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Photo by Michael Jordan, enjoying a meal at sunset, Zangskar Valley, India

I haven't been everywhere...
but it's on my list!


Photo by Michael Jordan
enjoying a meal at sunset,
Zangskar Valley, India



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  #1  
Old 20 Dec 2014
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How much fuel range actually needed?

Hi folks,

I am planing a long trip on my bike (hopefully end up rtw) I will be heading from UK to Mosco, Kaz', Mongolia, China,Laos,Thailand etc. down to Aus then ride and work in Aus.

I'm currently trying to pick a bike (got a xt600 but fancy a CCM 644!) for the trip and I see lots of people fitting huge 25L+ tanks for over 250 miles range. I am curious what range do those of you who have actually do this (or similar trips) actually find you needed?? And How far off main highways/routes did you go?

I would really appreciate people view/thoughts on this as I have seen people doing these sort of trips on things from c90 to big bmws with standard tanks up to massive 30 odd L tanks! obviously I don't want to carry more fuel (and weight) than I need to like wise neither do I want to spend £500+ on a tank I don't need as that could be a extra £500's fuel But neither do I want to be pushing the bike or hitching a lift because I ran out of fuel

Cheers
Ben
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  #2  
Old 20 Dec 2014
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Why not just carry extra fuel when you feel you need to? Plastic containers tied on with rope work. Dump when you dont need it. 5L containers are very cheap sometimes found free, water bottles, cooking oil what ever; all make temp fuel carriers.
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  #3  
Old 20 Dec 2014
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A lot of "modern " bikes are not fuel efficient. It simply wasn't a requirement.
My old BMW with a supposed 22 litre tank had a range of about 175 miles.
My Triumph Thunderbird 900 with a "15 litre tank has an operating range of 150 miles before needing reserve ( another 30 miles).
My Enfield with a 13 litre tank will run for about 220 miles.
None of these have enough range for me. Ideally I would like an easy 300 mile range. I could get that for about £250 by installing an 18 litre tank on the Enfield, for the same money I could install a 22 litre tank on the Enfield

The reason for 300 miles ? That is the distance between me and the ferry port.
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  #4  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben_88 View Post
I'm currently trying to pick a bike (got a xt600 but fancy a CCM 644!)

Cheers
Ben
Fuel can be carried in many ways Ben. Your homework should reveal the hardest areas to get fuel & base your numbers around the remote areas.
As already stated, you can carry throw away containers, or have the bulk of carrying good ones, that you may not need for some time :confused1:

As for bike selection, pick a bike that you can get parts for in most places
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  #5  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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Moto Guzzi V7 here; 22 litres and 60+ mpg gives close to 300 miles.

You don't need it but it let's you keep going if a petrol station is closed for lunch or the tanker driver decides to go sick or the stuff coming out of the pump looks to be mostly ten year old water. I like a full days range just so I can almost take fuel stops out of my route planning and not ruin the ride doing mental arithmetic and going mental as a result.

Cans are a PITA. They fall off, leak, get stolen, require you to stop in places you may not always choose etc. Now if you can live with the standard tank into the stans, buy one, use it, bin in, that could be a good solution. Only place I've ever really risked running out through a sub-200 mile range has been the very top of Norway and Southern Morocco. Here the small tank boys live to find petrol stations and I have met one or two suffering from enforced pedestrianisation.

Andy
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  #6  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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300 km is enouth for 99% of the trips. For the last 1% you dont need an expensive big tank. You can just grab some old plastic bottles or oil cans wich you will get for free everywere, fill them up and despose them if you dont need them anymore.
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  #7  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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I'm happy with the 250 mile range on my CCM. Unless you're really off the beaten track that should be good enough and a couple of cheap cans will put another 100 miles on that if you really need it.

I've toured with mega tanks in the past that gave me a close to 800 mile range (40+ litres and riding slowly) and 1. full up they're so top heavy it makes riding anything other than tarmac difficult, and 2. you forget to buy more fuel, assuming there's loads in there. There's no point in having a big tank if you run it dry.

On the other hand a fuel range of 150 miles or less is a PIA. You're dependant on fuel stations turning up regularly - and being open. Riding at night, riding on Sundays, during "siesta" time, during a strike etc, are all difficult. In the past I've resorted to siphoning petrol from parked cars (and leaving money for it!) at night, camping outside garages waiting till they opened the next day and (in the dim and distant past) buying it in glass jars from a grocery store.

My 125 Suzuki has a fuel range of about 90 miles which, on a long trip, is almost unusable. You're forever trying to plan where you'll get your next fuel from. Miss a services on the motorway and you're dependant on the Lord to get you to the next one. I've had it cut out on the garage forecourt before now when I've run it down to zero.
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  #8  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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No Big Deal

No need to consider this issue a major problem. My Transalp has a 19.6-litre (4.3 imperial gallons) tank, which provides a maximum range of around 325 km.

I also carry a 7-litre fuel bladder, which lives in the bottom of my rack bag. It takes-up hardly any room whatsoever, and acts as a potential ‘reserve’ for another 120 km. Therefore, if needs be, I could travel up to 440-450 km (275 miles) without needing to see a petrol pump.

I’ve now covered 85,000 km (53,000 mi) on the Trannie, from New Zealand to Eastern Europe; and guess what? .. I’ve never needed to utilise the fuel bladder .. ever.

It's just a nice insurance policy to have in my kit.

7-Litre Fuel Cell/Bladder





Designed for the military



As I say, simply folds-up when empty, enabling it to be stored away in any small confined area on the bike.
.
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  #9  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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Fuel range is a funny thing. It's not as much as, how far can you can go on a tank full. It's more the case of how much you have in the tank. Me I start looking when I get down to half a tank. By the time I've found a place, I'm usually down to a quarter. A good bit of advice is to find out how much fuel you have in the tank against what the gauge show's. Most bike's will show more in the bottom half than in the top half. I know that when I switch over on to my reserve I have about 35 mile's left. Get a small can of petrol and carry it round. I used my old lawn mower filler can. Hold's about two pints. Once it starts to cough. Stop and fill with the can. Or you are going to be in trouble pulling fresh fuel through. Know how much your tank will hold. Then fill it up at different marker's on the gauge. From that you can work out just how much you have. To what the gauge show's. Am I tell you how to suck egg's?
John933
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  #10  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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Guzzi fuel light comes on with 150 miles left

Andy
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  #11  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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A fuel gauge! I don't think I've ever owned a bike with a fuel gauge. Our current cars barely have functional fuel gauges.

(Many) years ago I had a couple of Suzuki smokers where the tank had a piece of clear plastic tubing fitted between the top and bottom so you could see the fuel level at a glance. That got calibrated in gallons with a felt tip marker and the whole thing was very simple and worked very well. A few of my more recent aftermarket plastic tanks are partly see-through so you can felt tip mark those in gallons as well.

Other than that the metal tanked bikes are calibrated by the slosh method - it sounds more "hollow" when there's less fuel in it. Not much use on a long trip where you're running it from full to empty in one go. Like you I have a couple of 2L plastic containers I take along for when the inevitable happens but a year or two back one of them leaked petrol into my sleeping bag.

Keith'd fuel bladder thing looks useful - presumably, being military, it's army surplus. One of my 2L fuel containers (the one that leaked!) is a Dutch army water bottle that I found as a one off in a surplus store.
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  #12  
Old 21 Dec 2014
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Thanks for the replies!

Thanks everyone for the replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
I'm happy with the 250 mile range on my CCM.
250 mile range!! What CCM do you have? Do you have a standard tank? Mine used to adverage aprox' 120-150 depending on how relaxed my right hand was!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bucket1960 View Post
Fuel can be carried in many ways Ben. Your homework should reveal the hardest areas to get fuel & base your numbers around the remote areas.

As for bike selection, pick a bike that you can get parts for in most places
That's one point I am trying to check/work out, best way I've found of doing that by reading through various posts on here do you have any better/additional ways of working it out?

As for bike choice I'm being swayed mostly by passion for a bike, I had a CCM 644 got hit by a car on it, fixed it, then it got stolen! spares should be ok as its a DR650 engine and other parts are pretty generic!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith1954 View Post
I also carry a 7-litre fuel bladder, which lives in the bottom of my rack bag. It takes-up hardly any room whatsoever, and acts as a potential ‘reserve’ for another 120 km.

As I say, simply folds-up when empty, enabling it to be stored away in any small confined area on the bike.
.
I like these! Once full were to you store them on your bike (thinking weight location)? Also how do the cope with direct sunlight/general warm weather and the expansion/evaporation of the petrol? How do they cope with accidents such a dropping the bike, dropping the bladder etc. ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
A fuel gauge! I don't think I've ever owned a bike with a fuel gauge. Our current cars barely have functional fuel gauges.
Ha I know what you mean backofbeyond I think I'm the same! Unless you count the bike spluttering and before turning the tap over to reserve as a gauge
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  #13  
Old 22 Dec 2014
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I am touring Thailand and Laos at the moment and I have been using empty water bottles as I see fit. The tank on the CRF is only about 7 litres
I find it better to have, than to want!

IMG_0521 by Wayne 66, on Flickr

IMG_0396 by Wayne 66, on Flickr

Wayne
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  #14  
Old 22 Dec 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben_88 View Post

250 mile range!! What CCM do you have? Do you have a standard tank? Mine used to adverage aprox' 120-150 depending on how relaxed my right hand was!

As for bike choice I'm being swayed mostly by passion for a bike, I had a CCM 644 got hit by a car on it, fixed it, then it got stolen! spares should be ok as its a DR650 engine and other parts are pretty generic!
Pic of my CCM on a winter trip to the Alps. It's the older 604 with the Rotax engine but other than that it's pretty much the same as the the 644. They must be cheap enough now to make the basis of an inexpensive overlander.

Tanks for them are the problem though. The one on mine is 23/24L (never have worked out the exact capacity) and one of a small number CCM made / bought / modded for their Paris-Dakar effort about 15yrs ago. That's where the 250 mile range comes from. The std 13L used to give me about 150 /160. The P-D tank is almost certainly Acerbis and must have been based on something else. I know Honda tanks don't fit (too narrow over the top tube) but maybe Suzuki or Yamaha ones might

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  #15  
Old 23 Dec 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by backofbeyond View Post
Pic of my CCM on a winter trip to the Alps.
Ahhh its you! I know of you from posts on CCM Mad! When I saw what you put for tank range I thought it must of been that one as its the only one I have heard about still around! It is a nice looking bike! I have never ridden a 604 but have seen a couple, yeah I have heard a few people saying various stuff doesn't fit (top tube problem) but I can find anywhere anthing saying that someone tried the dr650 tank (tank mounthing sizes look similar) plus that guy from aus with the black "safari tanks" tank made a post on CCM mad then vanished! I miss my 644 (we were hit by a car, then after we both got bolted back together someone knicked it!)

Hence my thought of required range so I could get another CCM! Although I'm very tempted buy the new one! just that money could be spent on more fuel, food, tyres, and Visas!

Don't suppose yours (or your tank) are up for sale
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