MotoBuyer’s ace road-tester Deyna Chia's had Skyrich lithium batteries in his 2012 BMW S 1000 RR and BMW R 1200 R for about two months now. Here's what he's got to say:
Three years ago I fitted a competitor brand's LiFePO (that’s the chemical name for lithium iron phosphate) battery into my previous 2010 S1000RR. It was a good example of an early lithium battery, which featured a simple plastic casing housing six cells. The overall size was significantly smaller than the Yuasa YTZ10S it replaced, to the point that mounting without slabs of high density foam and a good degree of force was required. The battery was installed in my bike for about two months, and I used the bike once a week, making a 200+km round trip each time I did (ensuring a full charge).
After two months of usage, I noticed that the tachometer started acting funny. The needle would sweep clockwise to about 4,000rpm, then stay put, resuming its sweep when engine revs passed 8000rpm or so. Riding the bike spiritedly, I also noticed a loss of power. Video reviews later showed that the bike reached lower top speeds at a given point on a closed circuit. Following these symptoms, the battery failed after a week and had to be replaced - not a good omen for cutting-edge tech then, and a real example of getting burned by early adpoption, I say! Referring to the user manual, it stated that below nine volts, the battery was effectively dead - in contrast even a lead acid battery will still have some juice at that voltage.
My suspicion was that the cells were simply wired in series, without any charging circuit or management system, meaning that the cells would never be all equally not fully charged by conventional charges. The manufacturer subsequently modified their batteries, including a special plug and recommended using their charger. The minimum charging amperage for their battery was 2A, much higher than the usual battery tenders/ trickle chargers than any casual owner would have lying around.
I got a new battery as replacement, and fitted that to my 2009 Triumph Street Triple R. That battery died after a month. So, tired of all this, back came the heavy but reliable Yuasa lead acid and gel batteries.
I still love the idea of the benefits of lithium tech, so I decided to give Skyrich a try. Fitting was a cinch as Skyrich batteries are shaped and sized like the Yuasa batteries they replace, in most ways, so installation is much easier - like in this review, I did a self-install and it took just five minutes. The matching Skyrich battery replacing my YTZ10S was a direct fit, not requiring any foam work.
My current S 1000 RR has been used weekly, just as with the previous, and two months have passed with no degradation in performance. Starting is strong, though without perceivable improvement. No funky tachometer either. My R 1200 R is also running flawlessly, so I’m much happier with the Skyrich units.
All things said, the small premium paid for these Skyrich LiFePO batteries is more than met by weight savings, aftersales service (from Ban Hock Hin where I purchased them), and a one-year warranty, make the switch a worthwhile proposition.