Shorai LFX Lithium Battery Review


Motorcycle battery technology takes a leap forward – Is this something you would consider for your own bike?  Does a lighter battery really make that much difference?

By Kevin Duke, Nov. 01, 2011, Photography by Duke and Shorai

Okay, batteries aren’t usually a sexy topic in relation to new bikes. But this technological wonder from Shorai is definitely worth your attention. The introduction of lithium cells in batteries is changing our electronic and transportation worlds, and the Shorai LFX demonstrates a look into the future. It received the runner-up award in the Best Technology section of our Best of 2011 article, and, after further testing, we’re confident it deserves our accolades.

Shorai’s LFX is claimed to be the world’s only prismatic lithium-iron battery, packing more punch while weighing less and lasting longer. It’s at least half the size of your old battery and, once you pick it up, you won’t believe how light it is – it actually feels empty. With its lithium technology and carbon-fiber-composite case, Shorai says it weighs 70-80% less than a lead-acid battery.

Shorai LFX Battery ReviewThe Shorai LFX prismatic lithium-iron battery is a great technological leap forward.

Pretty impressive so far, right? Well, there’s more. Shorai says the LFX can hold a charge for an entire year without maintenance, thanks to a much lower self-discharge rate than normal batteries. And it purportedly has a service life two to four times that of a lead-acid battery. It’s also claimed to recharge quicker than a conventional battery.

All great things, to be sure, but the most impressive feature to me is how much faster the LFX18A1-BS12 spins my 1992 Ducati 900SS’s motor. Having already eaten several batteries during its 1.5 decades in my stable, the recalcitrant old Duc finally turns over at the speed of a contemporary engine and fires up much more readily.

Shorai LFX Battery ReviewThe Shorai LFX in the foreground is dwarfed by the gigantic H-D-sourced lead-acid battery formerly used in Duke’s old Ducati.

Ducati owners often treat carbon-fiber accoutrements like platinum jewelry, but swapping to a Shorai battery will save more weight (about 7 pounds) than a half-dozen c-f parts. Sure, no one can see it, but it’s still a notable weight saving. And the thing is so small, I could store an extra set of gloves where my giant old battery used to live! The LFX is shipped with foam padding to fill the extra space for a snug fit.

Shorai (Japanese for “the future”) boasts that its batteries are superior to other lithium-based batteries because they “all use an off-the-shelf cylindrical cell originally intended for low-rate tool applications.” The LFX’s prismatic lithium-iron innards are said to deliver more energy faster, with less weight and with less damage to the battery per start cycle than any other brand or technology. Shorai also notes its LFX cells have been formulated specifically for engine starter duty.

While it’s difficult to confirm all of Shorai’s impressive claims, we can report this is easily the best battery ever installed in my old Duc. I like how it’s massively smaller and lighter than conventional batteries, but more than that, I appreciate how it is able to quickly spin up the Italian V-Twin despite not being run for weeks.

At its $187 asking price, the LFX18A1-BS12 has a significant price premium over a typical lead-acid battery, but there is no doubt of its superior technology. And with its expected longer life backed up by a two-year warranty, it’s possible that it could last long enough to be installed in your current motorcycle and your next bike. The Shorai LFX series runs from $99.95 to $349.95, in Ah-equivalent sizes from 7Ah to 36Ah.

14 thoughts on “Shorai LFX Lithium Battery Review

  1. The Strom is over due a new battery, and I’ve been looking at the lithium batteries. Their cold weather performance is not as good as lead acid. One I looked at said if you have an issue in temps in the teens F you should run your headlights for 10 to 15 minutes to warm the battery. I’m off the search for more info on this one. I’ve about squeezed the last electron out of the Strom’s stock battery.

    • yeah from what I read if we went this route we should be good in terms of temps. I guess the question is does the weight play a role in your decision? Longetivity? I suppose both if this battery truley lasts longer and weighs less for the price could be a good investment. We tend to get new bikes before we need new batteries. LOL Having said that I have a feeling our Beemers will be hanging around for at least this year.

  2. I had looked at these a bit but didn’t like the cold weather issues or the warning about not letting the battery completely discharge. I don’t know about you but I’ve left my running lights on overnight accidentally at least once. Supposedly, it will leave you with a boat anchor (a very light weight one). But no actual experience and ended up with an Odyssey.

  3. Seems that the Shorai lithium-iron battery is NOT compatible with the old airheads Bosch charging system, 3 phase/diode board & voltage regulator setup. Just a heads up to those who, like me, have upgraded to the 400/450 watt output for their BMW airheads. I need my heat!!!

  4. Did I ever blow my last comment!! Sorry. Now try again…. If one has upgraded to the Enduralast charging 400 watt upgrade system from the OEM 280 watt alternator output in a BMW airhead, the company selling the upgrade cautions us not to use a lithium-iron battery like Shorai. The voltage regulator/rectifier that replaces the separate diode board and the voltage regulator doesn’t seem to be compatible with these types of batteries. Not sure why. Anyone???

  5. Battery is nice … but be warned:

    OVER-DISCHARGING the Shorai LFX batteries (and esp. leaving it uncharged for even a few days!) WILL DAMAGE the cells. Ask me how I know… batteries will sit for a long time with no ill side-effects IF (and only if) they are well-charged first. If battery is every discharged complete (which still should not be done!), CHARGE IT IMMEDIATELY.

    Shorai says as much in the fine print but doesn’t emphasis it enough, IMOHO. The Shorai battery charge is also nice, not terribly expensive, and small enough to pack on a trick for those emergencies…

    • maybe just keep riding all year long and keep the battery healthy…LOL JK…did not know that about this battery. Leaving it for a few days can hurt the life of this type of battery? WOW.

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