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Honda Shadow Battery - Clearing the Air MBTX9U vs. MB16A vs. YTZ14S

The Mysterious 'T' shaped Honda Shadow Battery

T Shaped Honda Shadow Battery

This peculiar battery was first introduced in 1983 in the HONDA VT750C Shadow Bike. It defied the traditional rectangular shape with a front profile that looked like the letter T. The original Honda Shadow Battery part number was the HYB16A-AB. It was a wet battery with a vent tube, 150 Cold Cranking Amps and capacity of 16 Ampre Hour. This Honda Shadow battery is found more readily in various VT1100 series motorcycles from 1985 through 2000. It must be noted that not all of the VT1100 bikes use this T shaped battery so it is important to check the exact model and year. It can be confusing. The advent of the sealed lead acid and advanced AGM battery has created a bit of confusion as to which battery can be used with or is required in these Honda Shadow motorcycles. Many forum posts on HondaShadow.net and other fan favorites have made reference to which battery should be used...sadly some are leading their buddies astray. We will attempt to clear the air and help you make a wise buying decision. The chart below will be our reference guide for the 4 part numbers creating the controversy.
 

"T" Shaped Honda Shadow Battery Comparison Chart
 HYB16A-ABMB16AYTZ14SMBTX9U
CCA150200230160
Amp Hour16.017.511.210.5

 

    • Universal Power Group HUB16A-AB (wet T shaped battery)
    • MotoBatt MB16A (sealed T shaped battery)
    • Universal Power group UTZ14S (sealed - top part of T battery)
    • MotoBatt MBTX9U (sealed - top part of t battery)

The HYB16A-AB, YTZ14S, MB16A, MBTX9U Showdown

The original Cold Cranking Amps (CCA) of the HYB16A-AB are around 150 with a capacity of 16 AH. Many people wanted a sealed AGM replacement battery, but none were made for a long time. Then the YTZ14S was created, which happened to be the same physical size as the top portion of the original Honda Shadow Battery HYB16A-AB. The YTZ14S AGM battery has more than enough CCA to do the job, but at the expense of the AH. Most users seem to be OK with this trade off as the bikes have minimal electronics and tend to be easier than others to turnover.

The MotoBatt brand was created about 5-6 years ago. Their goal was to create a better battery and reduce the SKU count from 184 to what is now 34 by using a QuadFlex terminal design and spacer system. These advanced AGM batteries match or increase the specs for their OEM applications in all but 2 situations.

Motobatt came out with the first sealed AGM 'T' shaped battery, the MB16A. It has 30% higher CCA and 10% more AH compared with the OEM and is the designated replacement for the HYB16A-AB. They also make the MBTX9U which can replace the YTZ14S...and thus the confusion begins.

The MBTX9U cannot replace a HYB16A-AB application (see true story below). It is a stretch to replace the YTZ14S which is already a lower AH rating by 30%.[We must admit, we have had no negative calls from customers where their bike actually calls for the TZ14S and are using the MBTX9U, even though we sometimes shy away from that recommendation. MotoBatt makes a very good battery.] When you try using the MBTX9U in an application where the HUB16A-AB is required there just isn't enough capacity to allow for continued use. The battery will fail in 3-9 months.

Mr. Ferguson's True Battery Story

Sadly, one of our dear customers, Mr. Ferguson discovered this reality the hard way. He purchased a beautiful 1998 VT1100C2 Honda Shadow motorcycle and when he went to replace the battery, simply matched part numbers. Ordinarily that would be a great method to ensure you get the correct battery. However, he pulled out a version of the YTZ14S which can work in his bike as the CCA are stronger and the AH is slightly lower than spec. He correctly matched the part number to an MBTX9U, which can replace the YTZ14S, YTZ12S, YTX9-BS. But this is NOT a Honda Shadow Battery, it is way too small in CCA and AH to replace the stock 'T' shaped HYB16A-AB. It is not worth trying to save $30.

Mr. Ferguson's VT1100C2 Shadow Mr Ferguson's Sweet VT1100!

Now here is a testament to the ability of the Motobatt batteries. Mr. Ferguson essentially asked his little MBTX9U to work at 160% of normal. In those unintended abusive conditions that battery still lasted the better part of 4 months before crapping out. (I have pictures of Star Trek..."Scotty we need more power!" "Captain, I'm giving her all she's got! Systems are running at 60% over...can't sustain this much longer"...) I would be willing to bet that a comparable YTX9-BS battery would not be able to even come close to matching that feat!When buying your next new Honda Shadow Battery please take the time to double check the model and year against our battery finder charts as well as check the current part number being used in your bike. You never know what a previous owner may have used in a pinch.

Buy the Correct Honda Shadow Battery

Let me reiterate. You can use the HUB16A-AB T shaped Honda Shadow Battery in your bike with no issues. You can use the MB16A sealed AGM upgrade. You can use the YTZ14S AGM battery which is cheaper than the MB16A, but with less power. YOU SHOULD NOT USE The MBTX9U as a replacement for this application. If you are pulling out a TZ14S battery DO NOT step down even further to the MBTX9U. STEP UP to the MB16A.

  • James Davis

    Have a 2002 VT1100C2. Not a single one of these batteries fit it.
    Please edit to include year model(s) these batteries fit so others don't make a costly mistake like I did.