely discharge. If you do not get to ride your bike every day or every week, then make sure that every thirty days you take it for a good long ride to keep your battery hot and ready.

If you cannot ride your bike every thirty days then consider buying a battery charger that will maintain a hot battery on a motorcycle.

Your alternator may not be functioning properly. If you have been riding your bike, but are having trouble keeping the battery charged there is a possibility that the alternator responsible for charging the battery while you ride is malfunctioning.

There could be something wrong with the battery. The battery could have a dead cell or be compromised so that it cannot take and maintain a full charge.

If your battery frequently discharges and needs to be jumped or ridden to charge then check the battery and alternator to make sure they are in good working order.

Alston Seymour

A Harley-Davidson Motor Company certified Master Technician and avid biker, I love to write about everything and anything related to biking.

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