The Perfect Hurricane Motorcycle Part 2: Gasoline Capacity

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Hurricane Irma is 400 miles wide and was initially projected to run the length of the state bottom-to-top.  Today is Sunday and Irma is making her way over the Florida Keys and up toward Naples.  So here I am again thinking about the perfect hurricane motorcycle.

The runs on gas and food in South Florida started exactly a week ago.  I had to hit two separate Costcos last Sunday in order to get sufficient supplies of water.   My mom came to stay with me Wednesday night and when I tried to refill her car, I had to hit three gas stations before I found one still pumping.

So, when it comes to gasoline, I think the ideal hurricane motorcycle is:

1. Able to take you out of the “area of panic” without the need to refill


2. Holds the fuel in a single tank up front, preserving cargo space at the rear (and minimizing the possibility of some chucklehead grabbing an auxiliary tank and running off with it).

Is this even possible?  Well, I am sitting here in the dark with nothing else to think about; so I have been doing a little research, and yes it is almost possible.

Don’t be alarmed though – what I am about to report is going to require a little math.

Going back to Part 1 of this post series, where I covered the perfect hurricane motorcycle powerplant, I essentially narrowed engine size down to bikes in the 500-650cc range (spoiler alert probably an enduro).

Okay so let’s pretend our perfect hurricane motorcycle is the KLR650 (you will see why in a minute).  According to the web, KLR650s from 1990 to 2014 averaged 42.5 to 52.5 miles per gallon.

Let’s take the low end (42mpg) for our calculations, assuming the bike is super weighed down with family and gear.

I would consider the entire state of Florida the so-called “panic zone.”  Therefore, with pandemonium and shortages across the entire state, let’s try to escape to Atlanta.

Atlanta is 617 miles from Delray Beach, Florida where I live.  Divide by 42 and that means we need 14.7 gallons of gas.

Stock gas tanks that I am aware of hold between 2.5 gallons (VMAX) and 8.1 gallons (BMW Paris-Dakar).  Okay, so we aren’t making it there on one stock tank.

That said, custom oversized gas tanks are in abundance on the internet, particularly for off-road bikes that might not see a station for a while.  I checked availability on the KLR650, DR650, and XR650L.  What I found was lots of 6.6 gallon tanks for all and one manufacturer that makes a 10 gallon tank that fits the KLR650 perfectly.

So it is possible to make it from Delray to Atlanta on one tank plus a 5 gallon auxiliary.  Not bad for the perfect hurricane motorcycle.  I also would assume that once you have crossed the Florida-Georgia line (only 390 miles away) things get a little less scarce in terms of resources; but I figured I would do the math assuming the worst possible conditions.

Check out the other posts in the series:

The Perfect Hurricane Motorcycle Part 1: The Engine or Powerplant

The Perfect Hurricane Motorcycle Part 3: Tires, Mousses, and Avoiding Flats

The Perfect Hurricane Motorcycle Part 4: Communications Equipment

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Please forgive any typos. I wrote this blog post on my phone, in the dark, during a hurricane.

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