Over one million motorcycles were sold in the United States in 2007, one of the most recent years for which such stats are available. The motorcycle industry has taken a bit of a hit since then due to the economic downturn. However, sales are still in the multi-millions annually. This also means that parts, like batteries and motorcycle battery chargers, are also big sellers.

It's safe to say that North Americans love their bikes. While they love to ride, most don't know how to repair a cycle. Nevertheless, bikers (even non-mechanical ones) need not be afraid of learning some of the basics of cycle care. Not only are these basics easy and non-intimidating, they'll help ensure longevity of your motorcycle.

Aside from putting in gas and keeping up with oil changes, taking care of your battery is one of the easiest jobs to learn. It's simple for the novice, and it's the best way to cut down on maintenance and repair costs over the long term. It will also preserve the life of the battery for much longer.

Motorcycle batteries must be charged regularly in order for your bike to run, and to maintain overall battery health. In order to keep it charged, you'll need to invest in a quality motorcycle battery charger. This should be considered to be standard equipment if you own a cycle. Motorcycle batteries need to be charged frequently, so this isn't a job you'll want to have to take to a professional mechanic.

Motorcycle batteries come in a range of sizes and power levels. Therefore, different bikes will have different capabilities, handling, run and down time, depending on the kind of battery it has. If you're buying a bike for the first time, be sure to factor in battery size, type and life when you're looking. 

Here are a few more helpful tips for getting the most out of your battery and charger:

* Choose a quality battery. You may not get a choice when you first buy your bike. If you do, opt for a reliable brand, even if it costs a little more. The same goes for a motorcycle battery charger .

Motorcycle batteries last for three to five years, on average. A quality-made battery and charger may mean the difference between a three year life and a five year one. That's a significant difference over the lifetime of the bike.

* Learn how to check and top up battery fluids. Keeping fluid levels at their optimum at all times extends battery life, and really doesn't require much time and effort.

Better yet, you may want to look into purchasing a "maintenance-free" model. They cost more, but you won't ever have to worry about fluids either. They also tend to last longer than conventional motorcycle batteries.

* If you park your bike for the winter, be sure to charge your battery regularly. The longer it's parked, the more power it loses. If you don't keep it charged you'll have a dead battery by springtime. (The colder your weather, the more frequently you may need to charge.)

* Motorcycle batteries are dry-charged to about 80 percent. Give it regular top-up charges or the battery will never be more than 80 percent efficient (and will have a shorter life span.)

* Choose the right motorcycle battery charger for the kind of battery you have. Make sure you fully understand how to charge it. If you have questions, ask a dealer or mechanic to give you a crash course. Don't try to figure it out on your own if you're unsure: you may come to regret it.