Originally Posted by JimVonBaden
I never use a charger unless I let my bike sit too long. Then, like you, I charge it and ride it. I have long suspected that trickle/maintenance chargers are not actually good for batteries as well.
I am not an expert but I too have long discarded my "trickle" style chargers in favor of what the industry now calls "smart" chargers. The old trickle chargers merely reduced the charge rate to a low current however, the charger still provided current to the battery even though the battery was full. This caused heat, gassing and eventual battery failure.
Nowadays, the smart chargers turn off once the full battery voltage threshold has been reached but monitors the battery and turns back on if the voltage drops below the threshold, keeping the battery full and thereby reducing sulfating and optimizing the battery output the next time you call for high current like during a cold start at 0 F.
In this maintenance mode, a battery can be left connected to the "smart" charger indefinitely, especially important if your vehicle has low parasitic drains required to maintain various ECU functions, clocks and other low level current loads.
Batteries like to be full and kept full. The good "smart" chargers accomplish this and thereby extend battery life.