Can you use any 12v battery on a motorcycle?

Unfortunately not. At least not practically. There is no “one size fits all” battery for motorcycles and the motorcycle’s battery compartment has limited space.

However, it is easy to figure out what battery you should get for your motorcycle!


Most motorcycles are going to use a 12 volt battery. There are some older, vintage models and dirt bikes that will use a 6 volt one, but modern bikes typically have 12V batteries. 12V motorcycle batteries are built to supply enough power to start the engine and operate all the modern electrical accessories.

The essential things to know are:

  • Dimensions (length, width, and height)
  • Cold cranking amps (CCA)
  • Amp hour capacity (Ah)
  • Terminal configuration (which terminals are positive and negative)

Your original battery might have some of these printed on the battery or a sticker.

Big Crank Motorcycle BatteryIf you have your original battery, you should measure it – length, width, and height. For replacing your motorcycle battery, the dimensions are important. Motorcycles have limited space to work with and manufacturers include the battery’s physical size in their designs. It’s important that your new battery can fit where it needs to be installed.

The cold cranking amps is another important specification to be looking at. It refers to how much power will flow in cold weather conditions to crank your engine. Larger engines typically require more power, so it’s simple to compare against your old battery. If you are replacing a 300 CCA battery, you’ll know you should be looking for a battery that’s close to that.

The battery’s capacity is also a specification to make note of. This measures how long the battery can supply power before it needs recharged. If your bike has electronics and accessories installed, power will be drawn when the alternator isn’t charging (when idle).

It’s not necessary to replace your battery with the most CCAs or Ahs possible. You might end up spending more money on a more expensive battery that won’t even use all the extra power. It’s a good idea to match what your original battery’s specifications.

The last thing to watch out for is the battery’s terminal configuration. You’ll want to be sure that if your original battery has the positive terminal on the right, the new battery also has it on the right. Otherwise, you might find your cables are too short to reach that extra distance across the battery to make their connections.

If you don’t have the original battery or the owner’s manual for your motorcycle, there are ways to get the correct battery for your bike. We have an online motorcycle batteries lookup to narrow down which battery you need. This is based on manufacturer recommendations and information, so you can be sure you’ll get the right battery for your needs.