Will I or won’t I? The registration papers for Mr Damage arrived in the mail a week or two ago and I realised that I haven’t ridden it at all this year. So its either get rid of it in an unregistered and poor-running state, or make it go again and make myself ride. First step is a new battery, the slow death of the old one being one of the leading causes of me stopping riding. A trip to Bikes ‘n Bits and $75 later and I have a brand new battery, complete with a plastic squeezy bottle of “Battery containing acid” and a set of gibberish-like instructions.

FILLING METHOD

READ ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE FILLING (CHECK MANUAL)

OK, that’s printed on the sheet of paper that comes with the battery and bottle of acid — there is no manual. Unless the sheet of paper is intended to be the manual?

Preparation for filling

Take off the sealing tape and remove the vent plugs ONLY right before filling the electrolyte.

What flipping sealing tape? The little red rubber bung that covers the end of the overflow pipe? Its a plastic plug, nothing made of tape…

Filling electrolyte

Fill the battery with electrolyte (dilute sulphuric acid) with a density of 1.280. Fill to the “UPPER LEVEL” as indicated on the battery. The electrolyte temperature should not be over 30 °C/86 °F when filling.

The big question is HOW? Little squeezy bottle has a nipple-like nozzle that needs to be pierced. No mention of piercing it, and the nozzle isn’t long enough to reach into the vent holes, how the hell am I meant to do this? OK, call me an idiot, but the last time I got a new battery for the bike it came ready filled.

The plastic piece of tubing fits over the nozzle, and I manage to fill each cell one-by-one through the vent holes from the squeezy bottle — all up to the last one, where I ran out of acid when it’s only half full. Bummer. This cannot be the right way to do this! Fiddle about for ages, take long exploratory pokes at the old battery for inspiration, no idea. End up pipetting half a teaspoon at a time out of five of the cells to top up under-fed number six. I guess one day someone will show me what the opaque instructions gloss past and it’ll dawn with a great Aha!