My '04 LT has the original gel battery. I have had not one bit of concern or issue with it nor do I use (or have) a tender. There have been periods (weeks) of not riding; for the most part, though, it's a daily driver. I'm a few miles out from my next PM and planning a long trip in about a month. Is it time to change the battery "for the heck of it"? I don't know what other owners experience is for battery longevity but the heat of South Florida has never lended itself to long automotive battery life. I know, buy one now, better to pay now than get hung up on the road ......... is the consensus that a gel (or original equipment battery) is the way to go? Are there better aftermarket batteries than what my local BMW dealer will offer? Thanks again for your insight and help.