Which Motorcycle Battery is Commonly Used? 6V or 12V?

Cars run on 12V batteries, and most appliances and gadgets inside a vehicle run on the same power supply. But cars are bigger, which means that a motorcycle should run on 10V or 6V batteries. It sounds almost logical and most people might think that way, however, there is not much truth behind this thought.

Let’s scrounge for clues and find out if motorbikes run on 12V or 6V batteries. And while we are at it, why not discuss the reasons behind that difference? It’s always better to find all the answers to your questions. So, without further ado, let’s get right into it!

The Battery Voltage in a Motorcycle

Typically, all modern motorcycles have a 12V battery. You will find 6V only in classic motorbikes and some dirt bikes. 

In a way, motorcycles are like cars, with fancy equipment to make them user-friendly for the customers. The battery has to operate all the exciting and useful features, so it must be universally accepted. Fortunately, that is the case here, with a slight variation that means every motorbike manufacturer uses a different amp-hour rating for their specific bikes. But the 12V rating is the same across all the marques.

But why did vintage motorcycles use 6V batteries? Well, the simple answer to that is, back then, they had electronics that ran on a 6V battery. The system changed over time, and we abandoned the 6V battery a long time ago.

However, Harley Davidson enthusiasts are spread all around the world. These are people who love to ride their classic Harleys and show them off. So, only they require a 6V battery nowadays.

If you have a motorcycle made in the 21st century, then chances are that it has a 12V system.

How to Tell if Bike has 12V or 6V?

If you aren’t sure about the type of battery your motorcycle uses, then there are ways to find it out.


Classical bikes and some famous modern bikes have dedicated forums where motorcycles owners come together to share their thoughts. Your job is to enter a forum dedicated to your bike’s model and manufacturer.

You can ask relevant questions over there and ask about the battery your motorbike uses.

User Manual

The best way to find out more about your motorcycle is to search the user manual that came with your bike. This book has all the necessary information concerning your motorbike, and therefore, it is your best chance at finding out which battery works on your bike.

Check with Peers

Your last resort is to look around and search amongst your peers. There is a chance that somebody has the same bike or had owned one in the past. They can give your more information about your bike along with useful tips that you can use to maintain your motorcycle.

Can You Use a 6V in Place of a 12V or Vice Versa?

First, you have to ensure which type of battery goes with your bike. Once that is ascertained, you can move forward with other important questions, like “Is it possible to use a 6V instead of a 12V?

To answer it simply you cannot use a 6V battery in place of a 12V battery or vice versa. Since a motorcycle is designed to use a certain battery, it would be disadvantageous to use one with a different specification.

The electronic components would not work properly, and chances are that your bike won’t work at all! So, do not experiment with such things and stick to what is recommended.

Do E-bikes use the same batteries?

Electric motorcycles come with either a 48V or a 52V battery since their function is to power the bike and the electronics. A 12V battery or even a 6V battery won’t work here at all. They would be too small or too inefficient to work on an e-bike.

12V and 6V batteries only work on conventional motorcycles that use a combustion engine for power.

Can a Motorcycle Run Without a Battery?

Modern motorbikes cannot run without a battery. They have too many electronic gimmicks that require a power source to work. However, some old bikes can work without a battery.

But how is that possible? Well, these vintage motorcycles use a kick-starter for ignition. A dynamo is used to power anything electronic, like headlights, taillights, and speedometers. The small device transforms kinetic energy into electrical energy for the motorcycle.

It’s pretty amazing if you ask us. But the system is archaic and not in use anymore. So, unless you have an ancient motorbike, you would need a battery.

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