For years, I’ve lugged around a 30l Safari tank on my Suzuki DR650; in many ways, the monster tank was excellent for long-distance travels, and I’ve never run out of gas, even in the more remote places. At the same time, however, I’ve never actually needed a 650km+ fuel range, not even in Patagonia or Bolivia where gas can sometimes be a little trickier to come by. There are some brilliant ways to figure out what sort of fuel range you may need, and you can always carry extra in jerry cans or fuel bags. However, is a fuel range of over 450 km ever actually necessary?
Unless you’re venturing into some truly remote corners of the Earth like Anatoly Chernyavskiy who rides his bike to the Far East (a corner of Siberia accessible only via sea or rivers), my guess is, no. During my seven years on the road, I’ve learned that the world is shrinking. Not literally, of course, but in terms of accessibility, even in some faraway regions of the world, there will be gas. There may not be gas stations, but there will be gas: either someone in a local village will sell you a canister of fuel, or you’ll be able to buy gas from passing trucks or a local on his way to the next village. The quality of the fuel may be questionable, but it will get you to the next gas station.
The only time my 30l Safari saved someone was during a rally race in Croatia where a fellow competitor ran out of gas just before the finish of a special stage, and I happily shared some of my fuel with her. Acting as a mobile gas station for rally riders is fun, but, as I ride off-road and race more and more, the big tank is becoming a cumbersome burden rather than a bonus – which is why I’ve recently swapped it for a 20l Acerbis and haven’t looked back since.
What’s your fuel range, and have you ever ran out of gas because it wasn’t available (forgetting to fill up doesn’t count!)?