December 28, 2010

Extra Gas For Your Classic Bike

My future bride and I, packed for Sturgis

Back in 1999, I was planning my first major motorcycle trip.  This was to be a 10 day trip, starting in NC, heading north to IL, then over to SD, down to CO, back across to IL and finally home to NC. 

I was riding a 1996 Sportster at the time and had been told by numerous people that my 3.3 gallon tank was going to leave me stranded in the middle of the Badlands.  After thinking it over, I decided to carry some extra gas, just in case.  At the time, my only real option for carrying spare gas was in your standard 1 gallon square plastic tanks from the local Lawn and Garden Center. 

So I picked up a pair and crammed them in my saddlebags.  While technically this worked, the gas tanks stretched out my bags and used most of the available storage space.  Definitely not the best situation as space is already a premium on a Sportster.  The gas tanks did make the trip, although it turned out that gas stations were plentiful on the main highways and they were never even used.

Fast forward to present day and I find myself in the same situation.  Now I’m riding a 1964 Duo-Glide with the original factory three gallon tank.  My total range is even less than the Sportster, hovering under 100 miles per tank with a good tail wind.  My initial search for a spare gas container turned up the usual suspects.  There was still the 1 gallon Lawn and Garden gas tanks, but my rigid saddlebags do not accommodate them.  There are also MSR fuel bottles, but the largest size is only 20 oz and I don’t like the idea of the bottles bouncing and rolling around in my bags.  I have seen some leather harnesses that allow you to strap the MSR fuel bottles on your bike’s frame or crash guards, but these are expensive and you still are not carrying that much extra gas.

A couple weeks ago, the answer to my gas problem came to me while surfing the internet.  Somewhere I stumbled across a product called the Reda Gas Can, which was developed by Reda Innovations out of Orland Park, IL.  I have to admit that I was pretty excited to see this product.  It’s rare to find a new product that you can use on a vintage bike.  Sure they make plenty of new gadgets that would work on a vintage bike, but am I really going to mount a Garmin GPS and iPod on my Panhead…

Extra gasoline for my classic Harley

After contacting Reda Innovations, a new 1 Gallon Reda Gas Can was shipped to my door.  As you can see in the picture above, these fuel tanks are designed to fit in the rear of a modern saddlebag.  Just like everything else, saddlebags have followed the “bigger is better” development plan and are no longer the same size as the saddlebags on my 1964 Duo-Glide.  This, plus the fact that the locking mechanism on my saddlebag is on the rear, meant that a different location would need to be found.  After trying several positions, I found that the Reda Gas Can fit perfectly in the front of my saddlebag.  Due to the taper of my saddlebags, the Reda Gas Can would not fit all the way at the bottom of the bag, but the gap under it is a perfect fit for my tool roll.

Left: Reda Gas Can in empty saddlebag, notice the gap under the gas can. Right: Gap filled with tool roll.

One of the things I was most impressed with on the Reda Gas Can was the spout.  Like your standard gas can, the spout stores inside the can when not in use.  Unlike a standard gas can, the spout is both spill proof and vapor proof, so you don’t have to worry about your saddlebags filling up with gas fumes or leaked fuel.  Also, a valve inside the spout will prevent spills even when the spout is mounted outside the can.  By rotating a green collar on the spout, you are able to open the valve and safely pour gasoline from the can.  The spout also has a tank anchor which hooks to your gas tank while pouring the gas, to prevent it from slipping and causing a spill.  If that was not enough, there is even a locking mechanism which keeps the cap from loosening while stored in your saddlebag.

Left: Collar disengaged, valve closed. Right: Collar enaged, valve open

Left: Valve closed. Right: Valve opened.

Left: Anchors on end of spout. Right: Locking mechanism for spout.

The Reda Gas Can is EPA and CARB certified in all 50 states, so you can pack it in your saddlebag without a worry.  You can purchase the Reda Gas Can directly from their website at www.redagascan.com and even at www.amazon.com.  I’ve also heard that this product is making it’s way into dealerships and bike shops across the nation, so keep an eye out for it next time you are at your local motorcycle dealership or independent shop.  One is good, but having two on hand would be even better.  I think I’ll be ordering a second for my other saddlebag…

Filed under Gear, Panhead Jim's Blog by PanheadJim

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