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Unfortunately, Acerbis makes the largest tanks available for XRs. I'm also trying to figure out how to fit more fuel on my XR650L for a Saharan trip. For now, I'm planning on carrying a jerrican, but that's going to be tough since I'll already have aluminum panniers on the bike. But since the 600R doesn't have footpeg mounts, you don't even really have the option of mounting a good strong rack.
Acerbis did just started making an additional under-the-seat tank for the XR650R that's pretty slick. It was designed for Dakar rally bikes and I think holds an extra four gallons or so. Unfortunately, it doesn't fit on XR600s or 650Ls, but it MAY be possible to make it fit, which is something I'm trying to research without forking out the money for one first. I may just have to but one and see if I can make it work, and sell it if it doesn't.
The other thing you can do is mount the Acerbis front number plate tank, or the rear fender tank, but they only hold 1.5 gallons or so, so they're not a huge help in the grand scheme of things, especially given the fact that you'd have to sacrifice your headlight or a lot of rear fender carrying space.
Call the guys at www.dual-star.com. They are quite knowledgable about setting bikes up for long trips. It's a shame that you can't get larger tanks for XRs, since they're awesome bikes in every other way for long dual sport trips.
Thanks for replying Wright.Shame about the tank though.
My mate and i are planning a trip from London to Dakar next year.The route so far is this;Morocco,Algeria,Mali,Mauritania and Senegal.But anything can happen till then.
Where are you of to?
I'm actually planning on a similar route, starting in London andt ferrying over to Tnis. I'll be skipping Mali and going through Burkina Faso, since banditry is supposed to be rather prevalent on the fringes of the Malian Sahara, though I can't say I've heard any reports of what Burkina Faso is like aside from my Lonely Planet books. Also, everyone seems to report that Timbuktu isn't at all interesting aside from being able to say you've gone.
I'm trying to figure out now what it's going to cost me and trying to plan accordingly. Some people say it'll cost a fortune, some people say it's cheap. How much are you planning on saving to do your trip, and when are you leaving?
I HAVE A 40 LITRE ACCERBIS TANK FROM MY XR JUST SITTING IN THE GARAGE WAITING FOR A GOOD HOME. THE RACKS FOR THE XR I MADE WERE STRONG ENOUGH FOR 2 UP RIDING. THE TRICK IS TO BUILD UP FROM THE RIGHT FOOTPEG BOLTS AND FROM THE LEFT SWINGING ARM PIVOT AND REMEMBER THE LOOP BEHIND THE REAR WHEEL. AND THEN THE XR CAN BE USED AS IT SHOULD BE, FLAT OUT OVER THE DUNES. HAVE A GOOD ONE
Acerbis used to list a 40 litre tank for the XR600 and whenI bought one 6-7 years ago it was about £600 in the UK. I then had to rebuild the tank mountings, rework the handlebars and the lockstops and make a new seat from scratch. I notice they no longer list it!
I still keep the tank on the bike though because I get nearly 400 miles before reserve which was very useful in the western sahara. I went to all that trouble because I'd be unhappy loading a 20 litre jerrycan onto an XR's subframe. My original luggage design had a 10 litre jerrycan on one side balanced with water on the other. Add in the rest of the luggage and a stony piste and its not something I was happy would survive. Even with reinforcing behind the wheel it felt fragile. I dumped it all and bought the tank.
If I was going again I'd use a 20 litre Clarke tank that I picked up cheap and put a 5 litre can on a headlamp rack that I made. That would give a range of around 300 miles full to dry which was enough last time. I was always worried that if I fell off and hit a rock most of my fuel would go and as I mostly travelled alone that could be a problem.
I have the Acerbis 22L tank on my XR650L now and I can barely get 200 miles out of it, even when riding paved roads. I've heard stories of people riding in the Sahara and getting tehir mileage cut to one-third from having to ride wide open in the sand against the wind.
I'm confident about everything on my bike except for the range - and I'm also worried that putting too much fuel in jerricans will crumple the subframe. I was going to have some fuel tanks made by a local welder that mount to the triple clamps, but I talked to my dad about it and he thinks that weighing down the front end of the bike will make riding the sand very, very difficult. Adding mass to the front end would make keeping the front wheel straight difficult in sand since the wheel has a tendency to wobble back and forth, more so the deeper the sand is. Also, the heavier it is, the more likely you are to get uncontrollable headshake according to him. What do you guys think?
I think your dad could be right about the weight on the front wheel,Wright.It might be worth looking into that underseat thingy you mentioned ealier,or go for the dreaded rack bilding fiasco and jerry cans,something that im'e trying desperately to avoid on my XR.
Going back to your earlier question about cost,iv'e got no idea how much London-Dakar is going to set me back financially,but i suppose id'e better start finding out.I'll probably post a message on another BB.
Keep the weight off the front end in the sand, and especially off the forks. You need to keep the front end light, and power on in the really soft stuff. If the front end is too heavy it will plow, and instantly make a 90degree turn and put you on your ear. Gets tiresome after a while...
General ideas / things to think about -
Keep the weight low, not high, makes a HUGE difference. Why do you think the BMW boxers work so well? Tools, extra fuel, all heavy stuff goes as low as you can get it.
Start with the Acerbis tank, and then when NEEDED add a couple of 4 litre jerricans or more if needed, somewhere behind you. A favorite spot is where the passengers feet would normally go. And as soon as there is room in the tank - empty them! UNLESS you're in soft sand, in which case the weight behind you is good, and the lightening front end as you burn fuel will improve the handling. Just make sure you don't go past the point of no return with fuel in loseable/crashable/leaky containers. Put it in the tank.
And re the rack, you can't go wrong beefing it up substantially - there are far more stories of people breaking racks than there are of people with no rack problems. Talk to an expert on your bike, talk to a good welder/fabricator, think about the load, and then make it stronger than anyone thinks is necessary - the loads imposed on a loaded bike as you launch over even the smallest of bumps is huge. And a big dune in the desert...
If you can have some of your luggage mobile between the front - say just in front of your knees - and somewhere behind you, is ideal. Most of the time the bike will handle best with the load spread evenly, but not in the soft stuff.
This is really cool all this XR talk. Just a couple more comments, My XR handled great with the 40l tank fitted, no head shake, and because the tank is sooooo! wide I fitted ex army ammo boxes either side of the engine. Not too close to over heat the engine. These were lockable and keep the weight of spare oil and tools where it should be. An oil cooler from a citroen 2cv fitted snuggly on the left hand side between the ammo box and the engine, nice and safe. The best modification was to fit a 20% harder rear spring from white power, no bottoming out when loaded up, Highly Recomended. The XRs have compresion damping adjusters and air caps on the forks which are useful when fully loaded, but for constant hot weather riding try heavier fork oil aswell
Keep the talk coming.
[This message has been edited by andygray (edited 06 May 2001).]
I'd be interested to know how others have fixed racks to the XR subframe. I ended up making my own and went thru a lot of trial and error before constructing something that survived my "quality control" test ( sit 75 kg friend on it and head off across a field. If it survives it should be ok with 25kg of luggage). The version I 've got now uses the seat mounting bolts as one anchor and runs two metal bars backwards underneath the subframe top rail . The bars are supported at the rear by bolting them to the end of the top rail - There's a 6mm bolt here where the rear mudguard fixes, but it's now beefed up. The rack and side pannier mounts all fix to these bars. To date this system has survived numerous spills and not broken either itself or the bike but it looks like something a village blacksmith would have been proud to construct in between shoeing horses. Does anyone produce anything commercially in the UK for the XR that is suitable for overlanding or is it mainly DIY
This may be too late to help but, I´ve found a german website with aluminuim tanks of various sizes for XRs and the like; www.off-the-road.de go to ´enduro´then´wustentanks II´any problems with translations mail me as .
Hope this is usefull
I just got back from a 600 mile trip through the lost coast (Northern CA). Mostly paved, but with a 50 mile section on Usal Rd. This a forresty access road. We had some recent rain, which made a few sections interesting. I averaged only 36 mpg through this section. Luckily only 15 % was truly muddy. The rest of the trip was highway or paved mountain roads, and I averaged about 43 to 47 mpg. I have the 5.2 gal acerbic tank as well. So far it has been enough. Look into happy trail (www.happy-trails.com) for racks and luggage. excellent service and excellent products. I have the luggage rack and the highway pegs. The pegs offer some extra comfort on the road and offer some crash protection as well.I have the Moose full coverage bash plate from Baja Designs as well. (www.bajadesigns.com) Another good company, got the tank from them. Good luck and keep the info coming!
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