Vstar 1100 Battery Replacement Options
The battery in our Vstar 1100 is not used in many other motorcycles and is quite expensive, especially if you buy the Yamaha version from a dealer. The exact same size battery is available from other battery manufacturers, but is still quite expensive compared to others.
Some people have substituted a Sears Diehard battery, but that is a standard lead-acid battery. Our bikes use a "sealed" maintenance-free battery. Technically there is nothing wrong with using a standard type battery in its place, but our bikes do not have any acid drain tube. You would have to add that to "properly" use a standard battery. But then you also have to worry about keeping it topped up with water.
A better option has come to light, thanks to the great folks on the ISRA Forum.
Our battery is a YT14-B4 and measures 6"L x 2 3/4"W x 5 3/4" H. It's rated at 12 AmpHours (a measure of how much charge it holds, the more the better) and 135 Cold Cranking Amps (how much power it can momentarily deliver to start the bike - again, more is better).
A much more common battery is the YTX14-BS and measures 6"L x 3 7/16"W x 5 3/4" H, which is the same as ours except it is a shade under 3/4" wider. It's also rated at 12 AmpHours but delivers 200 Cold Cranking Amps! But the even better news is that this battery is available all over the place and it's significantly cheaper than our battery!
The question is: Will it fit? The answer is: It fits fine!
This battery is sold under a variety of part numbers, depending on the manufacturer. The part numbers above are Yuasa part numbers. The way to find the battery is to look for TX14-BS portion - the Y can change. For example, the GS Battery company calls it a GTX14-BS. Westco calls it a 12V14-B. Huh? Yup. Sometimes the part numbers aren't exactly the same. (Actually, according to their website, this battery is rated at 14 AmpHours.)
So a better way to find this battery is to look for the motorcycles that use it normally (or as a sealed, maintenance-free upgrade). Here is a partial list of the bikes that use the YTX14-BS:
You get the idea. (And yes, you might be able to get this battery from a Yamaha dealer!) A Honda dealer would be a better bet.
But since this battery is sealed, you can order it over the web and you don't have to get it filled with acid like regular batteries you buy mail-order. You can get one from Battery Mart for $60.95 plus shipping. This one comes factory activated and pre-charged. They call it an ETX14.
A couple of other things. Our stock battery always comes from the manufacturer "activated" and sealed. Which means it's ready to go (might need charging). The YTX14-BS can come this way (from Yuasa you order the YTX14-BS FA, FA= factory activated) but also comes "non-activated". What this means is that the electrolyte needs to be installed and the battery sealed. The electrolyte comes in a special set of tubes that are sealed and also hooked together. These fit into a hole in the top of the battery. You press down and it breaks the seal on the tubes, releasing the electrolyte into the battery. You then put a sealing piece over the top and you have activated it. No big deal really, no pouring of acid or anything like that.