My Antigravity battery for my KTM 690 Enduro arrived yesterday, and even though I own another LiFePO4 battery that I use for amateur radio stuff I was pleasantly surprised at how light it is. If I didn't know better I'd have thought it was an empty shell, like a store display version without any lead or acid in it. The case is nicely finished and the brass terminals are robustly sized, designed, and marked for polarity.
I got the YTZ10-12, which has the same external dimensions as the ubiquitous Yuasa YTZ-10 that's standard in my KTM and many other motorcycles. Antigravity actually offers two variations in this same case size, an eight cell version for the ultimate in weight savings, and a 12-cell version for extended performance. The weight savings, while very nice, was not my primary reason for purchasing the Antigravity battery. I wanted a battery that wouldn't die every couple of years like the Yuasas seem to, but both versions claim the same lifespan (three to four years in one place, four to five years in another place, if not discharged too deeply). What pushed me toward the 12-cell version was that it has a little more reserve for starting a thumper motor and would have a little more robustness to it in cooler weather or if I accidently leave an accessory on.
(I ordered mine directly from Antigravity, and only later found out I could have saved $30 by ordering one through Amazon. Doh!)
It arrived fully charged, and it dropped right in place. Within a few minutes of heading into the garage to do the install my bike was quickly turning over and starting like a champ. It really was just as straight-forward as replacing the Yuasa with another Yuasa. There was no foam to cut to try and pad the battery compartment to make it fit (although the battery comes with a couple of pieces of foam just in case), unlike many of the other LiFePO4 batteries out there. The only differences from the OEM battery were that:
- The terminals are a little more flush with the case, so some of the leads that had an angle to them needed to be straightened out, and
- Again, because the termnials are shaped differently the OEM positive terminal cap doesn't fit in place.
Antigravity stresses multiple times in the instructions that you need to make sure you don't have any parasitic drains on your electrical system. Their batteries don't have the same amount of energy available, they just can deliver what they have much faster and more completely than lead acid batteries, so a drain you might not notice with a lead acid battery could quickly deplete an Antigravity battery. I don't believe I do have any parasitic drains, aside from the usual CPU maintenance power, but I have installed a few accessories so I'll need to monitor the battery for a few weeks to make sure it isn't dropping below its resting voltage of 13.2V.
The only other thing to consider about LiFePO4 batteries is that they can't be charged with traditional lead acid battery chargers. LiFePO4 batteries benefit from different charging curves, and they can get damaged by the desulfating or "quick charge" (overvoltage charging) features popular in lead acid battery chargers. Antigravity recommended (and I purchased from them) an Optimate 2 battery charger/maintainer. Optimate doesn't claim on their website or in their instructions that the Optimate 2 works with LiFePO4, but both Antigravity and Internet forum scuttlebutt claim they work just fine. (Optimate do sell an LiFePO4-only charger, the Optimate Lithium, which looks just like the Optimate 2. My guess is they're the same hardware, but the Lithium version''s uniquely able to reset the battery management system (BMS) that some LiFePO4 batteries use.)
I hope that I'm now set in the electrical department and don't have any more awful experiences of getting all geared-up to ride on a beautiful weekend day, only to face a suddenly dead battery.