With electric starting nearly ubiquitous in the motorcycle world and backup kickstarter virtually extinct, gasoline-powered motorcycles are as reliant on batteries as electric bikes. No juice = No start. When that happens, you can try bump starting (not an option on many motorcycles), putting in a new battery (hardly convenient), or the tried-and-true method of jump-starting. Fortunately, with a product such as the Fanttik T8 Apex jump starter, you can be completely self-reliant. There’s no more asking someone in the parking lot, “Can you give me a jump?” if you have your own power source.
The Fanttik T8 Apex is a brawny battery that the company claims will start an 8.5-liter gasoline motor or 6-liter diesel powerplant. Those numbers differ from what’s on the Fanttik website, but a company rep assures us that it will work for any motorcycle. We didn’t have a big-inch V-twin with a dead battery handy. However, if it’s rated for 8.5-liter engines, any motorcycle should be child’s play.
It’s pretty much essential to pack one of these in your car, truck, or UTV/side-by-side as insurance, or so you can help someone in need without worrying about cooking your vehicle’s electrical system. It’s also convenient to have in the garage, should any e-start vehicle need it.
It is on the large size for carrying on a motorcycle. The battery measures 9.5 x 3.75 x 1.75 inches and weighs two pounds, two ounces. However, you need to plug the jumper cables into the battery unit. The cables take up more room, though they are flexible for packing, and up the weight package to just shy of three pounds. That’s certainly doable on a motorcycle with bags if you are the least bit concerned about your bike’s battery on a trip.
We had the unusual experience of needing it for a dirt bike with an unreliable battery. Fortunately, the battery fits in the USWE Raw 8L Dirt Biking Hydration Pack I usually wear, which is not large. We were happily surprised that it fit the larger of two cargo pouches, with the cables sharing space with the bladder compartment.
As it turns out, we needed the Fanttik T8 Apex jump starter far from the truck, and were glad we had it. The extra three pounds—about the weight of 1.5 quarts of water—wasn’t even noticeable. Carrying a battery that large in a backpack isn’t particularly practical. However, in this case, it was necessary to have the Fanttik T8 Apex jump starter at the ready.
Setup is easy, though there is a trick to the use. The 20 Ah battery charges via a USB Type C connector, which we’re all familiar with. Fanttik includes a 65-watt AC brick and 12-volt socket plug, along with a pair of USB Type C cables, so you don’t have to fumble for the correct wire.
Powering up the T8 Apex is simple—just push the power button until the LCD screen lights up. Plug in the jumper cable, and you’re ready to rock—maybe.
If your motorcycle’s battery’s voltage is too low—below eight volts—nothing will happen, which was the case for us the first time. If that happens, you power the battery down. When you restart it, hold down the power button and flashlight button simultaneously as the battery powers up. That did the trick for us both times we used it.
One tricky part is that sometimes batteries on motorcycles are not easily accessible. Even when they are, the space to clamp onto the terminals is tight. That happened to us, and we needed to do some prying to free up the needed space—it wasn’t easy, but it worked.
The $110 Fanttik T8 Apex has a few additional features. It has a bright flashlight function, plus two blinking light options—white and red. There is also a powered USB port so you can provide electrons to other electrical devices, such as your smartphone. If you spring for the Deluxe Package ($130), you get a high-quality carrying case that holds everything, which raises the weight to almost five pounds and takes more space—fine for your four-wheel vehicle, but a bit much for a motorcycle. For $240, you can get the standard T8 Apex jump starter and the X8 Apex tire inflator we have tested as a package deal.
The Fanttik T8 Apex has a high-quality finish and feel, and it started motorcycle engines for us on demand. We would like to see Fanttik offer a smaller version for motorcycles, with much more compact, alligator-style jumper clamps. In the meantime, we were bailed out by this device, so we’re immediately big fans.