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Motorcycle Charging 101: Does Your Battery Charge While Riding?


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Do you ever wonder if your motorcycle battery is charging while you ride? If so, you’re not alone. Many motorcyclists have this same question and the answer can be a bit confusing. 

The truth is that most motorcycles do charge their batteries as they ride, but depending on how far you ride, it isn’t always enough to keep them fully charged or prevent battery drain over time.

In order to understand how your motorcycle charges its battery and how best to maintain it, it helps to know a few basics about motorcycle charging systems. 

Keep reading for an overview of the different types of charging systems found in motorcycles along with tips on how to get the most out of your bike’s battery and ensure that it remains healthy for years to come.

Does a battery charge while riding?

Yes, most motorcycles are designed to charge the batteries while they are running.

Where cars have alternators that turn the power from the engine into AC, which is then rectified to DC and used to charge the battery, motorcycles typically have a system of coils that function as a stator. The stator works by creating an electromagnetic field when it’s powered by the engine, converting the power from the engine into electricity. This electricity is then sent to a separate rectifier and voltage regulator and then to the battery for charging. You can learn more about motorcycle stators/alternators here.

There are two common types of charging systems found in motorcycles: pulsed-field and permanent magnet stators.

Pulsed-field stators produce a pulsing magnetic field, while permanent magnet stators create a continuous, or direct, magnetic field. Generally speaking, the more powerful the engine, the better it is at generating power for the stator. 

Regardless of your motorcycle’s charging system, it is important to understand that the bike’s battery will only be charged when the engine is running.

This means that if you forget to turn off a light or leave the ignition on while parked, the battery won’t recharge and may eventually drain.

Additionally, a motorcycle’s stator only generates a limited amount of power, so the battery won’t always be able to fully recharge while riding

In order to ensure your motorcycle’s battery is healthy and gets all the charge it needs, it’s important to practice regular maintenance and use best charging practices.

How Long to Ride to Charge Your Battery?

The amount of time it takes to charge your battery while riding depends on a few factors, including:

  • The type of charging system in your motorcycle.
  • How often and long you ride.
  • The condition of your battery.

Generally speaking, you should be able to get enough charge to maintain the battery from riding for about 20-30 minutes of regular riding, but if you’re concerned about your battery not getting enough charge, it may be time to test your battery or troubleshoot the charging system.

Symptoms of a Bad Battery or Charging System

The battery and charging system in your motorcycle are intrinsically linked, so if one is having issues, it can affect the other.

A bad battery or charging system can cause a number of symptoms, including:

  • Engine misfires.
  • Headlights flickering or dimming unexpectedly.
  • Difficulty starting the engine. (My Motorcycle Won’t Start!)
  • Overall lack of power.
  • Engine dying while the bike is running.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s best to dig a little deeper into the electrical issues or have your bike checked out by a professional.

They can diagnose the problem and recommend any necessary repairs or replacements.