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How Much CCA Does a Motorcycle Need? Ultimate Guide to Cold Cranking Amps and Bikes

Michael Parrotte

Michael Parrotte

If you forget to inspect or replace your motorcycle battery on a regular basis, you may find yourself stranded in the middle of nowhere. So, when it’s time to replace the battery, there are a few things you should know to ensure you not only acquire the proper unit for your machine but also for easy and stress-free maintenance.

A good motorcycle battery gives the engine the power it needs to start regardless of the weather. It’s the foundation of your bike’s performance. Nevertheless, not all batteries are created equal. You need a battery that’s designed specifically for your bike and gives the optimum performance.

How Much CCA Does a Motorcycle Need?

Our ultimate guide will shed light on the meaning of CCA specifications and some of the top motorcycle batteries available today, as seen in the table below:

 Battery  CCA Total  Reserve Capacity  Warrant in Years
Odyssey PC680 170 30 2
Shorai LFX LFX09A2 135 20 1
Optima OPT 8020-164 720 90 3
Weize YTX14 BS ATV 235 40 1
Kinetik HC600 800 120 1
Yuasa High-Performance AGM 240 30 1
Mighty Max Battery ML35-12 200 30 1
Banshee YT12B-BS Sealed SMF 235 40 4
Odyssey PC680MJT  170 30 2
Antigravity RS-30 700 30 1
Mighty Max Battery YTZ14S 230 40 1
DieHard 38188 775 120 4
Yuasa YUAM320BS 270 35 1
Optima 8073-167 450 66 3

What Is Cold Cranking Amps on a Motorcycle Battery and Why Does it Matter?

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First, we can loosely state CCA as an abbreviation for Cold Cranking Amps, but what does it all mean? A CCA number is the “horsepower” of a starting battery in layman terms.

Strictly speaking, CCA is the current delivered by a battery when starting up an engine under cold temperatures typically at zero degrees Fahrenheit. This is much smaller than the current the battery can deliver at normal temperatures called Cranking Amps (CA).

Too Much CCA? How Many Cold Cranking Amps Do I Need for a Motorcycle?

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Essentially, CCA affects the battery performance at cold startups, especially on chilly snow days. While traditional SLA starter batteries come with CA ratings, all modern supersport batteries must include CCA as well. But how much of it do you really need and is there such a thing as too much CCA?

The CCA you need to start your motorcycle depends on the load aka the size of the engine. A good rule of thumb is to choose a battery with one CCA for every cubic inch of engine displacement. This should be considered the minimum CCA needed. A better reference is of course your stock battery that came with your unit.

The more the CCA rating on a battery the better. The ability of the battery to deliver a larger current doesn’t force how much load your starter will consume, so it’s the starter that sets the electrical load limit and the current delivered. What you should be more concerned about is getting the maximum CCA for the available tray space and weight constraints on your motorcycle.

Larger currents already do happen when your battery is overheated, and the motorcycle wiring is designed to tolerate them. Starters wear out more when they take more trials to start and, at the very least, higher CCA will improve the longevity of your starter.

Do Higher CCA Batteries Last Longer?

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A common misconception is that the higher the CCA the more durable the battery. This is far from the truth because longevity hinges on the design aspects of the battery interior construction and purity of materials and not the starting current.

It’s possible for a poorly designed battery to deliver maximum current but neglect long-term wear. Generally speaking, higher CCA batteries are of better quality and are long-lasting.

Final Thoughts on Motorcycle Batteries and CCA Number

Before you purchase a new battery, you need to first determine why your old one died.

Lack of maintenance, deep discharge, a faulty charging system, the passing of time, wire shorts, poor grounds, and – nine times out of ten – loose or damaged battery connections may all destroy a battery prematurely.

Before obtaining a new battery, start with the basic fixes and test the charging system.

Also, keep in mind that a high CCA ensures starting reliability. Other considerations should include quality, recyclability, terminal hardware, weight, and lifespan. This science will keep you going for miles and miles.

About the author:  Michael Parrotte was the Vice President of AGV Helmets America, and a consultant for KBC Helmets, Vemar Helmets, Suomy Helmets, Marushin Helmets, KYT Helmets, Sparx Helmets. In addition, he is the founder and owner of AGV Sports Group.

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