When you think about battery power for your truck or ATV, words like “small,” “compact” and “lightweight” don’t usually come to mind. Luckily, in the powersports world, batteries are shrinking and becoming much lighter than they used to be, thanks to a cell technology called lithium-iron phosphate (LiFePO4). This is a relatively new process of harnessing power with a bunch of advantages over standard lead-acid batteries.
Really, you may not pay much attention to your batteries at all. If your quad starts when you need it to, you might think all is good. The fact is, most ATV batteries need to be maintained. They need the acid corrosion cleaned off their terminals and should be kept at a full charge even when sitting. We find in many cases if we let a standard ATV battery lose its charge and sit dead for more than a couple of weeks, they will not charge again.
This is not the case with lithium-iron phosphate batteries. EarthX claims that inside every one of their batteries is a microprocessor Battery Management System (BMS) that monitors the charge level of each cell and balances the charge when needed, protecting the cells from overcharge or over-discharge. This translates into, according to EarthX, up to 4000 charge/discharge cycles and three to eight years of service, which is over four times the life of a lead-acid battery, and there is no need for charging in the off-season.
These features and benefits do come at a price. For the Suzuki Quadracer LT-R450, we tested the EarthX battery in it (price is $159). For comparison, a new stock lead-acid battery at the Suzuki dealer costs $60. Our stock LT-R battery lasted about three years without maintenance, then we had to keep it on a maintenance charger constantly for about a year until it died altogether.POWER UP
Aside from the great claims from EarthX, the biggest asset we see in this battery is its weight, or lack of it. The EXT12B battery that they recommend for the Suzuki LT-R450 weighs only 1.4 pounds. The stock Suzuki battery weighs a tick under 7 pounds. That’s a huge advantage on a race quad like this. Factory race mechanics will tell you, “Every 7 pounds you shave is equal to gaining 1 horsepower.”
Our battery was a little taller and narrower than the stock unit, so we had to make some adjustments to get it to fit snug in the battery box. We removed the two lower rubber pads that come in the battery box and added the supplied foam strips in front and behind the new EarthX battery. The battery cables and box cover fit perfectly.
The EarthX battery is shipped with an 80-percent charge, so it fired the quad right up. If you did find the need to charge the battery, a typical 12-volt, 2-, 6- or 10-amp charger will work just fine. EarthX claims this battery produces 135 cold cranking amps (stock is 90a), which was plenty enough to get our high-compression Quadracer purring. In fact, it seems to turn the engine over much quicker than with the stock battery. EarthX has a variety of battery sizes and strengths (up to 405 cold cranking amps) if that‘s what your job requires.
We have now been running the EarthX lithium-iron phosphate battery for over two months without any issues. It starts our Suzuki instantly and powers the stock headlight great. EarthX does provide a full two-year (not prorated) warranty if there is a failure, but we don’t expect one at this point.
To see the full line of EarthX batteries, check out www.earthxmotor
sports.com, or order one directly by calling (877) 810-1842. Tell them Dirt Wheels sent ya!