CTEK CS Free adventure product review

Brand new to the market from my most trusted battery brand is the high spec, most advanced and fully mobile battery charging device ever! The CTEK CS Free. I’ve used the CTEK maintenance smart chargers for years so this product has me excited. I genuinely believe this portable battery and adaptive charging unit is going to bring all new versatility to the battery land, particularly for motorcycles and flat batteries.

What is the CTEK CS Free?

It’s effectively a starting device but a very clever one! If you have a flat battery, the adaptive charge enables the device to intelligently read the battery and fast charge it to enough juice to get you going again. But it does this wisely with an understanding on how batteries work, so it won’t harm your battery or vehicle electronics.

The girl on a bike CTEK CS Free 3
CTEK CS Free

Did you know a normal jump start can actually damage your long-term battery health?

I know I didn’t know this until I started swatting up. The intense surge a traditional jump pack gives can actually have detrimental implications for your long-term battery health. The good news is that the CS Free prevents this.

Battery health and the CTEK CS Free

Battery health is a far more complex game that we really know – I try to explain how batteries work in this video – Icy adventure riding on the Africa Twin testing the CTEK CS Free – real life product review – jump to . I feel few of us realise that jump starting a turbo-charge of power into a battery to get started can actually really damage a batteries health. Plus with modern vehicle electrics the surge in power can damage electrical systems too. But not with the CS Free.

I’ve been a long time fan of CTEK smart maintenance chargers, which can extend battery life by 3 times – this means a unit literally pays for itself – you can see a full review of the MXS 5.0 smart charger here [available to buy here]:

Technical details of the CS Free

Weighing in at around 980grams it’s not a small device, however on a large motorcycle or car it’s well worth its weight in space with its functions:

  • Adaptive boost to start any flat battery – lithium or lead-acid
  • Adaptive boost will tell you how long it will be until your battery is ready to start your vehicle
  • Easy to use with safety features to ensure you can’t get it wrong – plug and play
  • Forms a battery pack for charging other items, such as laptop, drones and GoPro
  • Pack will remain charged for up to 1 year with no use           – Chargeable from mains 3 pin plug, 12v battery via crocodile clips or via portable solar panel

I took the CS Free out with me on an icey adventure ride with the Africa Twin. My motorcycle, thankfully, didn’t have any battery issues so I actually staged a flat battery. Purposefully draining the battery so I could use the CS Free to start. Using the crocodile clips I attached the CS Free, turned it on and waited, enjoying a cup of coffee in the wilderness.

Here’s how to never fine a flat battery again.

When you plug in the CS Free the start button light flashes, it will then start to intelligently charge your battery. CTEK say this can take between 5-15 minutes depending on the battery. Mine took around 9 minutes and the light went solid. The solid light indicates that it’s ready to try starting. I was then able to start and continue my ride.

Ready light

Unlike regular charges the CS Free tells you when the battery is ready to start. This is really cool! If you don’t know it’s easy to try too soon when there is not yet enough charge to start. This then drains the battery and puts you back at square one. The CS Free tells you when it’s ready, saving the guess work and potentially more time wasting.

The part of the day I could not have scripted was returning to my van to find the battery flat… thankfully the CS Free worked on my Mercedes-Benz Viano and in around 12 minutes the van was started.

The girl on a bike CTEK CS Free starting Viano
Thankfully the CTEK CS Free for my Viano started or it would have been a cold night

Charging the CTEK CS Free

You can charge in a range of ways, from a:

  • normal three pin domestic plug
  • service battery by crocodile clips
  • via a car cigarette 12V plug
  • via a CTEK solar panel

During my weekend away I tested all of these options and the unit will fully charge in around 1 hour.

CTEK solar panel

On a super cloudy day it really exceeded my expectations by kicking out 19 volts giving me the ability to charge up in the wilderness even in mid-winter. It’s also super portable with it’s folding suit case style, making it practical to carry around.

Charging from the CS Free

Total charging freedom is the CTEK ling and that’s because it works like a mobile battery bank

More than just a starting device the CS Free is also a power block. Able to hold charge for a full year if unused it’s always there ready when you need it. With a USB-C and USB-A port you can charge items such as your iPhone, camera and laptop out on the road. I was sat by an icy lake with a warm coffee editing photos on my laptop and charging my iPhone ready for more action.

Price

You’re looking at near £300 for the CTEK CS Free, which is a lot if you think of it as just a starting block. BUT it is so much more than just a back up for a flat battery. With its long life and impressive power capabilities it’s a mobile support for your electronic needs.

Summary of the CTEK CS Free

Never worry about a flat again, it’s mobile, small enough to take with you and capable of powering your charging needs, AND getting you out of trouble when you get a flat. With it’s intelligent charge it won’t impact the long-term health and thus life of your battery or vehicle electronics too.

Big thumbs up for me and I can already say I will be taking my CTEK CS Free with me on all my adventures.

See my full days icy riding adventure

For more info see https://www.ctek.com/

If you’re new to my page – it’s more than just dirt bike riding and racing, I’m on a mission to prove that nothing is impossible if you want it bad enough. See more about my story plus read about my life changing accident, which started it all.

You can find me Vanessa, The Girl On A Bike over on InstagramFacebookLinkedIn and YouTube, and www.thegirlonabike.com.

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