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Carrying extra fuel on a dirt bike ride can be essential for extremely long enduro rides, but it can also be very dangerous. Here are a few of the most popular options that I’ve seen guys use to carry extra fuel, as well as my recommendations.
The best three options for carrying fuel safely on a dirt bike are (1) Bottles in a saddle bag on your plastic tail section of the bike, (2) Fuel bottles in a holster and strapped to the bike, or (3) Getting a high capacity desert tank for your dirt bike.
No matter which method you pick, I recommend picking up some MSR fuel bottles. They safely hold fuel and are easy to store on a dirt bike. The MSR fuel bottles on Amazon.com are by far the most popular option for fuel storage among serious dirt bikers.
There are lots of other solutions like putting an auxiliary gas tank in front of your numbers plate, but that messes up the look of your bike and puts the gas tank out in the open where it’s likely to be punctured.
Fuel Bottles in a Saddle Bag
The MSR fuel bottles on Amazon.com are probably the most popular choice among dirt bike riders. They are intended for carrying fuel for backpacking or camping, so they are safe to have fuel in, I believe. They are metal to protect the fuel from puncture, they are leak-proof to prevent any mishaps, and the solution is pretty cheap and cost effective.
The saddle bags that I’ve been eyeing and I think I’ll eventually end up buying are these Nelson-Rigg dual sport motorcycle saddle bags on Amazon.com. They are more expensive than some of the cheap ones you see everywhere, but they look really well made and won’t stick out too much when riding. That’s definitely the one I’ll be getting.
Fuel Bottles in a Holster
A less expensive option if you don’t already have saddle bags for your dirt bike is to simply get a holster for the MSR bottles. This Nelson-Rigg one on Amazon seems to fit the MSR bottles really well and provides lots of straps and attachments so it should be easy to stash on your bike.
I saw some pictures of people strapping these to their bikes right under the handlebars sideways along the gas tank. That seemed like a really nice spot to put them without getting in the way at all.
High Capacity “Desert” Gas Tanks
The gas tanks that come factory installed on most dirt bikes are quite small. Most gas tanks are 2 gallons or less from the factory. This is done to keep the bulk and weight down as the bikes are advertised; however, many enduro dirt bike riders switch them out for larger gas tanks of over 4 gallons in size such as this one from Acerbis on Amazon.
Don’t Be Dumb
A few safety items to consider when transporting fuel on a dirt bike.
- Never “wear” the fuel. It doesn’t belong on a backpack, waist pack, hip pack, vest, or jacket. You do not want gas to spill on you which could catch a spark, and you don’t want the fuel to light up and require you to remove it from you. Don’t do it.
- Only carry as much gasoline as you actually need. Don’t go overboard because excess fuel always comes with risk.
- Ensure the extra gas (petrol for you UK folks) is fully sealed in the container and cannot leak out.
- Never store fuel in a container not designed to store fuel. There are websites out there recommending that riders put fuel in Gatorade bottles, old bleach bottles, or soda bottles. Use common sense and recognize that this is extremely unsafe.
- Don’t leave the fuel stored in extra containers between rides. The gas is likely to go bad.
I saw a video on Youtube last week of a guy who got plastic vials and filled them up with gas and then put them in a vest for transport when dirt biking. He looked like a terrorist with a suicide vest, and honestly being that reckless with fuel may very well create a suicide situation if there were a spark. For this reason, I NEVER recommend any gasoline solution that involves wearing the fuel in a vest, backpack or on the person at all. In my opinion, fuel should always be stored in a pouch on the bike and never on the rider.
I personally think that if you’re going to be riding for long enough that you’ll need extra fuel, you might as well get some good saddle bags and then just put the MSR tanks in there.
Some guys like to wear backpacks for enduro and in that case it can be tempting to put fuel in there, but I still just don’t think that’s wise to be wearing fuel.
So, I’ve decided to ditch the backpack, embrace the saddle bags, and put my fuel in there. Simple solution.