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Having run out of gas three times on motorcycle trips, the most interesting of the three being in a conveniently remote part of Alaska. I have come to the realization that fuel is an important item to carry and it is better to err on the side of having too much. So how much fuel do I need to carry to block out the memories of hours hiking through the Alaskan forest, listening for the sound of a passing ATVs, looking for occupied cabins, and praying that someone had a jerrycan? That is a good question. The answer is a combination of expected fuel efficiency and desired range.
Both An and my bike are 250s, so they sip fuel quite sparingly. The XT250 is rated at 76mpg and the WR250R at 71mpg. These figures are generous to say the least and assume good quality fuel. Since what we care about is
So how much range do we need? In the US, you would be hard pressed to go more than 150 miles between gas stations. Unfortunately, we need to think of places like the Atacama Desert or the Salar de Uyuni salt flats. With that in mind, again pulling a number out of my ass, I think a 300 mile fuel range is a good target.
So that puts our target fuel capacity at 11gal. Now the XT250 bike holds 2.9gal with no aftermarket tank options. The WR250R has a Safari tank which holds 3.7gal. That leaves us short of our goal by 4.4gal. That is were Rotopax comes in. They have such a nice line of fuel cans with great mounting options for motorcycles. We opted to go with two 1.75gal cans, one for each bike. The nice thing about the fuel cans is that we can leave them empty when we do not need them and fill them up to a max of 2gal each for long stretches. Yes, the 1.75gal Rotopax can will hold 2gal when completely filled. I have no idea why they named it a 1.75gal can. That would put us at 10.5gal or about a 288 miles fuel range. Not exactly our goal of 300 miles, but close enough.
Great, throw on the fuel cans and call it a day. The only issue is where to mount the cans. Ideally you want to mount them low to keep the weigh as low on the bike as possible. The issue is finding a side racks that allow for Rotopax mounting. Even though we are taking soft luggage, I feel that if you are going to mount up to 2gal of fuel on the rack, you need to have a cross-brace. Otherwise I fear that eventually the rack would crack. Now the only rack with a cross-brace I could find for the XT250 was from happy trails and they do not have a good option for Rotopax mounting. I am sure there is a way we could have made it work, but the cost was also pretty high and cross-braced racks are pretty heavy. Similar story for the WR250R. So instead we opted to mount the tanks on our tail racks. Since we both already had Pro Moto Billet tail racks that don’t quite have a Rotopax mounting options, it was time to bust out the quarter inch aluminum plate and a jigsaw.
A day’s worth of cutting, grinding, and drilling later, we had two pretty functional and strong mounts. The pictures have the 1gal Rotopax cans, but the 1.75gal fit quite nicely as well. We will strap down duffle bags above the cans, trying to keep the duffles further front to better distribute the weight on the subframe. At 6lbs per gallon of gas, the max weight the fuel will add to the tail rack is 12lbs. Mostly the fuel can on An’s XT250 will be empty and I will haul an extra gallon on the WR250R for emergencies, only filling both cans to capacity when we are expecting a very long stretch without refueling opportunities.