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Discussion in 'Equipment' started by soul_adventurer, Jun 24, 2012.
you would have to lie the bike down on its side and it still may turn turtle
Paddle tire and speed is all you need. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0nkL1pScXQ
The first blokes who did the Cape York trip floated BMWs over The Bumiga on truck tubes,I think,no ferry in those days,that was late 60s.Less crocs then.Shooting was still done.Still bloody game to do it.I am thinking Dave Sands.Story in an early Two Wheels
I think the heaviest part of the bike (engine/tranny/tank) would be pretty well centered in middle of the tube which would keep it from turtling.
Check the Ultimate North Canol thread in Regional/Canada, as this has been discussed extensively and a few good conclusions reached. Very remote trip, 3 major river crossings, multiple minor river crossings.
I had planned to load the bike along the lines of what jonboy describes with the engine centered over the middle. It is still important to know how much it would take to capsize a loaded tube so that's where the shallow water tests will come in. I can see a strong current causing problems although I wouldn't attempt to cross such a river.
Happysnapper, that sounds like a cool idea when on the move if you have to improvise. No doubt it would work. My main reasoning over using a truck tube over some other flotation devices is that I know how durable they are. We often used them to float down rivers and streams as kids and they lasted for years unlike the cheap river rats or inflatable boats which would puncture or split at the seams very easily.
Francs, the weight of the tire is not ideal but for my bike and my loads it is manageable. The issue of having a strong dependable flotation device with a large load capacity which is also light weight is something I haven't found a solution for.
I'll take your advice on picking up a used tube. Might be a better bet for running tests in the event it doesn't work well. As for filling the tube, I had thought to use the bikes exhaust gases to do this job with a similar setup to that used for the inflatable car jacks.
Vince, that sounds like a helluvan adventure. Floating bmw's across. How many tubes were needed per bike I'm thinking the Gibb River Road. I have 4 weeks break right after the wet season ends and often head up north. Problem is the water levels are almost always still too high. Even the pentacoste river is still a problem with the cruiser troopy.
cheers for the referral aquadog gonna have a read there now
I've never tried anything like that, but I am skeptical because the valve is only a few millimeters in diameter.
[Vince, that sounds like a helluvan adventure. Floating bmw's across. How many tubes were needed per bike I'm thinking the Gibb River Road. I have 4 weeks break right after the wet season ends and often head up north. Problem is the water levels are almost always still too high. Even the pentacoste river is still a problem with the cruiser troopy.
cheers for the referral aquadog gonna have a read there now
I dont remember,maybe ask over in the OZ section.They did it twice,the first time was a fail.Story in Two Wheels in the early 70s was called Bamiaga or Bust written by Dave Sands.I think,anyway the river was close to the top and now has a ferry.
It's gotta be the jardine river they crossed. Some big crocs in that river system. I drove my kombi up to cape york back in 07 and the ferry operator told me a story. The ferry had not been operating during the wet season and a bamaga resident had decided he wanted to cross the river. Ferry was parked at the opposite bank and depsite the pleas of his family to wait the man decided to swim across and captain the ferry back to escort his family. He made it 3/4 of the way across before a croc took interest. end of story.
Has the inflatable tube thread deflated or are people still experimenting? Personally, I'd put my experiments on hold for a while mainly due to work commitments but did get a chance to run some experiments in my holiday break using left over inner truck tubes.
I first tried it with 4 smaller tubes tied to the side of the bike so that i could potentially ride across using the rear tire as a paddle wheel. The problem was that the inner tubes would dig into the straps I used to fix them to the bike as soon as it was submerged. I figure they'd probably stretch and break given enough time. The other problem was the bulk of carrying 4 tubes on the bike and it was a bit tedious trying attach them to the bike
I also experimented with a single large inner tube attached to the side of the bike. It seemed to work well although the tube was still too small to support both the bike and myself. Didn't get a video of testing but I'm lucky to have found another crazy adventure rider is doing the same experiments. It pretty much went exactly like in this video.
The tube I used is only about 45" in diameter and looks about the size of the one in this clip. It lacks stability and takes up quite a bit of space + is heavy. On the plus side it's more robust than those cheapo river rat tubes.
I think a 70" tube would possibly be the perfect solution. It will offer twice the buoyancy for the bike+myself and be wide enough to offer enough stability. There's still a major drawback though. The weight/bulk is much more than the 45" tube and quite frankly i don't think it'd be worth the trade off for an otherwise huge amount of additional storage space when the luggage capacity is already at a premium on a motorcycle.
I've since turned my attention back to the cheapo river rat tubes you can buy at any pool shop. As much as I worry about their lack of durability perhaps they can be a viable solution. After all I only intend to cross a body of water which is slow flowing, free of snags and hopefully no crocs or with very blunt teeth. I had a look at a couple of these tubes and although I didn't find the size I was looking for I was impressed with how compact and lightweight they are. I found you can also buy very strong lightweight tubes in the the form of a ski tube. Some are kevlar reinforced designed to withstand impacts at speed while being towed. My mind was made up and I bought one of these on ebay
As you can see it's very heavy duty with a purple kevlar coating making it virtually impervious to punctures and leaks. It also includes a free baby as croc fodder if need be.
To be more honest I thought that instead of spending big bucks on a high quality tube I'd first try this cheapo $22.70 ski tube just to see how well it works. I can still upgrade to a higher quality product. I'll be looking forward to testing hopefully some time this week and reporting back with video results.
Dang, I started daydreaming about a "Jesus bike project" and looks like many beat me to it.In northern Ontario we get many flooded logging road especially dues to beavers. I am planning on purchasing an Alpacka packraft this spring to try this out with. I have other uses for it, like trout fishing once I get to my destination so the expense is justified . I drew some options in Autocad on my coffee breaks at work. I placed an outline of my Yamaha WR250R onto a Fjord Explorer. https://www.alpackaraft.com/index.cfm/store.catalog?CategoryID=53&ProductID=87
It's ski season here now so I won't be walking on water for a while yet.
...soul_adventurer for pursuing this despite the naysayers! I really like this idea and it sounds like you know your water well. Keeping it simple is the best way to go, as seen in the video ericos posted a link to:
I would do exactly what the gent in the vid did, but perhaps attach a coupla small inflatables to the wheels themselves to help ensure it won't flip, kinda turn 'em in to outriggers. The last thing you want to do is have the inner tube and bike exchange positions. Also, might make sense to anchor with a rope to a tree or some other fixed point on the shore just in case you have to let it go.
Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
It's good to hear soul_adventurer is still playing with this idea as well and I hope she'll be kind enough to post up her conclusions when she's got it worked out. There was some good discussion on the Ultimate Canol thread which I'd been following closely but so far I haven't seen any extensive testing or video footage. The good news is my inner tube has now arrived so I'll be doing some testing today. I'll see if I can't get some video footage posted up tonight! cheers
Ok, so I managed to get some footage of my first test crossing using an inner ski tube. Went fairly well (bike didn't sink) but I am going to need to work on a few points to make things easier. Here's a clip of how it went..
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My impressions of the ski tube
I was a bit concerned as to the stability of the tube when I first loaded the bike. My main concern was that it wasn't centered and so I thought it may turtle. After rocking the tube to and fro I found it to be quite stable and with my counter weight (200lb) at the opposing end it was much more stable again. Would I cross fast flowing rapids? No way! Having said that I don't think there is any risk of the tube over turning in moderate flowing currents. This tube has a large inflated diameter of 170cms which most contributes to its stability.
My DR650 weighs about 170kg and I'm at 95kg in gear. This ski bladder is designed for ski tubes made to carry 4 adults or 650lb so there is plenty of buoyancy (Notice how the side I sit on is barely submerged)
Most ski tubes are fitted with a large Boston valve. When I bought this tube I had initially thought I'd need to buy a pump to inflate it in a sensible amount of time. I was pretty stoked to find the boston valve makes it very easy to inflate using lung power alone. It took no more than 5 minutes of huff and puff to inflate eliminating the need to carry a pump.
I weighed the tube at 4.4kg (10lb) and packaged dimensions are 9x24x33cm. I'll repackage it to line the floor of my duffel bag so as to lose less usable storage space. I'm happy this should leave me with sufficient space and load capacity for my luggage when on a long distance adventure.
I paid $2.25 on ebay plus postage. Bargain! The tube probably isn't representative of high quality PVC construction but it worked for testing purposes. Now that I know it works I will probably invest in a high quality ski tube which are around considerably more expensive. There is always going to be risk of a leak or puncture in any case but I guess this is part of the compromise when it comes to carrying a light weight, compact, motorcycle pontoon.
I simply use a fishing rod to cast to the opposing river bank (in this case a muddy dam) and reel myself to the other side. A 70g treble lure and 40lb braid allows me to cast 100+ meters with ease. I figure I'll be able to cast across most rivers I'm going to encounter in my top end travels. I take a fishing rod on all my bike adventures so it isn't really a waste of space for me. I may still take the spade of a paddle so i can assemble a paddle using a tree branch in the event I can't cast across or my line breaks.
The tube is actually held in place using a strap running under the bash plate. It's difficult to secure the tube to the bike because the tube has a center floor. I actually cut a hole in the center floor to allow me to strap it tight. Once the bike is on it's side there's not much risk of it sliding off as the foot peg and safari tank are pinned in the center hole.
Works well so far. Needs more testing.
Didn't see any crocodiles about did you?
Once they stop laughing ....
The packraft I'm looking at is under 6 lbs (2.6 kg).Alpacka's use an inflation bag which is a simple and super light air pump, could probably be adapted to the Boston valve ( or make one ). http://youtu.be/duIIaaKo9n8 Having a floor on a tube would increase its displacement significantly. This gives an advantage over an inner tube. Did I understand correctly that you cut a hole in the floor for mounting? Did water flow through it?
Yeah mate I cut a hole in it and water did flow through. I knew It would compromise the potential buoyancy of the tube but at the same time I wanted to test this thing out without too much fuss and having no other convenient attachment points made it a quick decision. I'd calculated the tubes volume prior to provide sufficient buoyancy regardless of whether or not the floor was in place.
The side I was sitting on was dry but the floor was submerged about an inch on the bikes end. The tube would have required more weight on it to make use of the additional buoyancy. If I buy a better quality ski tube I won't be cutting holes in the floor as they come with tow tabs making things much easier.
That inflation bag is a nice piece of ingenuity indeed and quicker than using lung power alone. I won't be needing it but I'm sure it will be a good solution to those experimenting with foot pumps for inflation.
The Alpacka rafts look like they'd offer a few advantages over the ski tube. I'm thinking that due to their dimensions you could load the bike and still have enough room to sit and paddle with some decent control.
At least you also have a boat for times you're not doing water crossings.
They're also made of the same materials as the high grade ski tubes
At 5lbs they're much lighter than my current PVC tube.
On the contrary I think the dimensions of the ski tube are more suited for carrying a heavy bike like my DR650. Overall stability is going to be better due to a much wider platform. Drag is going to be greater also of course.
I have a cheap Sevylor raft of similar dimensions to the Alpacka rafts which I use to fish the Murray river and it is much more prone to capsize than the ski tube.
I guess the best way to be sure is to buy a raft and see what happens in the shallows. I look forward to your experiments with the Alpacka raft and hopefully will see another Jesus bike video. It's nice to know there are more of us who strive to drown...err float their bikes in rivers:d
I remember reading about the Alpacka rafts on the Ultimate Canol thread a while back. Dug up a link you may be interested in
More Flotorcycle footage coming soon. Got a quality ski tube and will be attempting to cross the Murray river the following weekend. Stay tuned for a laugh
I did aquire a packraft but tis still too cold for any testing. I did stumble across this video though.
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